Dear New Day Members and Friends,
Because you love your church, I know you will devour the information in this Annual Report. I hope you soon feel informed and encouraged. The time, money, and prayers you contributed to the church in 2021 reaped huge dividends. As you read these pages, I hope you say to yourself, “It was worth the sacrifices I made. Thank you, Lord!”
Over 200 baptisms in 2021 for the first time ever. “Worth it!”
Significant growth in missions giving. “Worth it!”
Hired three gifted young pastors whose presence has already been felt in a big way: Chris Mason (Pastoral Care), Sam Pepper (Next Steps), Luke Williams (Children’s Ministry North Port). “Worth it!”
Secured property in North Port for a new campus to open later this year. I can’t wait to witness the first baptism at the North Port Campus. That day we’ll say, “Worth it!”
On a personal note, I have never been more thankful for the Family of God than I was in 2021. You prayed for my family when we walked through a dark valley with my son’s serious illness. We felt more love than we’ve ever felt before. While my family has always believed the church is worth our sacrifice, this year in particular we said a huge “Worth it!” and thanked our Lord for each of you.
I hope you’ll join me in 2022 as we again choose to sacrifice our time, money and prayers for the Lord and our church family. Lord willing we’ll say again next year, “Worth it!” Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a mighty way.
Pastor Rusty Russell
P.S. If you’re reading this report because you’re considering becoming a part of New Day, we hope you’ll join us as a fully invested member of the Body of Christ, regularly giving your time, money and prayers. I bet a year from now you’ll look back and say, “Worth it!”
New Day 2021 Impact stories
“I have never witnessed such an outpour of love as I received from New Day in any other church in my life. Still today I become emotional just thinking of the movement of God in this Church, I am in Awe of the New Day family. In my experience I say that God visits other churches but He Lives at New Day. May God continue to bless New Day Church.” -Jacqueline Recio-Martinez
I want to start by thanking the almighty God of Israel for His Love, Mercy, and Grace. My family and I arrived in Port Charlotte, almost 3 years ago coming this September from the southeast portion of the state, in a suburb of Broward County that lies in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Our move to Port Charlotte was God-ordained because we did not know one single soul in this area. I heard God clearly about the move and we followed God’s will. We attended a wonderful church in Miramar by the name of Calvary Chapel Fellowship under the pastoral guidance of Pastor Bob Franquiz. One of the hesitations we had coming here was leaving our church because it was a great church and we loved it there and we couldn’t possibly believe that we were going to find anything better than where we were but God being God had reserved His best for us. Our family could have attended any church in the area as a matter a fact our plan was to visit a different house of worship until we found our fit. New Day was the first and only church I visited. When I walked into New Day and heard the praise and worship and I listened to the sermon I knew that New Day had an awesome atmosphere of His presence. My husband wanted to visit another church, he even started volunteering and cleaned the front yard of another local church in the area, but I did not want to move from what I knew I had found. I did not want to cause division in my home, and I told him if he wanted to start worshipping elsewhere then I would follow but to my surprise, he “said no” and we kept attending New Day.
In 2021 God would truly make me understand His perfect plan for my family to be at New Day. I got sick and diagnosed with what was first thought of as a mass on my liver. After one of the services, I approached someone from the response team for prayer, Pastor Robbie also prayed for me. I spent 30 days in the hospital and four months home recovering from lung surgery because the mass turned out to be an abscess that would seep up to my right lung and would impair me from breathing. They had to go into my lung to clean them out so that I could breathe, I was very sick. I spent four months at home without an income. I was the only one that worked as my husband, Allen, was disabled with impairments from an aneurysm that he suffered 26 years earlier. Four months later after returning to work not even two weeks later we all got COVID, our two kids, Julian, Rachel, myself, and Allen. There was a real concern for me because of my compromised lung. We quarantined and did what was recommended but as the children and I got better Allen started to get worse. Allen had no symptoms and did not display symptoms until one week later. On September 7, I woke up asking Allen how he was feeling, and he said he was coughing because he was short of breath. I told him that if he could not catch his breath we needed to go to the hospital. Surprisingly he accepted and went into the hospital that day and eleven days later Allen passed away. My sister in Christ and workmate was with me and she knew that I attended New Day, she instinctively called the church and Pastor Chris immediately arrived at our home and prayed for us and offered support. Our family started to receive meals every day from the wonderful ministry. Each lady that delivered the meals would stay and pray for us and I felt the love and support that I needed.
I did not know that one of the ladies that came to deliver some of the meals went back to tell the leadership Care team at New Day, that I did not have a kitchen. I had been cooking meals in our garage on a stove and using the utility sink to wash dishes and make meals. We ran out of money to install our kitchen, in this house that was a total fixer-upper when we bought it because it was what we could afford at the time. When Pastor Chris approached me with the possibility of the church offering to sow a seed into our family and pay for our kitchen to be installed, I did not want to accept it because number one, it’s the church, and two I have always been a seed sower, not a taker. I felt shame to take anything and did not think myself or my family were worthy of such love from the church. Still today I become emotional just thinking of the movement of God in this Church, I am in awe of the New Day family. I thank everyone who prayed for us, and all those who sowed the love gifted to our family and those who wanted to but couldn’t, we feel the love.
I have never witnessed such an outpouring of love as I received from New Day in any other church in my life. New Day practices the word of God, Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. … And the second is like, unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the laws and prophets. In my experience, I say that God visits other churches but He Lives at New Day. May God continue to bless New Day Christian Church.
On behalf of Julian, Rachel, and I, we thank you for your love.
What is family? There is biological family and church family. Paul and I are blessed to have both. We joined New Day about 6 years ago. We’ve been welcomed with open arms and have received so many blessings from our New Day family. In the Spring of 2021, we were in a horrific motor vehicle accident and were life-flighted to Lee Memorial Hospital. Both our biological and church families have been there to support us throughout the healing process. They were there while we were hospitalized and during our lengthy post-hospital recuperation. Our home group has been and continues to be so supportive; from visitation, building a wheelchair ramp, transporting Paul back and forth to therapy, and visiting me while I was in a rehab facility in Wauchula. Our New Day family provided meals for months both before and after I came home. Recently we were prayed over and anointed by an elder and now both Paul’s knee pain and my insomnia have greatly improved.
Do you know how heartwarming it is to have the greeters not only welcome you when you get to church but verbally recognize the progress they’ve seen in us; from wheelchair to walker to now both walking unaided!
God led us to New Day all those years ago and He still provides for us throughout our recovery.
After my wife, Diane was hospitalized for three months and I was hospitalized for two months due to a serious car accident there is no doubt that our New Day family really stepped up. From pastoral visits to financial assistance to church-wide prayer to months of food delivered every night, to our home group donating much of their time to visit us in the hospital and build ramps at our home, and to drive us to doctor and rehabilitation appointments. I honestly don’t know how we would have handled our situation without the love and support of New Day Christian Church.
We were raised in two very different worlds. Kevin was raised Catholic in the Northeast. He went to Mass each week and attended a Catholic school for much of his youth. Dede was raised Muslim in a small country in West Africa called Senegal.
Fast forwarding through a lot of years and life events…We moved from New Jersey to Punta Gorda in 2018 and started a business. When Covid hit in 2020, we closed for two months. Even after we reopened, we couldn’t keep the business sustained. Eventually, we lost it all – everything we had worked for.
This was a new and difficult season for us. We spent a lot of time reading the Bible and talking about God on our daily 10-mile walks. We prayed for God to watch over us and believed he had other plans for our lives. We just didn’t know where he was leading us.
During this trying season I, Dede, met our neighbor, Carol Foster, while walking my dog. Carol is a member of New Day and she invited me to her women’s group that met in her home. I began attending and quickly grew to love those ladies. When the topic of baptism came up in our study, I knew it was something Kevin and I needed to do. It was something we wanted to do. Two weeks later we were baptized by Pastor Sam at New Day. Carol, and many of the ladies in my group were there to support us.
Right after our baptism, I, Dede, had to leave for a job interview. We all prayed before we left and God answered those prayers. I was hired for the job that afternoon! Praise the Lord!
Our baptism opened some unexpected doors for us. We began talking again to Kevin’s mother, whom we have not seen or talked to in two years. She rejoiced at the news that I found Christ. Through her, God blessed us again. We were without a car for four months (which made getting to work and home an absolute nightmare). She offered to be a co-signer so I could buy a car. My new job was at a car dealership which made it a much easier process for us. Our faithful God answered the many prayers of so many, especially my Bible study sisters. Not only did this car make my commute so much easier, Kevin began driving it for Uber and Lyft – helping stabilize us financially.
Kevin and I are in a season of growth right now. I still attend Carol’s Bible study every Wednesday, am part of a mentorship program that is really helping me grow in my faith. Kevin and I have been attending church services at New Day every week which helps us tremendously.
Losing everything but realizing you are rich in faith has been a very humbling experience. We have become so much closer to God through this whole experience, and we are comforted by the fact that he is watching over us. I am not sure what God has planned for our future, but I know it will be good. New Day has been great throughout our time here. We know we found the right church.
-Kevin and Dede Prentice