15 Oct Mission Minute: Connections of Hope
Many of the individuals served by New Hope have strong spiritual and religious beliefs, but in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were no longer able to go to church or spend time with their friends from their congregations. This disconnect between them and their church took a toll on their mental health. Thankfully, New Hope has many friends including some dedicated volunteers from College Park Church. With their partnership, New Hope has been able to offer online Bible study each week during which the individuals we serve can find connection and share their faith with friends. Thanks to Daryl Dougherty for sharing his experience with us for this month’s Mission Minute.
When the world shrinks drastically.
by Daryl Dougherty, Volunteer
I first met New Hope friends three years ago through our special needs Sunday School and weeknight Sonrise Bible study at College Park Church. I had heard of the outstanding and devoted leadership of these ministries by Jeff and Joanne Alexovich. I first met Jeff one Sunday in our church lobby just before Sunday School. By chance up walked Cindy, a New Hope friend, so Jeff introduced us. One of the great amazements of my life followed – Cindy took my hand and walked me to the classroom. She somehow knew how to treat a newbie. Without saying much, Cindy demonstrated (and taught) the Second Commandment. It was heart-warming to see real Christian love extended to a stranger.
These types of surprises have continued many times over the ensuing years as my New Hope friends continually teach patience, kindness, trust, love and many other biblical truths. I have seen them extend these biblical demonstrations to my wife and many others. Best of all they teach in ways that most of us cannot re-create. But while I can’t re-create their teaching, trust, faith and love, I can imitate it.
I was invited to “team-teach” Bible study with Jeff Alexovich and Roger Brunkow. We have had a great time. Nothing is more fun than having Bible study with a healthy dose of laughing and joy. Not only does it enhance the biblical lessons but it builds a strong and lasting community. It is quite amazing to watch your own involvement in the community grow. The majority of our participants live in New Hope homes. This year of course brought a new vision of 2020. With COVID-19 restrictions, our friends not only lost Sunday School and Sonrise Bible study but they were confined to home and were totally relying on interaction with a very small group of New Hope staff.
The world shrank drastically.
Again our friends demonstrated incredible persistence and faith. By the end of April we learned about Zoom (it’s now a verb) and had our first New Hope-Sonrise Bible study on May 5, 2020. It has been fun in a different way as we all work to overcome physical separation. We found we can do it! Initially we met via internet only with friends in their homes, but recently we have participated with friends at Day Services and in AIM at the New Hope mother ship on Payne Road. Our teaching has been very dependent on Connection Ministries and video Bible lessons they produced for this COVID summer. Connection Ministries “equips Christian congregations throughout central Indiana to minister to adults” with various disabilities.
We are always looking for new friends to have fun with and learn about Jesus as we grow our relationship together. New Hope makes this possible with their extremely dedicated staff and leadership.
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