by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
The banquet is over, North Texas Giving Day is in the books, and COVID didn’t prevent either of them from taking place. After more than eighteen months of not being able to gather, it was a blessing to see so many of our friends, supporters, and current and past participants celebrating the amazing work of God in their lives and the lives of their family or friends. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for all that God is doing through Living Hope Ministries!
North Texas Giving Day was incredible as folks from all over the world gave $69,855 in a single day! I can’t begin to tell you how humbled we were to receive such support, affirmation, and love.
Then came the annual Celebration Fundraising Banquet. Since we missed last year, we decided to take it over the top and write an original musical production that would entertain all who attended and communicate the personal stories of those involved in our ministry. God was in every moment of it, and judging from the responses of those in attendance, it was a grand slam! Not only did God touch lives and draw individuals to His healing power, but through your generosity, we raised an additional $51,872. God is so good to continue to provide for this ministry above and beyond what we can even hope or imagine. I’m so grateful to the cast who put in long hours of rehearsal and were willing to put themselves out there – raw, real, and personal – in ways that would genuinely frighten most people. There was laughter, moments of reflection, times of worship in song, and tears of joy and heartache over the power of God to transform lives.
I was also honored by our Board for fifteen years as the Executive Director of Living Hope Ministries. Honestly, I am the one that should be thanking each of you. I have had the privilege of walking alongside thousands of individuals and families from every walk of life, ethnic group, and continent, as they have devoted their lives to Christ. I have seen lives transformed in ways only explainable by God. I have seen families restored and strengthened. I have seen families formed from individuals who never believed a family was even an option for them. I have seen children birthed, raised, and nurtured in the Lord who are now heralds of God’s Good News! I have been blessed to travel the US and the world, sharing the message of hope, help, and transformation through Jesus Christ. I have seen ministries planted and thriving in Norcross, Georgia, Denton, Texas, and Houston, Texas. LHM has changed my life, my walk with Jesus, and my faith in the miraculous work and power of God. You have trusted me, loved me and my precious wife, Merlinda, through the darkest days of our lives, and you have supported and encouraged me as I continue to work through grief and discover how to live life as a single man again.
I can’t help but think of Paul’s words to the church in Phillipi when he writes, “I thank my God for all my remembrances of you” (Phil 1:3).
Gratitude is a disposition of the heart that appreciates what it has rather than what is missing. It is a difficult discipline to learn but one that changes our perspective in every situation of life. Jesus has secured for each of us a life that is greater than anything we deserve.
As we approach this holiday season, I pray each of you can focus not on what we don’t have but on all the blessings that God has given us. May we praise Him for revealing His love to us and transferring us from the kingdom of darkness into His Kingdom of light. Allow your heart to be overwhelmed with gratitude for His goodness and grace, and know that I am deeply grateful for YOU!