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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Wildside’s Birthday Bash Kicks Off the Party Season!

Imagine one giant party to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Sounds kinda wild, doesn’t it? Well Wildside Youth Ministries likes to do things a little different so they kicked off their school year party season with a huge birthday party celebration!

All the kids who attended the Birthday Bash on September 25th were able to celebrate their birthday. Each month was given a celebration and no one was left out of the fun! 52 kids ages 5-12 attended the first Wildside party of the season where they played birthday themed carnival games, painted faces, made crafts and enjoyed some great food.

But the most important part of the evening was learning about having the most important birthday: a spiritual birthday. The kids in attendance learned all about the importance of being born again and following Jesus.

Wildside is the youth ministry at The Hope Center. In addition to monthly large event parties during the school year, Wildside hosts Sunday Night Wild on select Sunday evenings during the school year as well as The Crew which is the student leadership development program for older kids in the program. And each summer Wildside hosts Camp Wild, a free day camp for kids in July & August. All Wildside activities are free for kids ages 5-12. Learn more about Wildside and upcoming events by visiting http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Your financial donations to The Hope Center help fund these important activities for kids in Hagerstown. We are able to keep Wildside and our other programs and services for free for our guests because of generous and faithful supporters in our community. Thank you for your support of The Hope Center as we continue to reach everyone in our community – even kids – for Christ!

Want to learn more about donating or volunteering at The Hope Center? Go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com to get all the info you need on how to become a partner with us.

Wildside’s Birthday Bash!

Who doesn’t like a great birthday party?? Wildside is kicking off their party season with a mega birthday party!!

20183 Birthday Invite BKids are invited to celebrate with Wildside on Tuesday, September 25th from 5-7pm at the Trinity Center at The Hope Center.

There will be plenty of fun for all party guests including carnival games, prizes, dodge ball, basketball, and food!

And did we mention this event is free??!!!! That’s right – it’s free for any kid ages 5-12. Please just call or email to register. Complimentary transportation is provided but limited so don’t delay registering especially if transportation is necessary.

Call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register. To learn more about Wildside Youth and all activities throughout the year visit http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Hope and Government

I’m sure by now you, like everyone else, are tired of the back-and-forth going on between the two political parties in DC. All that we hear is how our elected officials can’t seem to compromise and work out their differences and have forced our federal government to shut down causing some federal employees to lose paychecks and forcing other government operations to cease their daily activities.

Many Americans may not feel the effects of this shut down other than being inundated with the constant news coverage of this fight in our capital.

But for the Americans who work for the government or rely on the various programs sponsored by our government, this is a very stressful and troubling time.

As services and programs are getting cut, we are happy to inform you that none of the programs, services or ministries at The Hope Center will be affected in any way.

Even if our government fails to reopen in a month, our doors will remain open, beds ready and meals served for the hundreds of people each month who come to The Hope Center to meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

You ask, how can you remain open during a time when services are being cut?

It’s easy. We can remain open, operational and fully functional during these troubling times because we do not receive any funding from the government. We never have and we never will.

We are totally independent from the government. We don’t use any tax money to fund our ministry. And we’ve been doing it that way since 1955.

Our ministry is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And we do it because God has provided for our needs every single day that we’ve been open.

Thanks to God Who has given us many friends like you, we’ve been able to navigate through other government shut downs, recessions, tragedies and trials. Our supporters help us focus on what’s important: helping others.

During economic good times and bad times, homelessness, hopelessness and hunger exist. We’ve taken to heart God’s command to give to the least, the last, and the lost to heart and we’ve made it a goal to do that no matter what.

So as our country faces new sets of challenges, we can say with confidence that we will be here to help neighbors in need. We don’t rely on any government to meet our needs. We trust in God to provide – and He always has!

If you would like to be a part of the solution and would like to help us provide hope and restoration to so many broken, hurting and helpless neighbors, then get involved today. Below are the many different ways you can partner with us:

  • Financially support The Hope Center each month. We appreciate the generous donations from individuals, churches, businesses, organizations and other groups who faithfully provide the essential funds to continue providing hope.
  • Donate gently used items of furniture, clothing, shoes, toys, books, household and other various items to be sold in our Thrift Stores. The sales generated from our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg help to keep our programs operational. Items sold in the Thrift Stores also give families and individuals on tight budgets the opportunity to buy “new” things needed for everyday living without doing damage to their budget.
  • Donate food items for our pantry. We use a lot of food at The Hope Center. We provide several free meals a day to our residents and daily guests. In addition to meals served, we operate a food bank where hungry neighbors can receive food for their homes at no cost. Therefore, keeping our pantry stocked is very important. Helping us by purchasing items like peanut butter, coffee, sugar, cereals, canned fruits and vegetables and other items is a huge blessing.
  • Volunteer your free time to one of our ministries. There are many ways to get involved. From helping to clean, paint, build, sort, teach, serve or entertain, there are so many interesting options available to you to help make a difference one-on-one in our community.
  • Shop in our Thrift Stores. Sometimes you just need some items at a low price. We can help. If you find yourself heading to second-hand shops, come to ours! When you purchase from our stores, you’re helping to feed the hungry or provide a hot shower to the homeless. And when you’re finished with your items, re-donate them so someone else can use them! We have two Thrift Store locations in Hagerstown and Chambersburg.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray. No matter what else you can do to help, please pray. This is the most important. God hears the cries of His people. He helps His people. But if we fail to pray, then we are failing to believe. We can’t do this alone. We need God’s help and guidance. Join us in praying for our ministry, our staff and volunteers and especially all the precious lives who will seek help at The Hope Center.

We can’t rely on the government or really any other human entity. Only God can faithfully provide. He always has and He always will.

Thank you for working with us to keep our programs running. In times of uncertainty it’s important that our community knows that we are here to help and we aren’t stopping for any reason.

For more information on how you can get involved in any way, please call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.