the Hope of Survivors

General Conference 2005 Update

July 11, 2005

Greetings!

It is so good to be home again! The Lord blessed our trip and exhibition at the General Conference Session in St. Louis, but 10 days of standing on your feet for 10+ hours and listening to the “human noise” of 70,000 people can be quite wearying. Southern Illinois never looked so good as when we drove home Sunday! :-)

Samantha & Steve Nelson at General Conference, St. Louis, MO
Samantha and Steve in front of The Hope of Survivors’ booth at the General Conference Session in St. Louis, MO. Click here to view video experiences from the GC Session (Broadband version). Click here for ISDN/Cable version.

We’d like to say a special THANK YOU to Ralph Robertson, one of our Directors, who gave us a brief reprieve from our booth so we could rest our tired feet. Thank You!

Ok, here are some of the highlights of the General Conference Session:

(1) We were blessed to distribute our brochures and DVDs to over 62 countries, including: Afghanistan, Andorra, Ghana, Liberia, Samoa, Guyana, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Nova Scotia (the women’s ministry directors took 100 of each brochure and a set of DVDs), Guam, Kenya, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia, South Africa, Haiti, Congo, Venezuela, Brazil, Trinidad, Canada, Romania, Cuba, United States, England, Peru, Sweden, India, Indonesia, Portugal, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Costa Rica, Togo, Singapore, Bangladesh, Switzerland, Colombia, Mozambique, Malawi, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Estonia, Martinique, Angola, Italy, Jamaica, Ukraine, Curacao, Germany, Vietnam, Nigeria, Guatemala, Bahamas, Cameroon, France, Grenada, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, and many, many more! Over 200 countries were represented at the GC Session, and we most likely sent materials (brochures and/or DVD programs) into nearly every country. The ones listed above are just the ones I remembered to ask about! Praise God for this incredible opportunity to share truth about pastoral sexual misconduct around the globe! We ask that you join us in praying that this information will touch those who read it and bring hope to those who need it.

(2) During the 10-day Session, the Adventist Church confirmed a “zero tolerance” policy regarding abuse (of any form). This led the news reporters from the Hope Channel to come to our booth, as we were one of the primary two ministries addressing abuse issues. This interview took place July 6 and aired during the news segment on July 7.

(3) We were also blessed with the opportunity to tape a half-hour program on July 8th for the Hope Channel that will air on a future date (TBD). This program is part of a series that will air and give “hope” to individuals going through various crises and situations. Praise God for this opportunity to share the hope we have in HIM with others!

(4) The South England Conference Youth Department has requested an ad from The Hope of Survivors which they will run, free of charge, in full color, in their monthly youth magazine. What a wonderful way to reach the youth who may be struggling with abuse issues at the hands of youth pastors or educators!

(5) Overall, we placed many brochures and DVDs into the hands of women’s ministries leaders, ministerial directors, conference presidents, pastors, and other key people. This will help to spread the word among leadership and will lead to many more pastor’s conferences (we’ve received several inquiries so far). Most importantly, though, we’ve placed the information into the hands of the lay people—the church members—who will now be aware of what pastoral sexual abuse is and how to prevent/avoid it.

(6) We were blessed by the opportunity to minister to several people who were struggling with pastoral abuse (mostly from the past), and to provide hope for others who knew friends or family members who have suffered abuse at the hands of clergy. We prayed with and for many individuals while there, and we trust the Lord will bring them hope and healing.

(7) We met a few people who said they’d like to help support The Hope of Survivors financially. Please pray they will follow through on their intentions.

(8) We also met several people who may be able to aid the ministry in terms of offering counseling to those in need as we continue to grow and the work becomes too much for us to do alone. Also, there may be some who are able to assist the pastors and their families. Please pray that God’s will be done and that He brings the RIGHT people to help, according to His will.

(9) One of our key Adventist university presidents spoke to us about the issue of pastoral abuse and took back brochures and a set of DVDs that he intends to give to the seminary professor to use in training the seminary students. What a great way to have would-be pastors become familiar with the dos and don’ts of counseling and appropriate boundaries.

I’m sure there’s more, but it’s difficult to recall all the events of the past two weeks. We did take some video, so as soon as we have a chance to edit it, we’ll post it so you, too, can have an idea of what the GC experience was like.

May God bless you,
Samantha & Steve

Update July 24, 2005: The video is now avilable! Click here to view experiences from the GC Session (Broadband version). Click here for ISDN/Cable version.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18