Oneida is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky, and the county is ranked as one of the worst areas of the U.S. to live in based on poverty, drugs, crime, education, etc.  It is a community with many needs and we have had the privilege of serving there for the past seven years with a Vacation Bible School in the summer and providing shoes or coats for the children in the fall/winter.  Our focus has centered specifically on meeting the needs of children and families but we have also done some projects to minister to senior and/or disabled adults in past years as well as connecting with the middle and high school students who board at Oneida Baptist Institute.    
Our church has connections to Oneida through Doug Carmack’s family (he is from that area) and John Seagraves’ adult men’s class began serving the community many years ago by providing clothing, etc.  That led to the John’s class working to provide a fire truck for the town because the closest fire equipment was nearly an hour away.  Seven years ago we began looking for a place to do a family mission trip – one that was suitable for parents to take children and teach them the value of missions in a very hands-on way.  Doug Carmack asked me if we would consider Oneida and reach out with a VBS or day camp.  We made our first trip the summer of 2012 and returned at Christmas with coats for the children there. 
The trip has grown in a lot of ways – this community does not trust ‘strangers’ and they were pretty skeptical of us at first.  Each year our connections have grown deeper and our friendships there are sweet.  The community looks forward to VBS and it’s been a blessing to provide shoes for the children who live in the area every year.  I love that our church family is so generous to meet the physical needs of the children!