The mission of Search & Rescue Outreach Ministries has always been to reach out to those who have fallen through the cracks of society. We do this each and every Friday night by taking a home-cooked meal into the streets of downtown Tulsa. People who know us know that Search & Rescue will be there without fail each and every Friday. We bring food to the hungry. We bring lemonade and water to the thirsty. We bring clothing and shoes to the needy. We bring blankets to the homeless. It does not end or really even begin there. We are there to bring God’s love to the people. We are there to lead them in praise and worship. We are there to lead them into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Friday nights is an outreach but it is also a street church.
We have been blessed with faithful laborers in Search & Rescue. There have been those who have served for a season and moved on. It is truly amazing to hear the stories of our fellow laborers: many of their testimonies include a time that they themselves were homeless. Regardless of whether this is the case for our fellow laborers, the fact remains that these people are committed to serving others. Our fellow laborers have jobs, families and numerous responsibilities but on Friday nights they come to the streets of downtown Tulsa to serve the people that so many in society don’t even see. Do not kid yourselves, the weather in Oklahoma is in itself enough to keep the faint of heart away: we have humid and hot summers with temperatures that reach the triple digits and the winters are cold and dry with a brutal wind that cuts through all the layers of warm clothes that a person piles on. We do have many pleasant days but we are talking about EVERY FRIDAY not just the days that won’t tax us physically. In our society Friday has become the beginning of the weekend and Friday nights are known for going out, relaxing from the stress of the work week—a time to indulge yourself. Not for our team. They are disciplined and caring and show up to show the love of God.
Not everyone we meet on Friday nights want to let us pray with them or even to talk with them. They have been hurt by people. They don’t have it in them to trust anyone. But they are hungry or they need clothes or socks or a blanket. We see them Friday after Friday and then one Friday they want to talk. A few more Fridays and they open up some more. Being there every Friday gives them something to trust.
There are times when we will see the same people week after week for years. Other times we see a person once and then never again. We know of people who came to the feeding for a time and are now off of the streets. They have a home and a relationship with God. There are many that we don’t know about. There are those who are like yo-yo’s going from the streets to a more stable life and then back to the streets again. It isn’t up to us to judge them or prefer some over others; we simply serve them.