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!
Just 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.
Then 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!!