A life of holiness is a life of action. It is a journey of carrying this holiness with us wherever we are called by God to go, and Wesleyans have been stepping out to bring hope and holiness to the island of Grand Bahama through World Hope International Canada’s “Hope Garden Project.” Hope Garden partners with The Wesleyan Church, volunteers, local preschools and church partners.

“World Hope coming back to the island and helping me has given me hope to push through and continue on,” Ms. Teka shared. Presence and partnership are integral in how World Hope aspires to walk with people in the way of Jesus. 

Hope through safe play

At Tekanells Kindergarten and Daycare Center, children are overjoyed with their new playground. Prior to working with the Hope Garden Project, the children didn’t have anywhere safe to play. To get some fresh air and exercise, they would walk on the side of a busy road near the center.

Using wooden pallets and other repurposed items, Crosspoint Wesleyan Church in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in partnership with Bahamians built a playground and sun shelter that the children absolutely adore. Now when the children are restless and have free time, they go outside and play on equipment that is the right size for them, developing their gross motor skills.

Autistic children are finding hope through play. Volunteers made fidget toys from locally sourced items such as recycled water bottles or rope and wooden beads. When introduced to the toys, the youngsters played for hours, keeping themselves entertained and regulated. For the team of educators, they have hope for the children they are educating. Finding new ways to connect with the children through play is expanding their educational toolbox.

Hope through partnership

HGP team member

Pastor Raymond Simonzne is the lead pastor of Lighthouse Wesleyan Outreach Ministry, a Florida District church plant located in Eight Mile Rock, a depressed and poor community. Pastor Raymond’s heart for his community is reflected in his own words, “Our vision … is to be a light in our community, to be a life transformation ministry, to see souls come to know Christ Jesus, allowing people to be equipped in their faith and in the Word of God.” Whether he is serving in partnership with the Hope Garden Project through breakfast programs, sports camps and youth events, or preaching from the pulpit, his passion is infectious. Partnering with Pastor Raymond and his church has been joy-filled for each volunteer working with them.

Inspire Conferences have been a place of shared learning for educators on the island. Educators from Canada and The Bahamas gather to collectively share techniques and tools with Bahamian educators to increase their knowledge and confidence. Topics such as literacy, teaching children with special needs, classrooms set up for inclusion, creatively using accessible resources and so much more have been shared. Over 20 different preschools and primary schools have been represented at these conferences since 2019.

Hope for vulnerable children

At the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, a discipleship program for young teenagers recently started.  A Houlton Wesleyan Church (Maine) volunteer was energized to participate in the initiative’s launch. Now, a group of Hope Garden Project volunteers rotate monthly in leading these teens through lessons about Jesus and growing in their personal relationships with him. They are gaining hope for their futures.

Sensory rooms provide safe and fun spaces for children dealing with trauma. Taking a plain space and transforming it into a delight for all the senses gives children hope for a renewed life. Healing is a difficult journey, but these kinds of spaces make it possible for vulnerable children to process their past and heal.

Making a sustainable difference in the lives of vulnerable children includes building gardens for schools so children will have access to nutritious food. Members from Deep Water Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia, were excited to work with local educators and prepare container gardens that still flourish today.

Justice and holiness

God’s call to be holy moves us beyond ourselves to act justly on behalf of others. It can be hard to move beyond our needs and help people who are suffering, living in vulnerable conditions or experiencing injustice. But the church is called to “let justice roll on like a river” and “righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)

As Jesus followers and Wesleyans, we join what Jesus is already doing around the world. In sharing hope and holiness, God continues to move, and his kingdom grows. Today, on Grand Bahama, the lives of children and families are being transformed by Wesleyans working collaboratively to bring hope and holiness.

Rev. Tanya Nace is an ordained Wesleyan minister serving in the Atlantic District and chief executive officer of World Hope International Canada.

 Rev. Natalie Gidney is an ordained Wesleyan minister serving in the Atlantic District and strategic engagement and communications coordinator for World Hope International Canada. 


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