October 1, 2017 marked the one-year anniversary of the FLORECE Prenatal & Family Counseling Center. What was once just a dream has now been a reality for twelve months filled with joy and tears and learning and growing. It has been a time of watching God work in ways we never even imagined, bringing us clients not only from the city of Iquique but most recently from faraway Cuba! It has also been a time of personal growth in our volunteers as they have been used of God to share the hope of the Gospel and to walk alongside women in some of the most personal and profound moments of their lives.
At their October meeting, the volunteers gathered not only to discuss items of business but to celebrate God's goodness and share testimonies of His work in their lives throughout FLORECE's first year. One of the volunteers made a beautiful cake with our theme colors and decorated the meeting room for their special occasion. With the help of Skype, I even had the privilege of joining them for a few moments long distance and hearing everyone's voices gathered together made my heart so glad!
Earlier that morning, I had been encouraged by the pastor's message at our church stateside. From the challenges recorded in chapter 5 of the book of Nehemiah, he drew a series of applications which I felt related so well to our ministry at FLORECE. First, expect problems to arise when advancing mission. Second, confront those problems courageously centering on God's glory and not your own. Third, be sure your own integrity is intact. Fourth, see life as an opportunity to see God at work. Fifth and finally, make sure your life is motivated by love; controlled by the truth of God; and done for the glory of God.
My only regret is that I was unable to hear the testimonies that the others shared. I thank God for each and every one of the volunteer women He has brought to the ministry. It has not always been easy nor has it always been smooth, but God has used "iron to sharpen iron" and not only have they ministered to our clients but also to one another in some very difficult moments of life this past year. These special ladies are truly serving on the front lines as they shine God's light on the enemy's lies and teach God's truth about hope, repentance, forgiveness, salvation, life and purity.
As our first year of ministry drew to a close, one of our colleagues gathered all the data we had been collecting to give us a clear picture of what was accomplished "by the numbers." We know that God's work is infinitely greater and that the Holy Spirit's work is most often unseen, but nonetheless we rejoice in this evidence that He allowed us to be used in ways far beyond what we could have imagined. To God be all the glory for the great things He has done, and may we remain faithful and available to accomplish His purposes through FLORECE until Jesus comes!
FLORECE's 1st Year Statistics:
New clients - 81
Total client visits - 260
Pregnancy tests administered - 41
Babies born - 8
Gospel presentations - 73
Spiritual conversations - 231
Maternity class sessions - 113
Other Bible study sessions - 90
Days open - 196
Volunteer hours - 4,315.5