The organization has taken some major steps forward this year and we look forward to what God will do in the coming years. Our leaders and members of the Board of Directors came together at the Annual Conference held this February. We came together to pray for God's guidance and to plan for what lays ahead .
Pastor Berthony Elucien, our Haiti Managing Director, was able to attend the conference in Bradenton, Fl. He was able to share a moving message
on Sunday, the last day of our conference. His message was inspired by passages in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah. When walls are broken down in our lives we need to find a way to rebuild them, so as to regain the protection and security that we long to experience. God's Word helps us to rebuild those broken sections of our spiritual walls. Willful ignoring of God's principles, disobedience to God and poor relationships with people in our lives create breaches to the wall. However, as we examine God's Word and look for ways to apply it to our lives, the gaps of our wall can be rebuilt. Once again we can enjoy the security of a spiritual wall that will help us maintain balance in our life. This message was well received and encouraged us to spend a wonderful time of prayer together to close the conference.
Earlier on in the conference we heard from Pastor Tony Ledbetter, missionary to Haiti, as well as a message of encouragement from Darryl Brown. A recently added Executive Board member, Pastor Robert Wagler, also shared a devotional on Saturday morning that opened our eyes to the way that God may choose to work in our lives. He shared with us about the beggar at the Temple that may very well have been in Jerusalem when Jesus was a 12 year old boy teaching the Jewish leaders. He no doubt had seen Jesus pass through the temple many times in the following years. He had been there when Jesus cleared the temple in a fit of anger at how people perverted the use of the temple. He had seen Jesus on multiple occasions, yet he never experienced the physical healing that he so longed for. He continued to cry out, shaking his little container,
"Banm ti bagay!". He remained a cripple until Peter and John passed by, after Jesus' crucifixion. When all hope was gone, he experienced an incredible physical miracle - healing of paralyzed legs. The lesson that we learn is that God may choose to orchestrate the very details of our lives in his own desired time... for a purpose.... to reveal the glory of God!
We also heard reports on the finances of the organization, which encouraged us to pray all the harder. What we learned is that the organization doesn't have a problem with how they are spending their money. It has been incredibly frugal. But rather, it has a challenge in not receiving enough in donations to meet the necessary obligations.
Every year for the last three years the number of families and people served by Helping Hands Outreach ( the community service division) has doubled each year. In Bradenton we are now serving between 80 to 90 families each Thursday and in West Palm Beach between 30 to 40 families every Saturday. These food pantries are exploding, because the need in the community is great. However we still have challenges. Bradenton doesn't have a vehicle to pick up the food ....
but we are finding a way to do it anyway!
The leadership school is continuing to operate and develop multiple leaders. Our biggest challenge is to find a way to help local pastors see the benefit of encouraging their leaders to come and be developed for ministry.
Pastor Berthony Elucien also gave a moving overview of the ministry in Haiti. During the presentation we all agreed that we would long to see a scholarship program developed to encourage young students at the school in La Gonave and give them some hope for the future. He asked us to pray that the Lord would supply us with a piece of property titled in the mission's name. This will help us to become recognized by the Haitian Government as a legal entity in Haiti. He was also pleased to receive a check for $1,000 that will be used to purchase a much needed motorcycle on La Gonave where he takes ministry teams once a month.
Speaking of hope... the Board of Directors made a recommendation to change the name of the organization to New Hope Coalition (Nouvo Espwa Ansanm). This proposal received some discussion and was unanimously voted to accept the new name. Documents will be filed with the State of Florida, the IRS and other legal documentation will be updated to reflect the new name.
Darryl Brown was also presented to the assembly as the newly appointed Executive Director, who will serve in a voluntary capacity. Pastor Robert Wagler, long time missionary to Haiti, was also asked to serve on the Board of Directors as a member at large.
All in all, we praise the Lord for this year's conference. We anticipate what lays ahead and pray that "God will do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or think".