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Bishop Blake of the Oklahoma Area Conference told this story at General Conference…

“In 1999, the Oklahoma Conference met soon after the tragic tornadoes that swept thought the area, the most severe ever calculated by measuring devices. Many homes and many lives were destroyed. That conference started with the usual wrangling over budgets, resource allocations, and percentages. Until out of the blue a group of young men from Lydia Patterson Institute, a United Methodist prep school for poor Hispanic boys, arrived for a visit.

They had come to be on a volunteer-in-missions project. Out of the two weeks they were to stay, they had planned monetarily for one day of fun at an amusement park in the area.

Upon arriving, however, they saw the devastation, and they experienced the pain of loss, and their plans changed.

These boys, all poor, all without many of the comforts we couldn’t live without, decided to give up their day and donate their funds for the tornado victims. Their gift healed. Immediately, the floor of that annual conference changed.

Instead of struggling with a second major disaster—first the bombing in ’95 and now the tornado of ’99—the conference found itself swept up in the joy of giving.

That offering given by the boys that day, quadrupled and quadrupled again, as the mood and the spirit of the conference shifted ...

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