We Couldn’t Be Prouder; Oasis Will Always Be #TeamTerrian!

February 08, 2016

As exciting as this whirlwind has been for all of us fans, Terrian’s journey on American Idol has come to end, but oh this is just the beginning! Read Terrian’s words below, as posted on her blog about her final appearance on the show. Thank you to everyone for your support and thank you Terrian for being such a beautiful representative of North Memphis, Angel Street, Oasis of Hope, and Hope Church!! We are forever #TeamTerrian!

I vividly remember this day. I physically still feel what it felt like then.

All of us contestants waited anxiously in the holding room on information regarding how The Final Judgement would go down. I did not know what was next.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.40.02 AM

All I knew was I poured myself out on stage the night before. I finally knew what it meant to leave it on the stage. I did just that. But was it enough? Was I one they needed for their Top 24?

Many contestants told me they felt it was a “sure thing” I would go through — they were SURE of it, they told me! My response was always, “I don’t know. You never know what they’re thinking.”

Then, the time came. A producer called my name and told me to hurry upstairs, but to take the elevator. I got up there knowing I was about to receive my results.

My heart is pounding as I write this.

My time had come and it was beautiful – black with piercing rays of blue light. I walked down the long, infamous aisle that so many Idol contestants have walked down and there the judges were sitting.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 11.40.13 AM

They smiled as I walked in, but I couldn’t look up  — I was so nervous. I sat down and Keith began talking. As he spoke I thought “They’re about to send me home.” I could feel it because he complimented me 98% of the conversation. The more compliments I heard, the closer I felt myself receiving a “no.”

Then, he said it…  “Unfortunately, it’s a no.”

I felt numb. I continued to smile, but walking away I didn’t know how to feel. I had to walk down the stairs and reveal the news to the contestants and my support team.

My team was turned away from me, so the contestants saw me first. I finally got to where I could reveal the news and shook my head “no.”

There were gasps and then it was pretty quiet. The camera crew was waiting for me at the steps, ready for an interview. But, all I could say was, “I’m sad.”

I’m terrible at speaking while crying, so I kept responses to a minimum or I would’ve sounded like a troll. It was rough and I cried myself to sleep that night.

Reflecting back, I realize something. I took on a challenge that I knew would be tough, so I used the song Oceans as a theme going to Hollywood. I knew it would be something unknown and it would be an experience where my faith in God would be challenged. Receiving the no, is actually where this song should’ve come into play.

Traveling to and from Hollywood and getting in the routine of early mornings, late nights and singing it all day became my comfort zone. It started to become easy to take on, even though there was a great challenge that lied within the whole experience. I’m singing,

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” (Oceans)

I believe singing this and telling the Spirit to lead me where my trust was without border, was God leading me directly to the “no.” My trust and faith in God was so shaken in the “no.” I could feel it beforehand. I was afraid of hearing “no!” If I heard that, I didn’t know what would be next.

I felt I could sink instead of walk upon the waters of the “no.” There was so much fear, anxiety and pain receiving it. So God took me through a journey of renewed faith and trust in Him.

Here’s where the issue came in — the second time flying out to L.A., I felt my identity becoming more about being an Idol Contestant and less of being a Child of God. It became more of what I was wanting and less of what He was wanting.

In a recent interview, I explained how knowing who you are in Christ is what keeps your sanity in a process like Idol, because if it’s not, you will be hurt — immensely. In that interview, I spoke on what had happened to me back in L.A..

My lack of identity was detrimental to how receiving the no would be.

So, where do I stand now in all of this?

I’m good.

Tune into American Idol to see these beautiful ladies and I kill it for the last round of Hollywood Week It's about to go down. #AmericanIdol #TeamTerrian #HollywoodWeek btw-Sonika, I stole your pic

I miss the experience of American Idol, I miss my Idol friends and I miss the restaurant YALLA! But, I trust God. He is walking alongside me in this journey of walking on waters. I am following His plan, and doing my best to keep my eyes on Him through all of this. Some days are better than others, but I know He has a much better plan for me than I could ever give myself and that plan doesn’t include American Idol.

I am grateful for the “no,” because it needed to happen. I am excited for what He is doing next. It was a great season of life, but that chapter is closed now and it is time to get back to work!

Words can’t express my excitement for the future.

Much love, Team Terrian. Glory to the Giver!


Make an Impact in 2016; Attend Urban Plunge Feb. 25-28

February 07, 2016

memphis-neon-sign-web110x11Spend 3 1/2 days with Eli and Hope’s Urban Staff on our upcoming Plunge where you will hear the heart of our urban leaders and have your eyes opened to the many great things taking place in our city. You will leave changed and with a new outlook on the City of Memphis as you experience life in the inner city as well as cultural landmarks famous to Memphis’ civil rights history.

We do a lot in a couple days, and the whole experience will stretch your mind, heart, and beliefs in a way you’d never imagine!

We leave Hope on Thursday evening and return to Hope Sunday afternoon. We have speakers come in, panel discussions about racism, visit approximately 10 of our ministry partners, tour the National Civil Rights Museum and Slave Haven, eat lunch on Friday in one of our many urban, soul food restaurants, eat Saturday dinner at Eli’s home, have a work project on Saturday from 8a-1p in North Memphis, and end the entire weekend by attending First Baptist Church on Broad Avenue.

Are you ready to Plunge???

Housekeeping: We sleep at one of our ministry partners in a dorm-style fashion; all the women in one room and all the men in the other. We provide beds and you bring your own linens or a sleeping bag, toiletries, clothes, and a pillow. All your meals are provided along with beverages and snacks. The cost for members is $100 and $175 for non-members.

Space is limited, so register today! For more information and to register contact Megan.

North Memphis Church Plant – What’s Happening Now

February 06, 2016

colley-cooper-175x175Watch the video.

In 2004 Hope Church followed through on their mission statement “to engage our unchurched neighbors of every age and ethnicity to experience Jesus” by committing to invest in families in an under-resourced area of North Memphis by developing Oasis of Hope and being a daily presence in an area where crime rates, economic decline and infant mortality are among the highest in the country … education, employment and annual income, among the lowest in the city.

In 2014, Hope committed to the natural next step of going even deeper by starting a new, vibrant, relevant, holistic, God-based community church that would leverage the work of Hope’s Urban and Oasis Ministries to comprehensively serve the 38107 neighborhood residents to experience Jesus in an even greater way. Check out Pastor Eli’s sermon addressing this issue from 11/16/2014.

Since this announcement, much has been happening behind the scenes and Hope has hired Reverend Colley S. Cooper to serve as the North Memphis Church Planting Pastor. In May of 2015, Pastor Colley began the process of developing the church from the ground up, by strategically aligning himself with families, schools, businesses and other churches to build intentional relationships within 38107. Pastor Colley, a native of Memphis, has extensive experience working with disenfranchised persons and especially youth. He is a visionary desiring to motivate others to “do common things in an uncommon way.”

bearwater-construction-julyPastor Colley, his wife Sheri, and two sons, Kofi and Cohen, are fully committing to live out true life-on-life relationships with those they will serve by residing within the 38107 zip code or 1-3 miles outside of the targeted area. Colley says, “I am moving my family into this neighborhood and will be planting ‘a new kind of church’ to reach those who do not currently go to anybody’s church…. We believe this will compliment (not compete) with the other good neighborhood churches and para-churches as TOGETHER we seek the peace and prosperity of 38107.’”

What’s Happening Now?

– Seeking out 15-20 leaders who will serve as the core launch team
– Determining the church name/logo
– Building relationships with community members who will potentially commit to attend the church
– Starting weekly adult Bible studies to encourage relational and spiritual growth
– Planning community events such as the Resurrection Easter Sunday Service and Oasis Easter Egg Hunt
– Hiring a bi-vocational, part-time Assistant Pastor or Music Leader
– Continuing the search to either purchase a building or to consider building on the land that was purchased in 2015
– Launching the church in September 2016

Ways You Can Get Involved:

PRAY for God to lead in all areas of this endeavor, for Pastor Colley & his family, and for the above tasks to be done
DONATE financially to support the church plant
VOLUNTEER your time, skills, and passions if you’d like to be a part of the launch team
ATTEND the upcoming Bible Studies and community events
COMMIT to being a part of the church family as they launch in the Fall of 2016

Contact Info:

– Office Phone: 901/881-5877
– Email: colley@hopechurchmemphis.com

Don’t give glory to us, O Lord. Don’t give glory to us. Instead, give glory to your name because of your mercy and faithfulness. –Psalm 115:1 (GW)

If you believe in what we are doing in inner city Memphis, this is a valuable way to support us. If you’d like more information about our programs, please check out our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

It’s Our 10th Year; We’ve Saved People Almost $3M!! Join Us!!

January 24, 2016

Oasis-VITA-100x116OASIS VITA TAX ASSISTANCE – To most of us, the phrase ‘Tax Season’ elicits feelings of dread, overwhelming piles of receipts and needed paperwork, and either forking out hard-earned cash to hire a professional or summoning the will to attempt filing on your own.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

At Oasis of Hope’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) center, our accountants are counting down until opening day begins and they will gladly dig into your numbers, help you find all the earned income credits you are due, present your needed information to the IRS, and send you on your way with no stress, a smile on your face, and tell you they are willing to do all of this at absolutely NO charge!

WHY? Because we care. Because we enjoy investing in more than just money, and want to invest in people too. We realize that by providing trusted and IRS trained volunteers, we are building relationships with North Memphis and offering them an honest, reliable way of filing returns at no cost with one of our main goals being to find each person all the earned income tax credits they are eligible for, as well as, saving them all the filing fees other companies charge. This saves many low-income families hundreds of dollars every year and puts these precious dollars back into their households and our community. The impact is not only individual, but positively effects the local economy as a whole.

“We have many repeat customers who come to us every year,” says former VITA Project Coordinator, Doug Edwards. ”One lady who stood out to me a couple of years ago had just lost her mother after also losing her father the previous year. In addition, she was dealing with her own health issues and had recently lost her job, so she was very much in a world of grief and needed someone to talk with and listen. I spent about an hour with her, not only reviewing her taxes but also talking about her situation and helping to boost her spirits. She called me after she got her refund and thanked me for the help and for being supportive and a good listener. Ours is not just a ministry of help, but a ministry of love. It is so much more than just doing their taxes. We get to know these folks on a personal level and they become our friends. They trust us, they appreciate the help, but they especially appreciate the personal attention we provide.”

This year serves as the beginning of our 10th tax season, and to-date our volunteers have filed 1,572 returns in the past nine years saving North Memphis residents $2,713,000 in tax credits and prep and filing fees!!

QUALIFICATIONS: Free tax help is provided to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance.

TO FILE: If you would like to file, simply stop by the Bickford Community Center (233 Henry Ave) any Saturday from 9:30am-1:00pm from January 31 through March 28. No appointment needed.

Proof of identification
Documents showing real estate taxes paid last year
Social Security Cards (or individual Taxpayer ID Number, ITIN) for you, your spouse, and dependents
Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents
Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
Interest and dividend statements from banks (Form 1099)
A copy of last year’s Federal and State returns if possible
Bank routing numbers and account numbers for direct deposit
Total paid for day care provider and the day care provider’s tax ID number
Information for other income
Information for deductions/credits

TO VOLUNTEER: If this kind of practical, hands-on ministry sounds exciting to you, we’d love to add you to our team! This is an IRS sanctioned site so you will need to go through a simple on-line training and certification pre-work (not hard). We will train and prepare you for electronic filing. For more information on volunteering, contact Peggy at pfball@memphis.edu or www.oasis-of-hope.com.


Sign Up with Amazon Smile and Re-Enroll Your Kroger Card

January 22, 2016

kroger 275x303Kroger Requires You to Re-Enroll Your Desired Non-Profit Each January: Shop at Kroger and Donate 3-5% without writing a check!

Each January 1st, all Kroger Community Reward Participants are required to renew their organization of choice to receive Kroger reward payments. We are hoping you will choose Oasis of Hope!

It may seem like a small act, but it’s a huge help! Designating Oasis of Hope on your Kroger card allows you to donate to our ministry each time you shop for groceries or buy gas!

For example, if 2,500 people spent $100, Oasis could receive a total of $7,500!

We can do a lot of ministry with that!

It takes about 3 minutes and registering your Kroger Plus Card is easier than ever:

If you already have an existing Kroger account:

  1. Sign in to your Kroger account at www.kroger.com/communityrewards
  2. Click ‘View Your Rewards Details,’ edit your Community Rewards, and search for ‘Oasis of Hope’ (or 80469). Click ‘enroll’

If you are registering your Kroger account for the first time:

  1. Creat an account at www.kroger.com/communityrewards
  2. Follow the prompts to enter your email, password, & address.
  3. Click ‘View Your Rewards Details’ and designate Oasis of Hope as your Community Rewards recipient by typing ‘Oasis of Hope’ in the Search box (or #80469). Click ‘enroll’

That’s it!

amazon-smile-logo110x116AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to Oasis of Hope! Same products, same service!

To designate your existing Amazon account:

  1. Go to www.smile.amazon.com (email/password); click ‘Sign In’
  2. Type “Oasis of Hope” in the search field (Cordova, TN) & select … then Start Shopping! From then on Amazon will remind you to sign in with using the ‘Smile’ site every time you log on.

If you believe in what we are doing in inner city Memphis, this is a valuable way to support us. If you’d like more information about our programs, please check out our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Oasis and Hope Partner with Habitat for Humanity!

January 08, 2016

habitat-oasis-banner-web500Oasis of Hope and Hope Church partner with Habitat for Humanity in building 25 new homes for families in Uptown/North Memphis!

Through a strategic partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis, God is paving the way for many families to have new, quality, and affordable places to call home.

Today, November 2, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, announced that Oasis’ site, Bearwater Park, will be the focus of their 2016 build (read Habitat’s Facebook post here). This means that 25 new homes at our subdivision will be going up to complete the next building phase, bringing our total to 35 homes! We are beyond honored to partner together to make a significant difference in our North Memphis community!

There will be numerous volunteer opportunities to work on this project alongside the former president and other habitat-oasis-eli-rufus-tercelebrities in the new year (such as Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood who were also present today).

Please join us in praying for this outreach and that the myriad of details will come together to make this a reality, and that God will connect the families of His choosing to be able to call this new subdivision a warm neighborhood and home.

Get your hammers ready!

Hope Again: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and Re-purpose

January 06, 2016

hope-again-second-hand-boutHope Again has been a monumental endeavor and we want to thank all of you who have lugged your donations to the store, who have worked tirelessly as a volunteer, and who have shared the vision and helped spread the word! However, after much consideration, our Executive Committee has decided we need to re-purpose and re-evaluate the store to make it as profitable for the less-advantaged as possible.

Three years ago we created Hope Again for three reasons:

  • To provide ‘gently used’ items to those who need them most
  • Be financially self-sustaining
  • Donate profits to give to local and global missions

Although we have done a good work and helped many people, after evaluation, regrettably we have not satisfactorily fulfilled these three reasons to a level we are comfortable with. The current location costs and business model is proving to be too expensive and unsustainable; a new business model remaining in Germantown-Cordova would necessitate over $100,000 in capital as well as operation costs, which is just not economically doable.

appliance-store-sign-web500Therefore, we have come to a decision to “re-purpose” this outreach ministry and relocate some (not all) of its functions to North Memphis. A Steering Team from Hope Church has investigated securing space in the Oasis of Hope Appliance Store, and have conducted a feasibility study and determined that “gently used” furnishings would be a value-added commodity in this neighborhood that would assist under-resourced families and would be financially self-sustaining.

What does this mean for you?

First of all – PRAY: please pray that the Lord will give us wisdom, and that we would be wise stewards of His resources. Also pray for the transitioning from East to North Memphis, and that people would remain passionate about continuing to support this missional cause.

Secondly – KEEP DONATING: please continue to bring your gently-used items to Hope Church (everything except for clothing); look for the ‘Oasis Appliance’ trailer (Entrance 3/upper parking lot/near Noah’s Ark), or for larger items, fill out the large item pick-up form.

Thirdly – KEEP VOLUNTEERING: consider volunteering your time at our North Memphis location, 1294 Thomas Street (contact Terry for more information).

Our plan will be for Hope Again to remain open through November 14. Be sure to stop by for the moving sale!

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement as we continue our goal of helping those less-advantaged by purging our closets.

The Executive Team, Hope Church

Small Business Saturday Support is Actually HUGE!

January 04, 2016

New logoEffective ministry often begins by providing a practical, physical solution to someone who is struggling.

The idea of Oasis Appliance began as we tried to bridge the gap between families we worked with in North Memphis who needed help finding basic, affordable appliances/furniture and Hope Church members who had used items to pass on. Initially this process took up a lot of time on our already-taxed small staff to coordinate picking up items, identifying families to receive them, and then making the deliveries.

We definitely realized this was a huge need, however, there was way more demand than there was supply … until companies like Mid-America Apartment Communities and Extended Stay Hotels generously contacted us with amazing offers to donate their used appliances and hotel furniture when they were upgrading entire apartment/hotel properties!

2015-1-staff-176x176This solution of corporate donations set into motion the creation of a business plan, securing a store-front, and with much anticipation, opening the doors to the public in 2009. Our mission reached far beyond the goal of simply starting a new business, but rather providing a needed product at an affordable price with a warranty, as well as providing job training, employment and to further our reach to people living in the neighborhood. We had already developed relationships with many families who trusted us, and now we had a more dependable way to solve the need for these homes to have reliable appliances.

We quickly outgrew our initial location and were offered a great deal through Belz Enterprises to move into a much bigger space at our present location, 1294 North Thomas Street. Since opening our doors six years ago, Oasis Appliance has been a self-sustaining ministry that currently provides part-time employment for several local men who are learning appliance repair, customer service, and truck delivery. Gratefully we have expanded our corporate donations and currently receive used appliances from the following apartment companies: Mid-America Apartment Communities, Alco Management, Wesley Senior Housing, Fogelman Properties, Estates at River Pointe, Island Park & Harbor Town Square, and Extended Stay America in addition to Hope members.

A few years ago we reorganized the appliance showroom and expanded our furniture show room in order to accommodate additional furniture, household items and electronics as well. This allowed us to not only offer a larger variety of low cost items to people in the neighborhood, but also to utilize furniture items that were donated in addition to merging with Hope Again-Second Chance Boutique in order to provide a relevant ministry directly to the families we are ministering to.

If you are interested in supporting this ministry, there are 3 ways to get involved:

1) Donate your used appliance.

Although we have expanded our product stream, there is still more demand than supply and we are always looking for more partnerships willing to donate to our non-profit (tax receipts provided)! We are especially in need of washers and dryers. If you or anyone you know might be interested in making a donation, please email Dana. We generally arrange pick-ups on Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays. Simply provide us your address and phone number and we’ll gladly remove your unwanted item.

2) Shop in our store.

We are open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm. We are located in North Memphis at 1294 North Thomas Street (click for directions). Phone 901.577.0013.

3) Volunteer in our store.

There is always work to be done! We could use help selling in our showroom, picking up donations or cleaning appliances.

Oasis Appliance is just one of the many ministries through Oasis of Hope. If you would like more information regarding this ministry or to get involved, email Dana. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.


Oasis Toy Store 2015; Annnnnnd That’s a Wrap!

January 02, 2016

oasis-toy-store2014-110x116Another year another wonderful Oasis Toy Store experience! 252 families shopped for 1,097 children. Now that will equate to MANY smiling faces Christmas morning! Mary Susan and Tom Capon, along with Melissa Orr did an awesome job coordinating all aspects of the store (and boy there are many).

The 3 neighborhood employees – Danielle, Joshua and Brandon served their customers with a smile that couldn’t help but bring some Christmas cheer…along with retail experience for them and great deals for the shoppers!

Hope Church members and others gave hundreds of toys to line the shelves; Thank You! The Oasis Appliance staff helped with much of the cashier sales logistics this year. It was a team effort and we believe God will be glorified when the kids open their presents this Christmas. Thank you to all who gave toys or help in any way at this year’s Oasis Toy Store. We couldn’t do it without you. Merry Christmas!!!

Jasmine Went From Oasis Participant to Oasis Staffer!

January 01, 2016

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

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