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Fall Fun!

Friends of Oak Tree,


We had such a fun, colorful October that we want to make sure you never miss out on what's happening in the Village! If you haven't already, make sure you sign up for our monthly newsletter so that you never miss an update! 


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Picking Out Pumpkins! 

The Reading Club went on a field trip to Old Baker Farm last month! We climbed a mountain of hay bales, held a baby goat, went on a hayride, and picked out a pumpkin a piece to take home! While the pictures are precious, insert the sound of giggles and the smell of hay for the full effect. 


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Welcome, Raquel!

We are excited that Raquel has joined our team at Oak Tree! Many of you already know Raquel, who has been serving in Marks Village for several years in her work with Serving You Ministries and Discovery Clubs at Oliver. Raquel will be working and coordinating across ministry areas with our women, teens, and children. She is clearly right at home with our neighbors! Please welcome Raquel to the family when you see her next!

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Teresa's Farewell

What a wonderful evening celebrating Teresa and her time in ministry with us! Neighbors, volunteers, and friends all gathered for a dinner and sweet speeches. Teresa helped to start the Bible Club at Ambassador for Christ Church almost five years ago and has been faithfully serving with both the children and women in Marks Village. We will miss her, but we know she has so many new opportunities ahead as she moves to live near her children and grandchildren.

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Women's Fellowship

This month we had the opportunity to hear from Forge, breast cancer survivor center, to find out what resources are available to the women in the Village who are facing the battle with cancer. Thank you, Forge!


Give Thanks!

Friends of Bible Club, you are invited to join us for a Thanksgiving meal! We want to celebrate with our neighbors & give thanks to God for all He is doing in the Village!

Click HERE to find out more & RSVP.

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Volunteer Opportunities

There are many ways you can get involved serving with us! Check out the opportunities listed below and always feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas you may have.

THIS MONTH'S HIGHLIGHTED NEED:
We are in need of childcare assistance during our women's fellowship group on Monday afternoons & Thursday evenings.

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  • Bible Club - We need more disciple-makers for K-12th graders on Sunday afternoons.
     
  • Reading Club - We need more volunteers to join us Tuesdays and Thursdays to make disciples who love to read with K-5th graders.
     
  • Meals - We need volunteers willing to make sack dinners for our Bible Club kids. Click HERE to find out more or to sign up.
     
  • Interested in working with kids or teenagers for the glory of God? Ask for more information here.

Look what we're reading!

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Join us for our monthly Book Club to discuss Cross-Cultural Servanthood on November 30th at 6:30 p.m.

Neighborhood Brew
5184 Caldwell Mill Rd. #206
Hoover, AL 35244

RSVP to halie.kawell@oaktreeministries.org


 

You Can Now Follow Us On Instagram!


Praises and Prayer Requests

  • We are so thankful God provided a new van through a generous donation! Bible Club pick up time has been cut in half and it makes field trips so much easier with two vehicles! 
     
  • God has sent so many new volunteers to serve with the Reading Club and we are so grateful.
     
  • Pray for more Reading Club volunteers so that the kids on our waiting list can join soon!
     
  • Join us in praying Psalm 37 this month: "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..."

The ministry we do each day is only made possible through your partnership! We could never say thank you enough for laboring alongside and loving our neighbors with us. We hope to see you in the Village soon!

With grateful hearts,
The Oak Tree Ministries Team

Christmas in the Village

This year, Oak Tree Ministries will be reinventing our annual
“Christmas Shop” in Marks Village!

As we learn to love our neighbors as ourselves, we begin to see the world from their point of view, challenging us to reevaluate our own views. Some of us love shopping for Christmas! Others prefer online shopping. But we can all agree it is a joy to give a special gift to our loved ones!

Many parents in our community do not have the privilege of shopping for a special Christmas gift for their child. We want to change that! Rather than giving children gifts from us, what if we were able to provide a way for parents to shop at affordable prices and choose their own gifts for their children? We want to support families in the Village by letting parents have the joy of watching their children open gifts on Christmas morning that come from them!

It’s fun to play Santa, but we want to pass that role on to parents so that they can receive the credit, while we take the role of his little helpers! Would you join us in being elves this year?

If you would like to see what this looks like in Atlanta, you can watch THIS SHORT VIDEO.

So, how will this work?In the coming months, we will collect new toys from partners like you! We will price toys at an extremely reduced rate and organize them like a store at our “Tree House.” On December 15-16, we will open up “Christmas in the Village” for parents to come shop for their children. All funds raised from toy sales will go toward summer programs for their children. With the help of our neighbors and gracious volunteers we will have a gift-wrapping station, door prizes, cookies and hot chocolate, childcare with Christmas activities, and more!

Our heart is to see “Christmas in the Village” strengthen our relationship with our neighbors, allow us to have tons of fun with our community, and share the hope that Christ brings through the Christmas story!

Christmas in the Village will be a unique giving opportunity because it provides four gifts in one: 

1. The gift of a toy at Christmas for a child. 

2. The gift of pride for the parents who are able to provide for their own families. 

3. The gift of fellowship and community as we celebrate Christmas with our neighbors.

4. The gift of funding for summer programs for children in the coming year!

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There are many ways YOU can be involved!

o   Be a business sponsor!

o   Donate toys (shop on our Amazon wish list to deliver right to us, or get gift ideas HERE)

o   Donate wrapping paper / gift bags

o   Volunteer your time!

 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Raquel at raquel.patterson@oaktreeministries.org. 

Stay tuned! We will be posting updates & specific volunteer needs in the weeks to come!

 

Family Fun Night

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Some of my favorite childhood memories include evenings when all the neighbors in our cul-de-sac came to our house. Parents were standing around the grill while kids played in the yard together. There is something about those peaceful, fun evenings as a child I will never forget.

September 28th, Reading Club had its first Family Fun Night and the evening resonated in my mind as those sweet sounds from childhood.

Our two fifth grade buddies planned the event for weeks! They decided on our menu: Nachos and Faygo, our decorations: a rainbow of tablecloths complete with flowers and homemade confetti, and voted that games would be an important part of the evening. They did a terrific job and were proud of their hard work!

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Several moms joined us Thursday evening after Reading Club and we all enjoyed a delicious meal, prepared by Oak Tree’s Women of Faith Fellowship. We were so thankful for these neighbors who served us!

After dessert, we formed teams with our family members and played Minute-to-Win-it Games putting Books of the Bible in order, stacking library books so quietly the librarian wouldn’t say “SHH!”, and keeping balloons afloat! The smiles and giggles were infectious!

We capped off the evening with a story, as all good Reading Club events must! We listened to Catching the Moon by Crystal Hubbard reminding all of our spunky kids to keep dreaming and working hard and thanking their parents who support them every step of the way.

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Thank you, Reading Club Families, for a wonderful evening, but more so for pursuing God with us and enjoying his wonderful gift of words!

Drenched in the Gospel

I love studying the Old Testament with children because it is drenched in the Gospel. Every story points to who God is, who we are, and the fact that God is coming back to save us! We started walking through the Old Testament together as a Reading Club in late Spring. We learned about Creation and marveled at God's work, we studied the Fall and asked question after question, we grieved as Cain killed Abel and talked about how this was only the first murder, but not the last. We read about Noah and the animals bobbing along in the flood waters and about men trying to reach heaven with a tower instead of a Savior. This past week we played a game in Family Meeting to help us get a better idea of the Tower of Babel. We got out the Lincoln Logs and attempted to build a tower without talking! We didn't get very far! It is hard when everyone is trying to work on different parts and we kept undoing each others' work! 

We also reviewed Noah's Ark in Storytime reading Old Noah's Elephants. We imagined what life might have been like on the Ark during those long days and nights. Then we made an Elephant craft melting crayons for colorful sprays of water! 

We will continue learning about the Tower of Babel this week. Abraham and Sarah coming soon! 

If the Power Goes Out...

If the summer storm causes the power to go out, we’re going to need a flashlight.

If you give us a flashlight, we’ll probably spy the new stack of books.

If we see the new Elephant and Piggie books, we will want to read them.

Reading the books together will make us laugh and giggle.

When we laugh and giggle, it will remind us of other books we love to read.

We will need to go find them.

When we leave our circle to go get them, we remember it’s so dark we need a flashlight.

Turning on our flashlight will remind us that this isn’t a normal Reading Club Day, because the storm made the power go out.  

Our Boys

I am going to miss these three wonderful boys! Two of them have been in Reading Club since the beginning, and the third begged to join for a while until a place finally opened up for him at the beginning of this year. They will be leaving us at the end of the summer to join the Oak Tree teens. The three of them have been providing great leadership in our Reading Club family. They actively engage in our Bible study times asking question after question and demonstrating for the little ones how to wrestle with the word of God.

I thank God for their families who have shared them with us and for the faithful volunteers who have read with them, played with them and prayed for them!

~Becky

Zephaniah 3:17

What a joy it is to watch children grow! The more time I spend around children, the more I am lead to think “What must God be thinking about me right now?”

I get so excited by their enthusiasm. Have you ever been to the zoo with a group of children? Children are thrilled to see a crocodile, sometimes even if it doesn’t move! They want to see, touch, and smell everything. And let’s not forget to take pictures of every moment, because every moment is precious and needs to be remembered. I love to think of God watching us, young and old, explore his creation. Imagine the delight he must have to see us encounter new things he created just for us. He must love to watch us in awe of Him.

I am delighted by their questions. Children ask wonderful questions. During Camp, they asked: “What was the snake doing in the garden?” “What happened to Abel after Cain killed him?” “Is…ahem…hell…ahem…real?” “How did the cowboy turn blue?” Their curiosity means that they are ready to learn, ready to listen, and they want you to tell them. I imagine how God must feel when I ask Him a million questions. Maybe he thinks, “she’s ready to learn, ready to listen, and she’s asking me”.

I am thrilled by their progress. I got to read Dr. Seuss last week, the very repetitive One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. As I read to my buddy, he started to read along with me! Slowly at first, he listened and watched as I pointed to the words and carefully enunciated each one. When I got to the same word again, he would hesitantly jump in half way through the word and finish it with me. At the end of the book, he was reading a page or two on his own. What fun! I can imagine God saying, “Watch me this time. Are you ready to do it with me? Now try it on your own!”

I am saddened, but hopeful in their shortcomings. Yes, I’m disappointed when they make bad decisions. I want to see them use the self-control I’ve taught them all the time, instead of “mostly”. But, I’m also resolute. We will talk about it, they can work to make it right and repair relationships, and they can learn. Then, they will be able to teach others what they have learned. During camp, one student lashed out at another and had to walk away for a minute and then return to apologize. I sympathized with her; I had just had to apologize that morning and I told her the story. I said, “I know apologizing isn’t fun; it’s hard.” She said, “No, Ms. Halie. Apologizing is fun. You feel a lot better afterwards.” I never thought about that; I guess you do! So, while we know God is saddened by our sin, he is also the master of using it to teach us and ultimately to bring himself glory!

So, if you are at all like me and enjoy watching children’s antics, watch and learn. Remember how your Heavenly Father delights over you!

New Faces, New Friends

We have a new member in our Reading Club family! He has been coming to the Treehouse every day for weeks to hang out by the fence and ask if he has a Reading Buddy yet. We would tell him to keep praying and he would always say he would. Well, God has answered his prayers and ours and he met his new Buddy last week! They are going to be best buddies. But before she even got here, he was able to come to camp!

Bless his sweet little heart, he was a not only a newcomer in a family of veterans, but he was also the youngest in the group. He could have been intimidated or shy, but those adjectives do not apply to this boy! He was joyfully enthusiastic all five days. He volunteered for everything and participated in Bible discussions that were being driven largely by our brilliant fifth graders and he just stayed with them.

I wish everyone could see how much this precious boy’s parents believe in him. They both encourage him and us as we all work together to love and develop this child. It is an amazing gift to serve with these families!

~Becky

Reading Club Camp Rewind

Reading Club Camp was June 5th-June 9th this year. We have collected pictures, videos, and stories and we are ready to tell you all about it! Each day this week we will share more about our fun time together...

The moment that it ended, I knew it was something special. And yet, every time someone asked me how the week went, I could only say "It was wonderful". I lost all words. Thankfully, one of our faithful Reading Buddies from Camp sent me this email that perfectly expresses both of our emotions about the week of camp. I hope you can rejoice with us too, even as we are a little sad that it is over.  

"I think we all miss Reading Club camp. Yes, it was challenging in many ways. Ordinarily we have our sweet kiddos for three hours max and camp days were twice that long. On regular days we simply serve a snack on the shuttle and during camp we served two sit-down family meals. Field trips are usually special occasions and that week we had an outing every day. These things posed challenges.

And yet, we all kind of miss it. It's hard to explain, but there was a luxurious feeling of all that time together as a family. We didn’t feel rushed because we had all day together. Sitting down together for meals felt natural and familiar. And going out exploring together every day bonded us together in special ways, as every day we split up into small groups to roam new places.

The best part of the day for me was going to the children's homes to pick them up for the day. On each hot summer morning when other children were sleeping late on a day without school, our children we're dressed and ready to go! Some of them were waiting excitedly on the sidewalk and one would call to make sure we were not going to forget her! The shuttle ride was calm as we all quietly talked about the joys ahead of us that day.

I am so glad we all had that time together. My heart swells with gratitude to the Lord for making it happen. "