“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
We’re wishing each of you a very Merry Christmas! May you all have a safe and happy day celebrating the birth of Jesus!
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:
“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.'”
“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.”
“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
“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!
If you’d like to speak to someone about any of these job postings please call 301.739.1165 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please spread the word to your friends, family, church and others to help us quickly fill these positions. Thank you! Also, if you’re unable to apply but would like to volunteer please call 301.739.1165 or email email@example.com.
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”
We all love a good party but there’s just something extra special celebrating the birthdays of guys enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program!
Many of the guys in our Foundations Life Recovery program were destroying their lives with addictions to drugs and alcohol so each birthday celebrated at The Hope Center is not just a celebration of another year but also a victory celebration!
This month we were able to celebrate with Reggie & Justin! Reggie has been a part of Foundations for 7 months and is doing great in his rehabilitation and life recovery. Justin just joined the program – in fact he’s so new that the cake was delivered just before he enrolled. But we’re still excited to celebrate Justin’s birthday along with Reggie’s.
Join us in wishing Reggie & Justin a very ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’!
Foundations Life Recovery program is our 13-month residential rehabilitation program for men battling addiction. The guys in the program attend various classes and participate in a work program at The Hope Center. The goal of Foundations is to help these guys create a new life centered on Christ so that each day is a day of victory and success against the temptations and struggles of this world. The encouragement of our staff and community really help these men to continue walking a path to life recovery which is not an easy thing to do.
Thank you for supporting our ministry by donating financially, volunteering, shopping at our Thrift Stores, donating food products and your gently used items for our Donation Center, and, most importantly, thank you for praying constantly for our men, staff and volunteers. There are thousands of people whose lives have been changed because of each of you! Thank you!!
Easter is a time to embrace our need and celebrate God’s provision! Our need is to be forgiven of sin, God’s provision was to give us the Savior Who would not only offer us pardon by His death on the cross but also Victorious Life by His resurrection from the dead! Jesus Christ is God’s answer to our “virus” of sin.
During these uncertain days of COVID-19, we’re reminded about how fragile life is and how mortal we are. One little microscopic life form has brought planet earth to a standstill. By a simple inhale in the wrong place at the wrong time, we can become the next victim. Hearts are anxious and lives are in upheaval because of this invasion of what has been called “the invisible enemy”. Our prayers go out to all who are affected by this in any way, some more than others. And we applaud all who are on the front lines working to provide healthcare and supplies to hospitals, stores, postal services, feeding programs such as The Hope Center, banks, and every facet of service that is engaged in this war.
As bad as this pandemic is, sin is much worse than any coronavirus. COVID-19 can take a life, but sin can take a soul. The enemy of our souls invaded the human race all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Sin entered our spiritual lungs and began to suffocate the Life of God out of our lives. Mankind no longer breathed the fresh Presence of God. Over the years, old testament sacrifices were made that served as foreshadows of a future Sacrifice on a hill called Calvary but could not take away sin or provide us with a new nature. Jesus is the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world” and implants within us a new nature by being born-again, born spiritually.
When Jesus died on the cross as the perfect, sinless “Lamb of God” He did so to provide atonement. The word “atonement” can be better understood as “at” “one” “ment”. God and man had become divided through sin (much like social distancing). God and man could not enjoy the fellowship they once had due to the “sin virus”, so distance was put between us until Jesus came to live a perfect life for us and then offer His life as a sacrifice, much like a blood transfusion, to give us life and restore us to “at” “one” “ment” with God = Atonement! His sacrifice is enough for a full payment of our sins!
But, that’s not the end. When Jesus said “It is finished” while hanging on the cross, it was only getting started! Did God accept Jesus’ offering as a sufficient remedy for our sin virus? During the old testament days, when God wanted to show that He had accepted a person’s offering, He’d raise it up by some spectacular fashion, such as with Cain & Abel in Genesis 4, Gideon in Judges 6, and Elijah in 1 Kings 18. It wasn’t enough just to offer a sacrifice. Would God accept it? Was it good enough?
If God saw that Jesus’ offering was sufficient, then He will raise Him up! Romans 1:4 tells us in no uncertain terms that “Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.” God raised up Jesus to say to the world: “YES! JESUS IS ENOUGH! MY SON DID IT. I ACCEPT HIS SACRIFICE IN PLACE OF YOURS!” Had Jesus only died on the cross without a resurrection, then we’d have to conclude that God did not see it as sufficient, but HE DID! And He proved it!
You see friends, we deserved to die on that old rugged cross! We do not deserve to go to Heaven. But if we will simply place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, all is forgiven. Jesus Christ is the only remedy for this sin-virus that runs rampant in the human race. Just as COVID-19 has invaded the planet, sin has invaded the human race. The only vaccine is Jesus. And to accept Him as Savior means so much more than just getting a “vaccination” or “ticket to Heaven”. It’s about relationship.
Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? Has there been a time in your life when you know you were born-again and that you and God have been restored to “at” “one” “ment” through the Atonement of Jesus?
If not, why not today? Right there, call on Jesus to rescue you from the virus of sin that threatens to take your soul. Turn from sin and look to Jesus in full repentance from sin and open arms to receive Him into your life.
We’d like to encourage you in your faith, especially if you just asked Jesus into your life. Will you let us know? Contact The Hope Center to let them know about your decision to follow Jesus!
John & Melissa Miller are familiar faces around The Hope Center. As former pastor at Faith Christian Fellowship, John & Melissa would help with evening chapel services and have both ministered in various ways to our residents and guests at The Hope Center in the past. Currently they are the V.P. of Operations/Missionaries for Churches in Missions. To learn more about the Millers go to http://www.johnandmelissamiller.com or visit http://www.churchesinmissions.org.
I 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!
In all the chaos and confusion of the current global crisis – we’re still here to help!
We’ve been cancelling any activities, programs, services, and ministries that are not essential but we are still open and helping to make sure that during this pandemic anyone who is hungry gets food and any men who need overnight shelter have a place to rest.
Safety is a top priority and we’re making sure that everyone, whether staff, guest, or volunteer is safe throughout this crazy time.
And though we’re here to help – we need help too. With the closure of our Thrift Stores we will desperately need financial donations to help keep us open and operating during this time. Proceeds from our Thrift Stores are a major part of our operating budget since we don’t receive any government funding of tax money. Any donation will help us continue to help those in need in our community during this Covid-19 event.
And if you are able to volunteer, we need your help! We will do everything we can to make sure you are safe as you help us help others. If you are elderly or have a medical condition that puts you at risk of Covid-19 we ask that you refrain from volunteering and just help us in other ways. Again, safety is a top priority.
We need help so in any way that you can, please do! From food donations, to personal care items, to forehead scanning thermometers, or just financial donations, any little bit will help.
Fred Rogers, star of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, was once quoted saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Please help us as we help others in this crisis. God is not absent during this and He will get us through it.
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.
Originally 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. You can learn more about our rehabilitation/life recovery program at hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-