Our Bethézer Story
Message from the Chairman
Bethézer is taken from two Hebrew words and means House of Help. Bethézer’s founders chose these words because they aptly express the organisation’s underlying purpose of providing welfare, relief and developmental aid to the poor and needy in Southeast Asia and Oceania.
With the start up of Bethézer in January 2008 that has begun to happen.
But to understand Bethézer’s real beginning you have to go back another year, to January 2007, when two young families arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as ACBM fieldworkers to organise a home and a centre from which the gospel message could go out to all who would hear it.
It was here the stirrings that would lead to Bethézer really began, as these young missionaries went about proclaiming the saving gospel and as they came face to face with real, palpable, urgent need.
It was here that they began to meet and to come to know and love people, mostly young people, who were impoverished, who were hungry and thirsty, who needed a roof over their head, who required medical attention and who had few if any means of attending to those needs. You couldn’t just sit on your hands when faced with those hardships. In the hearts and minds of Mike and Miriam Hewitt and James and Miranda Rasmussen, it was in this kind of experience that Bethézer was conceived.
Since January, 2008, Bethézer has drawn up or accepted several projects. Two key initiatives are the Boys Dorm and the Girls Dorm. The Boys Dorm, the first to be completed, provides a free home and some food assistance to up to 20 university students – all males – who also have an interest in learning about the true God. Not accidentally, the program at the dormitories, overseen by a Khmer married couple, both Christadelphian, is infused with Bible reading, Bible study and discussion. Both material and spiritual needs are being met at the dorms. (This led to the wonderful occasion of several of the dormers being baptised.)
The success of the Boys Dorm was then duplicated with a dorm for 20 young women in similar circumstances to the young men.
Bethézer also became involved in Vanuatu with the early education of up to 100-plus village children, initially. Since that start in 2009, the school has grown substantially, from a single building to 11, and from 6 primary classes plus a prep class, to those plus secondary years 7 through 9 in 2015. In 2016 we will add Year 10. The Kapalpal Christadelphian School includes in its curriculum an agricultural program, a computing program and, in the case of secondary classes, 4 hours of religious instruction per week.
Each of the above projects exemplifies the spirit of kindness and helpfulness which is at the core of this House of Help.
But none of this would be possible without Bethézer’s donors. Bethézer is entirely dependent on the unselfish generosity of these supporters to be able to materially fulfil the needs of others less fortunate than ourselves. The Management Committee wishes to extend a hearty Thank You! to all who have contributed to this work. May our Heavenly Father bless each of you and may He continue to bless the activities of Bethezer
Bethézer has initiated connections and relationships with various organisations. First has been our registration with the Queensland Government as an incorporated non-profit organisation. This permits Bethézer to open a fee-free bank account and requires us to submit financial records and our constitution to audit and review. It may be possible for Bethézer donors to receive tax rebates for donations made in the future.
Bethézer began to build a relationship with the ACBM and coordinate projects and activities with the relevant regional committees tasked with mission activities in Vanuatu, Cambodia and East Timor. As a matter of principle, Bethézer has sought to obtain the support and agreement of the South Australian, New Zealand and Tasmanian regional committees for the new projects.
A management committee was formed in 2008 to guide Bethézer through the early stages of formation.
This committee initially consisted of:
|Terry and Karen Nutter - Woodford Ecclesia, QLD, Australia
Michael and Miriam Hewitt - South Brisbane Ecclesia, QLD, Australia
James and Miranda Rasmussen - Ipswich Ecclesia, QLD, Australia
Steve and Lynne Armes - Gold Coast Ecclesia, NSW, Australia
Raju and Ruth Devis - Moorebank Ecclesia, NSW, Australia
Membersof Bethezer have also been invited to contribute to management decisions in an advisory capacity. All members of Bethézer have significant involvement in preaching activities or have been in the field as long-term missionaries.
These brothers and sisters have a commitment to serving God through preaching of the word and an outworking of his commandment of love. This commitment is based in a belief in the truth of his word as understood by the Christadelphian community. The dual motivation of caring for the physical while attending to the spiritual means that Bethézer is providing a Christadelphian alternative to the political agenda of the secular aid organisations and a doctrinal alternative to the teachings of the various religious aid agencies.
The management committee has endeavoured to ensure that the Bethézer Fund was constituted in such a way as to ensure accountability of the organisation both to Government and to the Brotherhood in Australia. Further, we endeavour to develop a close working relationship with the ACBM in the interests of coordination and cooperation.
We hold ourselves responsible to our various home ecclesias and donors for our own personal involvement in Bethézer. We believe that this transparency is important for the credibility of the organisation and the credibility of the wider body of Christ.
God has blessed the work of Bethézer, providing funding and supportive Brothers and Sisters to assist in the laying of the initial foundations. Moved by God’s grace and love, we have set ourselves to the task of
"providing welfare, relief and developmental aid programs to the poor and needy of Southeast Asia and Oceania expressed by the values and ideals of the Christadelphian community."
To that end, we have sought to initiate projects that would capture the spirit of love and the love of the Word that the Christadelphian community seeks to manifest. To date, we have initiated projects in Cambodia, Vanuatu, Myanmar and East Timor. Projects are considered on the merit of how they fit within the objectives outlined in the Bethézer Fund’s constitution.