Wintley A. Phipps, D.D., senior pastor of the Palm Bay, Fla., Church, and its members were recently blessed with exceedingly more than they had requested of the Lord. Under the leadership of both Joyce Hospedales, disabilities ministries director, and Doris Brown, elder and former principal of the Palm Bay Adventist Elementary School, a fundraising venture was launched toward purchasing the church’s first handicapped bus. Initially, it appeared to be a most challenging and financially impossible endeavor, but they were reminded that what is impossible for man is a perfect opportunity for the Lord to reveal Himself in a mighty way.
The project extended over several years as members reached out to friends, relatives, and loved ones, as well as private and corporate members of the community, on behalf of the needed project. Many volunteered their time and valuable resources, while others contributed financially, some of whom did not live to see the fulfillment of the dream. The members are extremely grateful to Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening prayer, and the Palm Bay school board, and believe the Lord rewarded the combined efforts marvelously. They received funds from individuals near and far, even from the local Walmart and other local businesses. After five years of hard work and dedication, the goal was accomplished and the prayers answered in the form of a brand new, fully-equipped, handicap-accessible, 26-seater bus.
A ceremony was held Sabbath, May 4, 2019, for the dedication of the bus, and there was much celebration and rejoicing. Phipps’ message highlighted the perseverance of those who did not waver in faith, but continued to trust God when “their eyes have seen His glory.” The celebration extended into the evening’s service that included songs of praise and psalms, accompanied by stringed instruments and harmonicas. There were special renditions by the male chorus and the Palm Bay School children’s choir, there were puppets, and a solemn prayer of official dedication of the new bus by Phipps. The day marked the beginning of a new era for the disabled and those in need of transportation.
Theophilus Hamilton, a quadriplegic due to an accident in his youth, testified of his appreciation to church members who encouraged him as he boarded the local transit to attend church each Sabbath. Now, because of the new handicap bus, Hamilton shares the joy of regular attendance at Sabbath services and fellowship with his church family. Hospedales and the disabilities ministries committee — Erana and Roger Daniels, Samuel SinClair, Veta Ploche, Doris Brown, Naden Germain, and Elise Calder — are all grateful for the prayers and the support of the Palm Bay Church family. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wondrous works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:31.
Southeastern | March 2020