Front Row, Left to Right: Juli Rasmussen, Geni Brannen, Grayson Brannen, Lily Brannen
Back Row, Left to Right: Craig Cameron, Vince Martin, Mike Crist, Joe Brannen, Colin Cameron

On Saturday, November 14, we had the opportunity to live out part of our mission of serving others. The aftermath from one of the historic ice storms to hit Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, left several hundreds of thousands of people without power and daunting mess from downed trees and branches. One of those places impacted was our community’s beloved Lions Club Park located on Hefner Rd next to Surrey Hills Elementary school. Shaded by dozens of big and beautiful trees the park is a place where community is built through various events, family play times, and young people shootin’ some b-ball (you can finish the Fresh Prince lyrics if you’d like). Littering the majority of the park, broken branches and downed trees were a sign of the devastation left behind. To state it lightly, the park was in bad shape.

left to right: Joe Brannen, Lynn Wilson, Greg Welch

After a meeting with Lynn Wilson, President of the Lions Club who organized the cleaning project, and Greg Welch, Bishop at the 3rd Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Oklahoma City, and other community members, we developed a game plan for the massive task of restoring our community park.

The outpouring of support for the community park was overwhelming. Between the Lion’s Club, 3rd Ward of the Church of JCLDS, the Surrey Hills neighbors, and GC Surrey Hills, we had about 100 volunteers show up with equipment, tools, and a heart to make an impact. Because of the massive turn out of volunteers, we were able to have the park cleaned up in about an 1.5 hours! It was remarkable! To see the community, 2 churches, and a non-proft organization become united to serve others was a great expression of the Kingdom of God. Two churches were able to set aside our theological differences and viewpoints to find common ground of BEING the church in our community.

…to find common ground of BEING the church in our community.

I want to give a special shoutout to an individual who has a heart to serve others and does it so secretly. Mike Crist is a long-time GC Surrey Hills family member and is always secretly serving the church and individuals. He doesn’t complain. He is always asking if he can do more. He is so cheerful in helping. He specifically went out to the park, the week before the big group was going to clean it up and cut up every limb into haulable sizes! He did this without being asked and knowing that a crew was showing up Saturday. If it weren’t for the many hours Mike Crist put in during the week, we would have been there for several hours.
I know you don’t ask for it, Mike, but thank you! Thank you for not what you do, but for who you are!

Grace and peace,
Pastor Joe

Ceeja and Lucas Malmkar, our Love Avenue Coordinators, are seeking for more opportunities to serve others in this manner. If you have a suggestion to a project where we can come together to make an impact by serving others please contact Ceeja and/or Lucas: or


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