This is Oneida: Oneida is my home

By Larry Gritton

Published: September 4, 2018

We recently held staff in-service for the 2018-19 school year. Three staff members shared their testimonies and did a fantastic job. One of the ladies who shared is an Oneida graduate. She has an amazing story of God's grace and how He used our ministry to rescue her from a perilous situation. The following is some of what she shared with our staff.

From 12 years old until I came to OBI, I could not tell you how many men my mother forced on me. All I could try to do was live through it. When I sought help, all I ever heard was, "You will be okay." One time my mother took me out to the side of the road and had me hold a sign that said "For Sale." When someone saw this and addressed my mother, she beat me.

Thankfully, a couple in my church knew about Oneida and helped send me here. As I heard them talk about OBI, it sounded too good to be true. I could not believe there really was a place like Oneida Baptist Institute. As graduation approached, I was scared to death. Everyone had plans for after graduation, but I had no one and nowhere to go. Thankfully, the school let me stay and do my senior year all over again. At the end of my second senior year, the school decided to hire me as a staff member.

I have never served anywhere but OBI. I serve here today because I wholeheartedly believe this is where the Lord wants me to be. OBI is the first place I ever felt safe. The people here were the first people that ever wanted and loved me.

What I do at OBI is something I never thought I would do. I have always worked in donations. I see another side of OBI in donations, a side that counts each and every donation as a blessing, not just for ourselves, which we all have to admit have been a big blessing, and not just our students, but for children right here in the mountains. When we give food out to the children of the mountains, I see their faces and it is a blessing. I am someone who has been where they are, someone who knows true hunger, and this is why I love helping feed the hungry in our community.

I am the first person in my family to graduate from high school. I am the first person to ever have a real job. I am also the first person to ever get married, stay married to the same man, and have children by the same man. The Lord blessed us with two children, children that doctors said would never exist, but the Lord saw fit to give us children.

Oneida Baptist Institute is my little piece of heaven right here on earth. If it were not for Oneida, I would not be here today. Every day I thank the Lord for giving me this life. Oneida is my home and always will be.