My name is Don Delafield. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I work primarily with couples who are struggling to have the marriage that God intended for them. I have been on staff at a large, local church for nearly 30 years. I have served in many capacities, but none more important to me than doing the deeper work with people who are struggling.
I began the counseling ministry at that church and served there faithfully for three decades. The ministry has served thousands of people over the years and has employed over a dozen professional counselors throughout my time there. While at the church, I led marriage retreats, developed a support and recovery ministry, initiated lay marriage counseling programs and introduced and supported many marriage initiatives.
In May of this year, the church made a decision to discontinue its professional counseling ministry. While they offered for me to stay on staff in other ministry capacities, I felt that God was placing another calling on my life and I began seeking God’s direction for what is next for me, my family, and my ministry.
A New Vision Takes Root
My original plan was to “hang a shingle” somewhere and do therapy as well as market to, and lead retreats for, various churches and organizations. This apparently was too small a vision for God! He began to bring people into my life (and into my discussion with Him) that broadened my understanding of his vision for my next steps.
As I began to share the news of the church’s decision and my desire to begin to do something outside the church, people began to surround me and my wife with prayer and support. They also surrounded us with vision and initiative. I had a couple who had been a big part of my lay marriage counseling program at the church suggest that maybe I needed to start my own program and incorporate the things I had been doing at the church as a new business. They suggested that maybe a nonprofit organization could serve the community in ways that were unique. They, themselves, have a successful non-profit organization that serves families with special needs children. They were able to anchor us in this process of developing this vision.
We also had a couple that we have known for years come alongside of us and coach us through the business planning. The husband is a successful builder and project manager who has donated his time and energy to helping us determine our direction and then to implement the steps to get us to where we are. His wife has acted as our bookkeeper. She’s been a tremendous help with the financial controls and planning. Her help has been a true blessing.
God has also brought two wonderful and seasoned counselors to work alongside me. We all offer help to couples, individuals, and families. We are hopeful to add more staff to our endeavor. We’re confident God will lead those people to us.
Roots Need a Place to Grow
One of the people I talked to, in the initial stages, was my mother-in-law. My wife’s family has owned some land on Hopewell Road for many years. My wife grew up playing “weekend farmer” with her parents, brother, extended family. Currently, the land is not in use and is largely overgrown. My mother-in-law began to express interest in utilizing that land for something purposeful. As the vision has grown, our advisory board has suggested that a final phase of the development of this ministry would be to build a counseling and retreat center on that property. We have had people approach us about utilizing that land for additional forms of ministry/counseling. One person has expressed interest in building a ropes course to be utilized for marriage work, team building for businesses and working with troubled teens. We have also had a person approach us about bringing their equine therapy business to us which would target the veteran population and those with special needs.
Clearly, we don’t know exactly where God is leading us, but the possibilities are exciting!! Incidentally, the name of our ministry, HopeWell Heights, is linked directly to the vision that God has brought to us.
We cannot do all of this without support. We invite you to become “Friends of HopeWell” by supporting us with your prayers, your referrals, and your financial support. Our website provides a way to give your financial support to the ministry. We need one-time gifts to help with startup costs, and monthly support to help with ongoing costs. We also plan to develop a scholarship fund to help offset costs for those who cannot afford counseling.
It’s Time to Sow
Thank you for taking the time to read this brief history of our new endeavor. God is on the move and we can’t wait to see what he is going to do next. Please continue to visit our site. Future blog posts will be used to highlight issues we all face in our daily lives and to announce opportunities for participation in groups, workshops, etc., which we will soon be offering.
We would love to hear from you! Please contact us if we can be of support to you or if you have desire to support this ministry in specific ways not already mentioned.