Hi y’all, I’m SK and you’ve probably seen me around the Treehouse. I’m a sophomore at Samford University majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. How did I become involved in Oak Tree Ministries? Well, because of a program called Micah Fellows.
Micah Fellows is a service based honors program at Samford that revolves around Micah 6:8, which says “And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God”. Freshman year, my cohort of Micah Fellows studied the meaning of justice. This year, we are focusing on mercy. Junior year we will focus on humility, then throughout senior year we will be learning about grant writing. Micah Fellows has already provided me with knowledge I wouldn’t have learned inside an ordinary classroom.
For example, I filed taxes for Birmingham citizens in low income areas through Impact Alabama. Numbers are not my strength, so I had multiple breakdowns before realizing it’s not about me or how well I can file taxes. It’s about providing a service to people who may not be shown this kind of love if it weren’t for volunteers. I also got to be a listening ear to those who just needed someone to talk to. I heard many stories that stick with me to this day. Because of this experience, I wanted to do something more to make even a small difference in low income communities.
At the end of freshman year, the Micah Fellows had the opportunity to interview with non-profits in Birmingham. Service is a central theme within the program, so each of us are required to intern at a non-profit for three years during our time at Samford. Most people wanted to find one that related to their major, but God was tugging at my heart, telling me I shouldn’t go down that path. I interviewed with multiple places. None of them felt quite right for me. Finally, I sat down and talked with Halie and Jesse and I learned about an organization whose mission is something I am passionate about.
They explained how Oak Tree Ministries focuses on reconciling people with God and people with other people in their community. How they work to provide relief to Marks Village, whether that’s in times of crisis over over a long period of time. How they work to rehabilitate the community and people, physically and spiritually. And how they build relationships with the people in Mark’s village in order to spread the news of the goodness of God.
After interning here for a little over a semester, it’s helped me confirm that community is so necessary and that everyone benefits from it. We are all broken, and sometimes the only way to rebuild ourselves is through connecting with others while connecting with God.
So what do I do here? I get to help out a little behind the scenes by helping to organize the newsletter and doing any kind of work needed to prepare for the day. I also volunteer at Reading Club on Thursdays and Bible Club on Sundays.
Recently, God has been telling me to work on vulnerability. I spent a lot of time suppressing that calling, until He broke me down and proved to me I needed to be vulnerable. So, I love getting to talk with my small group of second and third grade boys at Bible Club. Through this time, we all share struggles we face at school with our peers. Then we discuss little things we can change to reduce conflict and show love towards one another. At Oak Tree, God has showed me that vulnerability breeds vulnerability. Trust is gained as relationships are built, which is a pathway for sharing how loving God is and how we can share that love with others.
If you ever see me around, please stop me to say hi!