July 17, 2015

The Beehive International

Adventist Review/ANN

The Beehive International combines health education with humanitarian aid to develop relationships and reveal Christ’s love in practical, relevant ways. Established in 2009, its outreach activities include three primary platforms: Community Health Advocate Training (CHAT), From Sickness to Health seminars, and the Beehive Mission to Haiti.

“We wanted to come up with strategies that anyone can do,” says Rico Hill, director. “We take very seriously the concept that every member of the church is supposed to be involved in this kind of work. If health is truly the entering wedge, it’s something we want to take advantage of on a regular basis.”

The Community Health Advocate Training (CHAT) is a weekend seminar at which participants are trained in health evangelism techniques. By focusing on the life and ministry of Jesus, participants learn how to interact with people and look for opportunities to reflect His love. The course is also available online.

In the Upper Columbia Conference (North American Division) several churches work together, providing seminars in central locations, preparing for a year-round cycle of evangelism.

“We want church [members] to mingle with [those who attend], deliberately getting to know them and love them. People are much more inclined to show up to an evangelistic effort when the invitation comes from a friend,” Hill says.

He tells about young a woman who came to a health program on a public college campus. When she arrived she announced, “I want you to know: I’m an atheist, but I came here for the health.”

As she returned week after week and developed relationships with those leading out, she started attending gospel-centric meetings. In less than a year the woman was baptized and married a Seventh-day Adventist. “They are the most faithful couple I have met in a long time,” says Hill.

“We’ve tried to make it so churches can buy materials they can then resell to cover the cost of their own event,” says Jared Thurmon, creative director. “Church members can then pay for the event they’re hosting.”

Some health seminars take place in corporate settings. At an event in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, Thurmon announced, “If anyone wants to be ‘coached’ over 10 weeks, no strings attached, you can be a testimony in your own company.”

Every day for 10 weeks Thurmon sent texts or called two women who volunteered. As their health began to improve, he began receiving texts that said, “You’ve been a blessing to me.” “You’ve brought me closer to the Lord.”

“It was a testimony of the health message; but it also said the door was open to spiritual things. It makes the point: Bless [people] with their health first, then lead them to spiritual things.”

Meanwhile in Haiti

The Beehive Mission to Haiti combines health education with community development. Jonathan Euler, director of International Development for Beehive International, lives in Haiti and leads volunteer groups in service to hospitals, schools, and orphanages.

The Beehive has 30 acres on which it provides vocational and agricultural training. One innovative project involves building furniture using wood from discarded shipping pallets. The project helps people learn skills as well as provide for their families. In the last 18 months, more than US$25,000 has been raised to build up the ministry and provide a living for those involved.

For more information about The Beehive International, visit TheBeehives.org.