It’s always sad to say goodbye to the gap-year team each September, but we were very pleased to welcome 14 new team members who have committed to spend up to a year with us.
Written by Billie Thaw
The Oakes has been blessed with many miracles over the last 19 years, but the recent purchase of the Gardener’s Cottage and accompanying land is one of the most extraordinary.
In September 2016, the current owners approached The Oakes trustees to explain their decision to sell and their desire for The Oakes to have first refusal.
This was exciting news as The Oakes had been hoping and praying for the opportunity to buy the cottage and some additional land for many years. There was, however, the significant matter of funding.
The trustees immediately expressed interest to move ahead if possible, and they started praying and sharing the situation with team and a small group of supporters. Within a few weeks, God had worked in the most incredible ways and around half of the amount needed had been pledged in gifts and loans.
In October 2016, it was decided that the majority of the outstanding finances required could be obtained by selling number 8 in the stables. This property was purchased by The Oakes in 2014, through generous gifts from supporters, to provide a home for the Gilchrist family who were joining the team later that year.
The trustees did not really want to sell number 8, but it was felt that it would facilitate the purchase of a far more valuable asset and therefore it was necessary.
But there was an unforeseen problem… number 8 did not sell. By January 2017, it was apparent that unless the outstanding funds could be secured from another source, The Oakes would lose the opportunity to move ahead with the purchase.
At this point, the Gardener’s Cottage went on the open market and attracted considerable interest.
Then, out of the blue, in February 2017, some relatively new supporters heard about the situation via a team member’s prayer letter and they asked if they could visit The Oakes and view the Gardener’s Cottage and land.
The couple instantly understood why the purchase was so crucial and they caught the vision of what could be done with the extra grounds. Within a few days, they had pledged a very generous gift alongside a substantial interest free loan with an agreement that The Oakes did not need to repay their loan until 2027.
Another supporter and a local trust pledged further loans at this point to enable the asking price to be met.
By the time the sale was completed (13th April), the Gilchrist family had found out that they were expecting their third child. God knew that number 8 would no longer be big enough for their expanding family, and planned ahead to prepare the opportunity for them to move to the Gardener’s Cottage.
Oakes team renting in Norton were then able to move into number 8 and live in a much more convenient location.
We are humbled and overwhelmed by God’s generous provision.
Although The Oakes is having to make long term plans for loan repayments, no commercial loan has been required.
We stand in awe of a God who has provided more than we could ever have imagined or conceived.
Great is Thy faithfulness!