We Often Ask: Are we making an impact? Let’s Ask Nisha …

March 29, 2015

neshiaGalatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 15:58- Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Questioning the Work

Doing youth outreach ministry can be a very difficult work, but doing youth outreach ministry in “the Hood” can be like a triathlon! There are many things that make it a very heavy and demanding work. I have days when families call me because they have no lights, out of work dads asking for help making job resumes, kids asking for advice for their “friend” who often cut themselves and they don’t know if their lives are worth it. Some days I’ve spent taking care of teens that got kicked out of their homes. I spend so much time planning trips, running programs, writing lessons, training volunteers, visiting parents, working with the community schools, and having endless amounts of meetings, that I begin to wonder if all this being busy is worth it? There is nothing heavier than the question, “Are we making an impact for Jesus?” I’ve struggled with if we are really helping people to come to know the Lord and to live out their faith.

Unexpected Encouragement from ‘Nisha

After a long Thursday, we were dropping kids off from our Life Builders mentoring program. As we arrived at a young lady’s home named Antwanisha, she became hesitant to leave the van. She began to say that things that I didn’t anticipate. I expected her usual “bye, Coach!” But I saw she had something on her mind.

‘Nisha opened her mouth to say that her life began to change since she began attending our programs.

She told me that she now reads her bible and prays more than she ever has before. I asked her what made her change. She answered me by saying “ You guys.” She went on to say being around everyone at Life Builders has shown her that she can live different. She said that her new friends and mentors are teaching her how to live for God. She then hoped out the van and said “bye, Coach!” just like nothing happened. Her words of encouragement breathed new life into me in an instant! God used her to remind me that work in the Lord is never in vain! I’m so thankful for the calling God has given me! God has been very kind to give me the encouragement I need to not give up on the youth and families I serve.

-Martell Hixson, Oasis Youth Developer

Celebrate Easter with Hope

March 20, 2015

hope-santuary-100x116Make Hope feel like home! Serve with us this Easter.

One of the most popular compliments Hope receives from our guests is that we have “so many welcoming, smiling faces.” As we prepare to open our doors to thousands of first-time visitors this Easter season, we need your help! Consider joining us in serving at one of our services. From info hosts to greeters and Scrubs, there are many low-pressure opportunities available! Visit HopeChurchMemphis.com/Easter to sign up. You never know what impact you could have on someone else’s experience at Hope!

Easter Worship Opportunities:

Maundy Thursday

Don’t miss one of the most talked about services of the year! The Stirring’s Maundy Thursday Communion Service is Thursday, April 2 at 7:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Eli will continue his message from Christmas as we walk from the Cradle to the Cross. Experience worship through music, art, message and communion. The Stirring will NOT meet on Sunday, April 5.

Celebrate Easter with Hope

We are excited to invite you, your family and friends to celebrate Easter with Hope. We have a powerful hour of worship and teaching planned as we celebrate that Jesus has risen and He is here.

Easter Worship Opportunities:
Saturday, April 4 • 5:30 and 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 5 • 8:00, 10:00* am and 12:00 pm
*Most crowded service

Children’s activities for infants-5th grade are available at all services. Special Kids & Adults activities are only available Saturday at 5:30 pm and Sunday at 10:00 am.

New for 2015! Join us for a continental breakfast beginning at 7:15am followed by the *am Easter service.

Oasis Family Dinner Rescheduled-New Date April 15

March 18, 2015

you're-invited-110x116Who: Families of youth participating in any Oasis of Hope program, mentors and Oasis & Bickford staff
What: Dinner for your whole family on us (it’s free)!
When: NEW DATE is Wednesday, April 15th from 6-7:30pm
Where: Bickford Community Center
Why: To enjoy community fellowship, to honor our participants, and to showcase Oasis programs that can encourage community growth

Families of the youth currently involved in our programs are invited to attend the 3rd Annual Oasis Family Dinner! We would love to treat the whole family to a delicious meal and an entertaining program to celebrate how special you are to us! Mark your calendars and plan to enjoy the sounds of the Angel Street choir, hear a rousing word from staffer Martell, and listen to personal testimonials from students & families who have been involved themselves.

We are looking forward to a fun night of fellowship and mingling, and to inform families of additional upcoming programs/volunteer opportunities we have to invest in more families in North Memphis!

We know that by working together, we will all have a much more profound impact on our community!

If you would like more information regarding this specific ministry, contact Kathleen. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Put your Faith in Action with the City of Memphis April 25th!

March 16, 2015

faith-in-action-100x116Join Mayor Wharton and Oasis volunteers as we make history a second year in a row by participating in the largest city clean up in the country on Saturday, April 25th together! Our team will focus on the Bickford/Caldwell area in N Memphis. Read on to see how to register!

Preach the Gospel at All Times … When Necessary Use Words -St. Francis of Assissi

Something exciting is happening in Memphis on Saturday, April 25th! Join in and be a part of history!!

Faith in Action: Memphis Cleanup 2015 is a project initiated by Mayor Wharton to help clean up the City of Memphis. Years ago, Memphis was always being recognized for its cleanliness and always held an annual event called CleanUP, PaintUP, FixUP in which volunteers and school kids from all over the city came together to clean up the city. This Faith in Action Event this year is similar but with a different name.

The Mayor is hoping to have the largest ever clean up project for a second year in a row … not just in Memphis, but in the country!

He is hoping that at least 300 organizations will sign up and that more than 10,000 volunteers will participate some time during the project weekend to help. Teams and individuals can register here to get involved. Hope Church will have two teams:

1) Oasis of Hope, which will focus in the Bickford/Caldwell area, and
2) Hope Presbyterian–Urban Ministry–which will focus on an area in the Chelsea/Hollywood area.

If you would like to participate, please register here and let us know you’re coming. Then, you just need to show up on Saturday, April 25th between 10:00-2:00pm! Note – light refreshments will be served.

If you would like more information regarding this ministry, contact Deborah. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

To Us Tax Season is an Exciting Way to Show We Care

March 14, 2015

Oasis-VITA-100x116At Oasis, we believe that relationships often begin by giving someone-in-need tanglible, practical help. Through our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), our professional accountants and volunteers have saved North Memphis residents thousands of dollars … millions actually … which keeps money in families pockets to be used for necessary items like food and housing.

In recent years, tax filing had become dirty business in the inner city and several local businesses were charged for filing fraudulent claims and withholding money that was due people. But for eight years now, our trusted and trained volunteers have set up shop in the neighborhood for several weeks and faithfully filed honest returns – at no cost – with a main goal being to find each person all the earned income tax credits they are eligible for, as well as, save them all the filing fees other companies charge. This saves many low-income families hundreds of dollars every year and puts precious dollars back into their households and our community. The impact is not only individual, but positively impacts the entire family and local economy.

“We have many repeat customers who have come to us every year,” says former VITA Project Coordinator, Doug Edwards. ” I would estimate at least 50% of the people we serve have been coming back for at least 4 years. 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.

Over the past eight filing seasons, VITA volunteers have invested almost 2,475 hours of their own time, filed 1,460 returns, and saved people just shy of $2.5 MILLION dollars!!

We will be available to file taxes every Saturday from 9:30-1p at the Bickford Community Center from January 31 through March 28.

If you are interested in joining our volunteers (we’ll train you!), let us know! We’d love to add more members to our team!

If you would like more information regarding this specific ministry, contact Vikki. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Oasis Bike Shop Helps Kids Earn Bikes, Teaches Mechanics

March 12, 2015

oasis-bike-shop-collage-500Oasis Bike Shop is expanding! This growing ministry is now offering the following opportunities to get involved:

Tuesdays 10a-2p Open Shop
Tuesdays 5-7p Mechanics Training
Wednesdays 4-6p After-School Bike Program
Thursdays 10a-2p Open Shop
Saturdays 9a-12p Open Shop

Come be a part of the good things happening here! We need more safety instructors, mentors, and mechanics. Instructors and mechanics both require training (Tuesdays from 5-7p). Mentors are interviewed prior to start. Contact Jessica to get involved!

Currently, the Oasis Bike Shop has seven young men from the inner city currently working through the Apprentice Mechanics Program where they are being trained in bicycle repair, safety and mechanics … all skills that may come in handy for either their personal health, or a possible career path someday.

In addition to learning the how-to mechanics of bike repair, local youth can also get involved in the Oasis Bike Shop Earn-a-Bike program by volunteering, learning, and helping out in the Bike Shop with the end result of earning and selecting their very own bike. While logging their 24 hours, they are learning how to run a small business, being taught how to fix, revive and recycle used bikes, and perhaps most importantly, they are being mentored by a caring adult who is interested in investing in not only their physical health, but also their emotional and spiritual well-being.

Group events are frequently planned to further bonding and to demonstrate what healthy living looks like. Thanks to the exciting growth in Memphis regarding the Greenline and the Hampline, there is a lot of buzz in the biking industry, and specifically in North Memphis.

Additionally, the Bike Shop is partnering with Memphis Leadership Foundation and Community Bikes to help empower the neighborhood biking community through education, safety and training. By working together, we hope to offer more services and to create a buzz about this healthy and fun activity and to make our shop a sustainable ministry that the North Memphis biking community is proud to call their own.

On Saturday, Jan. 24th at 7pm, the Mississippi Riverkings are sponsoring an Oasis Bike Shop night at the game and will be donating a portion of the proceeds to benefit our ministry. Please support our youth by attending the game!

Many thanks to the Bike Shop for recently repairing and donating eleven bikes to the Oasis Toy Store! What could be more fun and memorable than getting a bike for Christmas?

Currently we are open two days a week, but hope to expand our hours in the future. If you would like more information regarding this growing ministry check out the Oasis Bike Shop webpage, or if you would like to get involved, please contact us!

Shop Hours:

Tuesday 4:30-7:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-12:00pm

How an Old Appliance Can Help Transform a Community

March 10, 2015

2015-1-staff-176x176Oasis Appliance – which started more than 13 years ago when generous Hope Church members asked if they could donate their used appliances and furniture to families in need – has grown into a holistic outreach that helps bring revitalization to our community in a number of ways. It is now its own non-profit appliance and furniture store that is making a significant difference in the community.

So … how can passing on your discards make a ‘significant difference’ in North Memphis? There are 3 clear ways:

Quality/Affordable Product

First, through the generous product donations of individuals and corporations, Oasis is able to offer quality used appliances for less than other stores. Second, Oasis takes the times to test, clean, repair and warranty their products (other thrift stores usually do not have the capacity to do this). This affordability and dependability helps low-income families receive a product they can trust, without going to places like Rent-A-Center and pay multiple times over for the value of a product. Our store is meeting a real and tangible need in the community as evidenced by the number of customers and returning customers who visit our location.

Employment/Job Training

On average, we employ four part-time employees to work in the store. Most of our staff have been chronically underemployed or unemployed. Their job responsibilities range from appliance cleaning and repair, customer service, truck driving (pickups and deliveries), inventory control, customer service, sales and cash register operation. This practical experience is very transferable in the employment market and the vast majority of past employees are currently employed. We consider our training to be a stepping stone for employees to build up their resumes as they become better prepared to find full-time work in the future.

Economic Impact

Oasis Appliance is located in an area of North Memphis that has suffered economic decline for decades. Most of the past businesses have boarded up, been demolished, or moved away. Providing positive economic activity in this community is essential to its health. Over the past 7 years, Oasis’ direct business activity has totaled $337,000. Through a conservative multiplier effect ($ spent in a community turnover multiple times before leaving) of 68%, Oasis Appliance has positively impacted the neighborhood by a minimum value of $566,000!


The above descriptions and numbers just touch the surface of what is happening through this ministry. Other benefits are that partnering ministries can buy affordable items their constituents need; many prayers have been spoken with customers going through hard times; the redemptive aspect of having a job when one has been so difficult to come by; a location also shared by The Bike Shop Ministry; the good use of a resource (recycling old furniture and appliances) that may have been discarded otherwise…all come together to make this a beautiful, redeeming place that God is using to change lives and transform a community. Where else can so much good be done through the simple act of donating appliances?

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 people and/or 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, you can fill out our online donation request form to schedule a pick up. 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 Tuesday/Thursday from 10am-2pm and Saturdays from 10am-12pm. 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. Email Deborah to volunteer or see the Oasis Appliance webpage for more details. 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 Deborah. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

No Slumlords Anymore; We Do Business Differently at BWP!

February 24, 2015

BWP-Martell-500God has blessed Oasis of Hope in amazing ways this past year!

One of those ways was through your financial generosity and support, especially in regards to building safe, affordable housing through our Bearwater Park (BWP) housing project (Phase One completed/10 homes … Phase Two is in the planning stages/5 homes).

This development is a blessing on multiple levels. Families in our low income neighborhood now have quality, affordable places to raise their children instead of the drug & gang infested apartments that used to stand here. They have immediate access to all the services and opportunities Oasis provides. In essence, your financial gifts keep on giving!

Thanks to all of our generous donors, we raised not only the $75,000 to match the challenge gift for Bearwater Park, but an additional $40,000 came in! Beyond that many donors gave to other aspects of the ministry, so the grand total of the gifts was more than $215,000! This greatly reduces the loan we need to secure to start building Phase 2. Lord willing, soon more families will have a beautiful/safe/affordable place to call home in the neighborhood.bearwater-park-housing-100x

Click here to view a video about the project and see more of the story behind the scenes or view our Bearwater Park webpage.

If you are interested in filling out an application to live in one of these homes, please contact our management company, Frayser Community Development Corporation.

As a prayer request – there are still some hurdles that need to be overcome with the engineering approvals. Please pray for God’s favor and provision as we go through the process required.

If you would like more information regarding this ministry, contact Terry. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Go See Selma…Then Sign Up for the Justice Tour June 12-14

February 20, 2015

justice-tour-ella-miller-10Grab your friends, your kids (13 and older), your small group or your spouse and hit the theaters! SELMA is a must see! Here’s what it’s about:

SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernays tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history. View the trailer here.

Then after the movie, make plans to join us on the annual Justice Tour, June 12-14 where Pastor Eli and Hope Urban have been walking people over the infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL for years to literally and metaphorically give us a glimpse of what African-Americans have gone through to bridge the gap to equal rights, beginning with their fight to be allowed to vote.

Can you imagine what it feels like to walk under the actual arch where Bloody Sunday occurred on March 7, 1965 … and hearing how African Americans peacefully marched to gain voting rights but were brutally attacked by police with billy clubs to break up the protest killing men, women and children, ultimately hospitalizing over 50 people … and then crossing that bridge yourself next to unified friends who are both black and white?

1st-baptist-church2-100x116This is just one of the many stops on the Justice Tour as we attempt to walk the same paths as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others did in the late 50s and 60s during turbulent times in our country as they fought for equal rights for all. It is a powerful history lesson listening to the stories of that day from many first-hand witnesses as we visit Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Civil Rights Memorial, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (which was bombed in September of 1963, resulting in the death of 4 young girls – as is seen in the movie), attend services at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and more.

Elle Miller (in the above picture), Oasis of Hope leader, volunteer, and North Memphis resident attended the Tour in recent years. “I really enjoyed everything. I learned a lot of history in such a little amount of time. Everyone should go on this trip! ” – Elle Miller

Eli and urban staff will escort you on this unforgettable journey. We leave Friday morning, from Hope at 6am on a charter bus, and return Sunday at approximately 6pm.

While on the bus we view some movies (Selma included!), have discussions, and get more historical background on the Civil Rights march to freedom from Eli. This is an informative tour about the struggle for equal rights, but also packed with fun as we fellowship and make friends with a lot of Hope members we never knew before! Your transportation, snacks, most meals, hotel accommodations (based on double occupancy), and tour fees are covered by the $225 fee; ($325 fee for non Hope members). You will need money to purchase a couple of lunches and possibly souvenirs.

If you are interested in joining us or would like more information about the trip, contact Di. If you would like to register, click here. Space is limited to 35.

Who: Adults interested in a 3-day Journey of Civil Rights Heritage
When: June 12-14, 2015
Where: Selma, Montgomery & Birmingham
Click here to view Justice Tour Photos

If you would like more information regarding our ministry, email us. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Big News! Hope Wants to Plant a Church in North Memphis!

February 16, 2015

bearwater-construction-julyWatch the video.

We at Oasis are very excited to announce a new outreach of our parent church, Hope Presbyterian, that has the potential to be used of the Lord to radically impact the lives of people in our community at a much deeper level. From our perspective, Oasis does a good job at touching lives, sharing the gospel and meeting practical/tangible needs of people in our area of North Memphis.

However, we are painfully aware of the need for deeper discipleship in the lives of our families that is best accomplished through a community church. Hope’s leadership has a passion to make a significant spiritual impact in the lives of the families we know, and many we haven’t met yet.  After 13 years of investment, the time seems right for the Lord to work in a new way in our neighborhood.  We are so thankful for Pastors Rufus, Craig and Eli for their support all these years and for their commitment to bringing real transformation to our neighborhood. Check out Pastor Eli’s sermon addressing this issue from 11/16/2014.

We’d love to surround this movement in prayer. Will you join us in praying for the following:

1. A full-time lead pastor and a bi-vocational assistant pastor or music leader
2. A strategic building in which to gather for worship and an outpost for service
3. 10-12 person church development planning team as well as other Hope Church volunteers
4. Continued favor from residents, businesses, schools, other pastors and stakeholders
5. That many will become Jesus-followers and that God’s name would be glorified/praised
6. Protection from evil and the evil one
7. Future indigenous neighborhood leaders

Please join us in support of this life-changing effort to engage the unchurched neighbors in our community to experience Jesus in a dramatically deeper way.  If you would like to support the church financially please designate “Urban Church Investment” in the memo, and you can either donate online, or write checks to Hope Church, and mail to 8500 Walnut Grove Rd, Cordova TN 38018.

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)

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