Celebrating Foundations Life Recovery Graduates!!

In July we were honored to be able to celebrate three men who graduated from our Foundations Life Recovery program!

Join us in congratulating Odell, Sean and Robert on their big accomplishment!!

Foundations Life Recovery is a 13-month residential program where guys seek help and recovery from addictions, personal issues, and destructive choices. The men attend classes, chapel, and counseling sessions to help them overcome the spiritual and personal obstacles that hindered their ability to live a life of purpose.

We asked each of our graduates to write down a little something about what brought them to The Hope Center, their journey to recovery, and what the future holds for them. These are their words:

ROBERT HARE

“I grew up in Western Maryland. I got saved at 10 or 12 years old at the Church of God in Cumberland, Maryland.

I became a truck driver, fell on hard times, and ended up homeless in Hagerstown. I came to The Hope Center, got into their Christian program (Foundations Life Recovery) to try to get back in touch with God.

I got through the program and now I am going to church again and I have God in my life.

I am planning to find work and get my life back together and move on with my life.

I keep thinking abot Philippians 4:13 which says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'”

SEAN FANTONE

“While I have had a relationship with my Lord and Savior all my life, in my later years I fell into the sins of pride, anger, lust, and deceit. Since coming to The Hope Center, thanks to the staff of people that God put here to help men, I have recognized my sins and have spent many hours praying and repenting.

My experiences here, and the program classes and chapel services, have brought me much closer to Jesus. I now walk a more humble path, choosing forgiveness and understanding, as Jesus would do.

My walk with God during my studies in the Foundations Life Recovery program has prepared me to walk with Him moving forward to living the next chapter in my life.”

ODELL JAMES

“I’m from East Port, Maryland. I came to The Hope Center because of a housing situation. I stayed to learn more about our Lord and Saviro, to find out who He really is.

I arrived in January, 2021 after graduating from the Wells House after a lengthy prison sentence. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was released to the Well House program where I graduated. After that, I had housing issues so I was given a choice to go to REACH or The Hope Center. I was told by a person who worked at REACH that The Hope Center would be a better fit for me.

Once I came to The Hope Center I found myself in a position to get some answers to some questions I had about Jesus. The best way to get a full understanding was to join the program, so that’s what I did.

My favorite verse: Jeremiah 17:9 – “The hear is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?’ That was the first verse I memorized here.

My future plans aer to continue my walk with God and stay out of trouble, and contribute to society and find a job I can be proud of.”

We are so incredibly proud of these 3 men! They have worked so hard to get their lives back on track and have grown so much closer to God during this process of recovery. They’ve faced many challenges on their road to recovery but they’ve stayed the course and kept their focus on God and are now celebrating their success!

Please keep Odell, Sean, and Robert in your prayers as they move forward and start to re-establish themselves into society. Their life of recovery is just beginning and the prayer support of God’s people is so important to their long-term success.

Also, please pray for the men who are currently in our Foundations Life Recovery program and those who will eventually join it. The challenges are great and victory is hard earned but knowing that there’s a cheering section supporting them, loving them, and praying for them helps to make a huge difference! Please continue to pray for our Foundations Life Recovery program as it changes the lives of the men who are a part of it.

And for each of you who support The Hope Center: thank you! Your support, whether financial, through donations of food or gently used items, volunteer work, or your prayers, have been a part of the success of these men. You played a major role in helping provide housing, comfort, love, and hope to these men and thousands of men who enter The Hope Center each year. While these men aren’t able to thank each of you, please know that they are eternally grateful for your support!

So one more time, join us in congratulating Odell, Sean, and Robert for their success!!

To learn more about Foundations Life Recovery please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com/foundations

Happy Birthday, Troy!

The beginning of each month we celebrate the birthdays of guys who are a part of our Foundations Life Recovery residential program. This month we’re celebrating Troy who has a birthday on July 9th. Troy got his very own birthday cake thanks to our friend, Stormy, who bakes a cake each month for our birthday fellas.

Troy, originally from Baltimore, is one of our new residents. He joined the program in March ’21 and is working towards his graduation in the spring of 2022. Troy came seeking help dealing with drug abuse and homelessness.

Any time we can celebrate a birthday with our residents is very special to us. But for Troy this was a special moment as well. With tears in his eyes Troy told us that this was the first time in many years that anyone had sang ‘happy birthday’ to him.

And this is why we’re here. To bring hope – even if it’s in the form of a silly birthday song – to anyone who walks into our doors seeking help and refuge. We’re so thankful for Troy and being a part of a celebration of another year of life for this incredible man.

Please pray for Troy and the other men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. It’s not easy seeking help and even more difficult following through but God is great and has wonderful things planned for these men so please keep all of them in your prayers. God is doing amazing things in the lives of these men so continue to pray for them and encourage them to keep up the good fight.

Thank you to each of you who donate and volunteer. You are a part of Troy’s celebration. Because of generous and kind people like you Troy is here celebrating another birthday and optimistic about so many more birthdays in the future. Thank you for partnering with us to help wonderful people like Troy!

If you’d like to learn more about our Foundations Life Recovery program please click here: Foundations | hagerstownhopecenter

God’s Love Story for You

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrowBecause He lives, all fear is goneBecause I know He holds the futureAnd life is worth the living, just because He lives”

It’s been quite a year for all of us. Hardship, sacrifice, stress, fear, and for many, the loss of a loved one. But the power of what we celebrate this day is the freedom from all those feelings and the eternal promise of HOPE. 

The morning of the third day the disciples were still living in fear and disbelief over the tragedy and loss of Christ’s crucifixion. But with the break of dawn came the Son rise that would forever change the story of humankind. 

As the sun rose today so did the hope of God’s promise and the reminder of His great love! Easter is a love story from God to you. When you’re feeling alone, when you’re scared, when you’re feeling hopeless, just remember that Jesus was saying your name as He hung on that cross. And he was thinking of you when He defeated death and walked out of that tomb. You are valuable. You are precious. You are loved – and the Easter story is proof. Your pain, hurt, fear, and sadness are His now. Tell Him your pain. Tell Him your fear. And trust Him to fight for you – because He already has. And He won. For you. 

“The thought of my homelessness and pain is bitter poison. I think constantly and my spirit is depressed. Yet HOPE returns when I remember one thing. The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, so in Him I put my HOPE.” Lamentations 3: 19-26

May the HOPE of our risen Lord give you peace, joy, and victory today! He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter!

In Memoriam

2020 has been an absolutely difficult year for all of us but November dealt The Hope Center family a painful blow with the sudden passing of Danny Sluss and Reggie Carroll.

Danny graduated from Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month rehabilitation program, in February of this year and was doing great in his new life. After graduating Danny had gotten his own place and had gotten a job at FedEx. He was also working to get his license again, which was one of his post-graduation goals he set for himself. Unfortunately, Danny passed away unexpectedly in his hometown in Delaware.

Reggie was a current resident in our Foundations program who contracted COVID-19 and passed away during his recovery from the virus. Reggie came to us from DC to seek help with his addictions. While in the program he worked in our kitchen and was a deskman during the day. Reggie was so close to graduating from the program and was so excited to achieve his goal of completing the program and being free from his addictions.

If you had the pleasure of meeting or working with either of these men you would know how kind, friendly, helpful, and genuine they were. It was a delight to know both of them and to have been able to be a part of their victory story.

Please pray for the families and loved ones of each of these men. Our hearts are broken and we know their families are hurting as well.

The passing of each of these men is tragic in its own way, but we can rejoice in knowing that both are in the protective arms of their Savior now. When these precious men left this earth they were instantly welcomed into their eternal home. Danny & Reggie both had a personal relationship with Christ and we take comfort in knowing that they are both at peace now.

Please remember to pray for the men currently enrolled in Foundations, all of our graduates, and for the future men who will be coming to seek help. This is not an easy fight during the program nor any easier after graduation. The stakes are high and Satan knows exactly how to destroy. Please continue to pray for strength and power for the guys who’ve had victory in Christ. Each day is a battle and we so sincerely pray for victory for our graduates as they venture back into their world.

Also remember to pray for the vulnerable in our society and those who are currently physically fighting COVID-19. For some of us it’s not a big deal but for others it’s a life & death situation. Please remember these vulnerable and valuable people and wear a mask to help protect them from this deadly virus. And join us in praying that the vaccine works and can help us protect our friends and family from the virus.

As we say our farewells to Danny and Reggie we’re reminded about the one fact of each of these men that matters so deeply – they had found their victory in Christ! This song has always felt like an anthem or fight song for the Church but now, more than ever, it has such a powerful message about the lives of these two precious men, Danny & Reggie:

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me
I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning
Then I repented of my sins and won the victory

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood
He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood

I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing
How He made the lame to walk again and ’caused the blind to see
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit”
And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory

I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing, and the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there
The song of victory
.

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever
He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood
He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood”





The Support of our Community is Incredible!

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!

On Thursday, November 5th we were awarded a grant of $15,000 from Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc. in partnership with United Way of Washington County, Pauline K Anderson Foundation and the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation.

We are so beyond thankful to receive this grant money and are so appreciative of these agencies for all the work they’re doing to help our community during this difficult time.

Our Executive Director, Sonny Shank, is proudly holding the check along with Stacey Crawford (right) of the Community Foundation of Washington County, Heather Guessford (left) of United Way of Washington County, and others representing both organizations.

This grant money will be used to help cover costs associated with providing meals and shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic. God has continued to supply our needs in every way during this pandemic and we are always excited to see how God works to keep things operational during this crisis. We are so happy that God gave us a community who values helping others like ours does! It’s been quite a year for all of us but God has remained so faithful to the work of taking care of neighbors in need and spreading His message of HOPE.

Again, we want to say THANK YOU to these organizations and foundations for this extremely generous gift. We appreciate this support so much!

Recycling and Redemption

Along with our Thrift Stores & Donation Center, our Recycling Center is back up and running following a closure due to COVID-19. We’re happy to be able to start receiving cardboard to be recycled again.

Since reopening we’ve been blessed with a brand new baler for our Recycling Center! We want to thank Terry Izer for helping us with finding a new baler, transporting it to our Recycling Center and for training our team on how to operate the new baler. Our previous baler was old and continued to break down so this new baler is going to be a huge relief for the staff in our Recycling Center.

Baling 3One of our Recycling Center operators, Danny, is actually one of our recent graduates! Danny successfully completed the program and graduated in February with three other guys from our Foundations Life Recovery program.

Originally from Wilmington, DE, Danny actually ended up at The Hope Center by choice. After completing various detox and rehabilitation programs, Danny was given the choice to go to a recovery center and he chose The Hope Center.

While at The Hope Center Danny attended Gateway Church in Williamsport. It was there, just days before Christmas in 2018, that Danny accepted Christ and became a believer.

Danny’s favorite verse is John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.” What an incredible verse to claim as a man who was addicted and destroying his life – now he has found the path to life and truth! And what a difference this verse has made in his life!

Upon completing Foundations Life Recovery at The Hope Center Danny reflects back on the life lessons learned. The first life lesson he states is simply a verse to help stay on the right path, “Therefore submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.

Danny is fully aware that the key to his success is to “put the Lord Jesus before anything and make Him your center point and foundation.”

Following his graduation from Foundations Life Recovery Danny is optimistic about his DSC_0429future. He’s devoted to “walk according to the spirit and not the flesh.” He’s hoping to deepen the relationships that he’s made. He claims Proverbs 3:5 & 6 “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean into your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” as the verse for his future.

Currently Danny is working in our Recycling Center. The coronavirus pandemic put future plans on pause, as it did for the majority of us, but Danny is still optimistic about his future. One of his post-graduation goals is to get his drivers license! He was in the process of accomplishing this goal when the DMV shut down due to the pandemic but he’s excited to finally be able to restart the process of achieving his license. In addition to getting his license, Danny is ready to get out on his own. He had applied for housing prior to the outbreak but now things are moving forward for him in pursuing housing of his own!

We are so excited for all the great things happening for Danny! We pray for his continued success spiritually, emotionally, and professionally. The pandemic could’ve easily derailed his success but Danny has stuck with what he learned in Foundations and is keeping his eye on Christ.

Please continue to pray for Danny and the others guys who have graduated or are still working towards graduation from our life recovery program. Rebuilding a life isn’t easy but these guys have made the most important step to recovery: admitting they need help and asking for it. Whether they just graduated or just enrolled in the program, each day is challenging. But knowing that the community is praying for them and supporting them is the encouragement that many of these guys need to keep going strong! Thank you for your continued support – in many various ways – at The Hope Center. You are a part of the success story that is Danny and others like him.

If you’d like to learn more about the various programs and services at The Hope Center, or you’d like to start partnering with us to help change lives then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

If you, or someone you know, would like more info or would like to enroll in our Foundations Life Recovery program then please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Once Upon a Time…

Good Friday 1I love a good story. I mean, we all do, right? Stories entertain us. They ignite our imagination or pull at our heart strings. They encourage us or motivate us. They teach us lessons or bring the past to life. We all love a good tale as old as time. The excitement of that ‘once upon a time’ and the contentment of ‘happily ever after’.

A good story is what we all need now. It’s what we’re all longing for. An escape from the reality of this pandemic. A way to shelter ourselves from the death and fear surrounding us. A story to put our mind and heart at ease and remind us that things will be ok again.

As a kid in church I loved when my Sunday School teacher would use the felt board to tell Bible stories. I secretly always wanted to own one so I could tell the stories myself. Those visuals helped to bring those stories to life and live inside our minds.

But also as a child in church there was another medium used to tell stories: songs. We all remember Father Abraham and Deep and Wide. Classics in Sunday Schools across the country. But for me, there was one song as a kid that I’ve always loved. I can’t sing it for you as you read this but I’m sure you’re familiar with it too and your brain will instantly jump right back into this song and you might even bust out loud singing. It goes like this:

“I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory

how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me

I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning

then I repented of my sins and won the victory

Oh victory in Jesus, my Savior forever

He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood

He loved me ‘ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him

He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.”

What a story! So powerful, so encouraging, so timely. And that’s another thing about a successful story — timing.

We tell stories to help in situations. A story isn’t only as good as its content or subject matter but as when the story is told and how it will change the person or group who hears the story.

And that’s what makes this all so significant. In the darkest time of this pandemic comes Easter. The most powerful, life-altering, history changing, good vs evil story known to humankind. Easter! In our most challenging days arrives the most encouraging story.

It’s got darkness and despair. A world falling apart and desperate for help. It’s got loneliness and heartache. Bad decisions and bad motives. It’s got fear and death. And it’s got an ending to end all stories.

This timing didn’t surprise God. It’s a message for us. It’s a reminder that He is still here even when we feel so isolated and scared. It’s His story of hope. It’s His story of victory. It’s His story of love. And it’s His story of our ‘happily ever after’.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the news and images we see and hear constantly. It’s easy to be unnerved by closed businesses and empty parks. It’s understandable to feel alone. Imagine the disciples and family watching as Jesus was paraded down the road broken, humiliated, carrying His cross. Imagine as they watched Him hang on that cross desperate for air. Imagine as they watched Him breathe His last breath. Imagine the fear they felt as the stone was rolled in front of that tomb.

I imagine that you, like the rest of us, are experiencing the same types of feelings now.

In fact this morning was especially hard on me. There’s only so much of the darkness and evil in the world that I can take before the feeling of hopelessness takes over. But in that minute when my desperate heart cried out to God to intervene He put a song on my lips. “I heard an old, old story…”

Victory in Jesus! If that isn’t the ‘happily ever after’ the world needs now then I don’t know what else to say. In the darkest point in our lives, is a holiday celebrating the most powerful and victorious story ever told!

God knows our fear and our pain — He’s gone through it. God knows our loneliness — He’s been there. God knows our heartache as loved ones die — He’s experienced it. And God knows the hope of victory — because He’s already won it.

Sure, this Easter is gonna be strange and different for us but in no way is COVID-19 changing the message of hope. In no way is the virus rewriting the ending of the story. In no way does the fallen world win.

There’s victory in Jesus! And now more than ever the world needs to hear this story…now. This is the story of life. The story of victory. The story of HOPE.

May you and your family have a safe and HAPPY EASTER!

 

Congrats, Terry!

At the beginning of February we had a graduation ceremony for four men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. Foundations Life Recovery is the 13-month rehabilitation program for men who are in desperate need of serious life change and a new start in Christ. Foundations Life Recovery is a free program where the men who enroll are given housing in our dormitory. They attend classes, church services, and take part in a work program all while being held accountable to being clean of all drugs and alcohol. Upon completion of the program we celebrate the incredible accomplishment of recovery with a graduation service with the men, our staff & Board, and any family or friends of our graduate.

One of our February graduates is Terry Barnes. This is Terry and here is his story of HOPE:

If you’ve ever volunteered or dropped off a food donation of some sort then there’s a good chance you’ve seen this tall man with a huge smile – Terry. Terry is a very visible guy because of the happiness and love he portrays to everyone he meets.

DSC_0427Originally from Gettysburg, Terry was tired both physically and mentally of getting high. The final time he got high he knew he needed help and turned to God for that help. When he came down from the high God answered his cry for help and lead him to The Hope Center.

While Terry has always believed in God, it wasn’t until enrolling in Foundations Life Recovery that he learned more about Jesus and made the decision to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior. He finally was at the point in his life to allow God to come in and change the issues that had been destroying him for so long.

Terry’s favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, is the power and promise he holds onto to continue his life of sobriety and victory.

He is thankful for his time at The Hope Center because it gave him the chance to really learn who Jesus was and what He did for all of us – and what He will do if you allow Him to work in your life. Terry is a proud example of the power of Christ’s transformation in a life. He understands that he still has work to do in himself, along with rebuilding his former life, especially with his family. As Terry says of his life, “this is a project. It doesn’t happen fast. (Jesus) has shown me how to have love and compassion for others.”

As Terry moves forward following graduation he is excited to start clean and sober and dedicated to being a loving man of God. He is looking for an apartment and a car – and would love to have a kitten too! His goal is to continue moving forward in Christ and staying in his church, which he loves. But simply put, Terry’s number one priority for each new day of his restored life is to “give thanks to God everyday.”

Please remember to keep Terry Barnes in your prayers. Pray for his continued success and that he continues to stay strong in the Lord. And pray for all the men, like Terry, who come to that point in life that they know they need serious help and come to The Hope Center. Pray that they allow God to work in their lives and save them both spiritually and physically. Our Foundations Life Recovery program isn’t easy but it’s powerful when the man allows his walls to come down and the addictions to end. Please pray for spiritual power for the men in the program, our staff and all volunteers who come in contact with our residents.

If you’d like to volunteer at The Hope Center and be a part of this life-changing ministry then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of help just like Terry was then please contact us immediately by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com. You can learn more about our rehabilitation/life recovery program at hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-

To Live is Christ, and to Die is Gain

Last evening we said goodbye to a faithful supporter, volunteer, and member of our family.

Anna Nunemaker, aged 95, went to be with the Lord last evening. Anna was the youngest sister of Ellen Resh, the co-founder of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Anna and her late husband, Glenn were missionaries to Africa for more than 35 years.

When they returned to America they quickly became part of various ministries at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. Glenn volunteered as a counselor to our residential men. And Anna started Koffee Klatch in 1980 as a weekly Bible study for women of all ages in the community.

She faithfully served and taught Koffee Klatch until 2019 when her health declined. Koffee Klatch, and the women who were a part of it, was an important part of her life and ministry in Hagerstown.

In addition to Koffee Klatch, Anna also volunteered in our Sorting Room where she helped get items priced and ready for our Thrift Stores. If you ever stopped by our Bazaars and sales in the Trinity Center you most likely saw her working the used book table.

We are sad to see Aunt Anna go but we know that she is far better off now and able to see her Savior whom she faithfully served her entire life.

Anna, thank you for your years of service here at The Hope Center. We appreciate all you did and you leave behind a valuable legacy of ministry to the Lord. And give Jim & Ellen a hug for us.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1: 21

Congrats, Ron!

At the beginning of February we had a graduation ceremony for four men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. Foundations Life Recovery is the 13-month rehabilitation program for men who are in desperate need of serious life change and a new start in Christ. Foundations Life Recovery is a free program where the men who enroll are given housing in our dormitory. They attend classes, church services, and take part in a work program all while being held accountable to being clean of all drugs and alcohol. Upon completion of the program we celebrate the incredible accomplishment of recovery with a graduation service with the men, our staff & Board, and any family or friends of our graduate.

One of our February graduates is Ron Trenton. This is Ron and here is his story of HOPE:

DSC_0430Originally from Germantown, MD, Ron found himself needing a serious change. Ron felt lost with no where to go and not a genuine care in the world. Following a DUI along with losing everything he had financially, Ron knew that it was time for a change. He understood that drinking, smoking and living life on his terms were only leading to disaster.

That was when Ron picked up a Bible and started reading. But it wasn’t until enrolling in Foundations Life Recovery at The Hope Center that Ron accepted Christ and began his new spiritual journey.

Ron has claimed Galatians 2:20 as his verse, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”

Thanks to Foundations Life Recovery, Ron has learned that he can’t live on his own — he acknowledges that to continue his successful spiritual walk he needs to have fellowship with God and surround himself with good Christian people who can help keep Christ as the center of his life.

While Ron isn’t exactly sure what the future holds for him, he’s fully trusting God to show him how he can do more for God with his new life. He’s committed to going to church, staying in prayer and studying God’s word to continue living in peace and putting his hope in his future in Christ.

Please continue to pray for Ron has he starts this new chapter in his life. And please pray for all the men who are either currently enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program or who will soon make the hard choice to receive help from whatever addiction is harming them. Pray for our staff that they will continue to show compassion and love and be Godly influences on these men as they try to have the same victory in Christ that Ron and countless others have had in the past.

If you’d like to talk to someone about how to get help please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com For more information on Foundations Life Recovery please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-