You Say Tomato…

We go through a lot of food each week. From the multiple meals each day to our residents and guests to the bags of supplemental groceries we give to individuals and families in need, we certainly do use a lot of food.

And when it comes to our food service program, we do our best to make our dining room feel like home to every person who stops by for a meal. While the overall look doesn’t necessarily say “home sweet home” we do our best to make sure the food on the plate has a “welcome home” kind of taste to it.

IMG_7921So our cooks and kitchen staff do everything they can to make sure that each meal is more like how “mom” did it so that our guests feel the comfort of a good homecooked meal.

And one of the most used items in our kitchen, and most kitchens around the globe, are tomato products. Our cooks use tomatoes in a multitude of ways to create delicious comfort dishes to serve.

And as you can imagine we go through a lot of tomato products each month. Right now we are currently in urgent need of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes for our daily meals. Any size jar or can of these products would be helpful!

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In addition to the tomato products for our hot meals, we are also in urgent need of 14-16oz jars of peanut butter for our food bags. Peanut butter is one of the most important items at our Food Bank and we go through it the quickest.

We’ve also listed some other items that we use quite often in our food bags for neighbors in need like boxes of mac & cheese and canned meals.

If you, your school, workplace, church or civic club are thinking about hosting a food drive this fall then this list can be a jumping off point to items to suggest for collection.

For more info on how & when to donate or to learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And to learn more about our food programs and all the other programs and services at The Hope Center and even how you can get more involved please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

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“I Knew I Needed a Change”

As a friend and supporter of The Hope Center, you are vital to the ongoing success of this ministry and the work God is doing in the hearts and lives of men, women and children.

But do you realize how God is using you to make a difference in the lives of those He sends our way?

Many of you are aware of our food programs, like Soup Line and our Food Bank. And most of you are aware that we have a homeless/transient overnight shelter for men that is open year round. But what many of you might not be familiar with is our Foundations Life Recovery program. Foundations is our free rehabilitation program for men battling addictions and who’ve strained their relationships and lost employment. For the duration of their program the men reside in our dormitory located in our main building but separate from our shelter. These men attend classes and work jobs around The Hope Center as they maneuver through the program.

Let me share with you the story of one of our current residents, Terry Barnes. This is Terry’s story:

IMG_2758“I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I knew I needed a change and I asked God to show me the way. And He did! My son brought me to The Hope Center and it was here that I finally had hope! I have been moving forward every day, trusting in Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.’

To celebrate Father’s Day I am going fishing with my son! What a blessing! I never had a father to experience good times and memories with, so I have committed to be the best father I can be. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the change He made in my life so I can be a father that my children love and respect.

I will graduate from Foundations program in August 2019. I came here as a project for God to rebuild and work in me. I am thankful for everyone here at The Hope Center for their guidance and support. And I am thankful for all those wonderful people who support The Hope Center.”

Terry’s story says it all. Your support of God’s work at The Hope Center is crucial. When you give you’re helping men like Terry rebuild their lives and create a fresh start. God is healing lives and restoring families and you are a part of this miracle.

If you’d like to learn more about partnering with us to help restore lives then please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

If you or someone you know is in need of help with addiction or need life recovery then please contact us immediately. Our program is free for men ages 18 and older. Foundations Life Recovery is a 13-month residential program aimed at helping men break their destructive habits and showing them the value that God sees in each of them. To talk to someone about the program please email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165. We currently do not have a program for women but we do have resources and connections to help women get the recovery they need as well.

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.

Wildside Celebrates Easter!

The Easter celebration at The Hope Center kicked off with Wildside’s Easter party in the beginning of April. Over 65 kids from Hagerstown attended the annual event. In addition to games and food, Wildside had a huge Easter egg hunt.

But before the egg hunt the kids enjoyed an interactive lesson which is part of the series, “How Big is My Problem?” This series is centered around conflict resolution and the kids learned at the party about how big our sin problem is and how sin builds a wall of conflict between us and Jesus. But the most important part of the lesson was learning how Jesus chose to resolve our conflict by tearing down the wall and saving us from sin!

The end of the evening saw all sorts of prizes handed out to some pretty good kids who were the winners of the Good Behavior Challenge. The Good Behavior Challenge isn’t an easy task, though. The challenge was to attend the 4 most recent Wildside events and avoid getting a single strike during those 4 events. Wildside started with 53 kids at the beginning of the challenge but by the Easter party only 19 kids were left in the competition. We’d like to announce that Aniya won the giant Easter basket prize and Josiah won the giant chocolate bunny for their continued good behavior at Wildside events! Other kids that evening won prizes for their good behavior during the event.

All Wildside events are free for kids ages 5-12. In addition to big events like the recent Easter party, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings throughout the school year. Wildside also has a youth leadership program, The Crew, where mature kids in the Wildside program are selected and go through a leadership training program. And one of the biggest Wildside events is Camp Wild – which is quickly approaching. Camp Wild is a free day camp during the summer for kids in Hagerstown’s various neighborhoods and regions. Registration for Camp Wild isn’t open yet but will start soon. Learn more about Camp Wild by visiting http://www.campwildusa.com.

To learn more about all the Wildside activities please visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com. If you’re interested in volunteering for Wildside events or Camp Wild during the summer please email volunteer@hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165.

 

“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.

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: Days 3 & 4

We’re inching closer and closer to Christmas which means we’re moving right through our Christmas Wish List.

So here are the next two items from our 12 Gifts of Christmas 2018:

12 Gifts 2018 3-001Day 3 is basic necessity found in basically every home in America. Pain relievers aren’t usually something people think of when donating to The Hope Center but it’s something that we definitely need. We’ll accept any brand or any size bottles of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

And Day 4 brings along one of the most overlooked and yet most important items on our Wish List: toilet paper. As you can imagine we go through a lot of toilet paper between all of our residents, overnight guests, and day guests. Any brand or amount of toilet paper will be a huge blessing to our ministry.

12 Gifts 2018 4-001

If you’d like to donate any of these items, or any of the other items on our 12 Gifts of Christmas List, then just stop by our Administrative Office Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm. If those times don’t work for you then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to arrange a more suitable time.

And to learn more about all the various programs and services at The Hope Center please be sure to visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Maranatha Brethren Makes the Holidays Happy With a Christmas Prayer

Last Friday our residents and guests were treated to a holiday performance and dinner hosted by the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church.

Every Christmas the choir from Maranatha performs their seasonal cantata in the Trinity Center for anyone and everyone in the community. This year the choir performed, ‘A Christmas Prayer’. Our guests enjoyed listening to Christmas music and were reminded about the true meaning and purpose of Christmas. The crowd enjoyed hearing a full choir plus various soloists perform as the Trinity Center was filled with Christmas spirit.

Following the performance the choir from Maranatha was joined by others from the church to serve a free dinner to everyone in attendance.

It was another bitterly cold night in Hagerstown but that didn’t stop people from coming out to hear the choir sing. We had over 100 people spend the evening celebrating the birth of Jesus with us!

We are so thankful for all the support and love that Maranatha has given our ministry and residents & guests over the years. Their Christmas cantata performance has become one of our new Christmas traditions and we are so thankful for the choir coming to perform and serve the community.

If you were unable to join us last Friday then why not stop by Maranatha Brethren Church this Sunday evening (12/16) for the full Christmas cantata, ‘A Christmas Prayer’, being performed by the choir in their church. For more information on the cantata performance please call 301.733.1717. Maranatha Brethren Church is located at 19835 Scott Hill Dr. just off of Jefferson Blvd. in Hagerstown.

To learn more about Maranatha Brethren Church please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net