Wildside Kick’s Off Another Summer of Adventure!

On May 14th Wildside hosted it’s annual Camp Wild Kick-Off Party! They had 54 kids join for an evening of Jesus, fun, games, and food.

Every month during the school year Wildside hosts themed parties for kids ages 5-12 in Hagerstown. The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is the final party of the season, but obviously, a celebration of the upcoming summer camp season which starts in July!!

The Camp Wild Kick-Off Party is always a crowd favorite because it’s another sign that the school year is coming to an end and it builds the excitement for another summer of fun at Camp Wild!

The evening started off with one of the kids’ favorite activities: dodgeball!

Following the huge game of dodgeball, everyone came together to enjoy some music and an interactive Bible lesson. The lesson time started with a song that the Wildside kids love, “Take it All” by Hillsong Kids. Following the music everyone jumped right into the lesson “Livin’ the Good Life”. The lesson is part of a series teaching the kids how to resolve conflict and live peacefully with God and each other. The kids learned that in order to resolve their personal conflicts they must state the problem, listen to the other person, and look for the solution. They learned that our greatest problem is our sin, that we need to listen to Jesus, and that He is the solution to our sin problem.

After the message, one of the Wildside kids, Aleshia, wowed everyone by reciting 10 Bible verses she had memorized in school! This passage of scripture told the story of Thomas doubting and then believing in the resurrected Jesus. How awesome to see so much scripture memorized by such a young lady.

Following the lesson time, the kids were able to spend their Bear Bucks at the Marketplace, play one of our carnival-style games, and eat dinner. Each of the carnival games was themed after camp. This summer, campers will travel to Latin America and explore God’s diverse array of people, cultures, animals, and environments.

Wildside ended the evening with a small dodgeball competition. We had twenty kids join the competition to battle it out for the winning title and the prize. After awarding the winners with Hershey bars and certificates, we handed out some prizes for a few well behaved children who stood out to the staff.

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Even though Wildside has wrapped up their parties for this school year, there’s still so much more fun planned for 2019. The fun continues this summer at Camp Wild! Camp Wild is an exciting, free day camp for kids ages 5-12. Registration is now open so don’t wait to sign your kids up for Camp Wild 2019. To learn more go to http://www.campwildusa.com.

If you would like to help volunteer at Camp Wild this year please contact us as soon as possible by calling 301.739.1165 or emailing info@wildsideyouth.com.

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Join Us for Easter Weekend Activites

We are just days away from Good Friday and Easter and we want to keep you up to speed on all the activities and scheduled changes this weekend as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Easter Closure-001Before we get into the activities we need to let you know that we will be closed on April 19th in observance of Good Friday. That means all offices, our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, our donation drop center and pick-up, and our recycling will be closed for the day.

Our overnight shelter will be open and operating on normal schedule on Good Friday as well as our food services. Our daily Soup Line will be on holiday schedule which means that doors open at 12:45pm on Good Friday.  For questions or more information please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Even though our offices and stores are closed on Good Friday doesn’t mean that we IMG_4189aren’t celebrating the miraculous resurrection! We are thrilled to have the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church return again this spring to present their cantata, “The Easter Song”. The Easter celebration starts at 7pm at the Trinity Center and there will be a community meal provided by Maranatha along with the show. All are invited to join! This is a great Good Friday activity for the entire family – and it’s free! There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot on Church Street between Walnut and Prospect Streets. Tickets are not required so invite as many people as you want to join you in our Good Friday celebration! If you’d like more information on Maranatha Brethren Church, including Sunday services times for Easter, then please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net or call 301.733.1717.

Easter Bake Sale Full-001Then on Saturday swing by our Hagerstown Thrift Store for our Auxiliary’s annual Easter Bake Sale from 8:30am – 1pm! You’ll be able to purchase some great homemade treats for your Easter celebration like cakes, pies, fudge, cookies and more! Plus our Auxiliary will be selling homemade soup-to-go like Chili, Chicken Corn Noodle and more. The bake sale is only at our Hagerstown location and from 8:30am – 1pm on Saturday, April 20th.

If you are looking for a church to attend on Easter Sunday then please contact us and we can help you find a wonderful place to worship and celebrate the resurrection. We are happy to have so many great churches as partners in our ministry. Please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to get information on local churches.

And don’t forget that one week after this holiday weekend is our 5th annual Rock the RTR Pirate PrincessRun 5K: Pirates vs Princess on Saturday, April 27th sponsored by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe (potatorolls.com). There’s still time to register and it’s only $25 until April 26th. This is a great event for the entire family because we not only have kids activities planned during the 5K but also a Kids Fun Run prior to the main event. Have the whole family dress up as pirates and princesses, knights or mermaids and have fun hitting the course to raise money for our upcoming renovation and expansion of our kitchen, dining room and pantry! Learn more and register by visiting http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com. And don’t forget to spread the word to your church, co-workers, scout troop, civic club, athletic team or anyone else you see! We look forward to seeing each of you in your eye patches and crowns on Saturday, April 27th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register now!

Now Hiring!

We are currently taking applications for a Lead Cook & Kitchen Supervisor. Listed below is basic information about the position including some job duties, responsibilities, and requirements.

For more detailed information about the position please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Please feel free to spread this to your friends, family, and on social. This is a very important role at The Hope Center because we serve so many men, women, and children who are in need of a hot meal and a safe environment.

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“Those Frightened Eyes Still Haunt Me to This Day.”

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)It happened 25 years ago. I was in my early 20’s. My wife sat on the kitchen floor looking up at me with tears because in anger I pushed her and she tripped over our young daughter. Those frightened eyes still haunt me to this day. I ran out of our small mobile home into the woods from sheer embarrassment at having abused my young wife. Now, she and our daughter were legitimately afraid of the one who was supposed to protect them from harm.

I found in the woods a huge log, sat down and wept. You see, I was full of rage and unreconciled pain from my childhood. My drug-addicted birth mother abandoned me when I was 9 months of age. She couldn’t handle being a mom and a drug addict so she made her choice and danced her “Woodstock Flower-girl” way into the sunset searching for her next “buzz”. Dad came home from work and found me in the crib with a wet diaper and an empty bottle. Dad was fighting his own demons of alcoholism and the next 14 years turbulently unfolded. We never did see “mom” again, to this day we don’t know where she ended up. Dad went through another bad marriage before he met his third wife and today I claim her as my “mother”.

But in my early 20’s, Dad was still trapped in the bottle and I was working through my own pain of feeling worthless, abandoned, and extremely inadequate to be a father and husband. I became a father at age 16. I did not grow up in church or in a Christian environment. When I met my girlfriend, now wife, we had no Biblical guidelines in our relationship. She stepped off the school bus in our Senior year of high school with tears and told me the news. Everyone pushed abortion but in our hearts we knew that was wrong and had our firstborn 9 months later, I had turned 17.

At age 19, after 2 years of a very troubled marriage, Melissa recovered her childhood Christian Faith and rededicated her life to Jesus Christ. I followed her to church one day and after listening to the Gospel for a few months and researching the evidence for the Bible, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior and Lord! However, though I was truly saved, I had some inner wounds that needed healing.

That day in my early 20’s, as a young Christian sitting on that log in the woods near our home, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I said: “Lord, I know I’m saved, but I’m still struggling with how to control my tongue and my temper. I need your help Lord. I can’t do this alone. You have to help me. I want to be a better man.”

I had to walk back to that mobile home where a frightened mother and daughter waited for the angry monster to return. I walked in with swollen, moist eyes and announced my apology, stating that I am going to change. Well, those are nice words, but we’ll see. What about the next time I become angry? What then? What kind of hope can I give them in that moment to show that I am allowing the Lord to heal my pain and help me recover godly, gentle manhood to lead my family with love and in a safe environment?

I began to study verses of Scripture in the book of Proverbs about anger. I memorized verses like Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 15:18, also Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:21, Galatians 5:22, and Philippians 4:13. These verses became lodged in my heart and mind! God’s Word was bringing about transformation. I urge you to look at these verses that will help not just in areas of uncontrolled anger but any area of weakness and sin that trips you up!

Over a period of time and “proving”, the Holy Spirit had more of me. I didn’t get more of Him, He got more of me as I surrendered areas of my life over to Him and continue to do so every day of my life! You see, this old flesh is still in me! I need these truths every day if I want Jesus to be seen in me. He has brought healing, trust, and a feeling of safety to my marriage. We still have disagreements just like every marriage but now it’s “safe” to argue. And since those early days, my dad and stepmom have given their hearts to Jesus! I baptized them myself! God broke the addictions in their lives and has given them a beautiful marriage.

I don’t know where this blog finds you today but I want you to know there is hope. Hope is found in a personal relationship with the Lord and His Word. God’s Holy Spirit can heal and fill you to overflowing. You cannot do this alone. You need the Lord to give you the strength every day. Please, surrender to Him now and be diligent, intentional, and deliberate in knowing Him and His Word. Call the Hope Center and inquire about how you can learn more about this Hope. It’s the answer! HE is the Answer!

To talk to someone at The Hope Center please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Learn more about The Hope Center 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.

Our Residents Enjoy a Christmas Party With the CMA!

This past weekend the Christian Motorcycle Association hosted a Christmas dinner for the men who are enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program.

The CMA had a delicious meal prepared for our residents as well as performing Christmas songs, reading the Christmas story from Luke and then giving each resident a Christmas gift bag.

And in addition to all the festivities Santa stopped by to celebrate with our residents!

We’re so thankful for the CMA coming every year to host a Christmas celebration for our residents. The guys in the program are enrolled for 13-months while they work through recovering from the various addictions and issues that have caused them to lose so much. Events like this are so important to our residents who are often estranged from their family and loved ones so these types of activities and investment in their lives show a loving community who is cheering for their success.

We want to thank the CMA again for showing so much support to our life recovery program and for caring for each of these wonderful men who are walking down a difficult but healthy path. And to each of you who’ve donated, volunteered, and prayed – thank you. Each one of you is helping not just to provide housing or food for people in need but also making an investment in the life of these men who are battling addictions. Thank you for partnering with us to restore the lives of so many and show them the love of God. Merry Christmas!

Greencastle Youth Group Share Christmas Love…And Cookies

We were so excited to have the youth group from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Greencastle stop by to serve lunch to our residents and community guests on December 9th!

This was the first time the youth from the church served at The Hope Center and we hope it’s not the last. They served a delicious meal of homemade soup and sandwiches and even made homemade Christmas cookies for everyone.

The youth group at St. Mark the Evangelist meets a few times a month where the students, grades 8th – 12th, learn about their faith or partake in service projects, like serving at The Hope Center, and fun activities geared for them.

We love seeing young people serving their community. The future success of helping people depends on young people getting involved and actively participating in being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. A big thank you to Vicky, youth ministry coordinator, the parents who helped, and most importantly, the students who gave part of their weekend serving others!

For more information on St. Mark the Evangelist please visit http://www.stmarkstlukeparish.org

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Day 5

For the 5th Gift of Christmas our neighbors gave to us Jars of Peanut Butter!

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So jars of peanut butter aren’t exactly as flashy as 5 gold rings but they are just as valuable to us and the people in our community who are food insecure and need some assistance.

Peanut Butter is one of the main staples we include in our food bags that are given to families and individuals in need. Besides being so delicious and versatile, peanut butter adds protein and other health benefits for people of all ages and can quickly satisfy hunger as well as taste buds.

16 oz jars of peanut butter are preferred for their size in our food bags. Any brand or type of peanut butter is welcome. This is an item we are always in desperate need of so please spread the word to your social media contacts.

To donate just stop by our Administrative Office M-F between 8am – 5pm or call us at 301.739.1165 to work something else out if these hours don’t work with your schedule. Thank you for caring and sharing this Christmas season!