A place to use our gifts
Jason and Melissa Johnston came to Oakdale in 2010, filling important formal and informal roles, adding to the student experience by living in community with them. Click on the images below to hear their greetings.
Pre-Oakdale, Melissa and I (Jason) lived in Canada for 10 years where I had been born and raised. We had supported Oakdale for many years because of our family connection here with the Kratzers (Shelli, the Principal, is Melissa’s twin sister) and had always thought quite
highly of the ministry here. We had spent a number of years church planting before I transitioned into running my own business and teaching music technology at a college while Melissa worked as a hospital social worker. Our twins were born in 2008. After juggling the work, child-care, long-trips-to-see-family life for a couple of years, we felt like the time was right to move back to the US and closer to family in Kentucky and neighboring states. We explored opportunities at Oakdale and it looked like there was room for us here if we were willing.
Melissa was quicker to know this was the leading of God and was what she wanted for herself and our family. I remember an important conversation where we talked about how we wanted our lives to be about ministry and it was starting to feel like our lives were just about our lives. I was pretty deep into my business and teaching and at first was not quite ready to say yes. Besides, I knew it would probably mean never returning to Canada to live. I remember the day I was in my storefront, thinking and praying between customers, and felt the still small voice say, “Sell all you have and follow me.”
A few months later we moved to Oakdale. I will admit we didn’t sell everything, but it was almost laughable that we couldn’t even bring our main car into the US because of regulations. God was helping us let go and start fresh. Since then, Oakdale has been a place of great blessing to us and our family and has given us a place to use our gifts together in ministry.
Melissa works part time in the girls’ dorm where she really functions as the dorm mom in many ways. She loves on the girls, keeps them doing their work and chores and even makes sure they are brushing their teeth. I have the privilege of teaching a variety of classes in technology (music, computers, robotics), art history and music. We love that we can integrate our faith into the day to day of our work. Our kids enjoy living near their cousins and having a close, safe community in which to ride, run and muddy their five year old bodies. Oakdale is not just a fresh start for so many of our students, it was one for us as well. We are thankful we answered God’s call.