A Sunday School Lesson Brought to Life

Last week our good friend, Amanda, dropped off about 30 goodie bags for our guests at The Hope Center. Inside the bags were a bottle of water, crackers, cookies and fruit snacks.

IMG_7097But Amanda didn’t make these all on her own. In fact, she was just dropping them off on behalf of the children at New Life Christian Ministries. One Sunday morning the kids created these bags as a part of the lesson they were learning about Jesus. They were being taught that Jesus is for everyone – including people in our society who are sometimes overlooked or forgotten about. They created the bags for The Hope Center for us to give out to people so that they don’t feel overlooked but included and loved by God.
We want to say a huge thank you to the kids at New Life Christian Ministries for making the goodie bags for our guests. We handed them out to people who came to our daily Soup Line. The guests who received the bags were so grateful and happy to get the treats to take home!

We also want to thank Amanda and the other children’s ministry leaders at New Life Christian Ministries. What a wonderful way to not only teach the importance of showing God’s love to everyone but also getting the kids involved in a works project for those in need!

We say this often but it never gets old: we’re so thankful for our community! People, like those at New Life Christian Ministries, are helping to make a difference in Hagerstown – even if it’s just simply a bag of treats. And they’re helping to raise a generation who will continue to fight the good fight and show love and compassion to all people . Thank you to New Life Christian Ministries and all the other churches, businesses, civic clubs, organizations, families and individuals in our community who support us in various ways all throughout the year! We truly thank God for each of you and your commitment to taking care of your neighbors in need!

To learn more about The Hope Center and all the ways we help the community or to learn how you can get more involved and partner with us to reach Hagerstown then visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Looking for a church in the Hagerstown area? Why not check out New Life Christian Ministries? New Life Christian Ministries is located at 12031 Hopewell Road in Hagerstown. To learn more about the church, including the service times, various ministries, and upcoming events please go to http://www.nlcm.org.

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The Dog Days of Summer

When most people think of homeless the image often envisioned is one of a person huddled up beneath an overpass wrapped in blankets and scarves. Our minds often go towards the homeless struggling to find shelter and stay warm in the bitter cold months of the year. Obviously that image is true.

But there’s another image that is often overlooked – that is an image of homeless people trying to find someplace safe and shady to cool off in the humidity and blazing sun of the summer.

To think that homelessness is more relegated to the cold months isn’t exactly a true portrayal of the situation. Homelessness is a year-round issue. While the summer seems safer for people because they aren’t dealing with frostbite and wind chill, the summer has it’s fair share of dangers for the homeless including heat stroke, dehydration, bugs such as ticks and mosquitoes, to name a few.

And that’s why our shelter is open for homeless men all year long. We’ve been providing year-round shelter for men since we opened our doors back in 1955. And with the overnight air-conditioned accommodations comes a delicious meal, cool beverages, and a refreshing shower.

During the summer months our ability to provide to hurting people with the help they need is a real challenge. You may not be aware of the difficult financial position we face during the summer months. During July and August, our income often drops, but the need in our community continues, and even increases.

Each year we face a “summer slump.” With summer vacations, picnics, reunions, gardening, and other summer activities, it is often easy to forget the homeless and hungry during the warm summer months. But our needs go on all summer long! And we are confident that our great God will continue to meet our needs through generous, compassionate people like you – just as He’s done since 1955!

Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

Will you consider sending a special gift at this critical time? Remember this – we don’t provide just a handout, The Hope Center embraces people with the love of God. Your gift in the summer will help us continue our outreach to needy people in our community and will make a tremendous difference during this challenging season.

You may send your gift to The Hope Center at P.O. Box 685, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Credit card donations are accepted by calling 301-739-1165 or you may give through PayPal by clicking here: http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/financial-giving

 

 

 

For Our City: Bridge of Life Teens Serve God in Their Own Backyard

This summer a few teens from One Accord youth group at Bridge of Life Church in downtown Hagerstown took a missions trip. But this missions trip wasn’t to another country or even a different part of the USA – they ministered this summer in their own backyard by volunteering at Camp Wild!

During our second week of camp, 5 teens and youth pastor, Colt Shingler, helped all over the place at Camp Wild. From helping with the small groups, to serving lunches, playing games, riding hayrides, and building friendships with our campers, the teens spent their week changing lives in their own city!

We are so thankful to One Accord for coming to Camp Wild to help minister to the kids of Hagerstown. Teens are so important to connecting with kids in our Wildside Youth program so we’re thankful for each of these young people who happily served each day. And to be able to do a missions trip in your own town is such a fun opportunity and a way to connect the teens with the heart of this city.

If you are looking for a church to attend or a youth group for your teens then be sure to check out Bridge of Life Church in downtown Hagerstown. Visit http://www.bridgeoflife.org to learn more including service times and other ministries.

If your church or youth group would like to help at Camp Wild or any other events and activities at The Hope Center like our upcoming Thrift Store Day on Sept.14th then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

“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.

One Major Breakdown, Multiple Headaches & Eight Good Samaritans

In May the baler in our Recycling Program broke down and was inoperable for approximately 3 weeks. While the baler was broke down our Recycling Center got backed up with piles of cardboard that we were unable to bale and truck away.

But then God sent a few good Samaritans, or angels even, to help us get back on track. But before we get to that act of kindness, maybe we should get you up to speed on what exactly our Recycling Center does.

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Most of you know all about the various ministries, programs and services at The Hope Center. But one area that many of you might not be as familiar with – or never even knew existed – is our Recycling Center.

Our Recycling Center is open M-F from 9am – 2pm (closed for lunch 11:30-12:30) and Saturday 9am – 11:30am. Our Recycling Center is manned by one of our Foundations Life Recovery program residents who is assigned to the baling room area of our Recycling Center as a part of the work assignment in the rehabilitation program. The program men who work the baling room are trained to operate the baler and also gain certification to operate a forklift.

The job of the Recycling Center attendant is to receive donations of cardboard; break down boxes; fill baler with the flattened cardboard; bale the cardboard and wrap with baling wires; and finally unload and stack the bales. At 33-36 bales we schedule a truck to pick them up.

In addition to recycling cardboard we also recycle old clothing and rags. The process for baling clothing is the same as cardboard. Now, you may be wondering what clothing ends up in the Recycling Center – good question! Any clothing that we are not able to sell in our Thrift Stores or donate to locals or missions agencies is sent to the baling room to be recycled into something new.  While we do recycle clothing and rags, we recycle much more cardboard because we try to find as many uses for clothing as possible before recycling it.

The Recycling Center is an important, but generally invisible, part of our ministry. So the unfortunate break down of our baler caused quite a few headaches.

And that’s when God sent Terry Izer to help! Terry is the Maintenance Service Manager,  Hagerstown Regional Maintenance of the Maryland Department of Public Safety. But he’s also the husband of Aimee, the manager of our Thrift Stores and Sorting Department at The Hope Center.

Terry is basically a jack of all trades and a master of them all! On top of his busy work schedule and his personal hobbies and family life, Terry lends a helping hand around The Hope Center whenever there’s a need. And this time we had a desperate need that Terry was just the man for. Terry gave of his time to volunteer to help repair our baler.

Even though Terry worked his magic and repaired our baler, the backup of cardboard was already an overwhelming job for our one worker. So Terry put the word out to some of his employees that help was needed to bale up the cardboard that had piled up.

After working their 7am – 3pm shift on Thursday, June 6th, six of his men came in to help get the job done! What a huge blessing these men were to The Hope Center!

We want to thank Steve Staley & Andy Koontz, welders who helped repair the baler, Bob Stine, Randy Mills, Mark Thomas, Marty Kending, Matt Reel, and of course, Terry Izer for all their help and their volunteering spirit!

 

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.

 

“Here in the Power of Christ I’ll Stand”

Good Friday 1

“There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ”
-from the song, In Christ Alone

What a powerful thought for what should be a dark day in human history. This day thousands of years ago was to be sin’s greatest triumph. Instead, it turned into our greatest hope.

As Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished”, it was. Death was finished. Evil was defeated. Hopelessness was destroyed.

The tears and fears of that day were quickly replaced by the glorious victory of Christ’s resurrection on Sunday. And from that day forward, each new sunrise is a promise of hope and love from a God who suffered tremendously so that we could know how valuable we are to Him.

We are not in this alone. We don’t suffer by ourselves. In Christ is all of our hurt, abandonment, abuse, fear, pain, and sadness. Jesus felt it all as He hung on that cross. And He paid it all as He rose from the grave.

Today, or any day, as you’re struggling with whatever pain or hardship you have please remember that you are not alone. Please remember that God suffered for you and feels your pain. And that no matter how dark today is personally, the sun will always rise again. The darkness of Hell wants you to forget that Jesus already won. Satan wants you to feel all your regret and sin. But Christ already dealt with that for you. The darkness will not last because it’s already lost. There is HOPE for today because He lives.

“No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.”
– from the song, In Christ Alone

IMG_4189Join us tonight at 7pm at the Trinity Center to celebrate the HOPE of Easter as Maranatha Brethren Church presents an Easter musical and dinner. For more info or to talk to someone about what Jesus did on Easter weekend please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Have a safe and glorious Easter weekend!