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2023 Mission Trip to Juan Tomás, República Dominicana

June 21, 2023
By Laura Frasa, Secondary Spanish Teacher, and lead teacher for the Dominican Republic missions trip


S.H.IN.E  “Seeing Him IN Everything”                                                           

S.H.IN.E was Oakland Christian’s theme for the 2014-15 school year, and through my 10 years of teaching at this school, it is one of the themes that most stick out in my mind. This message was weighing heavily on my heart and mind after we returned from our last trip to the Dominican, and so I began to consider that this might be the theme for the 2023 trip. Last year our team discussed together what we wanted the theme to be, and so therefore I was slightly uneasy about simply telling them when we came back to school that “S.H.IN.E” would be our new theme. However, because I felt that God must have laid it on my heart for a reason, I wanted to obediently embrace this message. The team agreed that it was a great focus for the Dominican Trip in 2023, and so I proceeded with this motivation in mind. Slowly but surely, in combination with other things that God had been already laying on my heart this past year, it began to make more sense.

But little did I know when 11 students and 2 teachers embarked on this journey just how much the challenge to S.H.IN.E would impact us-- both as a team and individually.

Laying Sidewalks & Floors

On our first day of work, those who had traveled to the Dominican last year were met with a familiar task: developing a pit to mix cement and then laying it down through what felt like very primitive tactics. However, practicing the technique in a “low-stakes” situation (rebuilding part of a sidewalk) was great preparation for what we would experience several days later-- the grueling process of laying the foundation for the entire floor of a house. And yet it is that “familiarity” that would continue to fuel the team-- both in our work and in our relationships throughout the week.

Building a Garden

The next days were spent creating a community garden-- literally from the ground up. The seeds had already been purchased by the Dominicans, and some of them were planted in order to start the germination process, but then our goal was to cut wood and sheet metal, haul it to the garden site, build boxes to create “raised beds”, gather large rocks to line the beds with, and then fill those beds with a mixture of dirt and goat dung.  Yes, there was a small group of men from our team who gathered the waste from the goat farm located next to the school and sat in the truck that transported it to the site. Those are memories that none of them will soon forget! Our goal was to fully make 6 boxes; however, due to torrential downpours during a crucial day to finish the work on the garden, we only made 2. Gratefully, the materials are already cut for the other 4.

Creating Community

The most important aspect of our trip was being able to continue to develop relationships with the Dominican people. From the very beginning when we first stepped foot onto the campus-- and a group of “familiar girls” met me, called me by name, and welcomed me back to “my family”-- the phrase that kept going through my mind was “how beautiful it is to know and to be known.” Since last year was the first annual Dominican Mission Trip, it was full of unknowns and uncertainties. To then approach this year with familiarity instead of apprehension-- and to be able to know people by face and call them by name-- was a true blessing. As with last year, we arrived in the DR early enough to start building/rebuilding those relationships right away: playing games, talking, singing, and laughing.  Two of our girls then chose to teach English for a couple of days in the 1st - 3rd-grade classrooms, we all had the opportunity to interact with MANY children, and a group of us were invited to visit the home of one of the girls that OCS sponsors. Per usual, there was “never nothing going on” while we were there, which provided the perfect opportunity to continue to live in community and to do life together.

Worshiping Together

Being part of the community meant that we were able to participate in a special communion service the first night that we were there, as well as a unique prayer service the following Wednesday.  Latin American cultures are also very open to having visitors use their talents during church services, so right away one of our members was accompanying worship on the keyboard. Then for the Sunday morning worship, the service opened with us singing two songs-- in a mixture of Spanish and English-- with accompaniment on the keys, the cajón, and the guitar. It was truly rewarding to be able to offer a sacrifice of praise in another country-- and in their language.

Working As One

Sometimes while on a mission trip, there is a temptation to complain that there are “too many workers and not enough work.” However, Richard, our leader in the Dominican, said it perfectly the last night we were there: “You have learned what this mission is all about.  It is not about completing projects; it’s about forming relationships.”  Whatever project we embarked upon, we were always silently asking ourselves, “Who is that person? How is that person related? Do they live in the village? Who are these kids’ parents? WHERE are these kids’ parents?!?” Indeed, we have seen over and over again that when you endeavor to do something-- in work or in play-- you do it together. It was, therefore, a great last day of work when we went back to the village, to the house where we had laid the cement floor, and with a great conglomeration of people were able to paint the inside and outside of that house-- and also level out the front yard. The lady who lives in the house was in such desperate need-- as evidenced by the closet of a bathroom, guarded only by a makeshift curtain-- that she reached out to Richard’s church… and “God’s church”, indeed, came together as one. We also became one this year in a less expected situation… practicing the “Latin American Way” of seeing how many people you can cram into one vehicle. It may have been uncomfortable-- and scary for some-- but these, too, are unforgettable memories.

Working As Needed                                                            

Along with “too many workers”, sometimes we are tempted to question the effectiveness of our mission. Again, it’s not about “checking boxes” or “accomplishing monumental tasks.” Sometimes it’s about seeing Him in the little things… in more isolated moments. These include the times when we emptied out and reorganized a huge (mess of a) tool shed, helped with folding laundry, ministered to those on the ball field before playing with them and fixed and cleaned gutters. This last task is particularly notable, considering that three of our team members got stuck on the roof during one particular torrential downpour. The work was desperately needed, but it was interrupted in a rather stark way. We praise God for our safety!

Embracing Interruptions                                                        

At first, the interruption by the continual downpours was frustrating, especially when it seemed like that could be the story for the rest of our trip-- days and days of continual rain. However, when the work was called off for that day, and only that day, what transpired ended up being a memory that no one will ever forget: Embracing the Rain. The Dominicans had not seen rain in a while, and so they were actually very happy to watch it shower down… which also provided the opportunity for another Latin American Tradition: the Environmental Slip-n-Slide. Team members, even the more serious ones among us, had the opportunity to become kids again for the afternoon--and the joy was undeniable.

Seeing Him IN Everything

Much like the orchestration of each day on the trip, we know 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. Little did we know a year ago how it would all unfold, nor just how much reminding ourselves and each other to “See Him in Everything” would impact us personally and corporately. 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!

How YOU Can Continue to Support This Mission

Not only did we donate nearly $1,500 in supplies to the school Manantial de Vida, but we also brought a countless amount of used sporting equipment: 16 bats, 9 gloves, 7 volleyballs, 3 basketballs, 2 footballs, 1 baseball helmet, 2 baseball/softball bags, and 2 ball pumps. If you donated money or equipment this year, please know that we are so grateful. Before next year’s trip, we will start promoting such needs again; however, in the meantime, would you consider sponsoring a child’s education at Manantial de Vida?

To date, Oakland Christian School is sponsoring two girls (an incoming 2nd grader and a 7th grader), allowing them to enjoy a Christian education for a full year. Between last year’s team and this year’s, there are also five additional children being supported through ongoing sponsorships.  It is our hope and prayer that in the future, we will sponsor even more children through the support of our OCS community.  For only $32 a month, you can help to offset the cost of a Christian education for a child in Juan Tomás.

Bringing Community Home                                              

Finally, not only did we see our love of the Dominicans and their culture flourish, but we also saw our care for and appreciation of one another grow. It is now our prayer that we will take all that we experienced—in particular, the sense of community—and use it to bring unity to Oakland Christian School in the fall. We deeply desire for our school to be a genuinely safe place for all students and staff to unabashedly walk out their unique, God-given purpose for God’s glory.

View our event photo album HERE

Tags: Secondary
Posted in OCS Life

Many Recent Wins for Oakland Christian School Robotics

November 09, 2022
By Oakland Christian School

Pictured here, Theresa Doan, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Genisys Credit Union, smiles for the camera with the Oakland Christian School Robotics team, their VEX robots, and team leader Mr. Greg Favaro. Genisys, which sponsors 12 robotics teams, recently paid a visit to learn more about robotics at OCS because they recognize the importance of forming community ties.

“We are excited to expand our commitment to include the OCS robotics team. I was so impressed with their presentation. Our sponsorship will continue to promote key skills of leadership, communication, and team collaboration,” says Theresa.

The team is also sponsored by Gestamp, an international group dedicated to the design, development, and manufacturing of metal automotive components. 

Robotics Program Details

OCS Robotics, now in its sixth year, has achieved an impressive 12 tournament champion titles. During the past three years, the team participated at the state level, and for the last 2 years—world! They practice year-round with 20 students in grades 7 – 12.

Staying competitive requires funding to attend tournaments, and purchase design elements, VEX metals, and robot controllers in order to adapt to new games every year.

“Robotics encourages students to find solutions and develop critical thinking skills. STEM principles prepare students to become innovators,” says high school senior Avery Almy, during the team’s recent presentation. 

Team Qualifies for State Championship

In other recent news, the OCS Robotics team composed of seniors received an Excellence Award at a tournament held at Kettering University. There they competed against 25 teams representing six different schools. This award qualifies OCS to compete at the State Championship at Kettering on February 26, 2023. Additionally, the team was ranked at the top for their engineering notebook rubric, exhibited a high-quality team interview, and displayed positive team conduct, good sportsmanship, and professionalism. 

Baker College Education Advocate Nomination

Celebrations continue with the recent news that Oakland Christian School was just nominated, thanks to Robotics, for the Baker College Education Advocate Award in the Gold and Silver Awards hosted by the Auburn Hills Chamber. This award will be presented to the company with the most progressive education initiatives. 

Thank you to Rochester Media and Walker News of Rochester Hills for sharing our story! 

Learn more about Oakland Christian School Robotics HERE


Posted in OCS Life

Introducing our 2022-2023 Spiritual Theme

August 06, 2022
By Oakland Christian School

Based on Colossians 3:16-17, the spiritual theme at Oakland Christian for the 22/23 school year is, “Dwell Richly.” The apostle Paul wrote this letter around A.D. 60 to the church at Colossae while serving his first prison sentence in Rome. Here is the text from the ESV translation (emphasis ours):

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:16-17

"Dwell" in the Greek language is best translated as, “to live in,” “to be at home,” or “to inhabit.”

Paul then is admonishing those in Colossae to emphasize that the Word of God is to live in them, to have a home in their hearts, and to inhabit their minds.

At first glance, these verses from Colossians 3:16-17 seem quite simple to understand, but upon closer examination, we can see their true challenge come to light. We find this Greek translation of “dwell” ἐνοικείτω (ENOI-KEE-TOE) in a few additional places in the New Testament. 

First, Romans 8 uses it to describe the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus, that raised him from the dead, dwells in the believer.  

Second, 2 Corinthians 6:16 also uses "dwell". It references an Old Testament scripture from Exodus 29 stating that The Lord God will dwell among His people.

We can’t wait to explore this theme together as a school community!

Posted in OCS Life

2022 Mission Trip to Juan Tomás, República Dominicana

July 01, 2022
By Oakland Christian School

“This mission trip to the Dominican Republic can be described in so many different ways it’s hard to think of where to begin. God worked in so many incredible ways this trip and changed my heart to understand the importance of community. Right off the bat, we saw how much we take for granted at home in America, yet despite having little, the people of the Dominican had such joy, hospitality, and community. These sweet kids showed nothing but love despite us being complete strangers. The teens we lived with immediately became our friends. And within our own group, I was able to see how important it is to have community with others and to support and encourage one another in all that we do—no matter how hot it got or how hard the work became. This trip certainly had its highs and lows, but God remained faithful through it all. I am beyond grateful for this experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Serving God and loving on others is so incredibly important and being a part of this trip has been a blessing!” -Abby Meyer, 12th Grade

Sometimes God allows one door to close so that another may be opened... and such is the story of how we were able to embark upon our very first mission trip to the Dominican Republic. When the Europe trip was canceled in March of 2020, it gave me the opportunity to pivot and follow my passion—coming alongside God’s people in Latin America. What an absolute blessing it was to then see students understand firsthand what impacted my life in profound ways for the first time some 28 years ago—a depth of joy, passion, hospitality, and community that is the essence of the Latin American people.


Helping to Build a Home 

On our first day of work, we formed a long assembly line and passed endless buckets of concrete in order to start building a home, a “primitive act” that seemed to both set the tone for the week and symbolically represent the nature of this team.







Working with the Children

After day one, we interacted with and received hugs from more kids than most on our team have probably encountered in a lifetime. We employed more paint strokes than even Daniel LaRusso (“I’m going to be painting in my sleep—I just know it!” -Aaron Frasa). Working with children both inside and outside of the classroom—we tore down and built walls in deteriorating classrooms, sanded more walls and iron bars than one thought humanly possible, connected with “new children” in a refuge home for girls, and played endless games of soccer, volleyball, and cards every day with the locals (who never seemed to know where “Uno” wandered off to).






A Bonding Experience

Through it all, we sensed that we were all part of one family instead of two cultures maintaining their distinctiveness. From the moment we arrived and were met with smiles and help to put up our mosquito nets—we bonded. Spanish students bridged the gap by practicing the language they have acquired, but even non-Spanish students made precious heart connections through other means... but none more rambunctious than Mr. McCarty frequently yelling, “¡Dios es bueno!” Yes, there are many stories to share, and quite a few inside jokes to keep to ourselves, but these are all part of creating memories that we will forever carry with us.






Ridiculous Faith

We know that God went before us, paving the way and allowing us to all stay healthy and safe the entire time. We also need to give credit to Walkiri, Lucenis, and Lina—three wonderful ladies that served us with incredible food, timely cleaning, and labor-intensive laundry services all week. We are also confident that our daily small group devotionals, focusing on “ridiculous faith”, helped us to keep our eyes focused on our team’s personal mission—Hearts on Fire: For God and For Others.







Ongoing Support Through Sponsorship

Not only did we donate over $500 in supplies to the school Manantial de Vida, but we also still had $1500 left to determine how God wanted us to use it while we were there. As the week progressed, so did our love for the Dominicans and their culture grow, and therefore after hearing only a couple of testimonies, we knew what we wanted to do with the money. To date, Oakland Christian School is sponsoring two girls (an elementary student and a high schooler), allowing them to enjoy a Christian education for a full year. Three students and one staff member also felt led to sponsor children, and so they and/or their families are able to provide these with a Christian education as well. These five children will be ongoing sponsorships… and in the future, we hope to sponsor even more children through the support of our OCS community.





A Sense of Community

Finally, not only did we see our love of the Dominicans grow, but we also saw our care for and support of one another flourish. It is now our prayer that we will take all that we experienced—in particular, the sense of community—and use it to bring unity to Oakland Christian School in the fall in the name of Jesus and for His glory. After all, what happened in the Dominican can’t stay there! 







View our event photo album HERE

Laura Frasa 

Secondary Spanish Teacher, and lead teacher for the Dominican Republic missions trip

Tags: Secondary
Posted in OCS Life

Anne Wilson Visits Oakland Christian

April 30, 2022
By Oakland Christian School


Armed with a powerhouse voice and mountain-moving faith, Anne Wilson burst onto the Christian music scene with her No.1 debut smash, “My Jesus”. As the first female debut artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard AC chart, Wilson’s “My Jesus” was the longest-running No. 1 for 2021. Wilson was also Billboard’s Chartbreaker Artist in the 21 Under 21 issue (Oct. ‘21).


My Jesus

On April 22, 2022, Oakland Christian School had the privilege of hosting Anne Wilson for an exclusive visit! In celebration of the release of her new album, “My Jesus”, Anne sang songs and shared her testimony as well as the story behind the inspiration for the album. After her performance, students gathered outside with Anne to celebrate with confetti poppers, and a few lucky students were able to get an autograph!







A special thanks to Anne for visiting our school and blessing us with her music! View more photos in our event photo album HERE

Tags: Chapel, Secondary
Posted in OCS Life

LifeBuilders 2022

April 22, 2022
By Oakland Christian School


What is LifeBuilders? 

LifeBuilders is the school's largest community event and fundraising celebration of the year! This year, live auction highlights included four parking spots, premium graduation seating, and dozens of unique items and gift cards from local businesses and beyond. Additionally, three program initiatives were highlighted: STEM/Science, Elementary, and Spiritual Formation.

This year’s LifeBuilders event was held at Palazzo Di Bocce where local businesses, families, teachers, and staff in attendance enjoyed a casual evening of fellowship, food, networking, a live auction, and Bocce!

Event Sponsors 


The Fisher Family Foundation

Oakland Christian School Alumni

The Lancer Foundation

Paletz Law

Georgia Quality Carpet Outlet


Hello Fancy Boutique

Grit Obstacle Training 


Dennis Uniform

Diamond Vault of Troy

Crane Technologies

Prefered Realty Pros 

The Milby Family

Browe Skin and Brow Bar

Schoenherr Roofing

The Yatooma Foundation

Animal Surgical Center of Michigan


Event Success

The event brought in over $84,000 with 90 guests in attendance. Proceeds from the event will provide for a variety of needs including general operating expenses, science lab equipment, an additional whiteboard for elementary staff, along with a new piano and drum set for the music department.

The investments made by families and sponsors make it possible for Oakland Christian to live out the mission of equipping students to fulfill their unique God-given purpose.

A huge thank you to our sponsors! View our event photo album HERE.

Posted in OCS Life

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