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    Experiencing God’s Presence

    GivingFamily Camp

    The Onoda family needed more than a simple vacation. After a year of emotional upheaval, this family of five was looking for a place where they could be free from distractions so that they could begin the process of healing and reconnecting with each other.

    They say they found it at Sandy Cove.

    For more than fifteen years, Operation Oasis has offered recently deployed military families the opportunity to regain their footing as a family unit and find a “new normal” following a long separation or trauma.

    For the Onodas, who first came to Sandy Cove in 2017, the week-long getaway offered a reminder of God’s presence as they worked through the pain and loss of a deadly crash.

    According to Faith Onoda, the Army has “…designed and influenced our lives for the past decade. We’ve moved nine times in 10.5 years, and the Army has always told us where to go, who we’d be living next to, what we’d be doing, and for how long.”

    Multiple deployments and training exercises meant that her husband, Army Captain Teri Onoda, was away from the family for months at a time.

    “I have often struggled with our life and my faith, trying to connect with God and feel His love and care,” admits Faith. “I’ve struggled with knowing if I was deserving of His love, forgiveness and presence.”

    Two years ago, Teri, a pilot, was involved in a serious helicopter accident that claimed the life of one of his crew members.  Following the crash, it was uncertain if Teri would survive, and if he did, if he’d every walk again. The anguish they felt as they grieved the loss of their friend compounded the healing process.

    But God also used that accident to begin drawing the family closer to Him, says Faith.

    The Onodas attended Family Camp through an Operation Oasis scholarship and shared the impact of their stay:  

    “Thank you so much for your amazing hospitality and love you showed our little family. We felt God’s presence and love through the staff, families and beautiful property at all times. Our family is and has been under constant stress for the past many years and this this was a reminder that through it all His love is always every present. What an incredible experience! Many of our family members faced fears with the comfort of knowing God was present.”

    They returned to Family Camp in 2019, and Faith says her faith continues to grow.

    “I am learning that God loves me and is with me no matter what I am going through. Time at Sandy Cove has given our children a break from our life at home where we have been in a constant whirlwind of change, doubts, fear, and loss of control.

    “I’ve found no other place on earth like Sandy Cove. This is where I’ve felt God’s presence the most. The generosity of His love and the love of others has really impacted our hearts and spirits forever.”

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