This is Oneida: 'The course of my life was changed'

By Larry Gritton

Published: June 12, 2018

Dear Kentucky Baptists,

When I was barely a teenager, my parents divorced and my mother, brother, and I moved from Chicago to Kentucky. My dad was still living in Chicago and wasn't really a part of our lives. My mom found out about this place called Oneida Baptist Institute and sent my brother there. After my brother didn't make it at OBI, my mom then sent me.

During my time at OBI, I made lifelong friends that I still communicate with to this day. I wanted to play basketball, and my coach told me if I wanted to play, I had to run cross country as well. Running quickly became my sport. Running even led me to travel to China as a student runner during the summer of my sophomore year. My grades improved, I passed my classes, and I graduated. After graduation, I joined the army.

Not only did Oneida teach me hard work and discipline, it also taught me fatherly love. My dad was absent a lot of my life, but the godly men working at OBI showed me what it was like to have a good father and how to be a good father. The most important thing that happened to me while at OBI was that I accepted Christ as my Savior during a chapel service.

I was headed down a path of treating my mother poorly, dropping out of school, and maybe even getting in trouble with the law, but because of Oneida the course of my life was changed. God knew what it would take to fulfill His purposes and plan for my life, and Oneida was definitely a big part of that plan.

I came back to work at Oneida in my early 20s and met my wife, who was teaching there at the time. We married at Oneida Baptist Church, and the next year had our first child. We left after two years so that I could pursue a career in law enforcement, but my wife and I continued to have a special place in our hearts for OBI. Twenty years later while praying for God's direction in our life, He clearly spoke that He wanted us to go back to OBI. We then returned to Oneida and have enjoyed serving here again. 

Maybe you know a teenager who needs a place like Oneida as much as I did. The Barkley Moore Father's Day Offering allows OBI to continue to impact the lives of students and families who would not have this opportunity otherwise. Prayerfully consider what you will give this Father's Day and help us impact the community of Oneida, Clay County, Kentucky, the United States, and the world.

In Our Father's Love,

Jeffrey Kelsey, Class of 1989