Twelve people started meeting together in a home in the early 1950's and decided to organize as the Oceanlake Church of the Nazarene in 1953. Property was donated a couple blocks from the Pacific Ocean for the church to be built. The church poured a concrete wall with three small windows, but did not have any money for windows, and they began to pray and someone walked by the church and went to his home a short distance away bringing back 3 windows he had in his garage that were the perfect square size. While trying to build the bathrooms, the church was in need of a plumber and began to pray for a plumber and in walked a man who offered his services as a plumber. After one cold breezy Oregon Coast winter, the church board took an all-day trip to Salem to look at furnaces. They all cost over $500 at the time and the church had limited resources. Heading home discouraged, one man asked if they could stop at his friend's farmhouse. The farmer asked them what brought them to the valley, and they shared their need for a furnace. He said, "Follow me," and opened up his barn door to reveal the exact furnace the church had been wanting. "How much do you want for this?" they asked fearing the worst. "I'll give it to you for the same price I paid for it, $50." And so Oceanlake Church of the Nazarene took home a furnace to keep them warmer through the winter.
Fast forward 59 years.
In 2012, twelve people the youngest being seventy-two years old had a dream. They wanted to start a preschool, not because they had any grandkids in the area, but because they wanted to make a difference in the community and meet a need. Needing more space in the church for a self-sustaining preschool, the church needed a loan. The Wesleyan Investment Foundation said, "If you can raise $25,000 in good faith, we will give you a loan for the building addition." Within one month, the church sacrificially raised $41,000 in cash and another $9000 came in from donors around the United States. This was an incredible miracle as the church had only raised $49,000 the previous year. Miracle after miracle unfolded, as once again people donated time, money, and services to build an addition. The new addition was finally completed in July 2014, and a licensed preschool teacher with 35 years of experience hired also in July 2014. The Little Lighthouse Preschool opened September 2, 2014 and has helped over 40 families with 3-5 year-olds to read, write, add and subtract, and about the love of Jesus.
Fast forward to 2020.
With Covid-19, the church shut down the preschool permanently in March 2020. On September 6, 2020 wildfires began in Otis Oregon as 70mph easterly winds blew. The church became an evacuation center until we were evacuated Wednesday morning, September 8. It was 10 days before Otis residents could return home to find out if they had a home or not. Sadly, 1000 people lost their homes in the Echo Mountain and Kimberling Mountain Fires including people in our church family.
The church went into action and the space previously used for the preschool became a Fire Relief Center! People from all over the Northwest, including Chicago and Texas sent supplies. We handed out over 100,000 pounds of food in our drive-thru and over $100,000 in socks, undies, towels, blankets, pillows, clothing and more. When all locations serving free Thanksgiving Meals shut down 10 days before Thanksgiving, we went into action, connecting with 24 area businesses to serve 800 cold Thanksgiving Meals people could heat in their hotel microwaves. We continue to meet needs as people find housing and are thankful for all the love and care from people volunteering and sending supplies.