Save the Date for the Oasis Fall Fest – Sat, Oct 24 from 1-5pm

October 01, 2015

pumpkins-110x116Please come and celebrate the Fall season with us! This year we are partnering with Pastor Cooper and the North Memphis Church Plant team to build more relationships in the community and rejoice in what God has done, is doing, and is going to do!

The festivities will happen on Saturday, October 24, from 1-5pm at the Bickford Community Center (233 Henry Ave). This is a GREAT time for every age group … bouncy castles, face painting and games for children/youth; bingo and raffle prizes for adults; music, food, and of course a dance-off for all ages.

This is an annual event that residents and volunteers look forward to every year; Don’t miss out! It is also a great way to experience our North Memphis neighborhood and see where Hope’s new church plant will be located.

We need 30+ volunteers to make our annual Fall Festival a success. You can serve in various areas and during various time slots. If you are interested in getting involved, contact Terry.

CCDA Changed Terry’s Life; Coming Here in November!

September 07, 2015

2015-CCDA-web500CCDA Video.

It is with a heart full of passion that I make an ask of all people interested in the welfare of Memphis to prayerfully consider an opportunity…attend the Christian Community Development (CCDA) Conference November 11-14, 2015 here in Memphis.

It was 1991 (24 years ago) that I stumbled across a meeting of CCDA in my home town of Minneapolis, MN. My life has never been the same since. Dr. John Perkins and Coach Wayne Gordon laid out a philosophy and plan of impacting our urban centers that inspired me and changed the direction of my life. God had been speaking to me about His Kingdom and being involved in mission work. Then when I heard the stories, the passion, the lives being impacted in a holistic way, I knew that this is what God was calling me to do.

It lead to my involvement in an inner-city church in Minneapolis, where I met my beautiful bride (Karey). We served there for several years in their youth and community outreach areas. Karey also started a Christian debt consolidation and budget counseling ministry across the street from the church. Later God called us into ministry with the Billy Graham Crusades where she was the assistant to the director and I had the privilege of serving in the areas of urban outreach, prison crusades and stadium arrangements. During this time I got my MBA in Business Management, because I felt drawn to ministry that holistically helped people (including economically).

All the while, I was a member of CCDA, attended their conferences, read their books and prayed that someday I would be able to work in a ministry that embodied these principles. After a decade with the Billy Graham Association, I was looking on the CCDA website and came across the job posting for Hope Church’s urban community organization, Oasis of Hope. It was a great fit for the passion I felt! God coordinated that hire; and my family and I have now been involved in urban ministry here in Memphis for more than a decade.

Of course, none of our lives take the same turns, and God calls us all to the unique plan He has for each of us. But as a Christian living in Memphis TN, I urge you to consider attending this phenomenal conference that will, in all likelihood, NEVER be in Memphis again. The opportunity is NOW, please don’t miss out on what special message God may have for you at this time in your life. Inquire about more information or register to attend by emailing Crystal. Cost through us is $209. A small amount of partial scholarships are available.

Please consider joining us at this historic event here in Memphis!

Terry Hoff, Oasis of Hope Executive Director


Jasmine Went From Oasis Participant to Oasis Staffer!

September 06, 2015

God doe2015-jasmine-web500s amazing things when you submit yourself to His will!

At the inception of Oasis of Hope, I was in the 7th grade at Humes Middle School. My life would be forever changed by the existence of “The Green House” which was a safe haven for all the children of the neighborhood run by Oasis. We were able to go there to hang out and just be kids!

Eventually, we started having Bible studies and other events and the staff and volunteers willingly shared their lives with me and gave me a whole new perspective of the world! At some point in my Jr. High years a shift happened in my mind, and I started taking ownership of my community. From that point on I knew I would be a part of the good changes that would happen in my neighborhood!

In the Fall of 2009 I went away to Union University for college, but due to unfortunate circumstances I had to return to Memphis. I immediately got re-involved with the Oasis programs; everything from Bible Studies to Vacation Bible School, and in the Fall of 2010, I enrolled in classes at the University of Memphis and I received a scholarship from Oasis of Hope to pursue my higher education. I graduated from the U of M in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Supply Chain Management.

My desire was to continue to be involved with Oasis just as a volunteer and pursue a career in business, however, God had His own plans and my time to do my part for God’s Kingdom had come. Through the transition of several different staff members, God was calling me to accept a staff position with Oasis. It took me a moment to reflect over my life to see how God had equipped me for what He was calling me to. In November 2014, I said “yes” to God’s calling for me and obeyed His command. I am now the Middle School Youth Developer! I am willingly sharing my life with the youth in the same community I grew up in, so that God can use me to ignite a fire in their hearts for Jesus! It has been a surreal feeling to see all this come full circle, but it’s only because I chose to submit to God’s will.

Jasmin Martin, Oasis of Hope Middle School Youth Developer

Fall is an Important Time to Support Oasis Financially

September 05, 2015

camper-reading-bible-web100This time of year is always challenging financially for the ministry. We are still a couple months out from our year-end donation drive and these are some of the most expensive months on the calendar:

  1. All of our fall outreaches are being launched, requiring materials, food, transportation, increased staffing, etc. The costs of which easily extend beyond an additional $15,000.
  1. You may not realize it, but our Toy Store ministry has to purchase 60% of the toys we sell and that outlay happens over September and October, adding $10,000 in expenditures.
  1. This year we have an amazing opportunity to send staff, volunteers and neighborhood friends to the amazing Christian Community Development Conference (CCDA) for education and encouragement. But many cannot afford the $209 registration fee so we are helping with scholarships which may total an additional $3,500.
  1. We are in the process of preparing Bearwater Park for phase II construction. Even though we have some grant funds for the actual home construction the prep work and engineering plans are in process to the tune of at least $7,000.
  1. Finally, we were blessed with a partial grant to fund the purchase of a ministry van! However, there was $2,400 still to be covered.

We know with the downturn in the market, it isn’t the best time to ask, but if you happen to have the capability of giving a gift to the ministry – the timing couldn’t be better for us. If you would like to address a specific ministry area, let us know. You can write checks out to Oasis of Hope and mail to 8500 Walnut Grove Rd, Cordova TN 38018 (or place in the offering bucket at Hope Church); or you can donate online.

Thank you again for your interest, prayers and support of Oasis of Hope!

Terry Hoff
Director, Oasis of Hope

Generations of Parents Want In to our Read2Succeed Program!

September 03, 2015

2014-read-to-succeed-100x11It’s not “Fried” words, but Fry Words that our elementary students are given an extra serving of at Read2Succeed (R2S)!  Last year, at R2S we paired 22 students (ages 2nd-5th grade) with 22 coaches. The student-coach team read together once a week for 9 months. They focused on reading fluency with Fry Words, comprehension & read Bible lessons. The results showed that 95% of our students gained 200 words or more from their baseline at the beginning of the school year! 70% of all students gained 400 words or more to levels above their grade level!

If it seems like Fry Words are a big deal, it’s because if a student doesn’t recognize these foundational words on sight they are unable to read at their full potential. According to The National Institute for Literacy, “Having a bank of sight words releases a reader’s attention needed for comprehension and for figuring out more difficult and less frequent words.”

At R2S, we have seen evidence of improved reading comprehension, with 57% of students achieving reading comprehension accuracy ranging from 81-100% at their grade level.

Oasis of Hope has been around for 14 years now … and during 13 of those years the Miller family from North Memphis has enlisted numerous family members to participate in R2S because they believe in it so much. Uncles (Jimmy & Kevin), aunts (Elizabeth), nieces/nephews (Jamie & Javonte), and now the next generation (Trey), have all signed up to participate in this one-on-one reading program that is helping kids read more efficiently. And we have the proof to prove that it’s working.

Of course, we aren’t so focused on reading that we don’t have time for a little fun. Building relationships is just as important! It’s so important that most of our students remain in R2S all four years and many of our coaches have been volunteering for 10-13 years. Together we pray, celebrate birthdays, visit Hope church, attend monthly field trips, annual swimming parties and this year, we’ll participate together in service projects. Growing in mind, body & soul WITH each other.

If you have time Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 4:30-6:00pm and want to be an important part of a child’s educational, spiritual, and emotional development, prayerfully consider becoming a Read2Succeed coach.

If you’d like more information about Read2Succeed, please contact Kathleen. If you are interested in any of our other programs, please check out our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram (@oasisofhope).

Back to School Volunteer Opps – Ways to Get Involved!

September 02, 2015

student-taking-test-100x116Curious about us? You’ve been hearing about Oasis for 14 years now, but have you visited our offices and seen our ministry neighborhood? Come be our guest and join us for our Oasis Open House/Neighborhood Tour July 29 or August 26 at 6:00pm and let us show you around! We’d love to share with you the big picture of why we are located in and committed to North Memphis.

Curious if there is a volunteer opportunity that fits you? Whether you like to work with younger kids, older teens, tutoring, singing, biking, Bible Studies, senior citizens, work in retail, or more, we can plug you in, whether you are looking for a light touch entry or are ready to go deep!

Following is a list of numerous ways to get involved. Click here for more details like days/times/locations/contacts for the below opportunities.

In School Tutoring at Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary
Pathfinders Jr. High Mentoring
Pathfinders Jr. High Tutoring
Life Builders Sr. High Mentoring
Empowerment at Manassas High School
Manassas Football Volunteer Coaching
Lion’s Cage at KIPP Middle School
Warrior Princesses Girls Club
Oasis Bike Shop
Angel Street Choir

Email us, call us, come to our Open House and let us answer your questions. We’d love to have more volunteers so we can expand our reach!

We’ll equip you! We will have a prospective Volunteer Training on August 31 and September 3rd (attend both days) at the Bickford Community Center from 5:30-7pm. During training, you can expect to learn:

– How to build relationships that have consistent impact
– How to develop cross cultural relationships
– Effective mentoring practices
– How to maintain healthy relationship dynamics and boundaries with youth
– An understanding of Oasis of Hope’s vision and mission, and much more!

If you’d like more information about our programs, please check out our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram (@oasisofhope).

Twenty-two Oasis Seniors Are Given the Gift of Sight!

July 31, 2015

2015-6-free-eye-careCan you imagine being a senior citizen with a desperate need for a pair of glasses, but no financial resources to get them?

Recently we were thrilled to partner with the Southern College of Optometry who provided forty-four FREE eye exams AND eye glasses individually tailored to our 22 of our seniors who needed them! Most of the seniors at Bickford Senior Center are on a fixed income and have not had an eye exam in over 5 years, despite needing one desperately! The seniors were very excited that they were able to receive such services.

As the Director of the Senior Ministry, my goal is to make sure we are meeting the needs of our seniors. Elizabeth Williams with Southern College of Optometry called the office inquiring if we would be interested in free eye exams for our seniors and asked if we could provide the space needed for the exams. I immediately said, “Yes!”

Most of the seniors found out during their exams they needed more eye care. Since this partnership was such a success, we will be considering another eye care event this coming December, date to be announced.

Thank you so much to the Southern College of Optometry! And seniors … enjoy seeing life a whole lot clearly now!

-Shirley Glenn, Director of Senior Ministry at Oasis of Hope

We Saw a Miracle Happen in the Form of a God-Given Van!

July 29, 2015

If you have ever helped Oasis with our youth, a service project, a senior citizen outing, a leadership event, attended Urban Plunge, or nearly anything and everything we do at Oasis, then you have probably ridden in or driven one of our old red vans!

2015-6-new-van-web500-2Just this week the Lord has stepped in a provided for a HUGE ministry need we have had for years! For more than a decade, Oasis of Hope has been limping along with a broken down, falling apart, requiring frequent repairs, somewhat unsafe, old red van. It has stranded staff and youth in various places of the city at some of the most precarious times of day.

Forever we have longed for a better ride, but vans are expensive! For a while we had a second old red van that helped when this one was unreliable. However, a couple of years ago the backup van bit the dust and we were once again left with our still limping, still unreliable ‘main’ van. Our staff has begged to try to find the money for a new van after being stranded time and time again…but our budget is always tight and we always seem to have 50 more important financial needs in front of this one.

Then … a couple months ago the main van died a final death, never to rise again. This hit at a tight financial time for the ministry and we were not able to purchase a replacement. Staff and volunteers temporarily scrambled to get students and seniors where they needed to go by using their own vehicles (no easy task when transporting 20 youth or 40 senior citizens!).

So, we started to spread the word, asking people to pray for a solution, and to see if anyone knew of a good, used van for sale. WREG News Channel 3 read a tweet we posted and did a story (watch the clip) on our van woes! Following this TV exposure, we received a call from a couple that had seen the report and said they had the perfect van for us and were willing to sell it for a very reasonable price! We looked at it and drooled over it, but they were unable to donate it and we were unable to afford it even at their more-than-fair price tag.

2015-6-new-van-tweet-web500Then a few days later, it came to our attention that there was money ‘leftover’ in one of our grants that HAD to be spent by June 30 or forfeited! Now people … this has NEVER happened before!! We ALWAYS use every penny! So we inquired if we could use some of this ‘extra’ amount toward the purchase of a new van even though this was not in our original proposal for the grant. The answer came back that we could!


We believe God cleared the way for the approval of this vital expenditure and granted us favor to get it. We are now proud owners of an almost new 14 passenger van (more like a mini bus!) with great room for youth and equipment, as well as, easier access for our wonderful senior citizens!

Thank you to those of you who have asked about this need, prayed with us, and have even been willing to donate towards it. The grant paid for the majority of the expense and we were able to find budget for the remainder. Just praise God with us and hope that it will provide for our transportation needs for years to come and allow ministry to keep happening.

Those old red vans were surely FILLED with memories and in a way, will be missed. However, NONE of us will miss the breakdowns, the stalling engines, the jumps needed, the torn interior fabric, the cassette players, or the fires (ha!)! We will savor this new gift and will gladly, respectfully ‘beat it up’ too by promising to fill it with inner city kids, with parents, with seniors, and with ministry volunteers until it too dies a fulfilling death!!


Bible Camp is Over-Real Life is Back! Prayers Still Needed!

July 27, 2015

2015-KAA-web500Summer Bible Camp – Kids Across America (KAA) 2015
-By Jasmine Martin, Oasis of Hope Middle School Youth Developer

  • The week of June 7th-13th, 35 Oasis of Hope youth and staff attended a week long camp at Kids Across America outside Branson, MO. 14 campers ages 9-12; 7 campers ages 13-14; 9 campers ages 15-18; 5 adult staffers attended.

For seven days the campers attended daily Bible study, church services, & Christian faith building sessions. They found that Christians not only have fun, but have the MOST fun!! Each night they danced to Christian Hip Hop & during the day scaled tree top obstacle courses, played putt-putt, went tubing, shot archery, made art, played sports like basketball, baseball, & swimming, climbed treetops, zip lined, & had endless fun!! The excitement of fun & friends was just part of the experience. Impacting their lives for Christ is where the reward was truly found.

Although camp is so much fun, it is also so much more. KAA is such holy ground, it truly is a “mountain top” experience. We all were able to experience God more deeply and see how we can honor God in everything they do.

Cross Talk:
The most important event at camp is Cross Talk night; Cross Talk is when the counselors do a reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is the most powerful night at camp and the presence of God is definitely felt during this time. This is a highlight for us, because it is the night some of our children accepted Christ into their lives.

This year at KAA three of our students accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!

One of the students who accepted Christ said she felt as if a dark cloud had been removed from over her life; her heart has been transformed. This transformation is what it’s all about!

We do what we do as staff at Oasis for the moment when a person turns their life over to God and allows him to take control. Building up leaders for the kingdom of God is our ultimate purpose and KAA is just a resource that helps catapult the transformation in the lives of all who attend.

My request to all those reading this article is that you may continue to pray with us for all the kids who attended KAA. It’s easy to do the right thing when you are around the right people, but things get a little more difficult when your surroundings change. Please pray that these children will cling to the word of God and hold on to His unchanging hand in the midst of the difficulties in their lives.

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

– 1 John 4:7-10

Summer Leadership Academy; A Ministry From the Heart

July 25, 2015

2015-martell-web800As a teen, I craved attention. I wanted to know that my life had significance. Yet, the message I received from the world around me said that I was at best a nuisance. I remember dreaming of doing something significant, but never really thinking it was possible. All that changed when I experienced leadership training from a childhood mentor one summer. I felt I was able to achieve anything after that summer experience.

Summer Leadership Academy (SLA) is a program inspired by my own story. The development I received as a teen must be given to a new generation of student leaders. Some of our youth experienced similar dream crushing upbringings. SLA is designed to encourage hope for the future and to give confidence building exposure through role models and opportunities. Much of SLA is based off of the Great Commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt 22:37-40).  Our passion for the Great Commandment has lead us to focus on the foundational values, 1) spiritual formation, 2) servanthood/acts of love, and 3) love for neighbors/strangers.

With these core values in place, the goal for SLA is to provide cultural exposure, leadership development and service opportunities for students in order to promote longevity and sustainability in Oasis of Hope’s youth development processes:

  • Cultural Exposure – We are providing strategic opportunities to enlarge the worldview and perspective of our student leaders. We want to help our youth see what’s possible when motivated by love and faith. For example, youth will attend a diversity training at Bridges as well as experience racial & economic diversity by attending St. Jude, Slavehaven, art shows and cross cultural service projects.
  • Leadership Development – We seek to provide spiritual, character and vocational training to enlarge the understanding and competencies of our youth. We want to help our student leaders become more functional in their faith.  For example, our business professional mentors are teaching the students many of the business essentials to succeed in the workforce.
  • Service Opportunities – Our students are experiencing the workplace in an on-the-job setting serving as interns at Chick-fil-A and Oasis Appliance. In addition, many served as volunteer leaders at our Summer VBS program and other outreaches designed to stretch their leadership muscles and grow in this essential aspect of their lives.

2015-summer-leadership-acadThe six week curriculum is based around:

  • Love for God (acknowledging the creator)
  • Love for Self (knowing one’s value)
  • Love for Others (engaging community)
  • Acts of Love (the importance of service)
  • Love for the City (stewardship)
  • Social justice and Community Development (equity for all)

One of our teens involved in SLA told me that it’s time for them to give back to their own community. She was so encouraged by her leadership training that she couldn’t wait to find a way to invest in others. The teens are learning the power of Gospel to give them purpose and confidence. Every lesson learned and every time they serve, our student leaders grow in many unanticipated ways. One student even told me that he wanted my job. It was then that I knew our leadership training was working.

“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Timothy 2:2

Martell Hixson, High School Youth Developer, Oasis of Hope

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