“God Gave Me a New Beginning – Even at My Age”

To a lot of people birthdays are kind of a big deal. We all love celebrating the birth of our kids, family, friends and other loved ones. And at The Hope Center it gives us great joy to celebrate the birth of the guys in our residential recovery program: Foundations.

For the residents in our program, the celebration of their birth is special because many of them came to The Hope Center in desperate need of help for victory over addictions and other destructive lifestyles that were destroying them. The fact that we celebrate their life is a major victory for each of these men. And since they’re a part of our family, we love celebrating them!

So last Friday we celebrated the birthday of one of our residents, Terry Barnes. If you’ve volunteered or stopped by The Hope Center there’s a good chance you’ve seen Terry. Since being in the program Terry has worked in our kitchen and more prominently in our shelter as a deskman. So there’s a chance you have seen him smiling around The Hope Center.

IMG_2758But even if you’ve seen Terry you might not know much about him or his journey in life, especially the most recent journey of recovery and redemption at The Hope Center. So we asked Terry to give us a little summary of his thoughts as he celebrates another birthday. Here is what Terry has to say:

“I want to thank God first, then The Hope Center and the pastors and staff. I came to The Hope Center on June 1, 2018. I will graduate January 19, 2020. God has given me a new beginning at even my age. He’s shown me how to be accountable and responsible, and to believe and trust in Him. I say that because I found myself in a very difficult situation last month and God showed me He was right there with me and He gave me patience and strength. When I leave here, I am going to live a different lifestyle and give praise and thanks to God every day for changing my life.”

We are so proud of Terry and all the work he’s put into his personal recovery and relationship with God. He’s just a few short months away from completing our Foundations Life Recovery program. Please continue to pray for Terry as he moves quickly towards that finish line. And please remember to pray for the many other men who are in our recovery program and those who will enter our program hoping for a lasting change and freedom in Christ.

Please join us in wishing Terry a very, very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here’s to many more, Terry!

And we want to thank our friend, Stormy, for baking another delicious birthday cake for our celebration! Every month we celebrate a birthday Stormy faithfully bakes and decorates a cake for our residents to enjoy. We appreciate her kindness and generosity so much!

To learn more about our recovery program please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/foundations. If you’d like to talk to someone about our program, including enrolling in Foundations, please call 301.739.1165 or email foundations@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Our Residents Enjoy a Christmas Party With the CMA!

This past weekend the Christian Motorcycle Association hosted a Christmas dinner for the men who are enrolled in our Foundations Life Recovery program.

The CMA had a delicious meal prepared for our residents as well as performing Christmas songs, reading the Christmas story from Luke and then giving each resident a Christmas gift bag.

And in addition to all the festivities Santa stopped by to celebrate with our residents!

We’re so thankful for the CMA coming every year to host a Christmas celebration for our residents. The guys in the program are enrolled for 13-months while they work through recovering from the various addictions and issues that have caused them to lose so much. Events like this are so important to our residents who are often estranged from their family and loved ones so these types of activities and investment in their lives show a loving community who is cheering for their success.

We want to thank the CMA again for showing so much support to our life recovery program and for caring for each of these wonderful men who are walking down a difficult but healthy path. And to each of you who’ve donated, volunteered, and prayed – thank you. Each one of you is helping not just to provide housing or food for people in need but also making an investment in the life of these men who are battling addictions. Thank you for partnering with us to restore the lives of so many and show them the love of God. Merry Christmas!

Chick-Fil-A Brings the Happy (and, of course, some Chicken)

Who wouldn’t love a lunch provided by Chick-Fil-A for free? It’s basically everyone’s dream. And for our residents and Soup Line guests that dream became a reality last weekend when staff from Chick-Fil-A in Hagerstown stopped by The Hope Center to host lunch!

Thirteen Chick-Fil-A team members helped prepare, serve, and interact with all of the men, women and children who joined us for lunch. Lead by Mary Teal Medina, the Marketing Director, and Matt Roach, Operations Director, the crew served a delicious meal of BBQ chicken sandwiches, chicken noodle soup over a hot biscuit, and a cookie. And to wash it all down our guests enjoyed some of that delicious southern style sweet tea that is wildly popular at Chick-Fil-A!

It was another full house during Soup Line and our guests enjoyed the great food and good company.

We are so thankful for the team from Chick-Fil-A for volunteering and being involved in helping us feed those in need in Hagerstown. We would gladly welcome Chick-Fil-A back any time, and we know our guests would too!

Thank you so much, Chick-Fil-A of Hagerstown, for taking time out of your schedule to share with our residents and guests!

If you’re reading this and craving some great fast food then swing by Chick-Fil-A on Wesel Blvd in Hagerstown for a sandwich, grilled nuggets, waffle fries, and Chick-Fil-A sauce…or just get whatever makes your heart happy on that menu because you know it’s gonna taste great!

If you, your business, scout troop, church, or civic group would like to join Chick-Fil-A and other local restaurants in serving our lunch guests then please give us a call at 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. There’s a genuine need for food assistance in our community and we’re so thrilled to have restaurants in the area team up with us and our other donors and volunteers to combat hunger and hopelessness in Hagerstown. You can join the fight! Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how you can be a part of helping neighbors in need in Hagerstown and the surrounding communities!

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!

 

Happy, Happy Birthday!!

Join us in wishing Dustin & Albert HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dustin celebrated his birthday in July and Albert just celebrated his this week. Both men are in our Foundations Life Recovery Program. Each month we celebrate the birthdays of the men in our residential program – and of course we have cake! Our good friend Stormy bakes birthday cakes each month for our residents!

Dustin joined our Foundations program in January of this year. While here he made a profession of Christ in his life and is seeking to make positive changes in his life that will help him once he leaves the program. He is about halfway through the Foundations program so please continue to pray for him in his journey as he grows and faces the challenge of confronting the various things that have caused problems in his life.

Albert joined Foundations in September of 2017 after being released into our facility from prison. While in prison he made a profession of Christ which is what lead him to apply to our Foundations program at his release. He wanted a safe, Christian environment to help him grow and change his life patterns and to be in a place where he can build a positive bridge into his future. He quickly joined a local church in Hagerstown and has continued to grow spiritually which has helped him develop great relationships with others. He is very close to graduating from Foundations so continue to keep praying for Albert that he finishes strong and has the confidence to go boldly into his new life without fear. He’s excited about his opportunity to share his new life with others in the community who need to hear about the power of Christ just like he did.

Please continue to pray for all of the men who come in and out of our Foundations Life Recovery Program. It’s not easy for guys to acknowledge that they need to join the program and make necessary changes in their lives and it’s even harder for them to continue once they join. These men are facing serious challenges in their lives and they need all the prayer and support possible. Please continue to invest in their lives through prayer, volunteering, and donating to The Hope Center. Your donation of food, used clothing, shoes, housewares, furniture, etc, and your donation of time serving food, hosting a chapel service, painting or doing anything at The Hope Center are all part of helping these men rehabilitate their lives and giving them the recovery and victory they so desperately want and need. Your support truly does make a difference and God uses it to help them move forward in the face of personal issues. Thank you for helping us celebrate these men and their birthdays.

To learn more about volunteering or donating to The Hope Center or for more information about our Foundations Life Recovery Program for men please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com or call 301.739.1165.

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.

The Heart of Evangelism

by Lynn Harney

Lynn Harney“Sing to the Lord, all the Earth; Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations; His wonders among all peoples. For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” 1 Chronicles 16:23-25 NKJV

The above verses are a part of the first psalm David sang at the arrival of the ark of God in Jerusalem for the first time. In it I find both the mission and the heart of evangelism. We are told what to proclaim, when to proclaim it, where we should proclaim it, who we should be talking about and why.

What we are to proclaim is “His salvation”, that is the salvation He provided that we were unable to achieve on our own. More to the point, we would not even have come up with such a great plan on our own. The evidence of this is overwhelming, every other option for having a relationship with God is through our own good works. We are told in the New Testament in many ways that it is only through Jesus that we can come to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 “There is no other name by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5 Just to name a few. This shows us this is His salvation, His idea on His terms.

Once we receive Christ we are to proclaim His glory and His wonders. Glory, now that is not a word we use in the every day world and we Christians might be at risk of taking it for granted. One of its meanings is to give an accurate opinion of a person or a thing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the gift of God, is the most accurate description of God there could ever be. In it we see His love, mercy, holiness, and justice. Hebrews 1 tells us Jesus was “the express image of God” or the exact representation of Him. There is no more wonderful thing in life than that Christ would give His for mine that I could share His.

We are told to proclaim it, from day to day. Our lives are to be a continual proclamation of His salvation. Need I say more?

Where we are told to proclaim it. Among the nations to all the peoples. There are no cultural boundaries, racial or economic divides. It is for all people. Some claim the Gospel to be exclusionary and in one way it is that is, in its means or how one is saved. But who it is for, is everyone who is willing to come, on His terms. So we make the Gospel available to everyone all of the time.

Finally, we are told why. “For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.” Once again the character of God becomes the focus. Mans’ need for a savior is not the focus, though implied, by God Himself. When people see what God is really like their need becomes obvious. Isaiah saw the LORD and fell on his face, “Woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips.” So our lives should evidence the character of God.

David through this Psalm was rededicating his life focus to the person and work of God so that everyone would know how great is our God. We call ourselves The Hope Center not merely because people’s physical needs can be met but because our wonderous God can be met in their time of need.

 

Lynn Harney is the co-director of Foundations Life Recovery program at The Hope Center. He and his wife, Wanda, served with New Tribes Mission for 22 years among the Manjaku people as church planters in Senegal, Africa. They have four children, a daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren.