2018 Celebration

With 2018 drawing to a close it is fun to reflect on all that has happened over the year.  Not as a way to boast about all we have accomplished but as a way to celebrate all that God had done and is doing in our community and around the world.  All of these events were made possible by individuals who are following God’s call to love each other.

As Arts Camp 2018 taught us...“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matt 5:16



Winter Shelter by HART

Jan 21-27 (cold, rainy) 7-12 guests a night

Feb 4-10 (warm, sunny) 5-9 guests a night

Oak Hills had 50 volunteers! Volunteers seemed to be more blessed than the guests!

Powerhouse Meals      7 weeks = 28 meals served

 

Alaska Missions Trip: April 21-30

An amazing team of 8 built a basketball court, cleared a home, volunteered at the community center, participated in cultural events and hosted community events at the church.  It was encouraging to Jami and Jason and increased their communities interest in the church.

Lenten Food Drive and Kleenex Collection

ThYouth Group sorting cans.jpgank you for donating 659 pounds of food to the Twin Lakes Foodbank over our Lenten Food Drive.  Your generosity will allow others to celebrate God’s provision.  135 boxes of tissue were also donated to Blanche Sprentz as a reminder that Oak Hills supports their staff and students.

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20 students volunteered to work at the food back on the first Monday of their spring break, instead of sleeping in!

Lent Prayer Walk  Blessed the neighborhood with prayer and prayer rocks.

 Added 2 new ministry partners:                                                        

  *Tati and Wellington Barros- We celebrated with them on April 25, with a delicious Brazilian BBQ with rice dinner.  It was a wonderful time of prayer and vision casting.

* Kyle and Kiya Schafer- We commissioned and prayed with them at church and at lunch on Nov 11.

Powerhouse Golf Tournament  6 players from Oak Hills, 19 sponsors for the event (Oak Hills was one), $28,000 raised

Commissioned 6 individuals on short term mission trips.

Arts Camp raised $1766.81 for Ylli our ministry partner in Albania and 85 crafting items for Folsom’s HopeAlbania Christmas 3.jpg

Gleaning: In July we picked 2000 lbs of  vegetables for local food banks!!

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Backpack Drive benefiting Twin Lakes Food Bank

 

Collected 48 backpacks and tons of supplies!

 

 

Commissioned Debi Zacharia as a Sacramento Police Chaplain.

Hosted Vulnerable Children Awareness night  8 organizations were represented empowering the community to make a difference in children’s lives

Folsom Community Serve Day: Sept 15

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75 Volunteers Distributed 2500 bags throughout Briggs Ranch and Willow Creek.

500 Bags of food were picked up and delivered to Twin Lakes Food bank. Over 100,000 lbs of food were colleded city wide.  We joined with over 3000 others serving that day in over 70 projects throughout Folsom.

 

Break Free RunOn Sept 22, 20 Oak Hillians, ages 8-84, participated in the Break Free Run to support 3 Strands Global in the fight against human trafficking in the Sacramento region.  We raised over $500.

Commissioned Stephenie Carr in her new full role as Alumni Coordinator at Reign Ministries.

November 11th As part of the Youth Group’s Great Fall Adventure, 20 of our students served at Twin Lakes Food bank to sort the food collected during Folsom Serve Day.

November 18th, we hosted Irene Mota for a dessert to hear updates about Restoration Ministries in Brazil.

Powerhouse’s Christmas Around Towne:     400 items were collected for the Children’s Store.  Thank you for the generous donations and thank you to Woman’s Ministry who faithfully sorted and priced over 750 items.   815 people were shown love and dignity as they were able to shop for loved ones.

Fair Trade Market  By paying attention to how and where we shop we were able to empower and enrich the lives of individuals around the world.

Through HART we helped 3 gentlemen with transitional housing.

We partnered with Sierra Chaplaincy and the Folsom Chamber of Commerce to support victims of the Camp Fire.

December 30th we hosted Michel and Jadon for a dessert to hear updates about the good work India.

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Fair Trade and Advent

by Lisa Schmidt

For the past several years, Oak Hills has been partnering with local and international organizations to bring to our church goods that provide a fair wage and sustainable working conditions to artisans around the world as one of our Advent practices. While the market is certainly fun and, we hope, and enjoyable experience, this is not the main reason why we do it. At the fair trade market you can be sure that your spending seeks to build up people and communities.

The fair trade market  is a wonderful opportunity during Advent to engage in the practices of formation and mission. It invites us to look at our holiday spending and to invite God into the process. We can ask him to examine our hearts and to bring anything to our attention that is not in alignment with his will as we seek to have him be the focus of our Advent season. Why am I buying gifts? What is a reasonable amount for me to spend? How can I push back against the pull of consumerism during this holiday season? How does what I buy affect others?

The fair trade market also has a missional focus. God is at work around the world redeeming and restoring all things to himself. There are organizations already at work in our community and around the world to bring dignity and worth to trafficking survivors, and to provide a living wage to people in developing nations. We know that some of the goods that we see in the stores where we live are made by people who are working in terrible conditions or are being exploited in other ways. How can I use my spending this holiday season not only to bring joy to the recipient of my gift, but also to those who are involved in the process that I may never see?

Our encouragement this Advent season is that you would seek to more fully invite God into your holiday spending, and that you would consider how your spending affects those around the world. May God be glorified this Advent season, not only with our lips, but also with our spending.

If you can not make it to the Fair Trade Market at Oak Hills you may shop on line throughout the year.

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Mission and Formation

by Lisa Schmidt

Our highest calling as humans is to live in communion with God. As we follow him and become his disciples, he teaches us, guides us, and leads us in the best life possible – a life lived with God. As we know, this takes effort on our end. We need to cooperate with the Spirit, who ultimately does the work in us to make us more like Jesus.

There is another side of this, however. God does not call us to become more like him for just our own sake, but also for the sake of the world. Jesus calls us to become more like him so that we can a be a sign, servant, and foretaste of the kingdom of God. God longs to gather all people to him and is already working in the world to redeem and restore all things to himself. We are called to join him in what he is already doing in this world as we walk with him throughout our daily lives.

We are a sent people, and our God is a sending God. Throughout the bible, God gathers his people and sends them out. In the old testament, Israel was set apart as God’s people in order that they might be a light to the rest of the world. One of my favorite examples of this in the new testament is when Jesus gathers his disciples together on a mountain in Galilee after his resurrection. They worship him there and then he sends them back out into the world, giving them the Great Commission.

Our God is a God of mission; he is at work both inside and outside of the walls of the church. God is on the move everywhere we already go – the grocery store, our child’s soccer game, at work, in our neighborhood. Our calling is to be attentive to where the Spirit is moving and to join him in what he’s already doing. This discernment necessitates that we are actively listening to God’s voice and seeking to become more like Jesus. Without paying attention to one’s formation, we are on a road to burnout. Without mission, we risk become overly self-focused and we miss out on a key part of God’s heart for the world.

 

 

“Jesus Loves the Little Children”

On August 6th El Dorado Union Public School will be starting.

On August 13th Folsom Cordova’s Public School will be starting.

Right now teachers are prepping and parents are eagerly waiting.  Though it is not time for spring cleaning or New Year Resolutions, the start of a new school year always seems like a time to reset the schedule and evaluate priorities.  Having registered for sports months ago I didn’t consider what our fall schedule might look like.  Last week when I  received our schedule for 4 sports teams, I realized, this fall, we’ll be at a field seven days a week.  My priorities don’t need to be pondered long, they are quite glaring… I value my kids and their desire to play sports.  There is nothing wrong with that, but in this busy season I need to see where God is already at work and where He is leading me.

Children, not just mine, but all children are dear to my heart.  Is it their curiosity, innocents, potential, vulnerability, resilience … I am not sure, but one thing I do know, I want every child to know they are lovable because they are loved by God.  As the school year starts I see so many flocking to school and I wonder what will that child face today? What words of truth will seep into his/her heart.  What lies will be reinforced? What joys to they notice? What burdens do they carry?

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary vulnerable is defined as able to be easily physically, emotionally or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked.  According the World Health Organization youth are among the most vulnerable and poverty is a major contributing factor in vulnerability.  Poverty in Folsom looks very different from poverty in a refugee camps, but in both places are in need of a community that can offer opportunity and the truth of God’s love.

God is already at work in the lives of children and in leaders in our community through The Playmakers, Adopt-A Ward, and Folsom’s Hope. But they need others, invested individuals, to walk with them and Jesus.  Adopt-A-Ward needs people to hold bible studies in juvenile hall, and artist who would like to share their craft, monthly or just once.  The Playmakers, hires individuals to run an afterschool programs to mentor youth on the core values of accountability, commitment, teamwork, and family to prepare them to become people of enduring character who will lead their families and community.  Folsom’s Hope runs after school programs and in-school mentoring programs.  Mentors are always need for elementary and middle school students.

I can see where God is meeting me in my passions and leading me to advocate for others. In just one week I received emails from 3 organizations requesting time to share ways they are caring for vulnerable children.  What I love about each organization is they believe not just in “rescuing” children but addressing prevention, crisis intervention, and reintegration.  It is exciting for me to see others who share the same passion for youth as I do and invite others to be advocates for the future.  As a result, Oak Hills is hosting a Vulnerable Children Awareness night.  The vision is to empower you to partner with organizations that are improving the livelihood of children both locally and around the world.  We will have speakers from World Relief Sacramento, the Institute for Children’s Aid- Refugee Foster Care, Defending the Cause and 3 Strands Global. Each organization will speak for about 15 min and have a specific ways you can get involved.

Please join us Monday, August 27th at 6:30 pm in the Family Auditorium to find out how you can empower the next generation.

Fast for World Refugee Day on June 20

By Lisa Schmidt

Increasingly over the past few years, I find myself more and more drawn to the idea of feasting and fasting as part of a larger rhythm of life. We have so much to rejoice in as Christians and the reality of the Gospel is something to celebrate. God is too amazing to be only celebrated at Christmas and Easter.

I love the idea of sharing a meal with others in a spirit of celebration and deep gratitude to God for His faithfulness as a regular practice of our Christian walk. Rich meats, fine wine enjoyed in the company of others with a spirit of celebration and an eye to one day when we will celebrate with believers from every time and place in the presence of our risen King – this is something to get excited about! Feasting is also a great way to be missional in your neighborhood – everyone loves a party.

Fasting, however, is a little harder for me to get excited about. In the past, I had primarily thought of fasting as either a way to make the feast more festive (celebrating Easter takes on a whole new meaning when you’ve spent six weeks journeying through Lent), or as a way of practicing self-control and remembering that I do not live on bread alone.

And while I still believe that this is true, my eyes have recently been opened to the fact that biblical fasting focuses less on the results of fasting, and more on the circumstances which bring about the fasting. Scott McKnight in his book Fasting, states: “The focus in the Christian tradition is not ‘if you fast you will get’ but ‘when this happens, God’s people fast.’”

Barry Jones in his book Dwell: Life with God for the World lists some examples of why God’s people fast in the Bible: loss in battle (Judges 20:26), relief from famine (Jeremiah 14:1-12; Joel 1:14), the death of a leader (1 Samuel 31:13; 1 Chronicles 10:12; 2 Samuel 1:12), personal sorrow (1 Samuel 1:7-8; Job 3:24; Pslam 42:1-5), the sin of the community (Daniel 9:3-14; Nehemiah 1:4-7), and personal sin (2 Samuel 12:16-23; 1 Kings 21:27-29). Put simply, God’s people fasted in response to the brokenness of the world. Barry Jones goes on to say: “Fasting is the way we engage our bodies in protest against the vandalism of shalom.”

When faced with the brokenness of this world, we often want to look away or to try and find a way to fix it. When we take either (or both) of those options, we miss out on a third option – grieving this “vandalism of shalom,” by fasting and praying. While there are certainly times of celebration in our lives as our God is a joyous God, there are also times to weep and mourn as our God weeps and mourns.

Barry Jones also opened my eyes to the fact that fully half of the references in Scripture to fasting pertain to fasting together in community. What would happen if we as God’s people expressed, in a physical way, together, our sadness at the current injustice of the world and our deep longing for the world to come more fully under the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ?

The Missional Strategies Team at Oak Hills will be fasting on Wednesday June 20th – World Refugee Day – as a response to the global and local injustices being committed against refugees. We would love for you to join us.

You can also join us by praying, along with others around the world, this prayer written by Mark Koenig the Director of Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations:

God of the journey,

We remember that Mary and Joseph Had to flee to Egypt,

Taking Jesus to safety,

Leaving home behind.

Remembering,

We pray for sisters and brothers

Around your world Who are forced to leave their homes.

We pray for brothers and sisters who are

Driven from home by natural disasters.

We pray for sisters and brothers who are

Driven from unnatural acts of violence and persecution.

We pray for brothers and sisters who are

Driven from home because of inadequate responses to natural events.

We pray for those who leave their countries and cross borders.

We pray for those who are internally displaced,

Finding new places to live within their own country.

We pray for those who are exposed to freezing cold and searing heat,

Those who lack food, water, shelter, and other necessities of life,

Those who are exploited, violated, and abused, and

Those who mourn the loss of place and all that brings.

We give thanks for the strength, courage, and grace of our sisters and brothers

Who are refugees or internally displaced.

We give thanks for the contributions they make in their new places

And for the ways in which they enrich our lives.

Guide the leaders of the world to find creative ways to respond,

To extend protection and provide safe haven,

To care compassionately and respectfully for the needs of our sisters and brothers,

To address the situations and circumstances that force people to leave their homes.

To do justice and to seek peace.

Show us ways that we can support our brothers and sisters whom we encounter.

Inspire us to engage in the efforts to create a world

In which all have a safe place to call home.

We pray in the name of the refugee Jesus,

Amen.

We feast because the Kingdom of God has come, and we fast because it has not yet come into its fullness. We feast because Jesus has come, and we fast waiting for him to return to make all things right. I believe that both of these are an important part of our walk with God, and a key to understanding more fully God’s heart for the world that He loves. Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Two local organizations that Oak Hills has worked with to support refugees are:       World Relief and The International Refugee Committee

**If fasting is something new you, consider looking at the chapter on Fasting from Richard Fosters book, Celebration of Disciplines.  Or here is a link to an excerpt from his book. http://www.thelighthouse.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Fasting-Booklet.pdf

If a food fast is not something you can do for health reasons, you may consider fasting from a favorite food or daily activity.

Alaska 2018 By Holly Carlson

IMG_3498For the past two years, Oak Hills has sent a group of people to a small subsistence living Tlingit village, Klukwan, in southeast Alaska. While one of the purposes of the trip was to provide assistance to this struggling village, most of us who went feel like we received much more than we gave.  This year we helped strip a house so that it can be renovated so that growing and returning families can have new places to live, we helped fix up the church, we did some work in the community, and we helped serve a meal to visitors in the hospitality house. But we were gifted with such beautiful experiences.

This community is abounding with the gift of storytelling, the lack of distractions, the ability to listen, generous giving, prolific art and master craftsmanship, and interdependent community. This is a community where a person’s value is determined by the stories they have been gifted to share, and the amount of possessions they have given away.  Education, financial success, professional status – these are only as valuable as what they provide their community.  A person coming into the community with wealth who does not share it would not be held in high esteem, while someone without any income who works hard at the salmon harvest and generously shares her food would be highly respected.

This seems so intuitive! Does our community esteem the same values? Are we distracted by big homes, high ranking jobs, a bunch of letters after our names? Why do we long for more?

Both times I have gone to Klukwan I have wanted to stay.  It was such a blessing to see Jami and Jason Cambell thriving there; they are a couple who went on the first trip and were asked to stay and pastor the community church.  If you ever find yourself in Klukwan, I strongly recommend going to church on Sunday and experiencing God through Jami’s teaching.  Something about this community brings out beauty in people.  For me, the performance issues and busyness is stripped away and I just get to be me.  I wish I had more places like that here in Folsom.

Even as I sit down to write this entry, my mind is wandering to all the things I have to do today, all the things I would like to do, all the discomforts I am trying to avoid.

All this is not to say that Folsom is terrible and Klukwan is perfect.  They have significant struggles with substance abuse, mental illness, loneliness, and disunity.  I believe those are struggles in all communities.  But when people live so close together in small numbers, and when they truly depend on each other for survival, flaws are much more difficult to hide.  Klukwan lives with one foot in American culture and one foot in native tradition.  The division creates some internal (and external) turmoil that is going to take this community a lot of time to reconcile. Despite their struggles, I still think our lives would be enriched by bringing a little bit of Klukwan here.

What if we did things just a little bit differently?  What if we lived a little more simply? What if we gave away a little more money without any strings attached (because we all know that if our employer paid us only if we would spend it on necessities we would all be in trouble)? What if when people were talking to us, we let them finish, and then waited for a few seconds, minutes even, before we started speaking? What if we told people our story a little more often – without the garnishes and thrills – the boring stuff, the simple stuff?  What if we actually turned off our phones and our computers and our televisions most nights? What about even one night a week?

If you want to experience a little bit of Klukwan I have a couple of suggestions for you.

  1. Ask a friend/family member/loved one to tell a story about their childhood pet or childhood memory.  It can be a short story, a long story, it doesn’t matter.  Let them tell you the entire story with no interruptions (this means turn your phones on silent, TVs off, music off, etc).  Then let them finish.  Wait at least 30 seconds in silence.  Afterward, don’t ask any questions, don’t try to clarify something you didn’t quite hear or understand.  Trust that what they told you was everything and enough, and walk away with that.
  2. Have one night a week with the people you live with (or if you live alone, with close friends or family) where electronics get turned off at 5 PM.  You eat together, play games, talk, read, and maybe even go to bed early.
  3. Give something away without any regard to whether the recipient is “deserving” or whether they will use it “wisely”
  4. Find a way to depend on someone – ask someone else to do your grocery shopping, ask for a ride when you would have normally used an Uber, ask someone else to make dinner, etc
  5. Go spend some time in nature – find a waterfall hike, head up to Tahoe or to the ocean, go kayaking

Please continue to pray for Klukwan.

  • Pray for the upcoming Salmon harvest- that it will be bountiful and that they can store up food for the winter
  • Pray for Jami and Jason as they shepherd the church in Klukwan
  • Pray for the Kingdom of God to reign in Klukwan – that disunity and spite will disappear in the light of the Good News of Jesus Christ
  • Pray for those struggling with substance abuse, depression, and other mental illnesses – that they will be given peace, healing, and be valued in the midst of their struggles
  • Pray for the youth of Klukwan living abroad that want to return home that they may find a way.
  • Pray for the Oak Hills trip next year – that we will have skilled laborers come as well as hopefully a trip co-leader

Relationships Make all the Difference

In September, Kody Renfro’s (Communications Administrator @ Oak Hills) grandmother moved into Folsom Care Center. Since Kody lived just down the street she decided to visit her grandmother daily as much as possible. Though Kody’s grandmother recognizes her, she is not aware that Kody is her granddaughter. Sometimes Kody is a childhood friend, other times she is “one of the neighborhood children”, but most often she is “my best friend”. Kody commented that she is happy to be whoever her grandma needs her to be that day. As she walks in she is not sure what time period they will be in or how their relationship started, but what is beautiful is that there is a relationship.

Although this looks like a blessing for Kody’s grandmother (and it is), Kody is noticing what a gift it is for her. She is learning how to slow down and be more present with others; there is no purpose in worrying about errands and to do lists or incessantly checking the cellphone when sitting inside Folsom Care Center. And after a difficult or frustrating day, sitting with her grandmother for a while tends to put things in perspective, and Kody leaves a little more centered and renewed. That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when she doesn’t feel like going or it feels like another item on the to do list, but she is grateful for the opportunity to make these visits a part of her everyday life rhythm.

Kody is not only getting to know her grandma more she is getting to know other residents and staff. Over time, they made the connection that Oak Hills and Denise Gregorini have been serving at Folsom Care Center through SuperSeniors for years. While helping with Cappuccino Christmas last year, Kody had the vision of inviting seniors. Little did she know that just a few days after pitching the idea her grandmother would be moved to Folsom Care Center. Now Kody has the connections to see this desire come to fruition. Personally, I love this story because it embodies “life on mission.” Kody took her everyday life, used it to love others, noticed that God was already at work, and was able to further connect Oak Hills with the community around her.  I look forward to seeing how life, ministry partners and church programs continue to weave together!

 

Denise Gregorini and SuperSeniors holds church services at 10:00 AM at Folsom Care Center.  Denise would love to see more children at the service.  The service is not long so you’ll have plenty of time to back to Oak Hills for the 11am service.   If your family is interested in joining please contact Denise at denise@gregorini.com.

Super Seniors also has special events throughout the year that are great ways for families to serve together. http://superseniorssacramento.org/