Congratulations Derek!

We are excited to announce the graduation of Derek from our Foundations Life Recovery program!

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Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a 13 month residential rehabilitation program, based on Biblical principles, for men dealing with various addictions that are destroying them. Our rehabilitation program is not designed to just break addictions or habits, but to also help the man change his heart & mind. It’s not just about putting a new suit on the man, it’s about putting a new man in the suit.

Men in our Foundations Life Recovery program attend many different classes that help them defeat the addictions that have destroyed them. They also attend classes where they learn the value of their life through God’s plan for them. They are given the opportunity to make the changes that will help them leave our program prepared to be a contributing part of society.

When Derek first arrived at The Hope Center, he was just many of the other teens in America: looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong areas.

Derek grew up in the church, taking part in AWANA’s and even attending a Christian school. But Derek’s home life was much different. While Derek’s mother was a Christian, his father was not. He and his dad never really got along, which lead to clashes and Derek’s feeling of insecurity and fear of messing up and not gaining the approval of his father.

Eventually, the issues with his father came to a boiling point and Derek dropped out of church and his Christian school. His life was in a freefall and Derek began wandering aimlessly through life. He moved from group home to group home, institution to institution, just living life without a purpose. His only interests at that time were women and pornography.

Derek arrived at The Hope Center, knowing that he needed a change from his addiction to pornography. Instead of taking this opportunity serious, Derek was actually just hoping to breeze through this program just like the many others he was a part of.

After a while in our Foundations Life Recovery program, Derek realized that he wasn’t able to just do whatever he wanted and get by. He found himself in trouble multiple times, even getting kicked out and put on restrictions.

But God never gave up on Derek, and Derek knew deep down that there was a better life for him. He continued in our program and one day he and God had that moment where it all clicked.

Derek finally hit the point where he was tired of wandering, tired of fighting the truth, and tired of being disciplined. With tears in his eyes he called out, “God, I know you want me to work with kids, so why do I keep falling for this addiction?”

God responded to Derek. He reminded Derek that the reason he is addicted and not able to break free is because “he lost his first love”. God told Derek that he was given a passion to work with children so he could help other kids not “do the same things” he did to find love and acceptance. Derek said God also told him to “be yourself, everyone else is taken”.

This conversation with God was exactly the push Derek needed to finish the program at The Hope Center. Derek began taking his classes seriously. He started attending a church and helping out around The Hope Center. He established accountability with two different area pastors who helped supplement his spiritual instruction at The Hope Center.

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Derek with Pastor Brad Nigh of Hagerstown Christian Church

Derek has achieved a monumental goal in his life: his life has been recovered and he is free from the chains of pornography. On his face he wears one of the biggest, brightest smiles in all of Maryland. That smile is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of Derek’s character and his commitment to following God and living for Him.

As Derek begins a new chapter in his life, he’s excited about the new adventures which are to come. One change that makes him extremely excited: “living on his own for the first time!” Derek is also hoping to volunteer at Wildside Youth Ministries, the youth program for kids at The Hope Center, and other organizations where he can help kids who are heading down the same path he once chose.

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Derek proudly receiving his diploma from Sonny Shank, our Executive Director

In late September we hosted a graduation ceremony to celebrate Derek’s achievement. Residents currently in the Foundations Life Recovery program, staff, volunteers, and people from Derek’s church attended the graduation. Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to enjoy refreshments and fellowship.

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We are so proud of Derek and his accomplishment. Our joy is only a small reflection of the celebration that took place in Heaven. Derek is another life changed for God. Instead of becoming another dark statistic, Derek is walking boldly in the light.

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Derek celebrating his graduation with friends and supporters from his church

Please pray for Derek, and the other men in our Foundations Life Recovery program. The decision to clean up their lives is not an easy one, and the devil works overtime to ruin, defeat, and destroy these men. Pray that the men in the program will see the success of Derek and work to conquer the addictions that are separating them from God. And pray for Derek, and the many other graduates, as they embark on a new life of victory. The devil wants nothing more than to see God’s people be destroyed by their weaknesses. Pray that these men find strong spiritual support systems that help them live each day victoriously.

And continue to pray for the staff and volunteers at The Hope Center. The people who serve are on the front line of a very serious spiritual war. They are trying to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of so many. It’s not an easy situation to be in as the devil targets our staff and volunteers.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support of The Hope Center. Because of people like you, Derek was able to have a place to change his life. Your financial support, food and clothing donations, and prayers help to keep our facilities operational all day, every day. From helping addicts with no where to turn, to feeding families, providing shelter for the homeless, and giving kids a safe place to have fun, your support is reaching thousands of people and changing lives. Again we say thank you for partnering with us to help others.

If you’d like to start supporting The Hope Center, call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. You can go to http://www.hagerstownrescue.org and click on the “Give to HRM” tab located in the red box on the left hand side of the page if you’d prefer using your debit/credit card online.

If you’d like to join the ranks of our faithful volunteers, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn about the various ways you can help change lives.

 

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Happy Birthday, Steve!

The first Friday of each month is the day that we celebrate the birthday of the residents in our program who have a birthday during that month.

On September 6th, we celebrated the birthday of Steve! And we celebrated with another delicious cake from our good friend, Stormy.

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Steve is new to the Foundations Life Recovery program at The Hope Center. He became a resident in our program on August 14th. Steve, who came from the Eastern Shore, was prompted by family members to try The Hope Center.

Steve was a uncontrolled alcoholic and even said, “I was probably the worst drunk you will ever meet”. He knew he had to do something and make some big changes in his life.

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Even though he’s new in the program, he says, “it’s been good so far”.

Please pray for Steve as he is beginning to battle his addiction and learn about all the great things God has planned for his life.

And join us in wishing Steve a happy birthday!

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. When you donate financially or through in-kind gifts like food, gently used clothing, household items or furniture, you are helping wonderful people like Steve conquer addictions and have a victorious life in Christ for years to come!

If you would like to learn more about how you can give to The Hope Center, please call 301.739.1165, email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or check out www.hagerstownrescue.org.

From the Darkness: Kevin’s Story of Hope

“Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart.

“Not because of who I am
But because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done
But because of who You’re

“Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again.
Who am I, that the Voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me.

 “Not because of who I am
but because of what You done
not because of what I done
but because of who you are.”

Who Am I by Casting Crowns

These lyrics are powerful when thinking about our relationship with the Creator of the universe. But they become even more powerful when you hear the story of how Kevin was facing the darkness of death but was rescued by the God who cared about him in the midst of this crowded world.

If you’ve visited, volunteered or been a part of any outreach at The Hope Center in the past year, then chances are you’ve come in contact with Kevin.

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Kevin really is a wonderful success story of God’s love and power to transform.

Kevin came to The Hope Center in May of 2011 after venturing to Hagerstown to visit his sister. It was during that visit, in fact it was the day he arrived in Hagerstown, that his sister would take the steps to get him the physical and spiritual help that he so desperately needed.

And now, two years later, Kevin is a different man. He’s alive, clean, sober and positive about the future because he now has his eyes fixed and focused on God, the One Who saved his life and changed his tomorrow.

Kevin grew up in Baltimore and began experimenting with tobacco and alcohol at an early age. By the age of 16 Kevin started using heroin. To support his addiction, Kevin started dealing drugs.

Like most people who are addicted, the drugs started to change who Kevin was. He became a stick up artist to steal from other pushers. These actions, naturally out of character for Kevin, proves how destructive and evil drug addictions can be. Unfortunately, the drugs had a hold of Kevin and he continued on the path of destruction. Kevin was shot twice and has a scar on his face from a bullet that grazed his cheek as a permanent reminder of his dangerous past.

All of the bad choices that Kevin had made caused him to lose everything of value in his life including his job and most importantly his family. He was married and had 3 sons but the drugs tore him away from the people who mattered.

Looking back at that dark time in his life, Kevin says, “I couldn’t take myself anymore. I was a liar, weak-minded, hopeless, and causing pain to those around me.” Completely enslaved to the drugs and a destructive frame of mind, Kevin attempted suicide twice. He went to numerous drug rehabilitation facilities that didn’t help him.

Fortunately for Kevin, his grandmother was a follower of Christ and consistently prayed for Kevin and would talk to him about the Lord.

Desperate to get away from his terrible circumstances in Baltimore, Kevin decided to visit his sister who lived in Hagerstown. The day he arrived in Hagerstown, his sister brought him to The Hope Center.

Kevin came to The Hope Center in May of 2011. Not long after being enrolled in our Foundations program, Kevin heard the Gospel in an evening chapel service. It was that night that would completely change his life for eternity. Originally Muslim, Kevin heard the life-altering story of Christ and gave his life to Jesus. Kevin says, “I saw death close up and I didn’t want to take any more chances. I wanted to be sure of going to Heaven when I die.”

God radically transformed Kevin’s life. He has a peace and joy that is evident to everyone he comes in contact with. The scar on Kevin’s cheek is a reminder of his dark past but the gigantic smile on his face is a sign of his bright future.

Kevin graduated from our Foundations program in July of 2012. He recently completed classes and is currently testing to receive his G.E.D.

Kevin with one of his sons

Kevin with one of his sons

Although he is still separated from his wife, he is working to restore the relationship that was broken. He’s worked hard to restore the relationships with his sons and is now enjoying his family again.

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Kevin was able to get his own apartment and is currently employed at The Hope Center. He also volunteers many hours each week as a cook’s assistant in our food services department.

When asked about his plans for the future Kevin says, “Anywhere God puts me, I’m there!”

Thank God for His never-ending love, compassion and patience. Kevin is a life that was lost but is now totally and completely restored and better than ever.

Kevin is thankful for his wife, sister and especially his grandmother for helping him get to a place like The Hope Center where he was able to find real hope & change in Christ!

We’re thankful for all of our staff, volunteers and faithful supporters who continue to help precious people like Kevin find the peace that only God can give. Each dollar given, every bag of used clothing donated, each jar of peanut butter provided is part of something bigger. These are the resources that God uses to change lives on earth and for eternity.

Thank you for being a part of God’s ministry to Kevin, and to the hundreds of other men, women, teens and kids who come to The Hope Center each month seeking help and hope in one way or another.

Please continue to pray for Kevin, his family and his future. And remember to keep the many unnamed people who are struggling with the same addictions and darkness that Kevin once dealt with. The only thing more powerful than fear is hope. And the only thing more powerful than sin’s grip is God’s love.

And that’s why The Hope Center exists.