Friday, March 18, 2011

Playing 'Catch Up'

It is time for a quick game of 'Catch Up'. Here is what has been happening at Oasis of Hope since our last post:

Hoping For Change Program

The 'Hoping for Change' participants really came through! Over $2,000 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters (and strangely... 1 silver dollar) was collected in December- just in time to give the kids at Oasis of Hope a great Christmas.

Allison Hibbard and I sat outside of a Starbucks in Lake Forest on a sunny Saturday and collected the over 200 pounds of change collected by the truly awesome young men and women who had faithfully deposited their pocket change into official and unofficial change jars for the past several months.

It was a day full of sunshine, memories, coffee and endless counting, counting, counting as the change piled up. is a shout out to Matt Gillen, Andrew Drey, Allison Hibbard, Sasha Hagenlock, Ryan Hacker, Taylor Shanton, Alex Phillips, The Frum Family, Jessica Powers, Phil Chenery, Cody Fields, Cory Tomlinson, Hannah Grady, David Hughes, Bre Dougherty; Pastor Steve, Connie and Caroline Rutenbar, John Corona, Jeff Burt and Teve Fulton who saved up their coins for the kids at Oasis.

An unexpected surprise were the visits by long-time Oasis friends Don and Karoline Thompson, Jaclyn Grant, Debbie Trentacost, and Julie Hibbard who came by to not only say 'Hi', but to drop off donation checks for Oasis. They all left with their own 'Hoping for Change' jars as well!

Now if we could just figure out what to do with the pile of Kenyan shillings, Mexican Pesos, Ukrainian Kopiyka and the mysterious bullet shell that came out of Pastor Steve's jar! I'm sure his next jar will contain Haitian and Japanese coins as well!

Oasis of Hope's dearest friend: Pastor Steve Rutenbar

Allison Hibbard, Matt Gillen and Andrew Drey counting coins

Phil Chenery, Taylor Shanton and Ryan Hacker with Pastor Steve

If you have a full jar of change ready to donate or would like to receive an official 'Hoping for Change' jar - write to Lydia at

Christmas at Oasis of Hope

Christmas at Oasis means a new set of clothes, a special meal, and getting to watch a movie!

Thanks to the 'Hoping for Change' donations and the gifts of several other dear friends of Oasis...we were able to make sure that the children of Oasis had their special day again this year.

Here are some of the photos Christmas at Oasis 2010:

The 'great hall' is filled with happy children dressed in their new Christmas outfits!

Little girls everywhere love new dresses!

Hundreds and hundreds of Chapati flatbreads were prepared by the staff of Oasis to top the Christmas beef stew and rice that made up a very special (and filling!) Christmas meal served to the children of Oasis of Hope.

Headmaster Joseph reads the Christmas letter from Lydia before the showing of the movie.

Over 200 children received new Christmas outfits!

The teen boys from Group Homes 1 and 2 are happy to pose for the camera wearing their cool new Christmas outfits! (Oasis of Hope's Managing Director Geoffrey Okumu is in the center of the photo)

Six new High Schoolers!

The results of the annual Kenya Primary Certification Exam (KPCE) arrived in late December. This rigorous 3-day exam is given to all Class 8 students in Kenya in late November. Six of the eight Oasis of Hope students who took the exam passed and became candidates for High School.

The competition to be admitted to a good high school is fierce- but, by the end of January 2011- all six of the Oasis 'candidates': Steward, Shaaban, Edwin, Moses, Paul and Nancy were making preparations to begin their new lives boarding at 4 different schools in Western Kenya.

Can't you just feel the excitement and the nervousness that these boys are feeling as the get ready to register for school?

Paul, Edwin, Moses and Steward make one last check that they have all the 'boarding supplies' required by their schools.

Steward, Edwin and Paul pose proudly in the uniform of their new school: Kabuwefwe Boys High School. Finally, they get to wear the long trousers of a high school student! No more Primary school shorts!

Paul, Moses, Edwin and Steward pose with Olivia Okumu as they get ready to go to their respective schools for registration day.

Steward sits at a high school desk for the first time!

Moses is lucky. He is enrolling at Kamusinde High School where his 'brother' Kevin (now a 2nd year student) will show him around and introduce him to his fellow students.

*Note: as soon as photos of Nancy and Shaaban are available- I will post those too.

It's Camp time again!

When the calendar page turns to February it can only mean one thing to the kids at Oasis: Saddleback Camp! Once again this year, our wonderful friends from Saddleback Church's HSM (high school ministry) led by Katie Edwards, Ryanne Witt and Josh Griffin brought a team of High Schoolers to Oasis of Hope to put on what has become the favorite event of the year.

The three days of camp were filled with games, crafts, Bible Stories, skits and FUN! I wish I could post photos from the camp - but unfortunately, Geoffrey's camera died right before camp began. I'd love it if some of the camp participants emailed some of their favorite pics to me at so that I could give a visual of the great time that was had by everybody during these 3 amazing days (hint, hint!).

On behalf everyone at Oasis, I want to give a big THANK-YOU to all of you that love Oasis and who show your love by visiting, giving to, praying for and spreading the word about Oasis of Hope! And if you are reading this...I'd love it if you left a comment!

Mungu akubariki sana....May God bless you very much!


Alli Hibb said...

I love this! I love Oasis!

Jenny said...

Wanted to let you know that Esther (who is pictured in a red dress above) wore the red dress she got for Christmas to Oasis today!

Anonymous said...

Have you heard of a church called "Church of Christ with the everlasting gospel? It's in the village of Umoja. Please let me know. Thanks!