Sugandai achieved what she had only dared to dream. She was sick so often for so long, taking medications just to get by. Her ailments prevented her from doing many things she wished she could do. But with the help of the Life Hope Center in Trinidad, her life has changed for the better.
“I was feeling sick, but with exercise and diet control, I stopped my medications,” said Sugandai. “And things I couldn’t do before, I am doing now. You know, at the age of 55, I thought it was impossible.”
The Life Hope Center is an Urban Center of Influence (UCI) in the Brickfield community on the island of Trinidad. One of the largest Hindu temples in the country stands just a few blocks away. As visitors on the street pass by the Life Hope Center, they are attracted to the colorful sign offering a variety of services to meet the community’s needs.
Urban Centers of Influence
Adventist Mission supports wholistic mission to the cities. This includes a rapidly growing number of Urban Centers of Influence that serve as platforms for putting Christ’s method of ministry into practice and as ideal opportunities for Total Member Involvement in outreach that suits each person's spiritual gifts and passions.
To learn more about Urban Centers of Influence, please visit MissionToTheCities.org.
Christine Mathura, manager of the Life Hope Center, conducted a needs assessment of the community before this UCI even opened its doors. “We found that the children in this community are not good readers,” Christine explained. “So we targeted the children and also targeted the parents because the children will come with them.”
The Life Hope Center began to offer math and literacy classes for children ages 6 to 15 and a preschool program for younger children. Through this UCI, children in the community have the opportunity to develop proficiency in foundational skills.
For adults, this UCI offers fitness and healthy living classes that teach the community how to ward off disease and improve their quality of life. Such was the case for Sugandai, a Life Hope Center regular. Her health has vastly improved thanks to what she learned from the health classes, and she has developed a more positive outlook on life. “I have learned to become a nicer person too,” Sugandai affirmed. “I have a lot more patience than I did before.”
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The Life Hope Center’s wholistic approach has led many people to receive academic and physical training as well as to find hope in Jesus. The staff regularly receives requests for spiritual counseling, Bible lessons, and prayer. “We have been able to plant a church because of the center,” Christine said, “and we now have 25 people attending.”
Through Christ’s method of ministry, the Life Hope Center continues to shine rays of hope in Trinidad.
Christ’s Method of Ministry
“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).