Soon 2022 will end and Lord willing, 2023 will begin. It’s been an amazing year of growth for the Oaks Ministry. It began with the hiring of our first Program Director, Dawn Grieco in January. One of the highlights in January was when we were awarded a grant from the Oxford Chamber which enabled us to install a security system at each door of our 2 locations. This is a tremendous blessing for our residents helping them to feel more safe and secure.
In February we were blessed with a new addition to our Ministry Team. Marcia Upton, a Financial Advisor with Thrivent, who currently assists all of our residents with financial assistance and counseling. To have a Christian professional like Marcia is truly a gift from God.
Dawn and I have met consistently throughout the year, praying, planning and discerning God’s next step for us. We both felt the need to bring our people together, under the umbrella of The Oaks Ministry, for a formal prayer event, specifically to Praise God for His faithfulness to the Oaks Ministry and ask for His continued blessing, therefore we met for a Prayer Gathering on March 27th, and we have seen God respond to our prayers all year as He continues to meet our needs and work in the hearts of our residents and all of those connected with our ministry. We also had a time of celebration for a resident who successfully completed our program on March 30th.
In April, Dawn and I were busy planning our first Volunteer Appreciation Banquet. Since Covid, many of our volunteers had felt distanced from the Oaks Ministry, we wanted to bring everyone together and show our appreciation and remind them that they play a huge part in the success of this ministry, therefore on April 26th, over 40 volunteers came together at Mt. Vernon Christian Church. After a delicious meal catered by Simply from Scratch, we had a wonderful time reconnecting and discovering our gifts as to know how better to serve Christ through the Oaks Ministry.
In May we were blessed to be able to take our residents to Sandy Cove for a Womens Retreat. Many of our residents had never experienced Sandy Cove and enjoyed the food, the fellowship, the beautiful surroundings and the challenging speakers that spoke into their heart. We hope to be able to take our residents to Sandy Cove on an annual basis as the Lord provides.
In June we interviewed an applicant for the House Manager position at Oaks 2 that needed to be filled by August 1st. Both Dawn and I were excited to see God’s provision in Sharon Brubaker. A time of celebration as it is not easy to find House Managers for our homes. It takes a special person. Brenda Moore had been with us for five years and was moving on to new beginnings. I will always remember the blessing Brenda was to me personally. A source of encouragement and wisdom.
I am sharing highlights of the year with you, in addition to the highlights we are always busy attending meetings, making connections with others to partner with us. A local family held a yard sale in July to help raise funds for our cause and Robin got to take a much-needed vacation with her husband.
In August we began a daily structured program for our residents. With structured day-time activities, classes and workshops. This took much time and organization but has been successful in discipleship training and forming bonds with other Christian leaders in our community. A few months of structured day-time activities prepare our residents for employment success.
In September we held our second formal Prayer Event with a gathering of faithful supporters to again thank God for his faithfulness and ask for the moving of His Spirit in our ministry and in the hearts of our residents. We also pray for the church and for the nation and our world. Prayer is the lifeblood of the church, and we all need to pray more. I am challenged many times in this area, most recently to TALK LESS and to PRAY MORE!
October was an extremely busy month for me. We rejoiced in another successful graduate who worked hard in our program and was ready to “fly the coop”. In addition to attending the Oxford, Solanco and Avon Grove Ministerium Meetings and the Chamber Luncheon the Oaks Ministry was represented at the First Friday Event, and I was given the opportunity to cover the pulpit for the Methodist Church. I enjoyed not only sharing about the Oaks Ministry but reminding my brothers and sisters to reach out in Love (1 Cor. 13) to all people even those whom we may not like or may not agree with us. It’s the Christian way. They (the world) will know we are Christians by the love that we have for each other. I was also blessed by spending the weekend with the Women of Wesley at Sandy Cove.
November was very busy planning our Harvest of Hope and Healing Brunch in addition to all our other responsibilities. We were so thankful for the amount of people that came out to show their support and we were able to raise over $30,000 for our cause. To God Be the Glory! Dawn did an awesome job with the program and all of our residents helped to prepare and participated in the event. Hearts were stirred and the Spirit moved, and people were very generous. We were also blessed by Cedar Knoll and Kings Painting by their voluntary service to The Oaks Ministry by painting the Oaks 1 home, adding some color and making the inside even more beautiful in addition to doing some minor in-house repairs.
So, here it is December, the year is almost over. Our Residential Manger Kate Fultz had given her notice a few months back that she would be leaving her position on January 1st. With all the other demands of the ministry, I had not had time to solicit for her replacement. I began to wonder how this would work out. To find a manager in a month to move out of her home and to move into the Oaks house would be no easy task. I prayed and I prayed, and I asked God to increase my faith that he would supply our need for “All things are possible with God” and He promises to “supply all of our needs”. I don’t understand why I am surprised when God does exactly what he promises. I am happy to announce that Angie Havelow will be entering our Oaks 1 location on January 2nd to begin her journey as House Manager. Without a shadow of doubt, we know that Angie is God’s chosen for such a time as this. To God be the Glory!! I must learn to never underestimate the power of our God!
At this time our homes are at full capacity and all of our residents are employed. We just got notice that Herrs is donating another vehicle to our Ministry. This will help tremendously in meeting our resident’s transportation needs with everyone being employed. They are working hard toward financial stability, and they are growing in their relationship to Christ, and this is all because of faithful people like you who believe in our mission and help support us through your talents, your time and your treasure. We are praying that God will supply an Oaks 3 residence in 2023 so we can help more women find hope, healing and restoration in a Christ-centered residential environment knowing that His timing is perfect!
My prayer for you and your family is for a Blessed Holiday Season as you celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and a Healthy, Spirit-filled New Year.
Thank you for your continued support!
Robin Martin, Executive Director