We are calling each of our Care Centers for missionaries, humanitarian aid workers, and pastors, OASIS. In a recent book, Shifting Sands, by Steve Donahue, who actually
crossed the Sahara desert in his younger years, I discovered three reasons why a traveler stops at an Oasis. I believe these three reasons are valid as motivations for Christian workers to visit any of our Oases as well.
(1) Rest and Rejuvenation. Sometimes we experience the mountain top in Christian ministry. But more often we are trekking through the desert, experiencing the same distant horizon as the previous day. Travelers in the Sahara are not focused on the horizon, they are focused on the next Oasis. No Oasis usually means death — no fresh water, no rest in the shade, no perspective on the journey.
“Strangely enough, stopping to rest and rejuvenate allows us to get more done. It takes four times as long to recover from burnout as it does to prevent it. The desert wisdom . . . the more you stop, the farther you go. Nomads remember what we have forgotten — that by stopping more often, we can actually travel deeper into the deserts of life.” (p37)
(2) Reflection on the Journey. If we keep trekking through life often experiencing life’s desert, without stopping at an Oasis, we will slowly lose our energy and our way forward. We could get lost in the midst of life’s desert. Ever feel like you need a renewed sense of calling, or need to be re-engerized for the work God has led you to do? Do you sense you need to understand again the big “WHY” of your ministry?
Donahue says, “The calm and tranquility allow you to look back on the stretch of desert you’ve recently crossed. If problems have arisen, they can be thought through and remedies implemented. You can also look forward and see if you’re heading in the right direction. The reflecting at an oasis is a time to look at the big picture. Many Saharan oases are also intersections of highways or caravan routes. At an oasis we can change direction after we’ve reflected.” (p45)
“When you’re driving in open desert, your attention is commanded by the numberous hazards. Even the long stretches of paved road make real conversation difficult. The silence and vastness of desert terrain lull you into a kind of trance. The Sahara becomes a solitary experience even though you’re sitting a couple of feet away from someone. Only in the walled-in safety of an oasis can you truly connect with fellow travelers. Aside from making your mourney more pleasant, the quality of your relationships can be a matter of life and death.” (p50)
“Trying to cope in a desert of change takes so much of our time and energy that we can gradually disconnect from spouses, colleagues, and kids. . . But deserts go on and on, and by the time we make it to the other side, we might leave a trail of discarded relationships. If you’re in a desert, the oasis comes first. And one of the things we must do at an oasis is connect.” (p51)
One of the things we do at a Life Impact Oasis is “connect” with our guests — but on their terms. Besides offering great hospitality and food, we offer a listening ear, a partner in prayer, encouragement for the upcoming battles, and a gentle “push” to reconnect with your Lord and each other — if and when you want that. We’re on your timetable and agenda, not vice versa.
An Oasis visit is a place to reconnect with your spouse as well. Are you still trekking on the same path in life — maybe outwardly, but how about in the heart? Are your thoughts and feelings being processed together? Are you sure that your relationship is growing rather than stagnating?
A Life Impact Oasis is definitely a place of connecting — but connecting in peace, quietness, and rest.
Christian workers — please do yourself a favor and schedule in time to experience an Oasis as you trek through the ministry deserts following our Lord!