My name is Marcus McCloud. My wife, Dena, and I attend Ponca City Foursquare Church (PCFC) in Ponca City, Okla. Blaine and Deb Herron are the senior pastors; Brad and Jamie Thomas are the student ministers. They all have been instrumental in guiding our walk with Christ during the past five years. We love our church. It has changed our lives profoundly, and has helped to mold us into the Christians we are today.
I moved back home to Oklahoma from Texas in 2008 at a time I consider to be the lowest point in my life. I was experiencing homelessness, and did not know where I was going or what I was going to do. My sister and her husband, thankfully, took me in to their home. They helped me to see that, no matter what, I needed to put God first in my life. They attended PCFC, and thus began my journey of fellowship with this amazing church.
Around this same time, Dena also had just moved back to Oklahoma, and began attending the church with her family. Our relationship grew as we went through the membership class together. On Jan. 8, 2009, we both became official members. We were married in the church on Nov. 7 that same year.
Being involved with Foursquare has given my life meaning and a purpose I had never known before. My wife and I have had the privilege to take part in many ministries and outreaches.
Apex, for example, is a weekly ministry offered by our church. It’s an adult study group that meets on Wednesday evenings. We share a meal and a time of fellowship with fellow church members and invited friends who may or may not yet have a church home of their own.
Last year, Dena and I worked with the children’s ministry, One Way. On Tuesday evenings, we’d provide a meal for, and teach the love of Jesus to, nearly 100 grade-school and pre-teen children from our community. For some of our children, the meal we served was the only evening meal they were getting for the week. Our hearts were greatly touched by the kids we grew to love.
This year, our teen youth group, UTurn, needed adult leaders. Dena and I felt led to assist Brad and Jamie with this vital ministry. We meet once a week for a youth-oriented service, games and fellowship. Last fall, we hosted the UTurn Youth Retreat, an overnight event. It was incredible to watch the youth as they ministered to one another, sang around a campfire and reveled in the love of Christ together.
In 2011, Dena and I took a life-changing missions trip to El Salvador. Pastor Blaine led the group from our church. Our task was to help a local Foursquare church that was in need of paint and repair. We led the congregation in a service, shared testimonies, prayed with the people, and led the men’s and women’s Sunday school classes. We came home enriched by the lifelong friends we now cherish.
Another ministry near and dear to my heart is our men’s group. Words cannot explain the power that God pours out over men who come together to study His Word, support one another, and pray together over families and the struggles of daily life. We share a bond like no other.
Finally, I’d like to tell you about the Great Day of Service. On a Sunday morning in April, our church, along with seven others from the community, all came together with one common goal. Our task was to go into the neighborhoods and offer our services to help clean up around the houses, lots and yards. We trimmed trees, mowed lawns, raked, edged, weeded, and hauled off tires and trash by the truckloads.
Our day began as everyone assembled together in our church parking lot. Pastor Blaine led a short devotion, and our organizers gave us some final instructions. Wearing matching fluorescent yellow T-shirts, we headed out into the area in teams.
My team of nine included adults and children. Families came out of their homes and wanted to join in. People driving by stopped to ask how they could get involved. At the end of the afternoon, we gathered back at the church parking lot for a hot dog lunch, entertainment provided by local worship groups, and a final devotion and time of prayer.
We were families, individuals, strangers and friends. As we spread out in the area, it was amazing to see this army of God’s servants all working side by side to spread the love of Christ to anyone in need. We may have been from different churches and different denominations, but on that day, we were all one big church. We were God’s church.
In closing, I would just like to say to the families and the victims of the recent Oklahoma tornados: Our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers go out to each and every one of you.