Starting 2018 Off Right – Working With God to Do Great Things

by John Miller

 

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John & Melissa Miller

John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.”

 

“When God contemplates some great work, He begins it by the hand of some poor, weak, human creature, to whom He afterwards gives aid.” -Martin Luther

Just think of it! The Almighty of this universe desires to employ us in His eternal work! Can anything be more fulfilling than this? To know that the Creator desires to give us aid and opportunities to fulfill His will in sharing His love with others.

All human edifices and titles will one day be dust. Worldly fame and fortune will be forgotten. At the funeral of one of the richest men who ever lived, J.D. Rockefeller, someone asked: “How much do you think he left behind?” The reply was: “All of it.”

Heavenly treasure never fades. Working with God in His eternal purposes will last throughout eternity. What a humbling thought, that God would choose to place some “calling” in our hearts, invite us to become involved in something He is doing, then provide aid to us. Perhaps He is calling you to some special work? Is God speaking to your heart to become more involved in aiding The Hope Center in some way? Has God blessed you with time to serve? Resources to give? Some talent to be used to help others?

I can think of nothing more rewarding and satisfying than seeing God work and provide through people to bring about His hearts desires. As The Hope Center moves forward in their calling they pray to God to raise up people who can serve and give to reach others. They can’t do this alone. They continue looking to God for all we need. The staff remains focused on exalting Christ in all they do, praying for each person who comes through their doors, encouraging people, feeding stomachs and souls, and being vessels through whom God can do His works!

Jesus said we could do “greater works” than He did because He went to the Father. Isn’t this astounding?? This word “greater” doesn’t mean better or grander, but more in number. Jesus went back to Heaven at age 33 but He continues from Heaven, providing opportunities for us to complete works He still has to do, through you and me! What an amazing offer from a perfect God to weak, broken and unworthy souls.

How does God want to work through you today, and more specifically to help The Hope Center fulfill the mission God has given to them? Call today and inquire about how you can help. God will smile upon your benevolence.

To learn more about how you can join God’s mission to the city of Hagerstown through the many ministries, programs, and services provided at The Hope Center just go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. To speak to someone now about how you can get involved in one way or another call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net

 

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.

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We Thank You for a Great 2016!

A message from our Executive Director, Sonny Shank:
sonny-shank-executive-director“As we close out this year and look forward to the challenges of 2017, I look back with awe and thanksgiving for the provision of God’s hand. And as I reflect on this year, one thought stands out in my mind … 2016 was a year of caring and giving by many of the most generous people in the world – friends like you who support God’s work here at The Hope Center. So, on behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and those we serve, I want to thank you for giving the gift of love and compassion in such a personal and caring way. You are a blessing to so many!
Although 2016 was not without its difficulties and struggles, we rejoice in the good things that happened here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. As of the end of November, 82 different families were given free groceries (171 bags given thus far); 44,326 meals were served; 11,637 were given safe shelter; 381 different men were provided overnight lodging. Throughout 2016 hundreds of kids attended our Wildside Kids events, including four weeks of Camp Wild. And just recently on Thanksgiving Day we served a traditional turkey dinner to approximately 200 people!
But the greatest joy of 2016 is the transformation that has taken place in the lives of many of the men enrolled in our long-term recovery program. I wish you could meet each one of the men and see the change that God is making in their lives. In case you have ever wondered just how important your support is, I want you to read a few notes that the men recently wrote for our donors:
~I’m thankful for a place to get myself clean and sober. Great people here. Coming closer to God.
~I’m blessed that The Hope Center has this program.
~Being here at The Hope Center has helped me get my life back in order. I’ve gotten my driver’s license, a bank account, a full-time job and a car. My relationship with God is strong which above all is most important.
~I’m thankful that these doors were open to me when I felt like all doors were closed. God healed my heart!
~I’m thankful for the goodness of God’s people to inspire me and give me hope for my own life.
~Thankful for a place to sleep and food to eat. I would be out in the cold if it weren’t for The Hope Center.
God is working in the hearts of men like Raymond, Frank, Nathan, Gus, Donald, Louis, Darrell, Larry, Stephen, Justin, William and so many others. These men have been blessed through you! That’s why we need your continued help to meet the rising needs before us.
It is always a challenge to try to keep our commitment to caring for everyone who comes to us seeking assistance, while at the same time being concerned about our ability to keep
up financially. As we close out 2016 will you consider making a generous end-ofyear gift to help those in need? The Hope Center needs your help, and we pledge to you that we will use your money wisely. Thank you! May God bless you and grant you a prosperous and Happy New Year!”
Gratefully yours,
Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank
Executive Director

Congrats Graduates!

Earlier this summer we were able to celebrate with our residents as three of them graduated from our Foundations Life Recovery program.

Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a free 13-month addiction and life rehabilitation program that helps men conquer the sins that destroy their bodies, relationships and lives. During the 13-months in the program, the men attend classes, Bible studies, and participate in work programs. These classes and programs help to educate the men about their true identity and purpose that God has for them in this life.

Some of the men who join the program have been raised in the church or Christian homes while others are brand new to the life-changing message of Christ. All of the men are dealing with addictions of some sort whether they are alcohol, drugs and pornography. The majority of the guys who come seeking help are trying desperately to stop the destruction of themselves, having already lost jobs, houses, and most importantly, relationships with family & friends.

While in our program, the guys live in our dorm and are fed, clothed and counseled for free, thanks to the generous support of our neighbors, friends, churches and other organizations in the community who fund The Hope Center. Many of the men have nothing left when they walk in the door. But they leave having gained so much for so little!

We are so thankful for the staff, volunteers and churches who help to bring the message of God’s love into the hearts of these men who Satan has enjoyed destroying. For the staff at The Hope Center, to be able to watch our residents graduate is a deeply emotional and incredibly exciting moment. Knowing how dark their lives once were and to see them glowing with the happiness of Christ, it’s a feeling that words can barely describe. Each one of these men was once a forgotten soul that Satan had thought he devoured. But God saw them for their potential in all of their sin and He had something great planned for them.

The men in our Foundations Life Recovery program have a lot of obstacles to conquer. From breaking the addictions, to learning who they can trust, to rebuilding their self value, to dealing with personal demons, there are many roadblocks in the path to recovery but these men who graduated fought the good fight and gave the other guys in the program the courage to continue their own fight to sobriety and salvation.

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So join us in congratulating the three men who got the victory this summer. Frank Shortt, Troy Robinson and Bill Rice all completed the Foundations Life Recovery program and were honored at a moving ceremony for them. Staff, family, friends and volunteers were invited to join in the celebratory ceremony where guest speaker, Matt Sargent, spoke. Following the ceremony, graduates, residents, staff and guests all gathered together for a time of fellowship in our dining room.

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We’ve asked each of the three men to give us a brief testimony of their journey towards recovery. Here is what they said:

Frank Shortt

Frank Shortt 2015I came to The Hope Center in September of 2013 out of desperation and loss of hope. Since coming here, God has done something in my life that I, and my loved ones, would never had thought possible.

God has, and is, changing this heart that was hardened and broken. Among many other things, He has given hope where there was no hope.

For now, my future plans consist of building my relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, along with my two biological sons.

Troy Robinson

Troy RobinsonWhen I came to The Hope Center in January of 2013 I was lost, scrambling to gain meaningful sobriety. Not just drinking and drugging, which I had succumbed to, but being able to live purposefully.

While in the program, God taught me that Jesus is the only way. He is the truth. He is the life. The hopeless can find hope in the Almighty. There is victory in Jesus.

My future plans are to finish well, rejoicing in the Lord always. “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Bill Rice

William Rice 2015I am 55 years old and I have struggled with alcoholism both as an unbeliever and a believer. Before coming to The Hope Center I attended Bible College but I succumbed to my addiction and fell away from the Lord. So in 2007 I enrolled in the Foundations Life Recovery program and progressed well until I blew it and was released from the program. I attribute my failure to spiritual pride because I had a knowledge of the Word that other members of the program did not.

In 2014 I knew I had to get help and asked to return to the program at The Hope Center. I finished the program and remained sober the whole time. God has dealt a lot with me in the spiritual pride area but He is still working on me.

It is my desire someday to be in ministry, but I find as a graduate that I struggle with handling freedom. I would appreciate your prayers that I would give God total control of every area of my life.

 

Please continue to pray for these men as they venture out on their own, back into the world where Satan has plenty of temptations waiting for them. Pray that they continue to fight the fight and stay strong in the Lord.

And thank you, to each of you who has invested in the lives of these men and everyone else who has come to The Hope Center seeking help in some form. From prayers, to volunteering, to hosting a chapel service, to donating food, shopping in our Thrift Stores and financially supporting us so we can continue to provide this ministry for free, God has used you to help change a life. You may not realize it or even think about it but these three men, and the countless other individuals and families helped at The Hope Center, are because of faithful friends like you who God has called to help change this city and win it for Christ.

Thank you for partnering with us as we celebrate 60 years and thousands upon thousands of lives changed in Hagerstown!

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

The first Friday of each month is set aside to celebrate birthdays at The Hope Center, and this month we were able to celebrate another birthday with one of our residents, Eddie!

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Our friend, Stormy, provided another delicious birthday cake for our celebration!

Eddie has been at The Hope Center for a while and he is nearing the end of his program. He’s been working hard to straighten his life out and allow God to mold him into the man he was designed to be.

We asked Eddie to give us a quick testimony of what God is doing in his life. It’s great to see and hear another story of victory from one of our residents.

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“Upon my arrival to The Hope Center I can safely say that I was completely broken.  Between drug addiction and a complete disregard for my own life, I was heading to one of two places – prison or a casket.  I knew of a place called The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission where I could go and change my life with God’s help.  I now have one month left in the long-term recovery program here at The Hope Center and I can proudly say that my life is changed!  I now live for God and His glory.  Once I graduate I will be going to Philadelphia, PA where I have been accepted into an internship program through Urban Hope Ministries.  I will have the wonderful opportunity to minister to kids and young adults who have or are around the same life crisis conditions I once had.  God took my mess of a life and is now going to use it for His glory!”

Eddie, just like the other men who come through The Hope Center, was on a path of destruction and death but he allowed God to make the necessary changes in his heart and mind and now he’s a totally new man.

Eddie is fighting the good fight and he’s able to celebrate another year of life thanks to God’s help. Hope has been restored into Eddie’s life and now he’s able to spread the message of hope & change to hundreds of people in Philadelphia.

Eddie is just one of the many men who seek real help from a real God at The Hope Center. Thanks to faithful supporters like you, we are able to provide our residents with a safe environment of love and support to help conquer their addictions and other destructive habits.

When you donate financially or through gifts such as food or gently used items for our Thrift Stores, you are helping to change lives. You may not realize it at the time but it’s true. People like Eddie are made brand new in Christ because of the generosity of loving and caring people like you.

Thank you for supporting The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. We thank God for friends like you because now a person like Eddie is able to change the world for Christ.

If you aren’t familiar with The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission and want more info or would like to become a supporter of our ministry then call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, check out www.hagerstownrescue.org to learn more about the many programs and ministries we provide to our community.

Happy Birthday!

The first Friday of each month is birthday month at The Hope Center!

We love to celebrate another year of life each month for the residents in our Foundations Life Recovery program. And we love the delicious cake made each month by our friend, Stormy!

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In October we celebrated with Mark, John & David. Mark and John have been previously enrolled in the program and are glad to be back and hoping to finish strong this time.

Shank, Zeigler, Beach

David is a newer resident. He enrolled in the program in July 2013.  He came here from Carroll County.  Unfortunately David was unable to join in the birthday celebration because he was hospitalized for a time. As soon as he returned from the hospital, we were happy to celebrate his birthday!

David Smith & Sonny Shank

Please continue to pray for the men, like Mark, John & David, who are enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program. As you read about Mark & John, this is not an easy fight and sometimes men leave the program to return to their destructive ways. Pray that God continues to work in their hearts and that the men allow God to make changes and are open to

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. Each time that we celebrate birthdays is a constant reminder to all of us that God is in the business of hope & change. Your support helps to keep programs like Foundations Life Recovery operational and gives men like Mark, John & David a chance to celebrate their birthday each year.

For more info about The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, including details about our Foundations program or learning how you can become a supporter, please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

Letter from our Executive Director

Sonny Shank Executive DirectorAs friends and supporters of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, I am sure you know that the doors of The Hope Center opened for the first time in May of 1955 on Jonathan Street in Hagerstown. We moved to our current location on North Prospect Street in 1957-58 and from that time on the doors of The Hope Center have remained open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

As I was thinking about how God has blessed the ministries of The Hope Center, and the impact The Hope Center has had on thousands of lives over the past 58 years, I imagined for a moment what it would be like if there had never been a Hagerstown Rescue Mission. I can tell you this – the lives of many people would have been extremely different.

Like Bill Crowe who, more than 50 years ago, was transformed by the power of the Gospel and was set free from the bondage of alcohol. Bill is the Director of the Martinsburg Rescue Mission and also pastors a local church. Or like Carl Black who was one of the first men paroled to the Mission. Carl’s life was radically changed when he gave his heart and life to Christ. Carl faithfully served God as a pastor and then as Superintendent of Hagerstown Rescue Mission until God called him home. And I remember Amos Rippeon who lost everything, including both legs, because of his addiction to alcohol. When he came to the Mission he was filled with hate and bitterness. But when Amos began a relationship with Jesus Christ, his life would never be the same! Amos spent the rest of his life here at The Hope Center smiling, singing and being a blessing to everyone he met.

Since those early days, The Hope Center has been God’s instrument for bringing the message of His redeeming love to countless persons. People like Eddie, Howard, Jose, Frank, Kevin, Donnie, Jack, and hundreds of others in bondage to alcohol and drugs have been set free and have gone on to live meaningful, productive lives.

For thousands of needy men, women and children, The Hope Center has been a source of help and encouragement. In their time of need they have come here and found food, shelter, clothing, and other kinds of needed care. So to imagine, even for a second, that The Hope Center never was is not a pleasant thought when you consider the positive impact this ministry has had on so many lives over the years.

I’d much rather picture The Hope Center continuing to serve God by serving others through a Christ-centered outreach of compassion to hurting people. Because of your support, that’s what we will keep on doing! Your involvement is vital to the future of The Hope Center. Thank you for all that you have done! I thank God for your friendship and for your heart of compassion. Please continue to be a part of our efforts to bring hope to the hopeless!

Gratefully your,

Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank

Happy Birthday!

Each month we celebrate the birthday of any resident currently in our Foundations Life Recovery program.

In January we were happy to celebrate with Anthony “Tony” Ryan and Devin Scott.

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Tony was here once before but he left the program thinking he was ready to make it on his own.  When he went back to his old habits he knew he needed help.  He enrolled into the program again in October 2012.  He hopes to finish well this time.

Devin Scott came into the program in November 2012.  Devin is the son of Kevin Scott who recently graduated from the program and continues to work here in food services.

We want to thank our friend, Stormy, for baking another delicious cake for our birthday guys!

January 2013 birthdays

Please pray for Tony & Devin as they work to conquer their addictions and strive to be the Godly men that they were created to be. Also, keep all of our residents and graduates in your prayers. This path to redemption is not easy for many of the guys that join the program. There are a lot of temptations to deal with and a lot of struggles for each man to overcome. Please continue to lift these guys up in prayer. Pray for power to overcome and the perseverance to continue to the end. Pray for the staff that are helping to guide these men.

Thank you for partnering with us to help bring the hope of Christ to people in need. It’s important to the well-being of the men in the program to know that there are caring people that are supporting them through this time of change in their lives. We appreciate all that you do to help bring hope to Hagerstown!