April Showers… bring May’s Pantry Item of the Month!

We’ve successfully made it through April! With the new month comes the hope of warmer, sunnier weather and the opportunity to start getting out and experiencing our world a little more.

The new month also brings a new pantry need – BOXED DINNERS. Boxed dinners are a staple item in our food bags. From boxes of pasta salad, to Hamburger Helper, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, stuffing mixes, and more, the boxed dinner is an important part of our food bags.

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To donate please drop off at our Administrative Office during business hours (M-F 8:15 – 11:30am and 12:15-2pm). Our office closes at 2pm for visitors but we do have staff working until 4pm. To drop off between 2 – 4pm please call our office so we can be prepared. Our offices are located on our central parking lot located at 215 W. Church St. in Hagerstown.

If you’d like to order food online please use 125 N. Prospect St., Hagerstown, MD 21740 as our delivery address. And remember, when shopping at Amazon be sure to use AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com) for your orders. When you shop from AmazonSmile Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds to The Hope Center! For more info about AmazonSmile please email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com

Thank you to each of you for all you’ve been doing to help us help others during this pandemic. Your support and love during this has definitely helped us stay encouraged and hopeful. It’s in times like this that we truly see the best in people and we thank God for each of you.

If you or your family are in need of grocery assistance please call our office at 301.739.1165 during business hours (M-F 8:15-11:30am and 12:15-4pm) to schedule an appointment for a food bag. We are happy to help provide you with some food but we ask that you please schedule an appointment so we can make sure we have a food bag prepared. For more info on our food programs and how we can help during the COVID-19 crisis please call or email us at info@hagerstownhopecenter.com

Grab a Plate…

For safety reasons in response to COVID-19 we have stopped using our plates, glasses, and silverware. We are currently only using disposable dinner plates, 8 oz. cups, and plasticware. Any donation of any of these products would be an wonderful blessing.

 

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To donate please drop off to our Administrative Office during business hours or call 301.739.1165 to talk to someone about drop off.

If ordering from Amazon (or AmazonSmile) please use 125 N. Prospect St, Hagerstown, MD 21740 for the delivery address.

Please help us get the word out by sharing this with your social circle. Thank you so much for caring and sharing – especially during this pandemic. We appreciate each of you and your commitment to partnering with us to help the disadvantaged in this crisis.

For more info on how we’re helping during COVID-19 please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

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-

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-