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2024 Mission Trip to Juan Tomás, República Dominicana

June 27, 2024
By Laura Frasa, Secondary Spanish Teacher and Lead Teacher for the Dominican Republic Mission Trip

 

UNDIVIDED

Both professionally and personally, words have always spoken deeply to me. When I saw how impactful “S.H.IN.E (Seeing Him in Everything)” became during and after last year’s mission trip, I knew that I needed to pay attention to what God laid on my heart for this year. Very quickly after our return in 2023, I sensed that “Undivided” was what He wanted me to focus on in preparation for a new mission. This word encourages a “vertical focus” (our relationship with God), as well as a “horizontal focus” (our relationships within the team and with the Dominicans themselves). From these focal points, each day’s morning devotional then centered around God’s invitation through the book of James to live as “whole” rather than “double-minded” or, in the Greek, “two-souled.” Going into this trip, none of us truly knew how this theme would play out-- in either aspect of the word-- but by the end, we clearly saw how God drew us closer to each other, to the Dominican community, and to Himself. As a result, we have each been impacted in such a way that has caused us to see the world differently than we did before we left, and so now we long to bring a measure of what we experienced there back to our lives here. 

Cards, Kids, & Community

On the day we arrived, those who had traveled to the Dominican in the past were met with a familiar initiation: card games with any number of people, ball games at all hours, and kid-carrying that seemed constant. And yet, this is why our journey always starts so early (with a 6am flight!) -- because it allows us to get to the DR in the afternoon and start building relationships as soon as we step foot on campus. This is therefore the third year in a row where we have seen how the way we start has so much impact upon our focus for the rest of our time there. This mission is not primarily about the work we do but, more importantly, about the relationships that we form along the way.
 

 

Painting, Painting, & More Painting!

This year there were a lot of “little needs” that we were able to meet: laying baseboards in the church, fixing fences & gutters, clearing out rock, cleaning out sheds & other “cluttered areas”, disassembling school desks for repair, etc. However, the bulk of our work time was spent painting. We painted four houses in the village, a wall in the church, the wall at the street leading into the church area, as well as the wall at the street outside of the founder’s house and of the school, the walls surrounding the basketball court, around the 3rd & 4th grade rooms, around the dining hall, and all of the benches in the main playfield. It was gratifying to see how this brightened up the campus in time for their high school graduation on June 21st, but more importantly, some of our best memories and greatest connections were formed while holding a brush or a roller.

 

Pintando Corazones (Painting Hearts)

This year, the local church allowed us to take a ministry that they usually plan for outside of their village and bring it home. Pintando Corazones / Painting Hearts is a ministry whose goal is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through painting projects, provision of food, VBS, worship, and assistance to those in need. Thanks to the donations of Liberty General Baptist (Mr. Frantz’s church) towards this ministry, we were able to deliver 5 huge grocery bags to houses in the village-- and then pray over those houses and their inhabitants. How huge were these bags? It took two guys to carry each one, and still, the task was tiring. It was a blessing to be able to serve the community in such a way, and according to the motto of this ministry: UNA NACIÓN. UNA MISIÓN. UN CORAZÓN. ONE NATION. ONE MISSION. ONE HEART. 

Sharing Languages

On four separate occasions, one on the last day of school in two different high school English classes, and then for three distinct “extracurricular” English classes offered on campus after school was already out for the summer, several of us had the opportunity to help students practice their skills in both large and small group settings. It ended up being a lot of fun overall, as we continued to “build bridges” and share laughs together.

Sharing Celebrations

Because of when OCS let out this year, and how that coincided with Manantial de Vida’s year end, this is the first time that we were on campus for the students’ last day of school. While it was sad to wake up on our last two days in Juan Tomás and walk to the dining hall in silence-- without the “hustle and bustle” of school children, hearing their joyful greetings, seeing their smiling faces, and receiving their heartfelt hugs-- none of us will forget being able to celebrate the last day of school with the lower elementary students. They were constantly dancing, singing, and asking for piggy-back rides. And while everyone was extremely hot and tired, we just couldn’t say “no” to these precious kids. Pictures do not do this day justice, but when all was said and done, it was so satisfying to know that we gave our all on the last day that we would see our little friends.

Worshiping Together

Latin American cultures are always very open to having visitors use their talents during church services. While we didn’t bring music this year, like we have in the past two years, we did bring a pastor-- Mr. Frantz! I had asked him months ago if he would like to preach while we are down there (if you know Mr. Frantz, there was no real need to ask!)-- and not only did he get to preach for the Wednesday night service, but once we were there, he was asked to also preach for the youth service on Saturday night. Speaking of which, students had already learned to coin the phrase “Dominican Time”, which came in handy when the 7pm youth service didn’t start until 8pm. However, neither the waiting nor the later night affected the energy of the worship that book-ended Mr. Frantz’s message. I still have “Somos el pueblo de Dios” running through my head, as well as “Dios ha sido bueno” from the elementary kids, which seems appropriate because, no matter the color of our skin or the language that we speak, “We are [all] God’s people”, and “God has been good” -- so so good -- to all of us.

Sharing God’s Faithfulness

Our last night together is always a “night of reflection”-- a time to celebrate how we have seen God work… not so much through us physically as much as in us spiritually and around us relationally. While we didn’t necessarily understand during our monthly meetings and social gatherings throughout the year how this team would function together once we were in the Dominican, by that last night, we clearly knew that God put this team together just as He wanted it. Some of us didn’t know each other at all-- or very little-- before we left, but the ways in which we were able to see God in each other were one of the best parts of this journey. Not only that, but the trust that some of the Dominicans honored us with by sharing their life’s stories-- and even a highly festive birthday party!-- only further cemented the reality that although we always seek to make a difference in the lives of others while we are on mission, it’s really our lives that seem the most impacted and blessed for having cross paths with those that don’t look like or sound like us. For that reason, we are confident that all we have experienced will continue to shape us in the weeks, months, and years ahead. To God be the glory!

 

Tags: Secondary
Posted in OCS Life

The Wegner Family

June 17, 2024
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

Our kids are known here.  Their gifts are recognized and encouraged.  They are not defined by their struggles, but given tools to help them succeed.  At an upper level (middle and high school), where students have many teachers, and the teachers have many students, it is rare for students to be known individually as we've experienced at OCS with our kids.  They are not only educated at a high level, but they are also trained up in the way they should go, being given opportunities and guidance based off the gifts they've been given by our Heavenly Father.  

Why choose Oakland Christian?

Our family has had our kids in the public schools, homeschooled and now OCS.  We chose OCS for our middle schoolers for multiple reasons.  1.  We weren't happy with some of the things being taught in the public middle school.  2.  While homeschooling worked for us when our kids were younger, there came a point where I couldn't give all of my kids what they needed - one needed extra support and a more social learning environment and one needed more of a challenge.  OCS has provided these things for my kids.  3.  We knew OCS was a great school from friends who had kids attending.  4.  We didn't want to send them to just any private school in lieu of the public schools, we wanted it to be a truly Christ-centered school.  When we did our research, OCS matched best with what we were looking for biblically.

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

Having Bible class every day and Chapel every week has helped them know and understand the word of God that much more.  And really, their teachers do a great job of bringing a biblical perspective into more than just bible class so that has been neat to see, for example, how they read a novel, and then are challenged to look at it from a biblical perspective.  They've also grown in worship.  As teachers recognized their gifts when it comes to vocal music, they've been encouraged and challenged in ways that have allowed them to see what using their gifts for God's glory looks like and that has lit a fire in them to continue using their voices for the Lord even more. I will also mention that my daughter did not want to come to OCS because she had good friends at her homeschool hybrid.  She was afraid there was no way she could make as good of friends again.  While in prayer, she said that God told her to go to OCS so she obediently went in with an open heart.  Through that, she has been able to see God's faithfulness and has learned she can trust His voice and His leading in her life... I'm happy to report she has made many sweet friends at OCS this year.

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

A blessing.

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

Logistically and financially, sending our kids to OCS may be more difficult than sending our kids down the street to the public school. But the spiritual impact, the way the teachers know and encourage their students, the way the school does all they can to guide each child individually, and the way they point their students to Christ is enough to outweigh those things. In addition to these things, my kids carry a lighter emotional load home with them than when at public school, they don't have to sift through unbiblical/ untrue information, and we don't have to worry about authority figures that might encourage unbiblical worldviews in their young minds, but instead know they are surrounded by adults who love the Lord and encourage them in their faith.  The families and staff have been so welcoming to all of us.  It is a safe place for my kids to grow spiritually, educationally, and emotionally and I would make the same choice again if I had it to do over. 

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

The Welch Family

May 31, 2024
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

We love that OCS is a community and not just a school.  We love that our son gets to go to school where he gets to pray daily and worship with friends.  

Why choose Oakland Christian?

We chose OCS because we needed to tune out the noise that is going on in our world.  Our son was looking for a place he could grow socially, academically, and spiritually.  We as his parents needed a place that we could trust to always have his best interest. We also chose OCS because of the small class sizes and never having to change schools again. This allows him to form greater relationships with friends, teachers, and administration. 

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

Before our son came to OCS he was finding himself asking "why am I here?  What is my purpose?"  After spending a few days in the middle school there was a new light in his eyes. He found a place where people understood him and respected him.  We see him reading the bible at night before bed and continuing to grow his relationship with God.  

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

Life-Changing 

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

Do it! We are so thankful every day that we have put our trust in Oakland Christian School. We have zero regrets. 

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

The Cooper Family

November 08, 2023
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

We love the OCS community and Christ-centered environment. Having the teachers be able to pray over the kids and worship together with them at weekly chapels is something that is priceless to me. Our children are always surrounded by people who genuinely care about them spiritually and academically.

Why choose Oakland Christian?

We selected Oakland Christian for many different reasons; the academics, the Christ-like environment where they are able to talk about God and pray in school, and the opportunity for our 4 children to be in the same building from Kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade. We love the fact that our kids get to form relationships that will last a lifetime and will carry them from their childhood, teenage to adult years.

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

We have seen our children not just memorize scripture but truly hide God’s word in their hearts. The teachers do a great job of implementing the word of God outside of just memorizing something for a test. The kids have the ability to continue to practice what we teach our family at home and carry it over at school.  We have seen our kids worship God with their arms outstretched and belting out a worship song that comes on the radio because they heard it at school and they end up teaching us new songs and hand movements they learned from chapel.

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

Impactful

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

If you are thinking about coming to Oakland Christian School, do it! I love knowing that the kids' best interest is always at heart and that the teachers and staff truly love and take pride in what they do day in and day out!

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

Meet Jared Frantz

October 20, 2023
By Oakland Christian School

Join us in welcoming Jarred Frantz, our new 9th and 10th grade Bible teacher, to Oakland Christian School!

Jarred comes to us with a passion for deepening our students' connection with God. He's leading the way for our 9th graders through "The New City Catechism," a series of thought-provoking questions that will help students grow closer to God and understand their faith on a deeper level. 

For our 10th graders, Jarred is guiding them through "The Triumph of Christ," a comprehensive study of the entire Bible with a focus on the book of Acts and Paul's epistles. 

Jarred's favorite Bible verse, John 3:30, reflects his dedication to serving God with humility: "He must become greater; I must become less." 

Let's give Jarred Frantz a warm Oakland Christian School welcome and support him as he helps our students grow in their understanding of the Lord, the scripture, and the world around them It's going to be an incredible year of growth and discovery!

The Trbovich Family

October 18, 2023
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

There are so many reasons we love Oakland Christian. When our daughter walks through the doors each morning, she is greeted by name with a warm, friendly smile by the staff. We have experienced that not only does her teacher love her and is invested in her growth, but the entire staff is just as invested in her well-being throughout each day. We couldn't dream of a more nurturing, loving environment for our daughter to spend her school days when she is away from us. When your child says the best part of her days is when she gets to be at school, you know you're at a pretty special place.  

Why choose Oakland Christian?

We chose Oakland Christian for smaller class sizes and a Christian education that extends beyond just what we do in our home. We love the values they teach of faith and the encouraging growth and development in both academics and spirituality. We love that each child is celebrated, loved, and learning to live righteously, serving God's Kingdom in a school setting.

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

This is only our daughter's second year at OCS, and while she is still very young, we have seen her faith grow deeper. Her constant requests for worship music, reading bible passages, and wanting to learn more about God are more noticeable.  However, the well-thought-out questions about God and leaning into God more when having a hard day are noticeable. Since her faith life is extended from home to school, we feel that God is at the forefront of her mind more. We love that she has faithful teachers whom she can talk to with questions too. We look forward to watching her relationship grow deeper in Christ as she grows older and continues her education at OCS.
 

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

Love

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

If anyone is considering enrolling their children, I would advise them to come and visit. When you walk through the front door, you will see what a warm, friendly environment OCS provides. (And the treehouse in the library is pretty cool too!) We attended an Open House and were hooked immediately. We feel so grateful to have found OCS for our youngest.

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

Meet Jennifer Wilson

October 16, 2023
By Oakland Christian School

Welcome Jennifer Wilson, Our New Guidance Counselor at OCS!

We are thrilled to introduce Jennifer Wilson, who has joined our Oakland Christian School family as our Guidance Counselor, specializing in academic and post-secondary planning.

Jennifer brings a profound sense of purpose to her role. She's eager to seek God's plans and wisdom, placing Him at the heart of the conversation with students and families. 

As she puts it, "The opportunity to seek God's plans and wisdom and put Him at the center of the conversation is extraordinary and so incredible. I am looking forward to seeing the amazing plans He has in store for each and every student at OCS. I am very grateful to be here. Thank you, OCS!" 

Jennifer's favorite Bible verse, Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

Join us in extending a warm welcome to Jennifer Wilson! We are excited to see how the Lord uses you in this role at OCS!

The Coe Family

October 12, 2023
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

We love the feeling we get when walking through the school doors in the morning: a feeling of connectedness between school staff and their students/families. We love the small class sizes where teachers can focus on students' individual needs. We love that our children are learning in a God-focused environment.

Why choose Oakland Christian?

We chose OC for multiple reasons, but specifically for a Christ-centered education and for the exceptional Spanish Immersion program which both of our children at OC attend. OC seemed like the perfect fit for our family, and it has definitely proven to be the right decision thus far!

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

Our children initiate discussions about God (awesome!) and recite Bible verses without being prompted. They make connections between Bible stories and their own lives and are applying what they are learning in school to their own experiences as they learn more about Jesus. 

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

Community

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

A solid choice for their child's education and spiritual growth!

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

Meet Emily Bourque

October 06, 2023
By Oakland Christian School

Join us in welcoming Emily Bourque to Oakland Christian School!

Emily Bourque has joined us as the 6th-grade Bible Teacher. Emily's enthusiasm for teaching is truly inspiring! She is most excited to watch our 6th graders grow in their love for Jesus this year. 

Her favorite Bible verses, Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, remind us of the beauty of God's timing:
1     There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2     a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3     a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,

Let's give Emily a warm Oakland Christian School welcome and support her in her mission to guide our 6th graders this year. We're excited to see the incredible impact she'll have on their lives! 

The Choate Family

October 04, 2023
By Oakland Christian School
What do you love about Oakland Christian?

The feeling of inclusivity.

Why choose Oakland Christian?

We wanted to give our daughter the opportunity to grow within a community that would nourish her both intellectually and spiritually.

How has your child's faith grown at Oakland Christian?

Our daughter has just begun Kindergarten, so it is all new but she has told us about the songs she has learned and she is looking forward to Chapel.

Describe Oakland Christian in one word.

Welcoming

Why consider enrolling at Oakland Christian School?

We would highly recommend OCS! So far, our experience has been great and we look forward to the future.

Share your story HERE.

Posted in Family Experiences

Recent Posts

6/27/24 - By Laura Frasa, Secondary Spanish Teacher and Lead Teacher for the Dominican Republic Mission Trip
6/17/24 - By Oakland Christian School
5/31/24 - By Oakland Christian School

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