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Abraham's Tent director Pearl Cole. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Abraham's Tent director Pearl Cole. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Abraham's Tent breaks ground on new facility

Last Modified: Friday, November 01, 2013 7:42 PM

By Justin B. Phillips / American Press

As Pearl Cole, executive director of Abraham’s Tent, stood in front of the cameras covering her organization’s groundbreaking ceremony, she was smiling. It’s what she has always done. Cole smiled in the old location’s kitchen. Standing next to simmering pots and pans, she smiled and cooked as fans whirred during the summer months to stifle the heat. Cole even smiled throughout the process of searching for a new facility. She smiled because she said she knew everything would be OK. “It’s all part of God’s plan,” Cole would say.

The process has taken most of the year, and Friday marked its culmination. The new building, which is just up the road from the previous location, is an upgrade for Cole, Abraham’s Tent and all of the people it serves. Mayor Randy Roach, City Councilwoman Luvertha August and Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, headlined a lineup of local representatives who attended the event to discuss just what the new location means to the region.

Roach told the crowd that understanding why they were at the ceremony was just as important as being there.

“My grandson when he was 3 would always ask me the question ‘Why?’ Why do we do these things?” Roach said. “We gather here in faith, because of faith and because we have a generous and giving community.”

Roach went on to say the community is an important reason behind what makes endeavors like Abraham’s Tent successful.

“I don’t want to let the moment escape where we don’t know the why of why we’re here,” he said.

Johns spoke during the ceremony about his experiences visiting the old facility and speaking with Cole. He said he once visited her while she was cooking one of the countless meals she makes for the tired and hungry. Johns said he asked her what he could do to help her after he noticed some of the facility’s shortcomings. He said she told him that maybe a new oven would help. To this day, Johns still contributes financially to Abraham’s Tent.

“Today is the start of something much more than an oven,” Johns said. “When the area needed an angel, the Lord sent Pearl.”

After a handful of speakers and the actual ceremonial act of breaking ground for the new building, Cole took a second to talk about the last few months. She said she never stressed over the process. She never worried about the possibility of not getting an improved facility.

“This isn’t a new journey; it’s a continued journey,” Cole said. “Because of the economy and the idea that people might not be able to give, people were fearful about this place. I knew I could rest easier at night because all of this is in God’s hands.”

As the event came to a close, countless people walked up to Cole to either congratulate her, thank her for services or just embrace her. She said there is only one thing the public should know if they are curious about how she continues to serve the community with the same energy as when she first began.

“If there’s anything that I want the people to know, I want them to know that I see God working every day,” Cole said.

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