Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

Happy Birthday in the Park

It’s a bit of an eclectic gathering for sure, and you’re never sure who will show up or what might happen. It’s fun like that. Some live on the streets, others in the suburbs. Some are educated, others not. Some are church-goers, others church-avoiders. It seems everyone likes hot dogs and hamburgers though, and hanging out in the park with friends. That’s what happens every Thursday at Owen Park in North Tulsa. Food, joking, conversation, sometimes basketball, always a simple time of thanksgiving and prayer. Lots of smiles, and sometimes tears as well. Friendship happens, and the occasional fight. Jesus walks among us, and touches wounded and desperate hearts with His love.

Last Thursday was Jesse’s birthday, and it was quite a party. Jesse is part of the 24-7 Prayer community in Tulsa, and a ringleader of this unusual gathering. How beautiful to see his mom, uncle, sister, and their families come to celebrate his birthday with us. This does not feel like an outreach or a “ministry.” It’s a lot more like friends and family hanging out in the park and having a barbecue. And yet, powerful things happen. People experience the love of God. Some have decided to follow Jesus. Some have discovered family in this ragtag crew. One lady thanks God for setting her free from addictions. A man prays for grace to overcome his anger and bitterness. Another asks to hear the story of Jesus. In tears, a woman thanks God for her new friends. Everyone eats their fill.

Jesse, along with fellow-conspirators Karissa and James, has been providing this meal every week for the past three or four months. When they don’t have money to buy food, God always provides in different ways. Once recently, Jesse had been out of work for a couple weeks and had no money. By noon on Thursday, there was still no food. By 1:00, A man none of them had met previously felt directed by the Lord to give $100 when he heard about the weekly gathering. And so it goes.

They are now dreaming of beginning simple church families with these new friends, and eventually to have a discipleship house where they can offer help to people who want to get off of the streets and follow Jesus and find new life.


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