That's us to the left! My wife Memory is at the far right. And that is me on the far left holding our youngest child Payton Emiline. Then there is Breanna Nichole our oldest, sitting next to me. Sitting beside her is our son Matthew Parrish. Standing just below him is our redheaded ball of fire, miss Sarah Elizabeth-Ann. We are a crazy bunch of Jesus Following + Kingdom Serving peoplewith wild schedules but we love serving the church and we are excited to be here in Poteau, OK.
How we got here:
For several years now, my wife and I have had a nagging in our souls that we are to plant a church. We have wrestled with this and gone back and forth over the idea. Mostly, this was out of fear. We finally put all fear aside and decided to trust God with our whole lives.
Home for us is Seneca, MO which is on the state line of OK and MO, just south of Joplin. We knew that we wanted to stay relatively close to that area but we also knew that we wanted to be closer to the Kiamichi Mountain region. We love Oklahoma but we didn't want to set our sights on any one place without giving it to God first. Upon a visit to Poteau a couple of year ago, Memory and I looked at each other and agreed that this would be a good possibility.
We began researching the area and found that Poteau is among the fastest growing towns in Oklahoma. It is the gateway to the Kiamichi Mountains and offers its residence and visitors some of the best views and outdoor activities anyone could hope for. This region is a sportsman's paradise. Poteau has also become a bedroom community to Fort Smith, AR, which has quickly risen to be one of AR largest and leading cities.
We did the numbers, and if you took every church (that practices immersion baptism) and you maxed out the seating capacity in all of them, twice every Sunday morning, you would not have even 20% of the population in attendance. Poteau, is the county seat of LeFlore County, one of the largest counties in the state of Oklahoma. It also serves as the main shopping hub for the Kiamichi region. It has a tremendous 4A school system and excellent athletic programs. So the numbers were good and need was obvious.
We talked over our options with our two oldest children, (since they were about to enter high school) we wanted their opinion. They are also very plugged into the ministry alongside of us. We weighed out all of our options as a family and prayed significantly about it. It was unanimous, Poteau is where we all believed God wanted us to be. So in May of 2015 we packed up everything we could and made the move. There were some pretty awesome things that occurred in that process that can only be explained by God's providential hand. Needless to say, these served as both assurances that we were making the right move and catalysts for the work we were about to begin.
That is how we came to Poteau, and why we are here. We hope that you will look us up and connect with us. We are excited to be here and we can't wait to see what God does with us here.