Oak Tree National member Tom Randall, a former Chaplain for the Champions Tour, has been detained in the Phillippines, accused of human trafficking.
The event has sparked outrage from those who know Randall, including more than 15,000 supporters on Facebook. and blog posts by friends who are aware of the situation such as this from Joe Coffey.
"Tom Randall is one of the finest men I have known and his entire life is about spreading the Gospel," said A.G. Meyers, former Oak Tree general manager. "He cares about everyone and he was determined to go back over there for those children even though he knew there was someone out to do him harm."
His wife Karen has blogged that Randall has a fine legal team and she is hopeful he will be released soon.
Below is report from News 4 in Oklahoma City followed by a feature on Randall that ran in Golf Oklahoma in the summer of 2012.
Officials in the Philippines say Pastor Tom Randall of World Harvest Ministries was taken into custody Monday after authorities raided his nursing home and orphanage in Bulacan. Randall is accused of molesting as many as 30 children under his care.
He is also accused of sending orphaned girls to friends for sex.
However, his friends in Oklahoma don’t believe the allegations.
Jim Woodward, a professional with the PGA, says, "Those kids meant everything to him."
John O’Dell, the director of Oklahoma’s FCA, says, "He invested his life into that country for many, many, many years."
They called Randall the go-to guy for inspiration to golfers at clubs like Oak Tree National in Edmond.
When he wasn’t in Oklahoma preaching to athletes, he was in the Philippines running the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage.
When friends heard the allegations, they were shocked.
"We’re lost," says Woodward. "It’s a sick feeling because you don’t know what to do."
Jim Woodward first met Randall on the Champion’s Tour, as the tour’s chaplain.
Randall had recently resigned from that position to dedicate more time to his orphanage.
Woodward said, "We were kind of sad that we were losing him here in Edmond but little did we know we’re going to lose him to the Philippines."
Randall indicated to friends and family recently there were people in the Philippines who didn’t like his Christian missionary work. He worried he was quote, "a wanted man."
"He once told me there was people that didn’t like him there, that wanted him dead," says Woodward. "I always said why do you go back? That’s how strongly he felt about those children."
There is growing support for Randall through Facebook campaigns.
Supporters want US diplomats to get involved because the punishment for this type of crime in the Philippines is death.
Woodward says, "I hope like heck we see him again."
In addition to the serious allegations that could bring a death sentence, friends and family say Randall’s health is also deteriorating.
They worry about him being able to handle the conditions of a foreign prison.
Click here for more information on "Free Tom Randall".
On Friday, Randall’s wife talked about an informal hearing that was held at the detention center.
She says that while nothing was decided yet, they should know if prosecutors plan to move forward with the case by next Wednesday.
Joe Coffee, Senior Pastor of Christ Community Chapel, comments on Tom Randall’s current situation HERE.
From Golf Oklahoma
By Ken MacLeod
His Friday night sermons on the Champions Tour have been called "the most peaceful hour of my life" by high-profile attendees such as Jay Sigel. Yet spreading the faith has seldom been a tranquil experience for Tom Randall. More like a demolition derby.
Randall, 59, makes his way to more than 20 Champions Tour events each year. His Friday night talks are frequented by up to 120 players, wives and tour folks, including "some who haven’t darkened the doorway of a church in 30 years."
They come to hear the gospel of Christ from a big, strong physical guy who has lived a life much larger than most.
As a senior forward at Judson College in Elgin, Ill., the 6-foot-4 Randall poured in 31 points a game, leading the nation in scoring. He also lettered in soccer, cross country and golf. In basketball, he was nearly good enough for the NBA, Randall spent years playing on various pro team and spreading the word, mostly in Asia and Australia. He played with or against Julius Erving, Bobby Clark and many other NBA superstars in exhibitions and summer tours.
The tumultuous Philippines is where he and wife Karen established orphanages, schools and camps funded by their World Harvest Ministries, and he spent much of his time living there for 20 years. Basketball was always a way in. He could find a court, juggle, ride a unicycle and have the crowds eating out of his hand.
Every day in Manila traffic is a death-defying experience, but add institutionalized political corruption and persecution to the hazards already in place and about 13 years ago Randall began looking for a different outlet for his talents.
He had just had his first artificial hip put in, which was about the 20th of his 23 operations thus far, when Larry Nelson called and asked him if he would mind speaking to a few of the guys on the Champions Tour, who had just lost their regular minister.
Randall had battled typhoid fever, dengue fever and now was routinely being hassled, prosecuted and even jailed by people wanting him to funnel a share of ministry funds their way.
"It was a case where they build up a false case against you to put you in jail then want bribes to stay out of jail," Randall said. "We were scared for a while. It’s still a scary situation over there. We have to have bodyguards and move around. I love the kids and love the ministry but it was time to live somewhere else."
That somewhere else turned out to be Edmond. Gil Morgan and his wife Janeen were impressed immediately with the Randalls and invited them to spend a weekend in Edmond. When Tom and Karen arrived, they were surprised that the Morgans had scoped out about 35 potential houses and had a few to recommend.
"They recruited us and they’ve taken care of us," Randall said. "They are just good as gold. One time we were driving across Louisiana between tournaments and got in an accident, a 14-car pileup. They figured out the rental car for us and kept in touch with us all the way home. Then they had a car waiting for us in our garage and had put all kinds of our favorite foods in the house.
"One time when I was gone for a while my neighbor asked me if I knew Gil Morgan, the famous professional golfer. I said ‘of course,’ and he said good, because he was just over here working in your yard."
After taking Nelson up on his offer, Randall quickly became a trusted figure on the Champions Tour, being invited to speak at weddings and funerals and other important life moments. His life became intertwined with the players and he now counts many of them among his best friends. In late September, just three weeks after receiving a second artificial hip, he flew to New York to speak at the memorial service of Maria Floyd, wife of star golfer Raymond Floyd.
While there he chatted with Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, met Phil and Amy Mickelson and many other golf personages. Randall never met a stranger, at least not for long. He has become fast friends and traveled to amazing places with many players, including Dave Stockton, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Bruce Lietzke, Morris Hatalsky, Doug Tewell, Fred Funk, Loren Roberts, Sigel and others. His handicap has gone from about a 15 when he started playing in earnest to a 4, thanks in part to all the instruction he receives from the pros.
There is no financial arrangement with the PGA Tour but certain players and the tour both support him with opportunities for speaking and other means. Plus he has managed a ride to several places we would all like to visit.
"The perks are you get to play in the most wonderful places in the world," Randall said. "Pebble Beach, Bethpage, Pine Valley with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Sometimes we have a few days before a tournament and these guys take me to the best courses in that area."
Randall didn’t lose his taste for the physically demanding when he switched his focus from basketball to golf. He went off on a 2,500-mile bike ride in 2008 to raise funds for his ministry, suffering cracked ribs early in the trip when he was hit by a car door in Baker City, Ore. He finished that trip in intense pain.
Neither that, nor the looming hip operation, deterred him from a 420-mile bike ride across Ohio this summer. Once he’s more comfortable with his new hip, there will be other trips.
"Tom is very competitive," Morgan said. "We play at Oak Tree a lot and everything he does is a challenge. He’s an excellent speaker and has so many wonderful stories. Some of the players have been with him to the Philippines. He’s taken Bibles into the heart of China."
Randall was on the first USA team to play in China after President Richard Nixon cracked the door open. He played against the father of future NBA center Yao Ming as well as a center that he said was 7-foot-8 and 400 pounds.
These days he doesn’t have to move mountains with his hips but with his words. As they gather for fellowship and inspiration, the Friday night crew on the Champions Tour wouldn’t have it any other way.