One big happy family.


We started as a group of five students sitting around Teddy and Ellie's dining room table. Now, around 20-25 students are consistently involved in Eight Oaks, including this lovely bunch of students and a few who are not pictured here. Photo by Megan Radley
A year and a half ago, I never would have imagined that this rag tag team of teenagers would one day become my family.

We come from all different walks of life, different friend circles, and different personality types. Sure, we all knew each other and, admittedly, a lot of us were good friends prior to Eight Oaks. But being friends is nothing compared to being family.
Over the past year, a core group of us have fallen in love with these eight girls together. We met together, prayed together, and, since most of us went to school together, we lived life together.
A little over two months ago, the time came that we realized that we really wanted our family to grow. New members had been trickling in over the months, but we wanted even more people to experience the sense of belonging and of fellowship that we had discovered. So, Kate and I got up on stage during chapel, spit out a few heartfelt words about Eight Oaks, and by God’s grace, our family started to grow again.

For the past three months, though, two very important members of our family have been missing. Teddy and Ellie left for Ghana on August 8, and we have missed them ever since. We have received sporadic updates, emails, and photos from them, but we all dearly miss sitting in their apartments on Saturday mornings with them, drinking coffee and talking about life, Jesus, and eight little girls whose names we did not know.

Obviously, we are overjoyed in the fact that they were faithful to the Lord’s call to go to Ghana, seeing as eight precious little sisters have since been added to our family. Still, we are beyond excited for them to come back.

During Teddy and Ellie’s absence, though, we have all learned what it means to step up and be leaders. Caleb and Jack suddenly had to lead the group, and all of the tedious little details that Ellie usually took care of were now passed on to me, Madie, and Taylor. In the midst of all that transition, our family was growing rapidly, and we had to get new members caught up and informed.

Things were not always easy. I spent many nights praying that the Lord would keep this whole thing running because, when it comes down to it, we’re just a bunch of high school kids. We don’t know how to run a non-profit, we don’t know how to fundraise, and we definitely don’t know how to save girls out of slavery. Despite our inexperience, God blessed us richly in ways that we never would have imagined.
For one, we have been blessed by all of the adult leadership that has guided us from the outside for the past several months, such as Mr. Loftin, Mrs. Goodvin, and Mr. Kriwiel. We have been blessed by various Trinity students who aren’t involved with Eight Oaks randomly giving us a fist-full of cash or a check. We have been blessed by finally being able to learn that when we choose to live a selfless life we find true joy
We were blessed through our struggles as we drew closer to one another in the midst of difficulties. We learned to have each other’s backs. We learned to forgive. And, above all else, we learned to love each other just as much as we love those eight little girls.
My desire is that, as little boys and girls in Ghana find freedom, young men and women in America find freedom as well. We always want this family to keep growing, I believe that, by God’s grace, it will.
-Clare Alise Warrington