BLOG AT YWAM HARPENDEN
COME MEET TOSIN
People feel so special if you care for them. Our heart is to support and create an atmosphere of care and rest for missionaries; where they can be restored, empowered spiritually, emotionally and physically.
Have you ever thought about where missionaries turn to when they are tired? Or what happens if they suffer from burnout? Who can they turn to who will understand the intensities of living abroad or the ups and downs of ministry? What if their home church needs help to help them? Meet Tosin from the Oasis Ministry here at YWAM Harpenden. The Oasis Ministry team have a huge heart for those who need a time out of their mission location to regroup, rest, be listened to, debriefed and refuel! In Tosin’s words, ‘serving in the Oasis flat can be as simple as giving the missionary time and a place to find absolute peace, alone time and rest, by doing nothing much at all. Catering for each individual missionary’s needs is our goal’. Wow, Tosin, what an amazing focus you guys have to serve.
Tosin what is the Oasis ministry flat?
It’s a place where we create an atmosphere of calm and peace, a place of refuge for people who are always giving refuge – an Oasis from the norm for a missionary. Many times missionaries are so busy with giving out to others that they forget about themselves. The Oasis Ministry is a place for burnout prevention, debriefing, counselling missionaries and helping them to rest in order to refuel to continue along the journey God has laid out before them.
Wow Tosin, I can feel how important this ministry, knowing myself what it is like to suffer from burnout. Did you start this ministry?
No, this ministry was started ten years ago by a woman named Pauline, who had a heart to see missionaries from all over the world, being cared for, as they care for those around them. Through a winding story of beautiful events, hearing God’s voice, prayer and personal vision, I said yes to taking this beautiful ministry over. My friend Rachel, who co-leads with me today, also felt very drawn into missionary care, so together we were trained in many aspects needed for missionary care. We now have a team of 8 trained individuals on our campus that can debrief, which can take this ministry now to a new level!
Amazing! So what does it look like for you right now to work within the Oasis ministry?
Well, right now we are putting a brand new working structure together for Oasis. Including correspondence plans with missionaries on the field, all the way to how times here on our campus are outworked. We just renovated the whole apartment and are pretty booked out till Christmas.
What does this mean?
We want a missionary who applies to come to the Oasis flat, to start to think a little about what they might need prior to arrival, so we can tailor design their time here to meet their individual needs. Our heart is to value the individual and provide an environment that breathes life to their whole being. We can also start to pray for them before and ensure when they arrive they know they’ve been expected and feel incredible welcome.
When you speak about care, what do you mean exactly?
Everyone rests in a different way! For one person it could mean having time for exercise or a massage, for another sleeping and being left alone or for others, the thing they may need is to be joining in with our community life on campus and having one to one debriefs. We also help navigate what might be best, knowing when someone is exhausted they don’t always know what they need
I’m understanding the importance of the “pre-work” in this whole process! So tell me, how would a missionary know about this opportunity?
A lot happens through word of mouth. We often are then connected through email. Sometimes it happens through a referral. Many of the missionaries that come work in one of our YWAM Harpenden Circuits (focus nations for our campus) or under “Britcare”. But our desire is to expand communication so we can serve a wider community of missionaries, now that we have things in place to handle more.
So how long can a missionary stay? Is there space for couples or families to come?
Good question. We like to keep it as a place of intentional help and rest. For this to be effective we limit the stay within the Oasis flat to 14 days. But after this time, missionaries can gladly stay longer on our campus, by booking into hospitality for an additional fee. And yes, we welcome individuals, couples and families, as the apartment is big enough.
I will definitely share this ministry within my friend circle of missionaries. What a vital ministry! So Tosin, how did you actually end up in Harpenden? And how long have you been here?
Oh my, Tosin smiles with a sigh… that’s a very long but miraculous story. We’ve been here for over 2 years now. I have to tell you this, it started with a dream just before we were to leave Nigeria to go to the Worcester base in South Africa. My husband Damilare had a dream. In his dream, a DTS friend of his was in a shop and was calling him and said that he must go to Harpenden. My husband awoke and he told me right away about this strange word and how we must look to see if there was a place called Harpenden.
When did this take place?
It was on the 4th of April 2011! I can remember it like yesterday. We spent the day looking at the world map and praying. Damilare had prophetic words spoken over his life as a child for Europe, so when we found Harpenden in Europe, it wasn’t a total shock.
Tosin smiles with a chuckle, and I’m just amazed by her story!
So we found Harpenden and we knew we heard God’s voice. Yet, He also told us this was not the timing and that South Africa was still where he wanted us. We thought it may be a short time, so I did my DTS in 2012 and my husband was very involved in building up a therapeutical drum ministry. Before we knew it, 5 years had passed. We still held this word about Harpenden in our hearts knowing God had promised it for the future – even for future generations to come from us. We had a photo hanging up in our flat in South Africa of this base and we prayed about it daily. When Delight our eldest daughter was 2 years old we included her in praying for it, by the time she was 5 she asked us when we will be going to “this Harpenden”! Finally, we felt the time came to pursue the transition… it was a journey of faith, laying down our rights, giving up a ministry we had built over five years, fundraising and giving away each cent we raised because God told us to do so. We felt like we would never see Harpenden when all the funds we raised were given away because God told us, but we knew his promise and knew we are always called to obedience even when we can’t see the logic!
This is such a powerful story Tosin… I feel so humbled by this testimony! I can imagine how helpless you must have felt, yet how strong you were as you held on to God’s promise!
Yes, you know the enemy would never tell you to sow a seed, he would never want you to reap a harvest. It can only be God who tells you to sow seeds!
That is so true! I must say I’m encouraged by this as I look at the challenge of the vision God has given to my husband and I.
All I can say to this is if the vision and the promise is not bigger than you, it’s not God! If it’s easy to conquer it’s you that is talking, but if it’s impossible, out of your hands and bigger than you then it’s evident that is God!
Thank you so much for this encouragement and taking me on this journey through Oasis and your own spiritual faith walk. You are truly an inspiration!
Tosin is 34 years old, born in West Nigeria. She has a BA in English Language & English Literature. Tosin did her DTS at the Worcester base in 2012 followed by her TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), in 2017 just before she and her family moved to Harpenden permanently.
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