NOW does Oasis 2017: Get to Know Our Team!

On June 15th, 2017, 14 women will begin the long journey to Nakuru, Kenya, where we will work alongside our Oasis Artisans and Sisters. After 4 planes in 4 airports, 4 vans, 1 trailer, and 3  countries on the heels of nearly 10 months of planning, organizing, collecting, fundraising, packing, immunizing, and praying-  we will breathe that thick Kenyan air and feel the warm embrace of Oasis founder Irene…and it will all be worth it!

As we prepare to head out in a few short days, we covet your prayers for our safety and health, for eyes to see clearly and hearts to feel deeply and minds to be opened. We are so grateful for the overwhelming support and love that our families and community have shown us as we embark on this adventure!

A few of our Team Members shared their hearts with us in preparation, around why they feel led to take this wild ride, who Jesus is to them and perhaps what it means to be a true servant. We hope you enjoy getting to know some of our phenomenal Team a little better!

Kathryn Clontz
Kathryn has been working with children and families her entire adult career, advocating for those with Special Needs and their people, as well as giving selflessly of her time and heart to her church and community, her family, and No Ordinary Women. Kathryn has 2 wild and compassionate boys that are pretty much as cool as kids can get.

“I have always had a heart for mission- especially involving women and children. This organization is exactly what I feel is important in this world- helping others gain self worth and independence through God’s love! I fee this is God’s will for me. God commands us to ‘live sent’, saying in Acts 1:8 ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’.”

Jamie Cogdill
Jamie works behind the scenes of our beautiful hometown for the Downtown Waynesville Association, championing small businesses and entrepreneurs in every way imaginable. She serves her church in multiple ways on a constant basis, and serves on the Board of Directors for No Ordinary Women.

“I want to experience life outside of my sheltered existence here in my little corner. I want to see God at work in other people’s lives and in ways I’ve never experienced. I want to go in the name of Jesus because he told us to go. I can’t wait to meet my sisters at Oasis!! Jesus is my compass and he gives me direction in his teaching and his love. With his incredible sacrifice I live a hopeful, forward looking life without shame in where I’ve been and what I have done. Jesus is my guide and helps me step outside myself and interact with the world in a much more loving, compassionate way. God calls for us to have compassionate hearts and to exhibit trustworthiness just as he sent Jesus to serve and give his life…the ultimate servant.”

Ashley Creason
Ashley has recently graduated with her Masters in Social Work and has always been an active part of her church and community. Her strong leadership skills and passion for justice will take her far in her chosen field, and we are so proud of her accomplishments. Ashley and her husband have recently relocated to Washington State.

“I didn’t choose Kenya, Kenya chose me. I had a yearning to do a mission trip and somehow use my social work training. I was researching options and soon realized that I was focusing too much on a location that I wanted to go, and that missions isn’t about my desires…when Leah brought up this opportunity I immediately felt a peace and calling to go! To serve means that you’re working for God’s glory and not your own. It means a lifelong practice to show God’s love, not just on mission trips, but to ‘the least of these’ and everyone else.”

Olivia Owens
Olivia is a 14 year old student with a smile that lights up the entire room. Olivia has a brave heart and brilliant mind, and it’s an honor to have her at the youngest member of our Team. Olivia’s mom Bonnie (a warrior woman of Love in every single way) is also going on the trip with us.

“I think this will be a great learning experience for me, and an opportunity for me to grow stronger in my faith. I can see God working in my life. Jesus is my savior and I know that he will always be there and never leave my side. I know he will love me unconditionally no matter what. I am excited to be a servant, which means carrying out God’s plan and word and worshiping him with all your heart!”

Amy Pryor
Amy is a graphic designer and technical wizard. She mentors youth at her church, serves in various capacities within church leadership, and is a member of the Board of Directors for No Ordinary Women. Amy always brings snacks to our Team Meetings, which is perfecto because Leah always forgets.

“I want to go on this rip because it is out of my comfort zone. I have always been a homebody and only traveled overseas once. When we reach the end of our comfort zone, we learn our true potential and our calling. I want to grow and experience and be better than just sticking with what I’ve always known. And even though stepping out scares me, the group of women I am traveling with is comforting. I feel safe and at home in our group. I want to meet these joyful women of oasis. Life is hard for everyone, but they still work so hard to keep their families going…and still take joy in the hard work and their lives. I want that kind of joy. A servant is someone who shows up and gives of their time, energy and gifts without need of a reward. I think people just need other people to be kind in any small way. ”

Lesley Stiggins
Lesley is a Jane of All Trades, ain’t that the truth. She flips houses and fosters children and raises them with her own, helps run a farm and a camp in the Mountains, and somehow does all of it with an ease to her soul and a steadiness in her heart.

“I have wanted to go to Africa since I saw The Lion King as a kid, and as my relationship with God grew I knew I needed to go at some point in my life. This unique opportunity to travel with 13 other women came and I couldn’t pass it up! Jesus led a life of Love, and I want to emulate that.”

Jordyn Youse
Jordyn is 21 years old and wears as many hats as possible, including being a student at HCC, a firefighter for the Junaluska Fire Department, helping run the family consignment business, house/pet/baby sitter extraordinaire. Jordyn has been known to eat Taco Bell while in the drive-thru of Chick-fil-a because how can anyone choose?

“I have always had a heart for helping people and for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to go to Kenya. I remember growing up and watching people from our church go and come back with stories and thinking, ‘I want to be one of those people!’ The past couple of years have been really hard, and I lost a lot of my spiritual growth tools. Within the last year my friend invited me to a bible study and through this I have regained strength and hope. Jesus is so real to me and is always there for me!”

Avery Woods
Avery is (almost) a High School graduate heading to Gardner Webb this Fall. Avery is top in her class, teaches 1st grade Sunday School, leads a dance worship team for kids, is a student leader at her church, attends her own Life Group and leads a Middle School girls Life Group weekly. She also dances in competitions and on the beach with her Mama, is quiet like her Daddy, is a loving and attentive sister to Ella, and carries on the torch of her older brother Tyler by living life to the fullest.

“I want to see life beyond U.S. boarders. I want to reach people with Love and Jesus. Gaining this experience may give me a new value in life and deepened passion for serving others. I’m constantly striving to learn more about Jesus and glorify him. Jesus is where I find my utmost happiness.”