In 1989 we began conducting monthly outreach crusades in the government projects of our city. Using tents and community centers, we faithfully ministered year after year to people of all ages through evangelistic services, medical care, food, and clothing.
As the needs of people increased, more and more came to us with every imaginable need. This growing influx of people revealed to us the pressing need to have an onsite outreach in this area, which would better position us to meet their needs.
In 1998, a newspaper article identified the area of Tulsa as having the highest crime rate. With my wife, Sharon and our two children, I drove out to that area and we began to pray that God would give us land for an outreach center that would turn the tide of violence and make this a place of peace. We wanted to see Jesus exalted in the middle of this neighborhood.
Within a few days two sisters named Mary Trotter and Martha Cobb contacted me. They informed me that their grandfather had left an 80-acre farm to them in the very location over which we had prayed, and that they had a desire to see the land used by the Lord as a community outreach. As we walked the property, we sensed in the Spirit that this was, indeed, special ground; there was a reason it had never been developed.
The Lord brought together a team in our church who started to research the land in courthouse records. We were told the land would never be rezoned for the purposes we desired; thus began the lengthy process of preparing the appropriate documentation needed to present a case for a special exception.
In November 1999, we appeared before the Tulsa County Commission, requesting a special exception to be made that the land might be used as an outreach facility. A pastor from our church presented our case with charts and explanations of the plans. One of the commissioners surprised us by saying, “if you had sent Sharon Daugherty to sing, this deal would already be over.” At that point we knew God had gone before us!
We were soon granted the zoning we requested, which enabled us to begin the first phase of our dream.
Today we have almost 25,000 square feet that is comprised of the following: a medical area with a pharmacy, dental offices, clothing distribution area, computer center, gym, kitchen, and dining areas with a food distribution center. Outdoor areas for sports and recreational activities make possible make year-round outreach.
Mary and Martha gave what they had-they gave the farm. And because they did, on that land today worship and work, miracles and mentoring, praise and play are taking place year-round.
Tenney, Tommy. Mary’s Prayers and Martha’s Recipes. Shippensburg: Fresh Bread, 2002, p. 9-10.