Better Stories

  • El Sistema Oklahoma

    “Music is my life, my peace, my freedom, and my heartbeat”

    Music is a gift that can affect any life and unite all kinds of people. Music is the heartbeat that pushes on in a ministry here, in Oklahoma. El Sistema Oklahoma is an impressive program established in Oklahoma City supported by St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University.

    Musical Citizens

    “The mission of El Sistema Oklahoma is to serve the community by engaging children within an ensemble-based music program so they can share the joy of music making and grow as responsible citizens.”

    El Sistema Oklahoma is impacting 220 children daily in the third through ninth grades and developing in them the skills and tools to express themselves and find personal fulfillment by learning to play an instrument. Music has the power to transform lives, empowering children beyond their wildest dreams.

    A Student Profile

    Take a few minutes to hear the story of one student gaining confidence through the music at El Sistema Oklahoma! A student conductor named Lexi:

    Do you want to tell a better story?

    El Sistema Oklahoma is partially supported by funds from a grant established by an individual and managed by the Foundation. You have the ability to support stories like this with a gift from your life. Will you consider telling a better story? For information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift, contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or

  • OSUWesley5

    Better Stories of Campus Ministry

    Janina Graves is now the Associate Director at the Wesley Foundation at Oklahoma State University. As a college student at OSU, she encountered the inevitability of countless questions as she began to navigate her adult life. At the OSU Wesley Foundation, she found a safe and loving place to explore the person God created her to be. Since that time, she has responded to God’s calling for ministry in her life, and she works to continue that experience for the students at OSU Wesley.

    “That’s what we try to do at the OSU Wesley Foundation. Giving young people a space to discover that God really does love you enough that you can be yourself,” Graves asserts.

    A foundation of love supports the work of campus ministry to provide a place for students to ask tough questions about life and to seek the truth in real Christian community. Without fear of judgement, hate, or ridicule, these young adults are unfolding a more perfect picture of the community of God every single day.

    Do you want to tell a Better Story?

    Our United Methodist campus ministries have an active and vital role in the developing lives of young adults in colleges across Oklahoma. During the season of most growth and change, Wesley foundations are a space for students to explore their faiths and identities as Christ-followers. Will you consider telling a Better Story?

    For information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift to benefit campus ministry, please contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or

  • Camp2

    “You Called Me to Serve the Church with My Life”

    United Methodist campgrounds offer a unique opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit to middle and high school students across our state. At camp, students spend time in fellowship, recreation, and worship; growing in faith and in the community of Christ.

    Eternal Effects

    What happens beyond camp? It is not an isolated experience, like a remote vacation you long to revisit. Our camps affect the Church in ways that flow into the daily work of Christian community.

    John Hollon, current youth director at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Bethany, is one such example. As a recent high school graduate, he spent his third year at camp wrestling with God’s will for the next chapter in his life.

    “‘If you’ll just let me know clearly, then I’ll do what you ask me to do. I’ll figure it out,’ I prayed. As I was doing that, a hand touched my shoulder. I looked to see who it was, and it was one of the younger students in our youth group. He wanted to talk, and we spent the rest of worship talking and praying together.”

    John asked for a clear picture, and was led into a glimpse of the ministry God had for him: a ministry of pouring into and praying for other students. For the last 14 years, he has brought hundreds of students to experience the Holy Spirit as tangibly as he did as a student in high school. This is just ONE story of the camp ministry in Oklahoma.

    Do you want to tell a better story?

    Contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or for information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift for the benefit of our camps.

  • 18136653 Xl

    Hope Planned Out

    Pearl Opel Thorpe lived in a small house near Utica Square in Tulsa. She was a collector of art, dolls, and hats. Preferring to be called Opel, she was a warm and eclectic woman who always dressed in bright, matching colors. She had that jovial sort of kindness about her; the kind where you felt absolutely welcomed in her presence.

    Aside from Opel’s interesting personality and surroundings, she had a deep care for homeless and abused women and their children. She hadn’t necessarily experienced homelessness or abuse herself, yet God placed a passion in her to want to help those women who have been left unsupported and unloved.

    You see, Ms. Thorpe was an elderly woman in her nineties and couldn’t do much to actually help the women about whom she truly cared—or could she? Many conversations and meetings over several years with David Battles from the Foundation helped her to find a way to make a positive impact on homeless and abused women and their children.

    Hope Beyond Life

    Pearl Opel Thorpe was 93 years old before she made a plan in her trust. She wrote out the hopes and dreams she had to change lives of so many women and named the Foundation as the successor trustee. We have since carried out her dream along with the United Methodist Circle of Care in the ministry called Pearl’s Hope. Read more online about Pearl’s Hope at:

    Do you want to tell a better story?

    Contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or for information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift.

    More about the Foundation and Pearl’s Hope:

    Legacy Planning Using Endowments

  • Better Stories - Moore - What Comes Next?

    What Comes Next?

    May 20th, 2013 was a devastating day. Tornadoes ripped through Central Oklahoma and crippled thousands of people across our state. The First United Methodist Church in Moore found themselves at ground zero; there was so much need right in front of them.

    Many people had lost everything. They didn’t know where the next meal would be; they didn’t even have a place to spend the night. Moore First UMC opened their Family Life Center as a temporary shelter, but they knew more would need to be done.
    The Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation was able to reach out with gift cards. While other organizations manage the bigger details of disaster recovery and cleanup, some of the smaller details can be left behind.

    Gift cards provided a toothbrush, a fresh change of clothes, a motel room, or a meal out. They supplied the little things that kept the day-to-day closer to normal as people affected by the tornadoes began to rebuild.

    Oklahoman generosity

    Thanks to funds from a wide variety of sources, a story of strength and unity in the face of disaster was told. The Foundation is blessed to be a part of stories like this.

    Do you want to tell a better story?

    Contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or for information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift.

  • Better Stories ARISE

    We Love You because He Loves You

    Many of our local churches are constantly seeking how to attract younger families and how to raise more money. The Foundation developed ARISE, a one-day workshop held at our office in OKC. ARISE will get your leaders and members thinking, talking and praying about the future of the Church.

    Reaching Out

    Reverend Tish Malloy is the District Superintendent of the Northern Prairie District in Oklahoma. She has attended an ARISE gathering, and here is some of what she experienced:

    “It has helped our churches do something to think strategically about how they would want to reach out to their community. I get to hear them tell me about how much they have become more aware of their own community, and the importance of reaching out in their community to share the gospel in meaningful ways…

    But more than that even, just simply reaching out to people because we’re Christians, and to let people in the local schools, and the local government folks, and those who support us with emergency services, and our neighbors all around us to simply know we are the Church of Jesus Christ—and we love you because He loves you. That has been an extraordinary outcome for several of the congregations in my district.

    For more information about ARISE, please contact Mike Wiley at 800-259-6863 or

    Do you want to tell a better story?

    Contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or for information on how you can tell a Better Story through a legacy gift.

  • Mtupili

    The Miracle at Mtupili

    Like many villages in Tanzania, the Masai people in Mtupili did not have access to running water. Making the dangerous 7 hour trek to the river and risking being eaten by crocodiles, the Masai people desperately needed a better source of water.

    The Foundation provided funds to support the drilling of a new well in Mtupili. Engineers calculated the location of the water table, and drilling began—but not one drop of water was found, down to 100 meters.

    The Masai people and the mission team were heavy-hearted. Engaging in prayer, a spiritual battle was fought to regain hope for water in the well. After a few days, the local pastor went to the well site. As soon as she approached, she heard water flowing in the well! The drilling crew came to verify and found water beginning at 29 meters to the full 100 meters.

    God showed Himself as the Miracle-Working God. The village will no longer have people killed at the water’s edge nor walk for miles to get water.

    A Lasting Legacy

    The financial support came through the Foundation because of the faithful foresight of donors. Create a legacy that lasts as a life-offering gift that could reach around the world—you can tell a better story with your life.

    How can you tell a better story?

    Contact David Battles at 800-259-6863 or for information on how you can tell a better story through a legacy gift.

  • Jackie

    Jackie’s Story

    Jackie Stafford suffered from over a decade of poor dental health and was unable to afford private dental care. Through some connections with Catholic Charities, Jackie found the dental clinic at Neighborhood Services Organization (NSO). She soon made an appointment and received much-needed treatment at a very affordable rate. (see

    “Immediately when you walk in the door, they are very professional, but they are very friendly. If anyone comes in here and does not feel like family, that would be a huge surprise to me.”

    Her mouth was in such bad shape, she could not even chew. Embarrassed by her teeth, she would put her hand over her mouth, because she didn’t have any teeth to show.

    Blessed by the loving-kindness of the staff at NSO Dental, now Jackie is all smiles.

    What makes this story possible…

    The Dental Clinic at NSO is partially supported by funds from an endowment managed here at the Foundation. The endowment fund funnels into The Petree Grant which was used to support NSO and their ministry in 2015.

    We can help you tell a better story with your life through an endowment like this one! Contact David Battles at or 800-259-6863 to discuss legacy planning options.

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