Welcome, Aimee Izer!

At the end of 2017, we said goodbye to our Sorting Room Supervisor, Dorcas Black, as she kicked off 2018 with her retirement. Dorcas, daughter of founders, Jim & Ellen Resh, has been a constant part of the ministry at The Hope Center since it’s very beginning. She has had the role of Sorting Room Supervisor since 2009.

As Dorcas prepared for her exit, we obviously had to find someone to fill her shoes and take over the task of keeping our sorting operation running smoothly and effectively. And we needed to find someone who could be mentored by Dorcas before she retired.

After sifting through over a hundred interested applicants, Aimee Izer was chosen to fill the role as Sorting Room Supervisor. As supervisor, Aimee will manage the employees who sort through all the boxes and bags of donated items. These employees also price all items, from housewares, to shoes, clothing, coats, toys, and everything else in our Thrift Stores. Aimee also makes sure that our stores, in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, have the items they need to keep the shelves and racks fully stocked.

Aimee Izer 1We are so happy to have Aimee join the ministry team at The Hope Center and we’re excited to see how God will use her to help us minister to the thousands of people who visit The Hope Center seeking helping.

We asked Aimee to briefly tell us about herself and the journey that brought her to work at The Hope Center:

“Sometimes the Lord encourages us to take a step of faith and trust His leading. That is what happened to me on November, 27th, 2017. After many months of prayer and searching for a new job with no success, the Lord said, “do you trust Me?” I had left my current place of employment without having the security of something else lined up.

The very next day I received an application in the mail from The Hope Center. I had applied for a position online about two weeks or so prior. The application had a note asking that I please complete and return as soon as possible. I was so excited, I immediately prayed and completed the application, dropping it off the next day. 

That afternoon I received a phone call to set up an interview for the following morning. I came in Thursday to meet with Mr. Shank. After a great meeting, I was offered a job as Sorting Room Supervisor. Praise God! He is so good and His timing is always perfect. I only had one week between jobs. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here. I truly believe that God was working and moving to bring me to where I am. I have been given such a great opportunity to continue to bring new ideas to an amazing ministry. I cannot wait to see how the Lord leads and allows me to become a part of The Hope Center. 

Along with working, I am a wife to my amazing husband, Terry, of 25 years. I’m a mom to four awesome sons, mother-in-law to two beautiful ladies, and “Gigi” to my two grandsons.

When I’m not at work, I love being a mom and grandmother, spending as much time with my family as I can. 

I also enjoy gardening, tea, reading, and decorating. I love the warm months of the year and being outside. 

I serve and awesome God who is so faithful to us. He has been challenging me to not just fill myself up with Him, but to pour out what He has given to me. Then he can continue to fill me again.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

Want to be a part of this ministry and give Aimee and her Sorting Room team something to do? Just donate your gently used items to us! The proceeds from the sales of your items help to underwrite the operating costs of The Hope Center so we can continue to provide free services to all our guests while also never costing the tax payer a penny. And in addition to store sales, any guest who desperately needs items like shoes, coats, clothing or household items can receive vouchers to receive those much needed items for free. Your donation can help so many different people in so many ways!

To learn more about donating to The Hope Center please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call us at 301.739.1165.

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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.

Welcome, Michelle!

We have a new addition to our staff at The Hope Center. But this newest addition to our team really isn’t that new at all.

Michelle Rizer (2)We are excited to welcome Michelle Rizer to our staff as the new assistant to our youth program, Wildside Youth.

To some of you, her name and face may not ring a bell, but to others who’ve been following The Hope Center, even back when it was called the Union Rescue Mission or Hagerstown Rescue Mission, might recognize her. Michelle may be a new staff member but she’s actually the granddaughter of the founders, Jim & Ellen Resh.

Jim & Ellen were parents to four daughters, Sharon, Dorcas, Laurel and Becky, and one son, Jim. Those five children gave Jim & Ellen twelve grandchildren who are now having children of their own.

Michelle is one of the daughters of Sharon & Henry Hughes. When the Mission had a TV show, Echoes of Hope, a publication, Free Press, and other public events it was quite often that Michelle, along with the rest of the family, was in attendance or participating in one way or another.

But now, Michelle has officially joined our staff and is eager to start her journey into ministry in a facility that has a deep personal connection to her.

We asked Michelle to tell us about the journey that brought her from her early days on Echoes of Hope to her current position working with kids in Hagerstown.

“My name is Michelle Rizer and I’m the granddaughter of Jimmy and Ellen Resh, founders of the Four States Christian Missions, Inc. (The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission).

Sin, and the inability to forgive myself or believe God could forgive me, lead me away from God for many years. Then, 5 years ago, I rededicated my life to my Lord Jesus Christ and began a new life with Jesus in the center of my life.

My husband, Brian, and I became very active in our church and became youth leaders. Being in this position gave me the opportunity to go with our youth pastor to take a class certifying me to work with high risk youth.

Although Brian and I loved our position in the church, I kept feeling a nudging from the Holy Spirit that God was leading me into full-time ministry.

I felt that if God was leading me into ministry maybe it would be back at the Rescue Mission and my family heritage. So, I contacted Becky and Sonny Shank, my aunt and uncle, who run the Mission now, and shared God’s leading in my life with them. We all decided to pray where God was leading me.

In the meantime, I took a leap of faith and left my job in the hair industry after 33 years and waited and prayed for God to reveal His plan for me.

It was about a month later that Becky called me to come in and talk with them. I was excited and scared as to where God wanted me, but I had placed my complete faith in Him and believed that whatever He had revealed to them was where He was leading me.

I went in and talked to them and when they presented me with the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of Wildside Youth Ministries I about fell off my chair because Becky and Sonny had no idea I was already working with youth at my church or had taken a class to work with high risk youth.

God had clearly revealed His plan to me and everyone involved, but I had no way of knowing He was preparing me in advance for the ministry He was calling me to do.

What a mighty God we serve! He has taken a broken, lost soul and transformed her for His glory! The road I’m on is challenging and hard, but the rewards are many and God gives me the strength everyday to do the job He has called me to do and to lead others to His kingdom.”

We are so thankful and excited to have Michelle join our staff at The Hope Center. We are so proud of all she’s accomplished in her life and we look forward to seeing her wisdom and compassion reach so many children and their families for Christ in this new endeavor in her life. Please pray for Michelle, her family, and Wildside Youth as she starts this new chapter of her life and the beginning of her journey in full-time ministry.

Remember, God doesn’t just use those who we deem are perfect. He is a God of redemption, forgiveness and He loves to show how His power changes people. God doesn’t need perfect people to do His work. He needs willing people who are able to acknowledge their mistakes and allow Him to do a miraculous work in them. This is the story of hope. This is what we are about. We know that we serve a God who sees all of us, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly and loves us unconditionally. He loves us enough to not only send His Son but to allow that perfect Man to die for us so that we might have the opportunity and power to change who we are.

This is why The Hope Center exists. It’s for the son who was lost to drugs. It’s for the mother trying to feed her children. It’s for the family dealing with heartache. It’s the child struggling with abandonment. The Hope Center exists because God is real and has a real plan for each and every one of us and He’s not willing to give up on us. And we’re not willing to give up either.

Michelle traveled a path that many people haven’t. But that path, through it’s dark valleys, was being watched over by a God who doesn’t miss a beat nor misses a step. Michelle, and so many others, serve as a living testament to how powerful and awesome our God truly is. And we are so thankful and fortunate to have her sharing her life and her personal experiences with the children and their families in our city.

Thank you to each of you who support our ministry of hope and change. Your donations, time, and, most importantly, your prayers have been changing lives and reaching thousands of people for Christ for over 60 years. Thank you for supporting us and showing God’s love to all of Hagerstown.

To learn how you can support our ministry, or just learn more about the work that we’re doing in the heart of Hagerstown please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. And if you’re interested in learning more about our youth ministry where Michelle is serving please go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. To learn more about volunteer opportunities please visit http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com. Ok, so that’s a lot of http://www.com’s…but we’re genuinely thankful for your support through the years. You help us bring hope to so many.  And because of your support we’re still here, more than 60 years later, to help anyone and everyone who is ready for a fresh start or a new chapter. To God be the glory!

Goodbye Becky Sue and Hello Sarah!

Goodbye Becky Sue

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We hate to see Becky Sue leave, but we are so thankful for all the years of service and everything that she has done to help further this ministry and reach people for Christ!

Becky Sue started working part time at The Hope Center in 1999 doing data entry. After doing that for a few years our receptionist left and Becky Sue went full time to work both positions for us.

Then in 2006, Becky Sue and her husband, Terry, welcomed a beautiful baby girl into their lives. It was at that time that Becky Sue made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom.

In the fall of 2008, after being offered a chance to come back part time, Becky Sue returned on a limited basis to help with our data entry. After a couple years she also started helping in our food pantry by helping to get it organized and making food bags for our food bank ministry.

Earlier this spring, Becky Sue made an important decision to move on from The Hope Center to help her husband as he begins his own farm mechanic business. Becky Sue will use her organizational skills as the bookkeeper for his new venture.

Even though she is leaving The Hope Center to work elsewhere, Becky Sue is planning to continue working in our food pantry and volunteering in other ways at The Hope Center.

We loved having Becky Sue in our office! She was always full of fun stories, loved to laugh and made some delicious blueberry buckle!

Becky Sue says that, “working at The Hope Center has truly been a blessing in my life. When I first started working in 1999, I just considered it another job. But when I came back in 2008 after the birth of my daughter, I came back because of the ministry. My faith has grown immensely over the last several years and I have learned that nothing is more important than serving others for our Lord, Jesus Christ. I am so thankful to The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission for giving me the opportunity to serve in the ways that I have been able to do so. I am also very thankful to the entire Resh family who took me and my family in and always made us feel like we were a part of their own family.”

We are excited for Becky Sue & Terry as they move forward with God’s plan for their life. It was probably not an easy decision for either of them to venture out and start a new business but we know that they will keep God in the center of everything and continue doing things for His glory. We wish Becky Sue the best as she helps to build this business with her husband and as she has more opportunities to raise her daughter in the Lord.

Thank you, Becky Sue, for all you’ve done to help reach the least, the last, and the lost for Christ!

Welcome Sarah!

Becky Sue & Sarah

As Becky Sue began working out her notice, we began the hard task of finding someone to replace her.

God was looking out for His ministry and provided another bright, friendly face to our office.

Sarah joined our team and was able to be trained by Becky Sue before she left.

Sarah is originally from Moscow, Pennsylvania. She has an older sister and a large extended family that she enjoys getting together with.

At the age of seventeen, Sarah gave her life to Christ at a Word of Life camp. Sarah is the wife of Ron Faith, pastor at Evangel Baptist Church in Hagerstown. In addition to working at The Hope Center and helping in various ways at Evangel, Sarah is the mother of two beautiful children.

Sarah says that she is so blessed that God opened the door for her to work at The Hope Center and she says she’s enjoyed every minute of it!

We are so happy to welcome Sarah to our ministry team! We look forward to years of partnering together to help bring hope to Hagerstown.

If you would like to join The Hope Center ministry team as a volunteer, just call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. To learn more about volunteering at The Hope Center and all the various ways you could get involved, please go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.

 

 

 

A Sad Goodbye: Leaving a Legacy of Great Faith

Every now and again God sends people into your life who just make an instant impact. Sometimes these people are for the good and other times it’s for the bad.

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When God brought AJ Imbach and his wife, Jayne, to Hagerstown from Oregon, we had no idea how quickly we would love having them around. These two made such an incredible impact on so many, from staff, to guests, to customers, AJ & Jayne were a welcomed pair to The Hope Center family.

AJ was hired to be the manager of our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg. He brought with him not only experience, but a passion to serve the Lord and a kindness very rarely seen in this world.

AJ Imbach

As soon as AJ started his ministry, he fit right in. And his wife, Jayne, became a fixture at The Hope Center too. She was always volunteering and helping in various ways around the ministry. Her smile and love of people was infectious.

But it wasn’t easy for them to just move across the country. They were leaving family, friends, and a good job in Portland, Oregon. It was very hard for Jayne but she believed, as AJ did, that this was God’s calling and she obeyed.

AJ was a wonderful addition to The Hope Center family. His leadership in our stores was well received by all the staff.  He lead by example and his goal as manager was to create a working environment where the staff could excel in their jobs. He quickly jumped in, coming up with new ideas and creative ways to get shoppers into our stores.

Hag Thrift Store Staff Jan 2014

Approximately a month after he began managing the stores AJ experienced some physical symptoms that he had never felt before and he found a primary care physician who referred him to a neurologist.

After many tests, the neurologist made an initial diagnosis of ALS but referred AJ to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion.

In early January AJ received confirmation from Johns Hopkins that it was ALS. All his doctors agreed that AJ and Jayne should return to their home in Portland, OR where they would have a large support system of family and friends to help Jayne provide the care AJ will need as the disease progresses.

AJ and Jayne felt the call from God to come to Hagerstown, and they struggled with having to make a decision to stay or return to Portland.  AJ called his job here at The Hope Center “my dream job.”  He loved what he was doing and he was loved by our Hope Center family.

Throughout this entire ordeal AJ and Jayne did not waver in their faith and trust in God.  They have returned to Portland and AJ is receiving care from a doctor who specializes in ALS.  AJ believes that God is trustworthy, and he stands on God’s Word that says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:13

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We are grateful that God allowed our paths to cross and although AJ and Jayne were only here for a short time they touched many lives and their faith and trust in God made a huge impact on everyone they came in contact with.

This situation reminds us that our lives on earth are fleeting, like a vapor in the wind, but the impact of our service to God and the kindness, compassion and joy of following Christ is what will live on.

AJ & Jayne definitely have left a legacy here. Even though they are all the way across the country, their joy & faithfulness is still here as an example to all of us how to trust God through the good times and the bad.

Please join us in praying for both of these amazing people. We, along with every person who has come in contact with AJ & Jayne, don’t understand why this is happening. But God knows. And He cares. And we know that through all of these trials, AJ & Jayne will continue to praise God and impact lives for Him.

AJ & Jayne, thank you so much for your service, but more importantly, your friendship. You both will always be a part of The Hope Center family!