Tuesday morning at 10:30am seven of us gathered to head out to Oklahoma City for our 2017 mission trip. It was a day full of love, welcome and hospitality as we made our way down I-35.
To begin with Sharon B. and Gracie made sure we felt some HPC love along our way, by supplying us with lots of home baked goodies for the week. I talk often about us working to be tangible signs of love and grace in the world – home baked cookies and brownies fit that bill perfectly. Reminders all week long that you all are praying for us and have sent us out with love and care.
Our first stop was lunch in Emporia, where Nancy introduced us to a local family-owned Mexican restaurant, La Panderia El Marmol. Mission trips are usually an opportunity to try new things and get out of our comfort zones. There was all kinds of new food to try – Torta al Pastor, Papusas del Puerco, Gordita del Res, and lots and lots of tacos. The food was delicious and the gracious service and welcome from the owners equally good. As I took in the scene that reminded me so much of my 8 years in south Texas I told our group – “It looks like San Antonio, it sounds like San Antonio, it smells like San Antonio and it tastes like San Antonio.” If you are headed to Emporia anytime soon, it is worth wandering off the beaten path a bit to visit our new friends at El Marmol.
After a few hours on good old I-35 we made it to Midwest City, OK, a suburb of OKC located on the east side of the metro. Our hosts are a family that attend Choctaw Methodist Church here who recently purchased a larger home to accommodate their growing extended family, which includes 12 grand children. They have graciously opened their home to us and welcomed us with such hospitality. They had a crock-pot full of pulled pork, homemade potato salad, watermelon, and cantaloupe that filled their huge family table ready for us when we arrived. We added some fresh picked Nellor family corn to the mix that was served up family style.
There is just something about sitting around the table with friends new and old, eating a meal cooked and served up with love, sharing in good conversation that just warms the heart and soul. It was a wonderful start to our time here.
Our night ended with us tagging the 45 Harper’s Hugs bears you generously donated for us to take with us this week. Stay tuned to see where all these bears end up this week!
We are currently getting lunches packed and loaded up for our first day of work – keep us in your prayers today!