Church van at third stop serving the Lord’s purpose

Back, from left, J.R. Hollis, Randy Reed, Marvin Carlton, Dan Long, Johnnie Whinery, David Ferrell, Ali Williams, Taylor Aderholt. Front, Mike Sublett and Stormie Watkins Blain. Not pictured, teaching staff at CCS Hannah J. Ohsfeldt, Erika Merritt, Terra Scott, Cristy Bromwell, Evelyn Noble, Hannah E. Ohsfeldt, Laura Green and Suzie Ohsfeldt. Board members, Dr. Mark Ford, Aaron Baker, Greg Stroud, Terra Scott, Craig Merritt and Ronnie Goode.

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:5

Last summer, the COVID-19 pandemic forced CREATE-a-Beat to close it’s doors and stop serving the children of Pampa.

During the final board meetings of the non-profit, the question arose of what to do with the van that served the children attending the school.

But the van’s journey, didn’t actually begin at Hi-Land Christian Church and CREATE-a-Beat, and it won’t end there.

The van was first purchased by Body of Christ of Pampa.

“Body of Christ (launched 2002) was an outreach church for people who weren’t established with any churches or didn’t feel comfortable in formal churches,” former Body of Christ Board Member Dan Powell said. 

The church had the van for six or seven years and was used for all kinds of activities like going to youth meetings, youth rally, retreat/functions and other church social activities.

When Body of Christ disbanded in 2010, they found themselves in the same situation Hi-Land Christian was in last year: what to do with this 2005 Ford van.

CREATE-a-Beat at Hi-Land was in it’s early stages and saw a need for transportation.

“One of the central problems in the organization of CREATE-a-Beat has always been transportation,” Hi-Land Christian preacher Mike Sublett said. “There wasn’t a way to open up an after-school program and expect all parents to go pick up their kids from school, drop them off at CAB and then come back and pick them up. 

“That just didn’t work. Half of the kids were on scholarships and parents just plain couldn’t leave their job to come bring them.”

Powell and fellow Body of Christ Elder Dwight Brown both had deep ties to Hi-Land Christian, and that led to the van changing it’s address.

“We had some pretty deep connections with Hi-Land Christian Church. One of our elders, Dwight Brown, was a former member from Hi-Land and he had worshiped at Hi-Land for years,” Powell said. 

“As one of the Elders (of Body of Christ) myself, I had a long relationship with Mike Sublett (pastor, Hi-Land Christian). At the time, they had a real significant need for the van as they were getting CREATE-a-Beat started. It was just great timing.”

Sublett, CAB and Hi-Land Christian were more than glad to take on the van as it was the solution to some of their transportation woes.

“Transportation was always an issue so we started with a couple of volunteers with cars and then the van came and solved part of the problem,” Sublett said. 

“We couldn’t pick up at all four locations because then you’re gone an hour and a half. We assigned the van to a particular school and then about that time Panhandle Transit came around. We used them as the main transporter and the van might go to the smaller schools. 

“When things changed with Panhandle Transit we started to send the van to either the largest school or second largest school. We had volunteers who always operated the van and it was a super-special blessing (to us).”

The van served the need for CAB and other ministries including trips to Christ in Youth for the youth program led by Mike and the late Angie Woelfle and adult trips to Palo Duro Canyon.

When CAB disbanded in 2020, it was time to do something with the van that only had 32,000 miles.

The first board meeting after CAB led to the question being asked, and by the next board meeting, they had decided.

“CCS was the first thing to pop up in my mind, but what I found out was it was the very first thing to pop up in three other board members’ minds,” Sublett said. “The second the subject was mentioned to give the van away, several of our board members and I immediately thought of Community Christian.”

Sublett had been visiting with administrator at Community Christian School, Stormie Blain, about doing a lecture about dinosaurs at CCS. But while he was there, he mentioned the van.

“We don’t want to be a problem, would it be a help?,” Sublett said. “She was over the moon.”

Until they had received the van, CCS was going through the same transportation woes CAB/Hi-Land had been in just 10 years ago.

“We have a church (Grace Baptist Church) that is very generous and let’s us borrow their van anytime we need it,” Blain said. 

“That’s been wonderful. But other times we have to ask parents to drive the kids so that’s challenging getting that many cars together at the same time to leave at the same time. Or we end up taking teacher vehicles and getting parental consent. Having this here of our own we don’t have to bother anybody else with it.”

CCS serves 43 students starting at three-year-old pre-k through 10th grade. With this van, now that’s another avenue for them to serve children.

“The opportunities (for this van) are endless. We will use it for field trips, work trips the teachers take, after-school/summer programs, etc,” Blain said. “We have some things we’re thinking about we wouldn’t have thought about without transportation. For now, we’ll definitely use it to take the kids to the library, field trips here in town we take or to Amarillo.”

Knowing that the van is back to serving God’s purpose for it, children, Sublett and the staff and CAB can rest easy.

“It really has been, in part 2 or part 3 of the van, used for children,” Sublett said. “Pampa children. That’s a huge deal because this is where we live and what we want to touch the most is the lives of the children of this town. It has and it will continue to be at Community Christian School.”

Powell is glad to see it serve an entity that was a great resource to his own family.

“After 2020, any kind of positive thing seems twice as significant. That does my heart a lot of good,” Powell said. 

“My kids attended CCS and it has been a critical foundational organization for so many years. It’s done so much good. It was invaluable to my family when our two children went there.”

Blain said the possibilities are endless for how this van can serve the children of Pampa.

“This is the most amazing blessing to our school,” Blain said. 

“We’ve never had a van or anything we could use. There is just so much we can do now that we have it. We’re so honored, blessed and grateful.”

Powell said it’s great to see Christian organizations work together for the greater good.

“It continues to be a refreshing thing to see Christian organizations, whether a church or a para-church, working together as a team in Pampa,” Powell said. “All towns and big cities have church boundaries and issues. It’s just so refreshing to see churches working together, coming together and coming together for their needs.”

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