Watch for Updates to the History of "Go Ye" Mission and Markoma
- Thomas "Tom" Graham moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Tahlequah in 1905. One of his brothers was the father of evangelist Billy Graham. In 1921 the Graham family acquired 550 acres southwest of Tahlequah. The property included a farmhouse that was built around 1918 on the foundation of the Cherokee Male Seminary. The farmhouse would soon become known as the Graham House. Tom Graham owned seventeen cotton gins in Oklahoma, including one in Tahlequah near Muskogee Avenue and the downtown creek. He also owned a mill and elevator located between Oklahoma Highway 51 and Keetoowah Street in Tahlequah. Early access to the Graham Farm was along Stick Ross Mountain Road, which was named after a man named Stick Ross who lived in a log cabin on the "mountain side" of the Graham Farm. Stick Ross moved from North Carolina to work for Tom Graham in his cotton gins. In addition to being a businessman, Tom Graham was the first farmer in the state of Oklahoma to perform "contour terracing farming."
- Rev. Solomon Mouttet, chair of the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Bible Academy and pastor of a church near Inola, Oklahoma, and his wife send out missionaries from their home southwest of Chouteau, Oklahoma. Rev. Mouttet and "his trusty Model A Ford" transport "workers" with the missionary effort "from place to place." This is the beginning of an outreach program to spread the Gospel in eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas, and marks the beginning of what will be named "Go Ye" Mission.
- Daily Vacation Bible Schools are started for children to attend during summer months.
- The mission program that started in 1943 grows to include eleven young people who travel the Ozarks. Sometimes these traveling missionaries stay for up to two weeks in the homes of sponsor families, and other times they camp with cots and "Sterno stoves."
- At the end of summer, Walter Goossen and his wife, Ethel, join the Scripture Memory Program. For a time they live in an upstairs room of the Murrell Home near Park Hill, Oklahoma. The Goossens hold regular meetings near Standing Rock, where "his horse clippity-clopped" through the community.
- The Scripture Memory Program for children is introduced.
- On October 1, 1946, the "Go Ye" Mission headquarters moves from the Mouttet farm to upstairs rooms of Perry Crockett's Furniture Store in Chouteau, Oklahoma.
- Bacone College, near Muskogee, Oklahoma, becomes the first "Go Ye" Mission campsite.
- In August a 95-acre site on the banks of the Illinois River, east of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, is acquired by "Go Ye" Mission.
- In March the "Go Ye" Mission office is moved to the Basil Tedlock Building on East Main Street, Chouteau, Oklahoma.
- The 95-acre site on the Illinois River, east of Tahlequah, becomes Camp Look-Away. The camp is located near where Town Branch Creek joins with the Illinois River. The Ben Kroeker family clears the campsite with "sling axes, weed cutters, corn knives, and machetes."
- In the summer funding for a Christian bookstore in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is secured.
- A gift of $2,000 is received to be used to start a Christian bookstore. On December 1st the "Go Ye" Mission Book Store, known as the store with literature that "folks can trust," opens for business at 132 South 3rd Street in Muskogee.
- This is the first of a four-year summer teaching program for young people at the "Go Ye" Mission campground on the Illinois River. Camp Look-Away welcomes "Go Ye" Mission children, Bible conferences, church youth groups, boys from Youth for Christ ministry in Tulsa, and special camps for handicapped children.
- In November the "Go Ye" Mission Book Store reopens for business at its new location at 105 North Fourth Street, in the center of Muskogee. The bookstore begins serving churches in a 200 mile radius with Vacation Bible School material.
- Marvin Eck, Wanda Eck and Jane Mouttet start the Children's Radio Bible Hour program.
- In January the "Children's Radio Bible Hour" begins broadcasting on Saturday afternoons, from 5:00-5:30, on KGGF 690 radio, Coffeyville, Kansas.
- In June Mrs. Ruth H. Graham meets with Laverne Steiner, Director of Camp Look-Away, and Homer Mouttet, President of "Go Ye" Mission, to offer the sale of her 264-acre farm southwest of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Mrs. Graham suggests the property would be a perfect location for a 10-acre Christian high school and working farm.
- In November the process of purchasing the farm begins in earnest.
- On January 5, 1954, the 264-acre "Tom Graham Farm" is purchased by R. J. Stucky of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, followed by donating the farm to "Go Ye" Mission. The property's main building is located on the site of the first Cherokee Male Seminary west of the Mississippi River.
- In early 1954 Markoma receives 12 registered Holstein cows and a bull to help start a farm. In December the "Markoma Farm" officially begins operations.
- In the autumn two acres are purchased and a well dug in preparation of building the "Rocky Mountain Chapel."
- Planning for an interdenominational Christian school includes deciding on the name "Markoma," which is derived from combining the names of three states: Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma = MARKOMA.
- The "Go Ye" Mission Book Store is so successful that it needs more space, and is moved to a larger facility at 217 North 3rd Street in Muskogee. Later, the bookstore begins a Book Mobile Unit, which tours the area to bring Christian literature to people who are not able to visit the store in Muskogee.
- Laverne Steiner is commissioned to start a Scripture Memory program in Yell County, Arkansas.
- Rocky Mountain Chapel is completed.
- The "Go Ye" Mission Bookstore in Muskogee offers for sale Christian literature, plaques, Bibles, greeting cards and gifts.
- In March "Go Ye" Mission headquarters moves from Chouteau, Oklahoma, to the Graham Farm near Tahlequah. The headquarters building is built on the northeast corner of the Mission's farm. "Go Ye" Mission offices, a print shop and mailing room are all contained in the headquarters building for 15 years.
- A print shop, run by Mr. Laverne Steiner, is established to serve the needs of the ministry. The print shop quickly expands its operations to serve the printing needs of the greater community, and becomes known as the "West 4th Street Print Shop" located at 1123 West 4th Street, Tahlequah. Under Laverne Steiner's management, the print shop is open for business to the public for many years, and remains in operation until the early years of the 21st century.
- In March a used clothing business is opened in the Rocky Mountain Community to help support the Rocky Mountain Chapel.
- In the autumn, the Markoma Bible Academy, a four-year Christian high school that is built on the "Tom Graham Farm," opens its doors and receives the first 18 students. Initially, the school is located in the Graham House (which later becomes Markoma's "Guest House"). The first floor of the Graham House serves as the kitchen, dining room, laundry and classrooms, the second floor houses the girls' dorm, and the basement is the boys' dorm. The school is located on the site of the "Old Cherokee Male Seminary", which burned in 1910. Virgil Ralph Dirks is the founding Director of Markoma Bible Academy (later serving a counselor and choral director at Markoma from 1966-1969). In addition to their studies and attending class, students work 15-20 hours per week on campus on the Markoma Farm, and in the kitchen, dining hall and laundry. The farm not only provides vocational training, it supplies milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, etc., for the school. The farm eventually includes a tree nursery, dairy, hogs, chicken houses, pure-bred Simmental cattle, and a feeder cattle program.
- Markoma's Holstein Grade A Dairy is highlighted during the Cherokee County (Oklahoma) Dairy Association's summer tour.
- The school is introduced to the community at the Cherokee County Dairy Association summer event with the following statement: "What you see on the campus and farm is potential! The areas of development are many and varied. The history of the campus and farm site is rich. We believe the future also to be rich, fruitful in the building of stalwart Christian character and the training of community leaders and citizens."
- The student work-study program to help pay for room and board begins. Students participating in the program choose to work in the kitchen, print shop, office, laundry, library, farm, grounds maintenance, etc.
- Wilbert and Ruth Unruh move to Markoma. Ruth Unruh is the school's dietitian, and later a house mother. Wilbert Unruh becomes known as "Mr. Fix-it" on campus.
- In May the first class of students graduate with high school diplomas from Markoma Bible Academy.
- Markoma Bible Academy's Mixed Quartet and Mixed Trio compete alongside 2,000 junior and high school students in a northeastern Oklahoma district music contest held at Northeastern State University. Both Markoma singing groups qualify to go to a state-wide music competition in April held at the University of Oklahoma. These two singing groups are part of Markoma's commitment to offering individual and class music instruction in ensemble, choir, voice and piano. Beginning in 1964, and continuing into the 1990s, the Markoma Choir also traveled throughout the Midwest and South Central U.S., performing in churches while representing the school.
- Beginning in 1966, and continuing until 2005, Markoma offered a wide variety of sports opportunities to its students. A member of the Tri-State Christian Conference, Markoma competed in volleyball, soccer, basketball and track.
- Mailbox Ministries, also known as "Go Ye" Prison Ministry, is established. Mailbox Ministries incorporates a free Bible study correspondence program for prisoners throughout the United States. Mailbox Ministries later merges with Christ for Me.
- Harley Smith starts a swine enterprise on the Markoma Farm. The farm manages 170 sows, Listen Brothers Spots, horses, a nursery, general farming, and other agricultural programs for the benefit of the school and students having an interest in agriculture.
- The rectangular, cement-block building that houses the business office and print shop is expanded.
- The Jensen-Mabee Mission offices are constructed.
- Rocky Mountain Bible Mission, established by "Go Ye" Mission, is organized in Adair County, Oklahoma. Rocky Mountain Bible Mission later becomes the Rocky Mountain Bible Church.
- A plan to develop "Go Ye Village" retirement center is put forward.
- The Rocky Mountain Bible Church building in Adair County, Oklahoma, is dedicated in February.
- In July, Rev. and Mrs. Glenn Fink of Community Chapel in Lakota, Iowa, delivered a pickup truck to Markoma Bible Academy for the school's use. The truck was purchased by Lakota's Community Chapel, and put in good working order for the trip by the Chapel's youth group.
- The Mabee Athletic Center is built.
- "Go Ye Village" retirement center opens its doors.
- As part of the "Go Ye" Prison Ministry, Dave Richert and Kurt Marquardt begin traveling to institutions across Oklahoma. They visit prisons and enroll inmates in the Ministry's "Acorn" Bible study program. The program slogan is: "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."
- A second book store is opened in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The "Christian Book Store of Mountain Home, Inc." is located in the Wal-Mart Shopping Center, on Highway 62 East, Mountain Home.
- "Go Ye Village" retirement center is completely separated from Markoma Bible Academy, and becomes self-governing.
- "Christian Youth In Action" fellowship training takes place in June on the campus of Markoma Bible Academy. The youth fellowship is an organization whereby students from 8th grade through college can do summer missionary work in Oklahoma.
- A Markoma Bible Academy student is selected as a semifinalist, from among one million high school applicants in the United States, in the National Merit Scholarship contest.
- Markoma's 22-voice chorale choir tours Kansas and Missouri during spring break, performing at various churches.
- "Go Ye" Mission closes its operations at Camp Look-Away.
- Don Evans, Markoma's Spanish language teacher and a former missionary to Nicaragua, begins a Bible teaching ministry among Spanish-speaking prisoners.
- Camp Look-Away is converted to become the Riverview Center (Riverview Camp Grounds), which is a "ministry of recovery and discipleship."
- Camp Scott, Locust Grove, Oklahoma, is purchased to replace the camping program of Camp Look-Away. Camp Scott becomes a "first-class Conference Center."
- In February the Christian Book Store of Mountain Home, located in Mountain Home, Arkansas, is sold.
- The school reports that the international student enrollment numbers have increased.
- Markoma Bible Academy welcomes its first international exchange students.
- A new commuter program is started to encourage students living in the Tahlequah area to attend Markoma.
- Markoma Bible Academy begins accepting home-schooled student participation in its athletic programs.
- Markoma Bible Academy begins a program that welcomes home-schooled students enrolling in individual classes.
- The Riverview Camp Grounds is sold on August 11, 1999.
- Markoma establishes a website.
- In August the school's name, Markoma Bible Academy, is officially changed to Markoma Christian School. The Board of Directors decides to change the name to "Christian School" because Markoma Bible Academy is sometimes confused with being a college, and the name "Christian School" is seen as a "more realistic term for our purpose and mission." The name "Markoma" is kept to honor the "heritage" of the school, and in response to the student body's request to retain the name.
- "Go Ye" Mission, Inc. is renamed Markoma Christian Ministries, Inc.
- In May Representative Dan Boren honors more than 150 northeastern Oklahoma area students who submitted entries in the Congressional Artistic Discovery competition. The ceremony takes place on the Muskogee campus of Northeastern State University. Students in the competition are in grades 9-12. Winners of the competition include two Markoma Christian School students. Students competed in the Artistic Discovery competition to display their artwork in a corridor of the U.S. Capitol building.
- After teaching students from around the world for more than 40 years, Markoma Christian School closes its doors due to declining student enrollment and financial difficulties, with a deficit of over half a million dollars. Aside from the 4th Street Print Shop building, which is still owned by Markoma, the remaining nearly 120-acre property, fondly remembered as the historic Graham farm, is sold to the Cherokee Nation in September. Markoma Christian School later becomes known as Markoma Christian Ministries, which establishes an archive of student transcripts, yearbooks, and other school records. Although the school is gone, the spirit of it will remain with us forever.
- Proceeds of the sale of Markoma Christian School are invested in a foundation. Since then, interest from the investment has been awarded by Markoma Christian Ministries as scholarships for Markoma alumni and Shiloh Christian School in Tahlequah.
- The West 4th Street Print Shop, which has operated since 1958 under the management of Laverne Steiner, closes operations in October. Markoma Christian Ministries continues the school's tradition by maintaining an archive of transcripts and other records, and through its scholarship program.
Total scholarships awarded by Markoma Christian Ministries from 2007 to 2018:
Markoma Alumni - $69,600
Shiloh Christian School - $332,625
Last updated on January 6, 2020