Our new partnership with Compassion!

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This past Sunday, Deep Water Church had the honour of hosting Barry Slauenwhite, President and Chief Executive Officer of Compassion Canada. 

We announced the launch of a new project which Deep Water will be supporting through our ReachOut initiative — Compassion’s Child Survival Program in Managua, Nicaragua.

ReachOut will be providing $10,000 in funding each year for the next 3 years to support the program. Donors from Deep Water have committed to support the remaining $9,800 for the first year to ensure we are fully funded for the project. As well, 27 children were sponsored in Nicaragua on Sunday morning. Amazing! 

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Here is what the Child Survival Program is all about:

In 2015, 4.5 million babies died within their first year of life. The mission of Compassion’s Survival initiatives is to identify babies who are the most vulnerable and give these precious children a healthy start in life and to show both mothers and their babies that they are personally known, loved and protected. 

With the funding provided, Compassion trains and equips local church staff members and more than 1,000 churches to be the hands and feet of Christ for these women and babies during pregnancy and infancy, with the goal of children entering Compassion’s sponsorship program. 

This is what the program provides:

Home-Based Care — where mothers are visited monthly in their homes by a Survival specialist, who offers education in prenatal care and early child-rearing as well as one-on-one biblical mentoring with parents. 

Advocacy for Moms — that provides and secures funding for medical treatments, ensures mothers are treated fairly by local services and arranges for birth attendants to assist mothers during childbirth. 

Group-Based Learning Activities — that combat isolation through a supportive community of mothers. Parents can receive basic education and income-generation training to combat long-term poverty. 

Survival Centres — where staff coordinates outreach and care and offers a safe place for new mothers to learn and grow, all while monitoring and supporting healthy child development. 

The Child Survival project in Nicaragua will support about 20 mother's during their pregnancy and throughout the first year of the babies life. 

We hope you will pray for these families over the coming year, that bonds between parents and babies will be loving and secure, that mothers will be encouraged by the community of support throughout their pregnancies and postpartum experiences, and that the Survival staff will have continued energy and passion. 

This is an amazing mission to be part of as a church family. It is only through generous giving of people to the ministries of Deep Water that we are able to gather the money needed for this project. Thank you to everyone who gives!

 

Our work in Haiti

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As part of Deep Water’s Reach Out initiative, this past November we were able to provide funding for Pastor Jeannot and a colleague to attend a Leadership Summit in Haiti. He recently sent us this encouraging letter in response to his experience: I am happy to send you this note today to once again thank you and your church for your collaboration with the Wesleyan church of Haiti, Petion Ville. God has made it possible for the two churches to do ministries together and it is a blessing to us. Recently, Pastor Myrtha, a young leader at the church, and I had the opportunity to attend the Leadership summit in Haiti and it was a good occasion for us to reflect on our leadership style and practices with many other local leaders.

The presentations were very instructive and impactful. Actually, there was a special presentation (in person) by a Haitian author named Daniel Jean Louis who wrote a book called "From Aide to Trade" and that was just the cream of the crop. He really motivated us to work together as the church and Christian leaders to prepare the minds of our fellows to produce as much as possible, because without production there cannot be development. I am sure that these presentations will have a good impact on our church in return.

I want to thank your church leaders for their partnership and I pray that this will grow more and more each day. Along with this great news, Reach Out has sent additional funding to the scholarship program at Petion Ville Wesleyan which will go towards helping three students who are undertaking translation studies (French to English) as well as continued support for Weline during her medical training.

A letter of thanks

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As part of the LuvHaiti initiative at Deep Water Church, we have been working with our partner church of Petion Ville Wesleyan in Port-au-Prince to fund a scholarship program for post-secondary students. For the past three years, Weline has been one such student. She is entering her third year and final year of nursing studies which will be covered by funding from ReachOut. Weline sent the following letter of thanks to Deep Water: I greet you in the precious name of Jesus while hoping that you and your family members are doing well. I want to thank God first then you and Pastor Jeannot for your support. To be sincere, I want you to know how much I am grateful to you because it is not easy to find people like you in this world with such a loving heart and ready to help others. Therefore, I want to express my gratitude because your support means a lot to me and that has put joy in my heart.

During my first year of nursing I learned to do a lot of things like: giving immunization shots, doing blood tests, checking the heart beating, giving medicine to the patients or sick people, and I also spent a few months as an intern in a hospital. 

During my second year, I was to move to a different school to comply with the Haitian government policies. I felt more comfortable in that second school. I did well in all the classes and learned many other things like giving injections; preparing medicine or solution, checking the vital signs of the body. I also spent many months in a hospital for internship reasons in these services: ophthalmology, odontology, laboratory, general care; I learned many things through practice or experiment.

As of this October, I am going to start with my third year and I do thank you for the continuation of your assistance. During my first year, I received about $500 and during the second year I received $800 and I think I will need almost that same amount or more for the third year as each year the school becomes more expensive.

To finish, I want to count on you as I hope that you will find and read this letter. Please receive my warmest and best affection.

Weline

This year, along with Weline, two other students have received a scholarship to help them pursue their educational goals.

HEY continues to transform lives

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If you've been attending Deep Water church over the past few months, you've most likely heard the pastors speak about our partnership with the Open Door Centre, and their Helping Exploited Youth (HEY) program. This week we were sent an update of the powerful work that has been happening through them. This month the Centre is helping three women who are being sexually exploited. These women are being supported as they make the choice to get out of the sex industry. The Open Door Centre asks that we pray for these brave women as they make life changing decisions in the face of danger.

In November, HEY reached seven schools through presentations on trafficking. 1052 students were taught what trafficking is and how to spot it among friends. HEY plans to continue to educate teens so they don’t fall into the traffickers' hands.

As people gain knowledge about sex-trafficking the community is better able to take a stand against it. Keep praying for the team at the Open Door Centre as they pursue  this important work in Halifax.

Over here you can learn more information on HEY, book a community presentation, or learn how to get involved.

Thanks Deep Water!

HEY is in our schools! And some other updates...

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In Pastor AJ's sermon on Sunday (Nov.12) we were encouraged to hear the great things that are happening through HEY. Here's what the month of October looked like for them:

1. HEY is in the schools! Over 600 students have seen their presentation and 8 more schools are already booked before Christmas.
2. Awareness is growing. Christina Wheeler, the Program Development Coordinator for Open Door Centre, had the honour of sitting on a panel for Inspire Justice Halifax where more than 50 community members came out to learn how they can play their part to end sex trafficking. Pray for real action and initiatives to come from the event!
3. HEY is getting to help frontline workers. School guidance counsellors, from a local school that's been greatly affected by trafficking, sought HEY out to educate themselves on serving trafficked youth for their PD day. What an honour to resource the people working so hard to serve youth every day!
4. Victims and survivors are reaching out. Pray for those who have already reached out to the Open Door Centre. Perhaps even more pressing, pray for those who need help but must overcome great fear and danger in order to reach out for help!

 

Christina Wheeler had generous words for the Centre's Mission Partnership Team, of which Deep Water is a part: "THANK YOU. I've been in awe lately about what a privilege it is to have this incredible team standing firm behind me as I persevere in the mission God has put on all our hearts! Your faithful investment and prayers enable me to work opposing sex trafficking every day and, for that, I am grateful."

 

Let's continue to support and prayer for the Open Door Centre as they bring hope to Halifax (you can find a few specific prayer requests at the bottom of this post).

Here's the scoop

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Hi Deep Water church! We've been posting for a few months now and thought we'd take a moment to tell you what ReachOut is all about. If you were in the service this morning (Nov. 12), pastor AJ gave a brief update on what we've been doing through this ministry. The church has made a commitment to give 10% of offerings to amplify and advance organizations and activities outside of ourself that spread the gospel, build churches and help the poor and marginalized both locally and internationally. We call this ReachOut.

We have cut back the charitable causes and campaigns that we present as fundraising options and instead, declare that we will do the work of the kingdom together in ways that none of us could do alone. Serving and reaching out is part of who we are as disciples of Christ.

We are researching and supporting with dollars organizations that are doing great work that we want to assist. As well, within ReachOut, we have volunteer champions for each organization who are going deep to understand and tell the stories of the organizations. This blog is where we share these stories with you. This allows you to know what impact your support of Deep Water is having and also allows us all to know what to pray for and how to get involved personally. We are amplifying the work and the message of these great organizations.

We are still supporting Global Partners in Haiti. Now we're also providing funding for disaster relief in the Caribbean. We are working on partnerships that will allow us to contribute to the sharing of the gospel internationally. Upstream has spearheaded the launch of a partnership with Compassion and we now have our own Mark Fletcher leading the way as the champion of that partnership.

Locally, we are working with great partners like the Open Arms Centre, Nova Church and the Open Door Centre to build God's kingdom in our city.

The division of the Open Door Centre that works to combat human trafficking in Halifax (HEY) has been working hard to bring awareness to schools in the HRSB. Our next post will give you an update on the great things that have been happening through them. Stay tuned!

The boat was delivered!

A day at work took a slight twist at Deep Water church on Monday November 6, when the leadership team walked down the steps with a canoe full of hats and mitts. The boat was loaded down and overflowing as the staff carried it out of the church. They proceeded to carry the boatload of warmth to Joseph Howe Elementary School. image5

 

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A month ago Deep Water Church set a goal to collect 217 hats and mitts. The final count of donations totalled 378 hats, 322 mitts, 50 scarves and 31 ball caps. This far exceeded the original goal!

The generosity of the church was much appreciated at the North End School. The school tweeted out a picture of the drop off and a "Thanks a bunch" to Deep Water, and this was retweeted by the Halifax Regional School Board who wrote "Our schools have wonderful community partners!"

Deep Water staff had sorted the hats and mittens into bags according to size to make it easier for kids to find what they needed. When one of the teachers saw the bag of brand new ball caps she exclaimed "Oooooh, you do not know what you've started.  The older boys are going to LOVE these." The plan was mostly likely to hide these away to use as prizes throughout the year.

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A boatload of warmth

As the cold weather fast approaches we begin replacing our sandals and shorts for warm hats and mitts. Unfortunately there are kids in the Deep Water community who go to school without these basic winter clothes. Just minutes away from Deep Water Church is Joseph Howe Elementary School. Children in this area often come from low income households, including new Canadians not used to our cold climate. Deep Water feels strongly that they can meet the need of these community members by equipping the kids with hats and mitts. A boat was set up at the front of the church and people were asked to donate hats and mitts for kids at the school. The goal of this project is to collect 217 pairs of mitts and 217 hats.

For the past several weeks Deep Water attendees have answered the call and have purchased and gathered an abundance of hats and mittens. 6 church members have been spending their time knitting pairs from scratch. Kids and adults of all ages have been a part of the donating, and as of November 3, 212 hats and 183 sets of mittens have been collected.  17 scarves/neck/head warmers and 31 ball caps have also been donated to the boatload.

Members of Deep Water, don't forget that today (Sunday, Nov.5) is the last day to bring in donations!

The boatload will be delivered by Deep Water staff on November 6. What better way to show Christ's love in action than wrapping neighbourhood children in winter warmth.

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HEY has exciting news!

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On Thursday, October 5, Westin Hotel hosted a dinner to support one of the most urgent matters in our city. The large hotel ballroom bordered with floor-to-ceiling windows was filled with guest in formal attire — women in dresses and high heels and men with colourful pocket-squares and bow-ties. In groups of ten or so, pastors, church-goers, and business representatives sat and mingled around white cloth-covered tables. A silent auction was set up at the back of room for guests to participate in before the dinner began. Volunteers were stationed around the room holding large bunches of gold balloons: single balloons could be bought for $20, with two balloons containing the grand prize of either a pair of diamond earrings or a diamond necklace valued at $1000.

This was the 3rd annual Door of Hope Dinner, organized to raise funding to support the work of the Open Door Centre in Halifax. Heather Harman, the executive director of the centre, walked onstage in a long black dress and welcomed guests with a warm smile. She acknowledged that the topic of the night may be uncomfortable — guests would be served a delicious three course dinner while also being educated on the centre’s work in trying to eliminate sex trafficking and helping young people make critical decisions around pregnancy and abortions. Harman’s speech was gentle but powerful. Guests heard personal stories of women who have found help, hope and healing through the programs the centre offers.

“It is so easy to imagine that sex trafficking only happens in places so far away from our homes and that perhaps, it is not our problem,” reads the Open Door Centre’s website, “Yet, the vice is a growing criminal industry in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimates the number of sex trafficking victims to be in the thousands and that 90% of these thousands are Canadians. This is proof that sex trafficking is indeed our problem. It is happening in our backyard. From our interactions with different professionals who have worked in the area of sex trafficking over the years, we learnt that Nova Scotia is a recruitment hub.”

The division of the Open Door Centre that focuses on sex trafficking, entitled HEY (Helping Exploited Youth), is a ministry that Deep Water supports financially through it's ReachOut program. HEY was excited to announce that their Prevention strategy is well underway. Their focus for this coming Fall will be to educate teens about how human trafficking happens here in Halifax.

Earlier this year HEY gave presentations to guidance counsellors across the HRM, which helped to build connections and trust between Open Door Centre and local schools. The centre has now met with every junior high in the HRSB to discuss the possibility of making presentations to students throughout the school year. The presentations are free and include information about what sex trafficking is and how it works, Canadian laws about sex workers and trafficking, how to recognize the signs if someone is being recruited, and how students can help stop local exploitation.

“18 schools have expressed interest in our presentations so far and as of now we have 7 booked,” says Heather. “Some schools are already asking us to come back and make a presentation each year.” Most schools are requesting presentations for their Grade 6 students.

So what can we, the members of Deep Water Church, do to support the volunteers and staff at the Open Door Centre? They have asked for us to focus our prayers in these 3 areas:

  1. That HEY would be equipped to carry out it's mandate — preventing teens who would have otherwise been trafficked from being exploited.
  2. That the volunteers who are giving school presentations would have the wisdom, courage, and passion to engage these youth in an impactful way.
  3. That any exploited youth would see the presentation and come to the centre for help.

Thanks for joining with us in supporting the life-changing work that is happening in our city!

 

This is luvHaiti

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Since launching in 2009, luvHaiti has been a focal point of Deep Water’s international outreach. Through our partnerships with local missionaries, Carl & Maya Giles, as well as Pastor Jeannot, Deep Water continues to fund and support five initiatives; each with the intent of building local capacity and spreading the gospel.                                                           

Equip Haiti provides training to young leaders; empowering them to be effective in their area of ministry, communities and personal relationships.

Petion Ville Wesleyan Scholarship Program awards funding to post-secondary students who are active in their church community and require financial support to continue their technical training.

The luvHaiti MicroBank is a non-profit micro loan program, through which qualified individuals are able to access financial support and training. Earlier this year, our local partners approved the distribution of loans to four individuals. Ranging from $300 - $450, these funds will help these individuals to sustain and grow their businesses.

After hearing about the impact that Celebrate Recovery was having in our own congregation, Carl and Maya wanted to explore the possibility of launching the program in Port-au-Prince. After a successful fundraising campaign last Christmas, we were able to provide the start-up funding for CR.

Currently in the planning stages, training through Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is scheduled to take place later this year. CHE is a program that unifies ministry and discipleship with community health and development.

We look forward to sharing updates and progress regarding each of these initiatives over the coming months.

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Why Nova?

This post was written by AJ Thomas, lead pastor at Deep Water Church One of the first projects we have backed as a part of our ReachOut initiative is a church plant here in Halifax called Nova. To some people this may seem like a rather strange thing for us to do. Why would we pour outreach funds into a church? And if a church why a church other than Deep Water?  And if another church why Nova? Let's take a couple minutes and look at the answers to those questions.

“Why pour outreach funds into a church?”

At Deep Water we believe that God has called us to help bring his kingdom here in Halifax. While this includes serving the poor, feeding the hungry, helping the sick, caring for those in prison, and a whole host of other social justice initiatives, we believe that the most essential thing in bringing the kingdom of God to Halifax in greater and greater ways is to see individual lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The tool that God has ordained as the primary way for the gospel to be both lived out and proclaimed is the local church. We believe that the more churches there are in Halifax that are Spirit filled and on mission with Jesus the more we will see people come to Christ, our community transformed and the kingdom come. No organization in Halifax is as well positioned or as God-empowered to bring transformation as the local church so we think it makes great sense to invest in a project that raises up another great local church.

“If a church, why a church other than Deep Water?”

I understand this question. God is doing some amazing things in Deep Water right now. Why would we not just continue to fuel that fire as much as we can? The answer is simple: we can't do it alone. It will take many different kinds of strong, effective churches to reach Halifax for Jesus and while we want to do our part we also want to be a part of helping other churches to do theirs. Deep Water exists because the good folks at Hillside Wesleyan Church knew that we needed more strong healthy churches in our city and so they released people and gave money so that Deep Water could get off the ground. We want to have that same heart that says we will work our corner of the field with everything we have but we will also support those God has called to other corners. Our mission is to help people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ not just to build Deep Water, and if investing in another church helps us to accomplish our mission we will. People invested in us and because of this THE CHURCH in Halifax is stronger. Now we our investing in another church and THE CHURCH will be stronger still.

“If another church why Nova?”

In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the parable of the talents. You can read it for yourself if you want all the details but the basic gist is this: the Master gives us resources and it's our job to invest them where they will bring the greatest return. Pastors Mike and Nancy Miller have served faithfully in the city of Halifax for many years. They know the culture, they know the people, and they know the spiritual climate here. They have excellent gifts for this type of work and God has clearly shown his blessing on this project in many ways including the amazing team he has raised up around the Millers. When Deep Water started we had the launch team of 30. Nova still has almost 2 months until they launch and their team already has 100 members. The vision they have for Nova is certainly not a replica of the vision for Deep Water but there is absolutely  a common heartbeat, a common passion, and a common focus on reaching people who are far from Jesus. Making Deep Water and Nova kindred spirits. Simply put we are giving funds to Nova Church because we believe that it is one of the best kingdom investment opportunities our city has ever seen and we want in on the rewards of seeing lives transformed and God glorified.

So that's why we are not just investing in Nova Church but are thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. We are investing in Nova not just because we believe in their mission but because it helps us accomplish ours and helps bring the Kingdom in Halifax as it is in Heaven.

Sex Trafficking in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, a province known for caring people and communities, is not immune from the recruitment and trafficking of sex workers. Sex trafficking is modern day slavery and IMG_7699it affects the youth of our neighbourhoods. Young women are targeted at school or at popular hangouts. They are groomed in Halifax by young men acting as boyfriends; then the girls are taken from their homes and moved throughout the country. We often think that trafficking is something that only happens overseas, but two years ago, a meeting was held by a group of concerned Christians who had learned that this practice had been occurring in Nova Scotia. At this meeting, volunteers signed up for three teams: research, proposal and prayer. The teams worked hard to explore a faith based response to sex trafficking in the Maritimes. As a result of these volunteer efforts, in 2016 Open Door Centre launched a new initiative called Helping Exploited Youth. (HEY) HEY uses a three-prong strategy: Prevention, Protection and Partnership.

1. Prevention: this involves working in the community, visiting schools and churches and educating them on the early signs of trafficking.

2. Protection: victims of sex trafficking can come directly to the centre, have a safe place to meet and, if needed, access safe houses.

3. Partnership: HEY works with community groups and establishes relationships with churches and non-faith-based organizations.

Volunteers at HEY do many different tasks, from counselling, financial advising, social work, stuffing newsletters or stocking shelves at the client boutique. Currently HEY is in need of volunteer receptionists.

If you are interested in volunteering with HEY, step one is to visit Open Door Centre, located at 5991 Spring Garden Rd #630, and pick up an application! It is not necessary to commit to a specific amount of time, and people from all walks of life or beliefs are welcome!

Opening Arms in the North End

Uniacke Square, located in Halifax’s North End, is a tight-knit community made up largely of women and young people. The neighbourhood is known as a low-income area, with unemployment hovering at 60%. The need for community outreach was seen by the Salvation Army and the Open Arms Centre was established to assist the women and children of the Uniacke community. IMG_1430

The Open Arms Centre currently facilitates women’s programs ranging from Bible studies to sewing classes, budgeting and other life skills programs. It also caters to children through summer and March break camps, and a drop-in after school program.

Deep Water Summer Student Shawna McKay has been working with the organization through the afterschool program. She describes it as a place that “allows kids to be kids even for a small portion of their day.” Kids in the program play games, act creatively, receive healthy snacks and have access to homework help.

Shawna also lends her support by helping out the Open Arms staff at the Gottingen Street Food bank. Also run by the Salvation Army, this food bank provides much-needed supplies to residents, including those in Uniacke Square.

The Open Arms Centre is currently seeking dedicated helpers. “The biggest rule,” Shawna says, “is that it’s about participation; it’s a hands-on organisation.” If you enjoy working with women or kids and are sensing a call to help, contact Shawna at Shawna@deepwaterchurch.com.