I remember the first time I stepped foot inside of the little church. I was eleven, extremely shy, irritable, and angry with humanity. My family and I were moving from Springfield and we were checking out possible places to live. KC was one of them.
Turns out that’s where we moved. Oasis church treated us like a family. It was what a true church should be. A bunch of people came to help us unpack our U-haul and to get our new house set up. Everyone was so, so kind.
Looking back, I’m awed by the patience and persistence of the wonderful people at Oasis. I absolutely refused to talk to anyone. Most people and most churches would have given up on me after receiving only silence from me for a couple weeks. But not the Oasis people. No, they continued to try. They loved our whole family so much. They talked to me and continued to do so, even though I didn’t respond. One woman waited over a year to hear me say one single word. You guys, that is insane patience! During that time, she was so kind and friendly and she made me feel so welcome – even when I wouldn’t talk.
The church was a place of diversity. There were people from several different countries, but everyone came together each Sunday to praise God. We sang and prayed and listened to good sermons. We were a family. Oasis was truly that – an oasis for me. God used it to show me that I could trust people again; to remind me that there were good people who loved us not for anything we did, but for us.
I remember a few weeks after we moved to KC, we came to church. It was raining outside and the whole atmosphere was quiet and peaceful. I was walking with my family to our chairs when one of the kind Nepalese grandmothers just reached out and wrapped me in her arms. We didn’t speak the same language, we weren’t from the same country and we had very little in common. But in that moment, she showed me what it means to love a stranger like Jesus does. I’ll never forget that. God used that one, beautiful action to remind my little, wary heart that I was loved. Deeply, unconditionally loved.
One of the most amazing women that I knew was from Oasis. Marjorie was shorter than Mama with a big grin and a bigger heart. She loved Jesus so much and she loved us so much. She became a pen pal to Jehosheba and I and she faithfully sent us letters throughout the long year that we lived in Minnesota and the time that we spent in Tennessee. Her heart was so so big and she had so much love inside. I’m being repetitive here, but it’s true. Her letters were filled to the brim with encouragement and hope. She had been through so much darkness – mental and physical and she knew just what to say to give me the hope that I desperately needed at the times that I needed it most.
I have so many fond memories of Sundays spent in the little room in Oasis. Hot summers and cold, wet winters. God used Oasis to bring our family the community and friendship that we were seeking. We still have friends from that church – even though we’ve moved several times since.
Sadly, Oasis didn’t last. Six days after my thirteenth birthday, we went for the last time. I had no clue we’d never be back. It wasn’t the same church. Most of the old congregation had left. It’s gone now, but the memories are still alive in my mind and in my heart.
Thank you, Oasis, for being there for me and for showing me what a true church is like. I’ve never found any other church like you. I will never forget you.