By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
MONROE (LBM) —Trustees of the Louisiana Baptist Convention board for the Children’s Home and Family Ministries recently celebrated great news about ministry initiatives at home and abroad.
Overseas, 100 new believers came to know Christ in Haiti during two mission trips coordinated by CHFM in 2017.
At home, construction soon will begin on a second cottage designed to provide transitional living for women and their children as they prepare to live independently.
“Our trustees have a great passion for the work,” CHFM president and CEO Perry Hancock told the Baptist Message after the Feb. 23 meeting at the ministry’s Monroe campus. “In our recent meeting, we celebrated the fact that over 3,600 children and others experienced God’s love and care through the ministries of the Children’s Home in 2017.”
Through its Reach Haiti Partnership with the Louisiana Baptist Convention, Haiti Baptist Convention and 30 LBC churches, the Children’s Home has taken mission teams on multiple trips to Haiti since 2012, moving toward fulfillment of the vision to build a children’s village, provide clean drinking water to residents of the community and establish a pastor training center for planting churches.
Hancock said more than 100 professions of faith were recorded in 2017 during two separate mission trips to Haiti.
Two trips are planned in 2018: June 2-8; October 13-19.
“The need in Haiti is significant which means that opportunities for ministry abound,” Hancock said. “The goal of our work in Haiti is to raise a generation of young people who will reach their country for Christ.”
Haiti was devastated by the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Louisiana Baptists were among the first to provide disaster relief, and since then have maintained a ministry presence through mission trips that includes construction projects, pastor training, medical clinics, food, water and clothing distributions, evangelism, children’s Bible clubs and Vacation Bible School.
In the intervening years, a vision developed for a permanent presence there through a “Louisiana Reach Haiti” initiative.
Louisiana Baptists acquired land in September 2016, and shortly afterward volunteers completed a 200-feet-deep well that provides a reliable source of clean water for the community. The well will support the planned children’s village and pastor training center as well.
Church planting also will be a pivotal part of Louisiana Baptists work in the country, and the ministry center will serve as a base from which Louisiana Baptists will partner with Haitian believers to reach all of Haiti by starting churches.
The hope is to build additional housing in the complex, followed with the development of micro businesses and trade schools. As the project expands, there is a vision for constructing a hotel operated by Haitians, and, building a school.
During the meeting, trustees also learned that construction should begin later this year on a second HomePlace Cottage at Martin Village to provide a place for homeless women and their children to stay at no cost for up to one year. In this environment, the women will receive a high school equivalency degree, life and employment skills training through the Christian Women’s Job Corps.
Financing to build cottages is generated by proceeds from the Annual Roy O. Martin/Brenda Hall Abney Golf Classic.
The tournament was created by Roy O. Martin, chairman, and CEO Jonathan E. Martin and his wife, Maggie, in memory of Abney, who passed away in 2005 from a rare form of breast cancer. The new cottage will be Irma’s Place, named in honor of Irma Howard. Irma and Gene Howard (grandson of Roy O. Martin Sr.) have been generous contributors though the golf tournament.
Abney grew up at the Children’s Home in Monroe and attended Louisiana College, where she was figuratively adopted by the Martins in 1983.
Over the years, more than $2.3 million has been raised from the golf tournament to support the Children’s Home.
“I simply cannot say enough about the incredible support of the Martin family,” Hancock said. “Their investment is changing lives every day at the Children’s Home.”