Greg and Barbara Van Schoyck, founders of Grace Oaks Ministries, served as missionaries in rural Haiti for 17 years with the Haitian American Friendship Foundation (HAFF). In March 2012, they completed their service with HAFF, and in the fall of 2012 founded Grace Oaks Ministries, based near Rome, Georgia.
Grace Oaks Ministries was born from their continuing desire to serve God through missions, mercy ministries, and Bible-based training. Their mission is to share God's grace as He has graciously shown it in their own lives, so others will come to know and grow in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. God continues to mold, shape, and teach them daily about His wonderful grace. He's been adding some new tools to their ministry tool belts, continues to give them a love for Haiti in particular, and missions in general, and is surprising them with new dreams for serving Him.
As a Christian organization, accountability is important. So, in the fall of 2012 Grace Oaks Ministries applied for and received its official recognition as a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization and is governed by a Board of Directors.
There's a lot going on at Grace Oaks Ministries these days; so read on, and see what's happening! Then join Greg and Barb in prayer as they look to the Lord to share His love and grace here in the US, in Haiti, and wherever else He leads.
Our Team in Ministry
Greg Van Schoyck is co-founder of Grace Oaks Ministries. He is the Executive Director and oversees various aspects of the ministries. He and his family served in Haiti with the Haitian American Friendship Foundation for 17 years.
During his time in Haiti, Greg served as co-executive director of the mission, developed a Jesus Film ministry, and coordinated the hosting of some 120 short-term mission teams from North America. His experience in Haiti and love for the Haitian people bring unique perspective to his leadership role with Grace Oaks Ministries.
Pamela H. Russell, a writer on our Haiti, Let's Read! project, spent 37 years as a teacher and media specialist.
She is a pastor, pastor's wife, lay speaker instructor, and a public speaker. Active in various service and mentoring ministries in her church and community, Pam brings a wealth of experience, wisdom, and love for the Haitian people to the ministry team.
Gabriella Lockhart, MPH, is a board member/advisor. Gabriella was an Orise Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control, and worked as a Program Manager/Writer with Freedman Public Health in Boston. Gabriella is the daughter of the Van Schoycks, wife to Brian, and the mother of their young son.
Gabriella grew up in Haiti before receiving her B.A. in international community development, and her masters in global health. Her training and professional work in public health is of invaluable help in our Healthy Haitian Children book series, and other Grace Oaks Ministries initiatives.
Sharon Armstrong is the secretary-treasurer and advisor of the Grace Oaks Ministries board.
The Executive Administrative Assistant to a vice-president of a regional medical center in Rome, Georgia for many years, Sharon brings a wealth of adminstrative and financial training to the ministry. She is active in women's ministry at her local church and in community outreach, and is an important component of her church's music ministry.
Carolyn Majestic has walked with the Lord Jesus Christ for many years. Married and a mother of two, Carolyn has more than 35 years experience ministering with women, and thus brings great value to Grace Oaks Ministries outreach to women in Haiti.
She and her husband Gary currently serve in leadership in their church in Rome, Georgia. Carolyn ministered in hospitality with Winshape Retreat, worked as an X-ray technician, and served in the banking industry. An excellent Bible teacher, Carolyn has been to Haiti multiple times, and each time brings God’s love to the Haitian people.
Barbara Van Schoyck is co-founder of Grace Oaks Ministries. During her years in Haiti with her family, she served in mercy ministries with women and children, taught junior high and high school classes, and helped develop non-formal learning programs including a women's training course called The Godly Woman Class now in its 18th year, and a leadership development class called Young Leaders for God which mentors young people in servant leadership.
A freelance writer before moving to Haiti, Barbara is a writer for our Haiti Let's Read! project. She holds a masters in Organizational Leadership, and is now leading our Women to Women Mentoring Workshops, a discipleship and Christian leadership program for women in rural Haiti. She is passionate about serving the Lord and the Haitian people and considers it a privilege to do so.
Kurt Robbins is an advisor and member of the Grace Oaks Ministries board. Kurt has had a long career in business and chemical sales. Married with two children, Kurt serves as the Chairperson of the Church Council for his local church and sings in the church choir.
His wisdom, passion for missions, love for God, and service to his church are great assets to this ministry.
Larry E. Russell is the president and advisor of the Grace Oaks Ministry board.
Larry is a retired pastor. Larry also enjoyed a long career as a plant controller and manager. His spiritual wisdom, servant leadership skills, insight, and background in finances all contribute tremendous value to our team.
A compassionate team... sharing God's grace.
Theta Shank’s heartbeat is people. She and her husband, Terry, work with Winshape Marriages hosting marriage retreats at the Normandy Inn in Rome, Georgia. Mother of three and grandmother of 5, Theta believes in making people feel valued. Her philosophy of hospitality is simple: “We serve others out of the overflow of our hearts.” As founder of The OPEN Door Consultant, Theta trains business, churches, and organizations on hospitality principles.
Theta has served on a number of mission trips including to Thailand, Hungary, Egypt, and a number of trips to Haiti. She brings wisdom, insight, and compassion to the Grace Oaks Ministries Board.