In Loving Memory of Jean Blaise Kikudi

It is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to one of our own, Jean Blaise Kikudi. Jean went home to be with the Lord the end of September at the age of 52. He was employed at The Hope Center as an evening deskman/security for our emergency men’s shelter. But his is the story of God’s transformational love and the visible manifestation of what God is doing in the lives of those who step foot into The Hope Center.

Volunteer Appreciation 2013 019 (2)Jean Blaise was born in the summer of 1966 in the Congo. He earned a BS in Economics and became a naturalized US citizen in February of 2003. Unfortunately Jean Blaise found himself in some trouble and was convicted of a felony and was paroled to The Hope Center. When he first arrived he wanted nothing to do with The Hope Center and it was obvious that he did not want to be here. But in September of 2009 he applied for enrollment to Foundations Life Recovery, our 13-month rehabilitation program. On December 1, 2009, Jean was officially entered into the Foundations program to start getting his life back on track.

During his time as a resident in Foundations, Jean totally changed as God began to doDSC_1390 (2) major work in his life. God worked in his life and Jean’s attitude and personality were completely transformed. What was once a scowl on his face became a huge, infectious smile. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone, the new is here!” Jean was not afraid to share his story of transformation and his testimony was incredibly inspiring and one that encouraged the other men in our Foundations program to continue fighting the fight to recovery. Jean completed the program and graduated on April 15, 2011.

Following his graduation he became employed at The Hope Center. He continued to be involved with The Hope Center in other ways including singing with the residents when visiting churches, attending other Foundations Life Recovery graduations, and helping anywhere he could. In addition to helping at The Hope Center, Jean was very involved with his church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Hagerstown.

Jean BlaiseIf you’ve ever volunteered at The Hope Center, especially for the evening chapel and community meal, or had hosted our residents at your church you’ve probably seen Jean and his big pearly smile. Jean was a great man who came from a very good family and almost lost it all until God did an incredible work in his life.

We are so deeply saddened by the death of Jean Blaise but it is the promise that God gives us of eternal life that helps us deal with the sudden loss of our graduate, coworker, and most importantly, our friend. His death was shocking and difficult to process but we all have the hope that he’ll be waiting for us with his huge smile as God calls us home one day.

To each of you who have supported The Hope Center by praying, financially sponsoring, donating gently used items, volunteering, hosting food drives, or being involved in any other way, you were a part of helping to change Jean’s life for good. He may never have met each of you and you may never have known him, but God used you to help bring Jean to him and now Jean is singing the song of victory.

Thank you for supporting us as we work each day to help people like Jean. Your support helped save a man and change his life completely. Thank you for caring and sharing. God used your gift and turned it into an investment of eternal proportions.

To God be the glory!

 

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Our Easter Hope – Jesus’ Sacrifice Opened Heaven’s Door

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)“And the angel said to them; ‘Fear not, I know you were looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen just as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord was laying.'”    -Mathew 28:5-6

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead means so many wonderful things to believers. One of the most blessed truths about His resurrection is that it gives us HOPE regarding our future resurrection. Death is not the end.

Jesus Christ is God come to us in human form. God loves us so much that He decided to willingly step into a body of flesh in order to feel the emotions, fears, temptations, and weaknesses of this flesh. Through Jesus, He overcame temptation and took a perfect sacrifice to the cross where He paid the sin debt for us! We could never pay sin’s debt so God paid it himself.

However, in order for this transaction to be complete there must be a resurrection. Remember when Cain and Abel offered sacrifices in Genesis chapter 4? The evidence of whether or not a sacrifice was accepted by God was a visible raising up of that sacrifice. The same was true with Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1st Kings chapter 18. God showed by a fiery and dramatic “taking up” of Elijah’s sacrifice that Yahweh is the one true God!

When Jesus died on the cross and then was placed in the tomb, it looked as if everything had failed. Why did Jesus die on the cross after He had performed so many miraculous feats, even raising the dead? Why did God allow His Son to die? Will God accept the sacrifice of Jesus’ death on the cross as a sufficient payment for the sins of mankind?

Yes! Three days later the stone rolled away and Jesus walked out of that tomb! God said YES to the sacrifice and raised it up for all the world to see that Jesus Christ has made sufficient payment for our sins and opens the door to Heaven! What we call death is only a door to a believer! For the Christian, death is like walking from one room to another glorious room called Heaven.

Do you have peace with God today? Are you 100% for sure that your sins are forgiven and you are on your way to Heaven? The Bible says in 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

If you do have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ then rejoice in your eternal destination and know that His resurrection guarantees your resurrection to eternal life! If you do not have peace with God today, why not stop what you are doing right now and call upon Him for eternal life. Repent of sins and turn to Jesus. Call The Hope Center and let them know about your decision and how to know what to do next in your walk with the Lord.

Go ahead, call them now! They want to rejoice with you and encourage you in your new found faith!

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 Loss is Heaven’s Gain

It is with profound sadness that we are writing this. Our friend, and former Thrift Store manager, AJ Imbach, went home to be with the Lord this past week.

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AJ and his wife, Jayne, were with us only briefly. AJ accepted the call to become the manager of our Hagerstown & Chambersburg stores in the summer of 2013.

He came with fresh ideas and an excitement for this new phase of ministry in his life. He was going to help bring some much needed change to our stores and would have the opportunity to build relationships with the men in our program who work at the stores.

AJ and Jayne were following God’s plan which brought them all the way across the country from Oregon. Both AJ & Jayne were a breathe of fresh air at The Hope Center.

AJ Imbach

Their joy of life and overall positive outlook showed the love of God in them. They were passionate about reaching others for Christ and doing their part to help bring real hope and change to broken and hurting lives.

Unfortunately in early fall AJ was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. They were hoping to stay at The Hope Center for a while as he dealt with his disease but it progressed much quicker than expected and the doctors suggested they might want to return to Oregon to be with family & friends.

Jayne helped AJ adjust to his condition and worked hard to make him comfortable as his body dealt with ALS. And through it all, both AJ & Jayne remained faithful to the Lord and confident in His will and plan.

AJ left his earthly life surrounded by his family. And as we weep here on earth for our loss, we can only imagine the magnificent celebration in heaven for their gain!

We wish we could see AJ’s big smile again, and we have confidence that we will see it as each of us are welcomed into eternity. We’re sure Jesus greeted AJ with a big ole, “well done”!

AJ & Jayne left a lasting impact on the staff and guests at The Hope Center. Their excitement and joy was contagious and their optimism and confidence in God’s perfect plan was inspiring.

We thank God for the opportunity to have met and worked with these two wonderful people. Our thoughts and prayers are for Jayne and the family & friends in Oregon who are left behind.

While we may not understand God’s plan through all of this, we know that His plan is perfect and greater than our minds can ever understand.

Please pray for Jayne as she begins a new chapter in her life. It’s going to be difficult but we know that she is an amazing woman who has a close and deep relationship with an amazing Savior. Please pray for her healing and her new journey.

And please remember to pray for the thousands of families across this nation who are dealing with loved ones suffering from ALS and other terrible diseases. Life is so precious and so many people are hurting and only God can provide the true peace and hope that we all need.

If you have any questions about AJ & Jayne, please call 301.739.1165, email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or mail us at P.O. Box 685, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

If you don’t have the peace of Christ in your life and are desperate to experience the joy that AJ had, please contact us immediately so we can talk to you about the greatest relationship you will ever know with Jesus. As long as you’re still breathing, it’s never too late. God doesn’t care about your past, He is ready to change your future. Don’t wait to prepare for eternity.