Embracing the Hope of Easter in These Uncertain Times

by John Miller

JohnMiller (2)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!

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY! JESUS IS ALIVE!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. Learn more about The Hope Center, our response to COVID-19, and all the programs & services we offer the community free of charge by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

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.

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!

 

We’re Still Here to Help

In all the chaos and confusion of the current global crisis – we’re still here to help!

Staff 1We’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.

To learn more about donating or volunteering please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com. To donate online go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com and click on ‘Financial Giving’ in the drop down menu under the ‘Donate’ tab.

Thank you for caring & sharing!

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-

Just a Spoonful of Sugar…

One of our favorite nannies once said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. And while that’s very true, sugar truly helps everything go down!

We know we aren’t alone in our love of sugar. And it’s evident in the amount of sugar we use each month. From baking, to cooking, to countless cups of coffee served daily, we really enjoy sugar.

Item of the Month-001So for our Pantry Item of the Month for March we’re asking for donations of bags of granulated sugar.

If you’d like to donate sugar please drop your donation off to our Administrative Office during business hours. If you are unable to drop off during our hours please call us at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to arrange a better time.

If you’d prefer shopping online at a retailer like Amazon then please use 125 N. Prospect Street as our shipping address. And if you do shop Amazon don’t forget to use AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is the same as Amazon but with purchases made Amazon will donate a portion to The Hope Center. Go to smile.amazon.com and log in with your Amazon account and then be sure to choose ‘The Hope Center Hagerstown’ as your charitable organization. And then shop away!!

If you have any questions or would like more info about our food services programs at The Hope Center or about donating items please contact us at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

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-

Congrats, Keith — and Happy Birthday!

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 on the second floor of our main building. 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.

While we were excited to celebrate all four men graduating on Sunday, February 2nd, one of our graduates had a little extra celebration that day — Keith Coleman was also celebrating his birthday! We love celebrating the birthday of our residents but this one was even more special since we got to celebrate with him, his family & friends, on a day of victory and new life!

One of our February graduates is Keith Coleman. This is Keith and here is his story of HOPE:

DSC_0425Originally from Baltimore, Keith found himself in 2018 at The Hope Center for the second time. Having crashed and totaled his car after leaving a bar, Keith knew he needed help for his alcoholism. Fortunately for Keith he didn’t sustain any physical injuries from his accident but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually he knew he was hurt.

And he returned to The Hope Center to get help. Having been at The Hope Center in 1999 for cocaine abuse, Keith came back to get help for a new substance abuse.

Keith had accepted Christ as his Savior at a Baptist church in 1997 but struggled in his walk with God, including dealing with the passing of his wife.

But this time Keith knew he needed a legitimate change. And it was time to have victory in his life and be able to handle the struggles of life while also walking close to the Lord.

During his second time at The Hope Center, Keith learned in Foundations Life Recovery that there’s more to being a successful Christian than just believing in Christ. He acknowledges that continuing in a healthy spiritual walk with God involved accountability and being surrounded by other believers and actively participating in spiritual growth. He knows that the key to his sobriety and victory is staying strong in the Word of God and daily talking to God and interacting with Him. And ultimately, Keith says that his plan for spiritual success is to love Jesus with all his heart, mind, and soul.

As Keith begins his post Foundations life, he is taking a verse with him to help keep him strong on his spiritual journey. This verse is not just powerful for Keith, it’s for all of us as we go through our day dealing with the sins, disappointments, struggles, and issues of this broken world. Keith’s favorite verse is Romans 6:14, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

What a powerful reminder of just how amazing our God is! The past is the past but the future is Christ. The power of grace is simply astounding.

Keith is currently waiting for the VA to help him get HUD housing but beyond that he isn’t sure exactly what the future holds for him. He’s waiting for God to open the door for his next opportunity and looking forward to giving God all the glory!

Please lift Keith up in your prayers. Pray that his housing situation is taken care of and that he continues to keep his focus on God during the good times and the bad. Pray that he continues on his path of sobriety and that God provides the right people to help keep him accountable and successful in his spiritual journey.

And also pray for the many men who are currently enrolled in Foundations Life Recovery and those who will make the decision to receive help from the program this year. The road to victory for these men is difficult and many men suffer setbacks. But our God is powerful and forgiving and we pray that these men understand both of those amazing attributes of God.

God is using people like you to help change lives like Keith. Because of your prayers, financial support, in-kind gifts, volunteering, Thrift Store shopping, and even running in our 5K, you are a part of Keith’s victory story! Thank you for partnering with us to reach the least, the last, and the lost. Thank you for providing a place for the Keith’s of the world to find help and a new sober, safe, and healthy life in Christ! As our founder, Jim Resh, would say, “keep on keepin’ on!”

If you or someone you know is in need of help or rehabilitation please contact us at 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com. Learn more about our Foundations Life Recovery program by visiting hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-

Celebrate Changed Lives!

The same day that everyone was celebrating Punxsutawney Phil, we were having our own celebration. While our celebration had nothing to do with winter, spring, shadows,  or any type of burrowing animals, ours was a celebration of change, new life, hope, and a bright new future!

Our celebration was actually a graduation for four of the guys in our Foundations Life Recovery program!

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the program, Foundations Life Recovery is a 13-month rehabilitation type of program for men who are dealing with various addictions or issues that have caused them to basically lose everything of value in their lives. Foundations Life Recovery is a free program to help these men break the destructive patterns and give them hope of a new life through Christ. While in the program the men stay in our residence dormitory which is located on the second floor of the main facility building at The Hope Center. They attend classes, various church services, and also work different jobs at The Hope Center. As they progress through the program they go deeper in the Word while also going deeper into the issues that caused their life to go off-track. Once they complete the various levels of the program then they are able to graduate and move on to a new life in Christ!

DSC_0432

Graduates seated (L-R): Terry Barnes, Danny Sluss, Keith Coleman, and Ron Trenton

And that’s what we were celebrating on February 2nd. We are so proud of our four graduates for putting in the hard work to complete this program. It’s not easy to admit that you need help and even more difficult to go through the steps to make lasting change.

These four men did it and they are happy to announce that they are clean, sober and solid in the Lord!

Join us in congratulating Ron, Terry, Keith, and Danny for all their hard work and persistence in their life recovery!

The graduation ceremony & celebration was a sweet moment for these men. They were surrounded by friends, family, pastors, staff members, and members of our Board of Directors. Following the ceremony we had a time of celebration with desserts and light refreshments.

These guys, and the many other men who’ve graduated from the program, have achieved a major victory but the war for their soul is hardly over. Please continue to pray for Ron, Terry, Keith, and Danny as they start the process of starting over in society.  Pray that these four men continue to daily fight the good fight and trust God for guidance through the good times and the bad times. Pray that wherever the four guys end up that they will have a body of believers supporting them, cheering for them, and encouraging them through all the ups and downs of their journey.

And pray for the men who are currently in our Foundations Life Recovery program and pray for those who are yet to enroll. This is not an easy fight for these men so please continue to lift them up in your prayers.

Again, please join us in congratulating and celebrating Terry, Keith, Danny, and Ron for completing our life recovery program! It’s an amazing accomplishment for them and a huge celebration for Heaven as four more men have chosen Christ over everything. These four men were seen as dead to the enemy but not anymore!

If you’d like to know more about these men and their stories of victory, we’ll be following up with individual stories of each of them in the next few posts.

Thank you for being a supporter of this ministry and all the various outreach programs at The Hope Center. Your continued support, whether through prayer, in-kind gifts, financial support, or volunteering, you are a part of the victory celebration of these men and the thousands of others who’ve met God at The Hope Center! Thank you for caring & sharing!!

To learn more about our Foundations Life Recovery program please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-

“The Best Gravy You’ve Ever Had!”

Another year hosting our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is in the books!

Our annual holiday celebration, which is one of the oldest and longest continually running community Thanksgiving meal in the city, was another success as people from all over the area joined us to volunteer or enjoy the feast as guests.

Our kitchen was busy days before the feast preparing various dishes for the buffet including the roast turkey and our famous (and delicious) stuffing.

But as the sun rose on Thanksgiving our kitchen crew knew exactly what to do: prepare the best Thanksgiving buffet in town!

And they sure did! The feast this year was absolutely delicious. From the amazing stuffing made by Dorcas Black to the “best gravy you’ve ever had” by Diane Ellis, our guests, staff and volunteers sure did have a great spread to enjoy on Thanksgiving.

But before the meal was served , our guests were treated to a great message by Matt Sargent who was the former director of our Foundations Life Recovery program. Matt had a little fun with the crowd by presenting them with a plated preview of the Thanksgiving feast which turned out to be the meal Snoopy served to Charlie Brown. But then he came clean and presented everyone with an actual plate of the delicious food they were about to enjoy. He brought it all together to remind each of us that God has great things for our lives and that we shouldn’t just settle for the “Snoopy meal” of life when God is busy working to provide us with an amazing “Thanksgiving feast” in life.

Once the message was concluded and the meal was prayed over, our guests were eager to hit up the buffet line! Everyone enjoyed all the wonderful food and most had no problem going back for seconds.

We are so thankful for all of our volunteers and staff who helped to make this Thanksgiving successful. There are so many people who work behind the scenes in preparation to the feast, and so many wonderful volunteers who give up their holiday to serve others. We are beyond grateful for everyone who played a role in our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast. There are many names we’d like to mention – but more on that at a later time.

Our Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast is a chance for us to celebrate all that we’ve been given throughout the year and to come together to give thanks to God for His continued blessings and faithfulness in our lives and at The Hope Center.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to come together to collectively give thanks to our great God. But we are always in a spirit of gratitude to God for all He does at The Hope Center throughout the year. From the men in our Foundations Life Recovery program whose lives have been changed and freed from the dangerous addictions and abuses that have caused so much physical, emotional, and spiritual pain, to the families who receive clothing assistance, to the kids who are learning and growing spiritually at Wildside Youth, to being able to provide safe overnight housing to homeless men and feeding thousands of hungry people each year, God continues to wow us with all His blessings and continued faithfulness to this ministry and our call to reach the least, the last, and the lost for Him.

And we can see God at work each and every day because of the faithful and generous people in our community who have partnered with us to keep our doors open for almost 65 years. And not only do we keep our doors open – we don’t charge our neighbors in need a dime to receive services. And even more amazing is that we receive no tax money from the government. Each day operating is a miracle because God continues to send all the right people to help provide all of our needs. And we can’t thank Him enough for each of you.

Each of you are having a profound impact on our community and in individuals lives whether you totally realize it or not. Every time you drop off a bag of clothing, buy a can of coffee, donate financially, volunteer an evening, you are helping to fight the good fight and bring HOPE back to thousands of people.

So thank you for your compassion and dedication to The Hope Center. Each life is precious and we are using the resources that you help to give to remind each person who comes to The Hope Center that they are important, they valuable, and they are loved – by a great God and His incredible people.

This Thanksgiving, and every Thanksgiving, we are so genuinely thankful for you! You’re making a difference. So again, thank you. We hope God blesses you this Christmas season.

 

 

“God Gave Me a New Beginning – Even at My Age”

To a lot of people birthdays are kind of a big deal. We all love celebrating the birth of our kids, family, friends and other loved ones. And at The Hope Center it gives us great joy to celebrate the birth of the guys in our residential recovery program: Foundations.

For the residents in our program, the celebration of their birth is special because many of them came to The Hope Center in desperate need of help for victory over addictions and other destructive lifestyles that were destroying them. The fact that we celebrate their life is a major victory for each of these men. And since they’re a part of our family, we love celebrating them!

So last Friday we celebrated the birthday of one of our residents, Terry Barnes. If you’ve volunteered or stopped by The Hope Center there’s a good chance you’ve seen Terry. Since being in the program Terry has worked in our kitchen and more prominently in our shelter as a deskman. So there’s a chance you have seen him smiling around The Hope Center.

IMG_2758But even if you’ve seen Terry you might not know much about him or his journey in life, especially the most recent journey of recovery and redemption at The Hope Center. So we asked Terry to give us a little summary of his thoughts as he celebrates another birthday. Here is what Terry has to say:

“I want to thank God first, then The Hope Center and the pastors and staff. I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I will graduate January 19, 2020. God has given me a new beginning at even my age. He’s shown me how to be accountable and responsible, and to believe and trust in Him. I say that because I found myself in a very difficult situation last month and God showed me He was right there with me and He gave me patience and strength. When I leave here, I am going to live a different lifestyle and give praise and thanks to God every day for changing my life.”

We are so proud of Terry and all the work he’s put into his personal recovery and relationship with God. He’s just a few short months away from completing our Foundations Life Recovery program. Please continue to pray for Terry as he moves quickly towards that finish line. And please remember to pray for the many other men who are in our recovery program and those who will enter our program hoping for a lasting change and freedom in Christ.

Please join us in wishing Terry a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here’s to many more, Terry!

And we want to thank our friend, Stormy, for baking another delicious birthday cake for our celebration! Every month we celebrate a birthday Stormy faithfully bakes and decorates a cake for our residents to enjoy. We appreciate her kindness and generosity so much!

To learn more about our recovery program please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/foundations. If you’d like to talk to someone about our program, including enrolling in Foundations, please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com.