Children’s home powwow proves successful

By all accounts, the fifth annual fundraising powwow to benefit American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS)-supported Murrow Indian Children’s Home, Muskogee, Okla., was a huge success. The event was held on a recent Saturday on the grounds of neighboring Bacone College, Muskogee.

Approximately 275 attendees of all ages enjoyed a silent auction, live auction, raffle and cake walk as well as Native American foods and dancing.

“People like the raffle items,” quips Betty Martin, Murrow’s executive director. “They like purchasing tickets, trying to outbid each other.”

And the numbers don’t lie. According to Martin, the event drew approximately 92 volunteers, compared to 30 or so in past years. Likewise, a record-setting number of vendors—19—featured everything from information to intricate Native American beadwork, pottery and other art. During the live auction, a beaded buffalo skull garnered $300—$200 more than last year. In all, the event raised approximately $40,000—a $10,000 increase from last year.

“A lot of work goes on behind the scenes,” says Murrow housemother Mary Taylor. “All of my children had a good time. It was my oldest daughter’s birthday, and she got her face painted.”

Perhaps no surprise to people of great faith, victory prevailed despite the threat of danger posed by a local atheist group and its sympathizers. Targeted by nasty telephone calls and Facebook posts, Murrow staff and supporters pondered whether their peaceful event would be disrupted.

In fact, negative publicity generated by the atheist group appears only to have bolstered recognition and support for Murrow. Many Muskogee residents had not realized that Murrow Indian Children’s Home is a separate entity from Bacone, according to Ben Sullivan, ABHMS Southern Plains/Northeast coordinator, Native American Ministries, and a Murrow board member, who helped with the powwow.

“More people know about Murrow now that had never even heard of them. Because of this, several local businesses pledged sponsorship for the powwow,” Sullivan says. “Just as Romans 8:28 says, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,’ the Lord has proven that, even through these negative circumstances, He will be a present help in time of need.

“Through trial and tribulation, the Lord, Jesus Christ, uses these moments to strengthen us,” Sullivan continues. “We can safely say that we can rejoice in tribulation because tribulation produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

As the wonderful day wound down, all guests enjoyed a complimentary supper—pork and gravy over Native American Fry Bread with mashed potatoes, green beans and assorted dessert cakes. And all Murrow staff wore Native American shawls during a traditional dance to honor the home.