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RHM Newsletter 33: 2018 Year-end Wrap-up

  • RHM Newsletter #33, 2018 Year-end Wrap-up from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    (For those interested, there are quite a few more photos in the video version of this newsletter :))

    For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 WEB

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for reading our devotional and for being a part of our online church at Refreshing Hope Ministries. I hope that this message finds you blessed, healthy, and happy. Merry Christmas and may you have a Happy New Year!

    I want to take a few minutes and update everyone on some of the things that have happened at RHM this year. We tend to include the news in the footer of the devotional these days, but I wanted to touch base with you and do a year-end wrap up so to speak. I will cover some highlights from 2018 as seen from here at RHM for those that missed it.

     DATA CENTER UPGRADE:

    At the first of the year, we try and go over our network equipment, upgrade servers, update the operating systems, etcetera. This year, we were in dire need of new servers.

    Our Dell R900s that we bought off lease turned 10 years old. They were becoming obsolete and they soaked up power like mad. We ran a rack of these monsters at RHM to keep the website, mail servers, and the ministry online. They generated serious heat and they needed dedicated cooling as well. During the summer months, we were using an average of 200kw a day in electricity, which worked out to be about $800 a month.

    We prayed and did some research, but for us to get a single decent enterprise server was about $5,000, and even using virtual machines, we would need about 4 of them. We run on a pretty tight budget at RHM, so that was never an option for us. But part of the gift set that the Lord gave me was a love of gadgets: Raspberry Pis, project boards, micro computing and such. It’s a hobby of mine.

    I had been experimenting with a new credit card sized “Single Board Computer” (SBC) with an 8 core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and solid state storage. It is called an XU4. I began to run some tests, and to my surprise found that they made an excellent micro server. Small, fast, energy efficient, they run cool and produce very little heat. After lugging around the 100 pound servers with the razor sharp edges when I needed to work on them, these were like a dream come true. And the wonderful part: They cost less than $100 each after you buy the board, the power supply and the storage. If one misbehaves, you just swap the entire board out. We found that they are perfect for small jobs like delivering the devotional each morning.

    Sylvia and I came up with a design for RHM with a cross, and we laid out some plywood, drilled in studs, and mounted them on it. We worked on it as we could while keeping the ministry going and by March, we had migrated the entire data center to a small board located here in our office. We added a row of computer fans above them to keep them cool. The electrical usage here was cut from 200kw to about 60kw per day during the summer, which means the electrical bill went from $800 to around $250 per month. It was a wonderful blessing for us.

    ELECTRICAL WORK:

    After this we had to have some A/C work done, and while they were in the electrical panel, they noticed that the main breaker was burnt. When they wiggled it, sparks began to fly out of it. Looking closer, we could see that it was partly melted and would spark when you turned something on or off. The load of the power hungry servers had taken its toll, and the old panel could not handle it. This was a fire hazard, and it was time for an upgrade.

    So we hired an electrician to help us and we labeled everything, unwired all the breakers and removed the old panel from the wall. We cut a bigger hole in the wall and installed a new Square D 30 slot panel, heavy duty with plenty of room to grow. We installed all new breakers, a surge protector, and a new ground rod outside.

    ROOF WORK:

    Early in the year, we had a skylight on the roof that had been leaking in the past. We had patched it several times, but it was a mess. So we decided to simply close it in and put a recessed LED light there instead. We had a friend of ours come and help us, and when we pulled the roofing off, it was a disaster.

    When we got up there, I noticed some places of the roof were soft. The rafters and the supporting wood were basically crumbling from water damage. The insulation had deteriorated and was about non-existent.

    As we got to inspecting the rest of the house, we found that the edges and the boxing all the way around were the same way. It was awful. In order to repair it, we had to first remove all the old roofing material and the plywood, sister all the rafters with new ones, put in new insulation, closed it in with new OSB plywood, a waterproof sheeting, and put the metal back on. We did it one section at a time so that it could be covered up at night. It took over six weeks and cost 5 times more than we had originally planned. But whatever the Lord brings you to, He will bring you through, and He did. Today it is now better than ever, and it is so much easier to heat and cool.

    Hurricane Florence:

    In September, Hurricane Florence came ashore just above us in North Carolina, slowly made its way directly to RHM and literally seemed to park on top of our house for several days. This is a screen shot that I took of the eye sitting directly over us:

    It rained and rained and rained until the roads washed out, the national guard was called in, and Sylvia and I were cut off from everyone. We live near three towns, but the roads to all three flooded out. Fortunately Sylvia and I were well stocked up with food and had a gas grill to cook on, for the power went off here for a couple of days, and RHM went offline. We used Facebook to keep up with everyone until the utilities were restored. It took months for things to return to normal, and the roads are still in pretty bad shape here with huge potholes and pieces of the road missing.

    Because of hurricanes like this and extended power outages that we have faced here on the coast of South Carolina, we installed a connection for a portable generator and a lock out in the electrical panel, so that the generated electricity could not harm linemen working on the power lines. This way, if the power goes out, we can flip a switch, fire up our generator, and keep RHM online as long as we have enough fuel. Hopefully we will not need it, but through the last storm, the place was a mess with extension cables all through it. This should enable us to keep Refreshing Hope online in the future.

    New Ministry Items:

    New Book: We released a new devotional book earlier this year called “Forty Days of Love”. This is a forty-day devotional with a short story from the Bible, some thoughts on it, and a prayer. This is our 4th book following: Forty Days of Faith, Forty Days of Hope, and Forty Days of Fasting. They are all available on Amazon in paperback and kindle versions. http://amazon.com/author/diontodd

    New CD: When we began to host live meetings over the Internet at Refreshing Hope on Sunday mornings, I looked for praise and worship music that we could stream during the service, but it was a mess of royalties and red tape to do it legally. As I prayed and pondered about what to do, the Holy Spirit suddenly began giving me original songs. They just come to me, many times at night, and I write them down. I have been a musician most of my life, but had never written a song before this. Now I have written and recorded about thirty. I set up a small recording studio here at RHM and I record them here.

    As I began to share the songs that I had written during the services at RHM, I met Perry Robertson, who also writes and records music, and we started collaborating together over the Internet to produce original music for RHM, though we live about 1,100 miles apart. We just released our first CD called “Wings of Love” and it is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wings-Love-Dion-Todd/dp/B07KH8W76G

    You can also listen to most of our original music for free by visiting refreshinghope.org and clicking “Music” on the top menu. Free music for everyone. 

    Live Meetings:  We have a weekly live meeting at RHM that we call “Refreshing Hope Live”.  We currently meet at 10 AM Eastern Time. It allows us to bring church to those that do not have one right in their home, over the Internet. We have live interactive chat where people can ask for prayer, and we can all pray together. Praise and worship, a short message, and ministry time at the end. People are making friends, without leaving home.

    We also study a chapter of the Bible in detail verse by verse, once a month and then take a quiz on it. So far, we have covered the book of Luke, and most of the book of Acts. You can join us on Sunday mornings by clicking “Watch” on the top menu. There are also video and audio versions of the meeting recorded and put on the site for later and on Vimeo.

    Summary: Well that covers a lot of what we have experienced this year at Refreshing Hope. We love you all and we thank you so much for supporting us at RHM for we could do none of this without you. The Lord has taken amazing care of us, but please remember us in your year-end giving. Your support is what keeps us going, and Refreshing Hope is reaching and teaching people the good news of Jesus Christ around the world. 

    If you do need prayer, just click on the Prayer link on the website menu (you will need to be logged in). Here also is the direct link: http://www.refreshinghope.org/pages/prayer. For our prayer warriors, if you are interested in joining our prayer team, please do contact us.

    Many thanks to each of you for being part of Refreshing Hope Ministries. We pray for each of you daily, and are so very grateful for the group of people that God has put here.

    Pastor Dion


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13 comments
  • 1
Cathy Webb
Cathy Webb

Praising the Lord for all His goodness and faithfulness to RHM this year. Praying for His continued blessing as we head into 2019.

 

December 27, 2018
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

May God Bless Refreshing Hope ministries and God Bless all its  members. God Bless you Pastor Dion and your wife and family. 

December 27, 2018
  • 1
Marjorie Griggs
Marjorie Griggs

God Bless RHM, you, your family, all the members. Happy New Year to all. May 2019 be a prosperous and blessed year for us all.And a special thanks to my prayer partners.

December 27, 2018
  • 1
Doug Campbell
Doug Campbell

Thanks for the update! I´m so happy to read about your year, and I feel so grateful to be able to play a small part in what you do. I admire and respect your approach to things and the trust you have in the Lord. I learn from you daily. God Bless You! 

December 27, 2018
  • 1
Joseph Adams, Jr.
Joseph Adams, Jr.

Dedication

December 27, 2018
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

It is such a blessing to be a part of the RHM family!! I am grateful for the prayers, love and support that Pastor Dion and Sylvia have for this ministry! I pray that 2019 will bring growth and prosperity to RHM and all it's members. God bless <3

December 28, 2018
  • 1
Chris Motley
Chris Motley

Thank you guys for all you do. You both are such a blessing . Have a happy blessed New Year

December 28, 2018
  • 1
Leslie McLea
Leslie McLea

Awesome Newsletter. Its funny, not funny really, at what our lives look like when you put whats going on in your lives on paper. Reality becomes more real when you get to see images of damages from storms, read about how God kept you from a fire, how your roof was discovered worse than you thought, all becomes real when you share this information. All of us have so much in our lives going on in any one given moment that it is hard to keep up telling others how life really is in your neck of the woods. I am so thankful that God sees it all, knows it all, and before a word is on my tounge, He knows it compleatly. Trusting 2019 will illimanate His presence in a stronger way. Happy New Year, Pastor and Sylvia. 

December 29, 2018
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

We so appreciate all of your wonderfully encouraging comments here and in our emails, and are so blessed to have all of you here to walk through 2019 <3! We love y'all <3!!!

December 29, 2018
  • 1
Christopher Shannon
Christopher Shannonedited: December 29, 2018

Hi, Dion and Sylvia!

 

Quite an eventful 2018 for the two of you!  Some rough going there for a while, as God is faithful in guiding us to solid ground when we walk within His will.  I am grateful for your continued ministry!       

 

I am, it seems, behind and in need of exploring your new CD and a couple of books in 2019.  I know how I am spending my Christmas gift money!  I always enjoy reading your devotionals, many times relating to your life story.  Truly, humbling and inspirational.    

 

Thank you both for what you do and for so many believers.  After waking and upon thanking our Creator for the new day early each morning, your daily devotionals have become a welcomed part of my life for several years now, a wonderful and encouraging blessing to accompany the rising sun.  So, again, I am grateful for our shared faith and for our friendship.    

 

God bless you both and I pray a healthy and prosperous new year is provided us all.                

       

Chris

                                                                                              

   

December 29, 2018
  • 1
Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Aww, thank you so much, Chris, great to hear from you, brother :)!

December 30, 2018
  • 1
Christopher Shannon
Christopher Shannon

You're welcome!!!  

Jan 1
  • 1
Camille Grayson
Camille Grayson

 Thanks for keeping us posted. Love u all.

Jan 2