The genesis of an oasis on Marco was through a series of divine appointments: A cold call from the Mexican border to a counseling center in Fort Myers; pastors from both the Baptist and Presbyterian churches attending classes at the Fort Myers’ center; the plans of a stay-at-home Marco mom; and the vision of a senior pastor.
The Oasis Counseling Center is located 1450 Winterberry Drive. It is the building nestled between the First Baptist Church and Winterberry Park. It’s a place of hope that deals with the heart of problems and offers life-changing practical solutions. It’s housed in the renovated old Baptist Learning Center, which also houses the Winterberry Christian Academy. The Center’s mission is to: “Refresh lives through the ministry of professional counseling based on God’s Word.”
In 2005 Tim Neptune, senior pastor of the First Baptist Family Church of Marco Island had a vision to start a school, a Christian Counseling Center, plant 20 churches and for First Baptist to become more involved in missions. All have come to fruition and the progression towards the 20 new churches continues.
The center is manned by the husband and wife team of Terry and Jamie Hoskins and intern Joanne Thorstenson. The Hoskins were serving at a children’s home on the Mexican border and felt the call to counseling. Terry has a B.S. in biblical studies and M.S. in marriage and family therapy from Harding University and is currently pursuing his PhD in biblical counseling through Trinity Seminary in Newburgh, Indiana. He began to call counseling centers throughout the country. Meanwhile HOPE Biblical Counseling and Training Center Fort Myers, a division of Westminster Presbyterian Church was praying for a male counselor. They connected and Hoskins was hired.
The director of HOPE, Dr. Virginia Stewart, began to groom him to be a center director. He would, on occasion, speak at classes given to pastors and lay church leaders.
At one of those sessions, Pastor Paulo Tiexera, a church planter to Brazil from Marco’s First Baptist Church was in attendance. He was impressed by the young man and boldly asked if he was interested in counseling on Marco Island. At the time Hoskins had never been to Marco. An interview was arranged with Pastor Neptune and he was hired in July 2008. He began counseling in September. Neptune recognized Hoskins’ talents and asked if he would become the director of a center rather than just having a room for counseling. Hoskins agreed.
Terry’s wife Jamie serves as the center’s administrative assistant. Intern Thorstenson, has a BS in psychology and completed her M.S. in counseling through a distance-learning program at Liberty University.
The stay at home Marcoite mom was unsure whether to pursue secular or biblical counseling. She sought guidance from her pastors, at Marco Presbyterian Church and decided on biblical counseling. Plans were made for her to attend HOPE and transportation was arranged with one of her pastors who was also attending classes at the training center. That is where she met Terry. She joined the center shortly after it opened.
“This can’t be a job. God knew what I needed. It is wonderful to work with such talented people. We offer something completely different than what the world offers. Its actually God’s solution to man’s problem’s verses man’s solutions to man’s problems,” said Thorstenson.
Hoskins, specializes in marital reconciliation counseling.
“I am passionate about helping couples rebuild their marital foundations.”
The center also offers counseling for various issues both major and minor: Relationships — including but not limited to family and parenting issues, grief, and abuse; feelings — depression, decision making, fear, worry, and anger; addictions — drugs, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, and sexual — and retirement — loneliness, bereavement, care giver and leaving a legacy.
Counseling is $110 per session, but is $70 per session if referred by clergy. Special arrangements may be made for clients who meet certain financial qualifications. A pamphlet that can be picked up at the center offers a free 30-minute consultation.
“My prayer is for everyone who walks through our doors to experience real hope, healing, and purpose for their lives. I pray for God to work through Oasis to salvage marriages that have gone sour, to empower parents with troubled kids, and enable counselees to deal with the root of all heart issues,” said Hoskins.
He continued, “It is rewarding to see a couple at each others throats at the first session and two weeks later they are talking kindly to each other. And to see the fruit of the spirit — kindness, love, patience, joy, and peace manifested in their lives, when they choose to do things God’s way and not their way. It is the peace of God that they are chasing when they first come here. But they don’t know it. First they have to come to know God and then everything else will fall in place.”
For information on Oasis Counseling Center, call 389-2073.