By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
In Tulsa, on West Skelly Drive, sits the TNT Fireworks Supercenter. It is a large indoor facility with gravel parking, air conditioning, heating, and restrooms--a far more comfortable option than the roadside stands and tents that people clamor around in the sweltering July heat and December freeze.
But it's not just the amenities that make this stand unique, because it's not just a fireworks store. The business is merely a front. In reality, TNT is a ministry.
None of the workers at TNT get paid. Instead, all of that money goes towards missions. In fact, many of the workers pay to be there. Once the bills are paid and the franchise fees are covered, the rest is pocketed by Future Vision Ministries International.
The ministry was founded in 1999 by long-time Sandites Terry and Linda Scott. The couple had been serving as the youth pastors at Word of Life Church in Sand Springs at the time. Now, Linda is the church Administrator and Terry serves as the church's Associate Pastor.
FVMI operates year-round from their office in downtown Sand Springs, facing the Triangle.
"Our heart is to train young people and adults to understand how ministry and missions work. To develop them as leaders, so they can lead others and be planted in ministry and missions around the world. Our summer program, “Nexus” is one of our primary training opportunities. We bring in young people from around the world for the summer and train them. Then they actually go out and do ministry."
Nexus is a paid internship that costs $1400 to join. It may sound like a lot, but that covers your food and lodging, gas, airfare, and other travel/living expenses for nine weeks. In that time, interns will be working at the fireworks store from June through July 5th, working in several churches putting on Vacation Bible School for the children, and many other ministry opportunities. Currently the organization plans on traveling to Guatemala and the Philippines this upcoming summer.
I myself have worked well over a hundred hours per summer at TNT in years' past, though I wasn't able to participate these past two summers. In 2012, the summer after I graduated high school, I was blessed to be able to travel to New Orleans with FVMI. There we were able to help in renovating a school in an impoverished area.
TNT Fireworks Supercenter does more than just sell fireworks. They change lives. They invest in people of all ages across the world and have been helping people realize their dreams of ministry for decades. Ciara Calderon, a former member of Word of Life in Carlsbad, New Mexico, has worked with Future Vision for years and is now the Children's Pastor Intern at Word of Life Sand Springs.
When you purchase your fireworks from TNT, you're not just getting great deals with a "no dud guarantee," you're guaranteeing that your money will be making a difference in the life of more than just some corporation.
So go swing by TNT Fireworks today and buy yourself some New Year's rockets, roman candles, or sparklers. Whatever you're looking for; if it's legal, they have it. They'll be open till midnight tonight and from 10AM-5PM Friday.
TNT is located at 5401 West Skelly Drive, Tulsa, OK 74107. You can reach them by phone at (918) 445-6174.