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 WERE JUST GIVEN A NEW VAN YA’ALL!!!

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!!

WE ARE SO GRATEFUL!!

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

Summer Baseball Teaches So Much More Than the Game

July 23, 2015

oasis-summer-baseball-100x1We are currently looking for volunteers and sponsors to invest in our youth in North Memphis through our summer baseball program.

We are thrilled to again partner with the Red Birds RBI league! They are returning to our community and with our Parks and Little League World Series Teams, we anticipate having 7 teams this summer! Pray for us!

Kids from the neighborhood, ages 4-16, are invited to participate Monday-Friday from 9a-12p for no fee in Oasis’ Summer Baseball program. They are divided into teeball, coach pitch, and kid’s pitch categories to teach appropriate skills and provide needed encouragement.

But we all know we’re not doing this just for the love of the game.

So much more is at work here: We want kids to bond with coaches and volunteers, develop meaningful relationships, provide healthy activities, get kids moving, bring a variety of ages together, offer healthy food, and even more.

Last year our teams won almost all of their games, but even if the scoreboard never shows a win, this ministry is a home-run!

WHO: Kids ages 4-16 or volunteers of any age
WHEN: M-F from 9a-1p – Time To Be Confirmed
WHERE: Bickford Community Center Ball Field and Manassas HS fields

Watch the website if you would like to come to a game!

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 Instagram, and checking our website for pictures, videos and current information.

Church Plant Update: Welcome Pastor Colley and Family!

July 21, 2015

colley-cooper-175x175Watch the video.

5/9/2015 Update: Hope has chosen Pastor Colley Cooper and his family (wife Sheri, and sons, Kofi and Cohen) as the new 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.

The next steps will be for him to begin building relationships in the neighborhood and getting to know families, businesses and staff. In the future, at least a year from now, they will begin solidifying a church building. We are thrilled to see this step completed and this exciting process moving forward!

bearwater-construction-july2/2014: 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)

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.

Celebrate National Night Out With Us August 4th, 5pm

July 03, 2015

2015 8 4 national night out

In an effort to fight crime and build a true sense of community, Promise Development Corporation, Oasis of Hope, Inc., and MDP are joining forces to host the Annual National Night Out (NNO) Block Party on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at Bickford Community Center (233 Henry Ave) from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

This annual community-building campaign promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhood safer, better places to live. NNO enhances the relationships between neighbors and law enforcement by creating opportunities to bring everyone together under positive circumstances. Together, we are making that happen.

In our collaborative effort, we are taking this initiative with sincere commitment to our community and we need your support. We are seeking help in food donations and supplies, in-kind gifts and generous monetary donations. Promise Development Corporation and Oasis of Hope are both 501c3 non-profit organizations so your donation will be tax-deductible.

We are anticipating over 200 neighbors for this block party which will include a barbeque, community pride parade, safety demonstrations and visits from emergency personnel and exhibits. We would be honored to have you show your support.

Thank you for considering an opportunity to support this event. If you have any queries regarding our organizations, fund management policy, or the 2015 NNO itself, please contact the following organizers:

Velma Maclin, Promise Development Corporation, 901-800-1404, vmaclin@pdevcorp.org
Tony Brown, Promise Development Corporation, 901-907-0035, tbrown@pdevcorp.org
Crystal Chopin, Oasis of Hope, Inc., 901-527-0074, Crystal@oasis-of-hope.com

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).