FMSC Meals to Our Haiti GVCM Orphanage

We have wonderful news! Five Oaks is sending a full container of food (272,000 FMSC meals) to the GVCM All God's Children Orphanage outside of Mirebalais, Haiti!! This past March, Feed My Starving Children designated the All God's Children Orphanage as an official food distribution site.  Five Oaks Church will be sponsoring the shipment of one full container of FMSC meals to the orphanage each year. The circle is now complete. We will pack the food at Five Oaks Church during our FMSC events, ship containers to the orphanage, and finally send teams of Five Oakers to help distribute that food to malnourished children in Haiti's Central Plateau. The first container is scheduled to ship May 2016.

A little history and background: Back in 2005, Five Oaks Church began its partnership with Global Vision Citadelle Ministries, led by Pastor Yves Prophete. At the time GVCM was renting some land and a small shack to house orphaned children from the area of Fedja, Haiti. The conditions for the orphans was deplorable. The one room shack served as sleeping quarters, school and pretty much everything else for the kids. We committed helping GVCM acquire land and to building an orphanage building. Here is a photo of the old orphanage:


Between the first building mission in January 2006 and August 2009, when we cut the ribbon of the main orphanage building, over 200 different Five Oakers traveled to the building site in Haiti and gave of their TIME, TALENT & TREASURE to make the orphanage building a reality. Many of those people volunteered several times over several years.  

The mostly complete main orphanage building.

The mostly complete main orphanage building.

We continued to send building teams for a couple more years building the orphanage wall and support buildings. The All God's Children Orphanage is now a complex of buildings serving newborns to 17 year-olds. There are, as of today, 106 orphans housed there. The orphanage is the main school for 225+ local kids, and a school of 14 deaf orphans was moved to the campus. Five Oaks has since transitioned from sending building teams to sending teaching and evangelism teams. That effort continues to this day. Our next Haiti Mission will be from July 30 - August 6, 2016. Five Oaks Church has also supported the welfare of the children, the orphanage / school operations, and staff with ongoing financial support.  

The All God's Children Orphanage campus.

The All God's Children Orphanage campus.

Approximately 3.5 years ago I started working with Yves Prophete, and various FMSC staff to forge a partnership between FMSC and GVCM. Five Oaks began packing meals with FMSC in 2008 and it seemed like a natural partnership to get those meals to the GVCM orphanage in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in our hemisphere and indeed, many FMSC meals go to Haiti. The bulk of those meals, however, go to Port-au-Prince. The orphanage is in Haiti's Central Plateau and we could not find a local distribution point near that area. I will not bore you with the details and red tape, but now that partnership is a reality. With the 272,000 meals the orphanage will receive, we know that the orphans and school children in the area are protected from the recurring famines that sweep through Haiti. The food also gives GVCM pastors and missionaries license to enter villages throughout Haiti to spread the Gospel.  

I consider this development the most important brick we laid since we set out to Impact Haiti back in 2005. The orphans are housed and now we know that they are fed. Glory be to God for orchestrating all of this!!

- Jerry Meras, Director of Outreach


FMSC - Story of A Miracle

Miracles happen all around us, even though we often fail to see or understand them. I just learned that one such miracle occurred at the FMSC Woodbury Mega MobilePack. I knew that the shift Five Oaks Church had participated in, the Saturday 6:00 - 8:00 pm shift, broke the record for the most meals packed in a single shift EVER in the history of FMSC. I did think that was really cool. I just didn't understand HOW COOL it really was.

Last night, November 10, I attended the FMSC debrief of our Mega MobilePack event. We went over every aspect of the event from a 3000' view. Discussing volunteer recruitment, marketing, fund-raising, etc. We all learned a lot about putting on an event of this size and scope, but all that took a back seat when we opened the floor to hear personal stories from that weekend in October. We heard a behind-the-scenes story from Lisa Engh that just floored us. I hope I can do it justice here. 

Saturday afternoon, after the 12:00 - 2:00pm shift ended, several key volunteers and senior FMSC staff were eating and going over the numbers of the event to that point. They came to the sobering realization that with the number of shifts left, and the number of volunteers scheduled to work each of those shifts, the event was going to fall short of the 4 million meals goal.  Up to that point, the 10 completed shifts packed an average of 215,714 meals. Paul Dopkins, from FMSC, who has supervised many, many MobilePacks made it clear that a great shift might produce meals in the high 290,000's, but even that was extraordinary. Only 1 of the prior 10 shifts had breached the 290k mark, and 5 of the shifts had fallen short of packing 200K meals. There were only 6 shifts remaining and some of those shifts had low volunteer commitments. The team came to terms with the fact that they would fall short of the goal by approximately 500,000 meals.  

That is when Laura Bernard, the Mobile Operations Manager for FMSC, spoke up. She reminded everyone that they had seen miracles happen before at these events. Though this would require a bigger than usual miracle, it was not beyond God. The group huddled and prayed. That is when God showed up.

The next shift, in the same two hour time frame as the rest, packed 356,832 meals. Unheard of!! Then it was our turn. Over 500 Five Oakers came together to pack meals on that Saturday evening. We did have a full shift, with 1,200 volunteers, but we finished packing an amazing 385,128 meals! Again, that is a FMSC record! 169,000 meals over the average and 100,000 more meals then what an extraordinary shift was expected to pack. It was impossible and defies explanation. Other full shifts had worked hard, had every bit of the same heart that we had, but the outcome was much different. Lisa described it as a real loaves and fishes type miracle. The real miracle lies in the difference between the expected outcome and the 4,066,200 meals we ultimately packed. By hitting and surpassing the goal another 1,551 children will be fed for an entire year. God will see His children fed!   

We never know when God is using us to do His work and we rarely understand when we are in the middle of something wonderful. I certainly didn't at the time.

- Jerry Meras 



Celebrations and Thanks @ Impact Ministries

Hello Five Oaks,

Last night I met with our Impact Coordinators, and as part of our meeting, we went over all the Impact projects and events that Five Oaks Church has been involved with recently. The list was impressive! I am so thankful that God chose to use me in the position of Missions Pastor for Five Oaks Church. Just thinking about how blessed we have been to bring Christ to so many and to have the privilege to make a differences in people's lives from our quiet little corner of the world.

This is a short list of the events we celebrated:

  • Summer Mission to Camp des Cimes in France - My wife, Patti, led her first service team of 8 short-term missionaries to work the Youth English Camp from July 2 - 21.
  • Haiti Mission Trip - The Schlegel's led a team of 12 to the All God' Children Orphanage outside of Mirebalais, Haiti. From August 8 -15, they taught Spiritual Gifts, delivered food to local villages and helped grow the church in Central Haiti.  
2015 Haiti Team.jpg
  • Karen Backpack Drive and VBS - This past August, Five Oakers packed 100 + backpacks with school supplies and toys for the children of newly arrived Karen refugees from Burma and Thailand.  The Bryant Small Group also hosted a VBS for the Karen children at the Brittany Apartments in St. Paul.  127 children attended the VBS and 23 made first time decisions.

  • Hearts & Hammers - On September 19, a large group of Journeymen, their family and friends got together and rehabbed a home for a couple in need.
  • Team World Vision - Twin Cities Marathon -This past October 4, Five Oaks once again partnered with TWV to run the TC Marathon and raise money for water projects in Africa. The Metro area TWV teams together raised over $500,000 for clean water. Many of the runners were first time marathoners including our very own Dan Lukas. 
  • Feed My Starving Children - Woodbury 4 Million Meals Mega MobilePack - On October 10, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm, over 500 Five Oakers came together to pack meals for FMSC. Together with other volunteers, we packed just over 385,000 meals in a two hour period. That is still a FMSC record for number of meals packed in a single shift. Those meals are now on their way to Haiti and Nicaragua. By Sunday night, Woodbury had come together to pack 4,066,200 meals. That is over 11,000 children who will fed every day for a year!   

- Jerry Meras