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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Become a Volunteer!

Want to give back to the community but not really sure how?

Volunteering is an excellent way to show you care, but sometimes it can be overwhelming or you do volunteer jobs that just aren’t that interesting to you.

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Let us help you out! We’ve got plenty of activities and jobs for volunteers. Some of these positions are daily, weekly or very random. We want to help you find the right fit for your schedule, personality or talent.

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Are you ready to learn more and take the next step? If so, check out http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com. This website is designed to help you get involved and find the right fit for you.

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Take some time to explore the website to learn more about The Hope Center and why volunteering is so important. But to really learn more about the various ways to get involved, click on the “opportunities” tab to read a brief description of all the different volunteer positions available.

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Volunteers have been the backbone of this ministry for years. We cannot reach this city for Christ without the countless hours given by our faithful volunteers. So many lives have been touched and changed because of the commitment of people like you.

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Now is the time to step up and help us reach this city. Join the volunteer team at The Hope Center! Go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to get started!

 

 

Thank You For A Wonderful 2013!

As we welcome the new year and look forward to all the great things God has in store, we want to take a moment to look back at this past year and thank God for all His blessings.

So many lives were touched and people reached in 2013. From meals at our Soup Line, to kids at Camp Wild, to men in our Foundations Life Recovery program, so many people were helped and shown God’s love this year.

2013 couldn’t have been such a great year without the continued support from all of our friends, not just in the Hagerstown area, but all over the country! God has provided us with such faithful supporters who truly believe in the power of HOPE. We thank each of you for your support, whether it was financial, in-kind gifts, volunteering or any other way, we appreciate your dedication to this ministry and we thank you for sharing our passion to reach the hurting for Christ.

As we look to 2014, we ask that you continue to partner with us to bring real hope & change to Hagerstown. As we continue to help the needy, hurting, addicted and homeless, we are also working on new projects and ministries to reach more people for Christ. Please join us in praying for our current ministries and the people who are being helped. Also, please pray for God to open doors for new areas of ministry in Hagerstown and the surrounding areas.

Thank you so much for all you do! We hope that you’ve had a great 2013 and it’s our prayer that 2014 is even better! Happy New Year!

As our way of saying goodbye to 2013, we’re posting some pictures from various events this year at The Hope Center. These pictures are images of staff, volunteers, residents and guests. Enjoy!

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Happy Birthday, Steve!

The first Friday of each month is the day that we celebrate the birthday of the residents in our program who have a birthday during that month.

On September 6th, we celebrated the birthday of Steve! And we celebrated with another delicious cake from our good friend, Stormy.

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Steve is new to the Foundations Life Recovery program at The Hope Center. He became a resident in our program on August 14th. Steve, who came from the Eastern Shore, was prompted by family members to try The Hope Center.

Steve was a uncontrolled alcoholic and even said, “I was probably the worst drunk you will ever meet”. He knew he had to do something and make some big changes in his life.

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Even though he’s new in the program, he says, “it’s been good so far”.

Please pray for Steve as he is beginning to battle his addiction and learn about all the great things God has planned for his life.

And join us in wishing Steve a happy birthday!

Thank you for your continued support of this ministry. When you donate financially or through in-kind gifts like food, gently used clothing, household items or furniture, you are helping wonderful people like Steve conquer addictions and have a victorious life in Christ for years to come!

If you would like to learn more about how you can give to The Hope Center, please call 301.739.1165, email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net or check out www.hagerstownrescue.org.

Get to Know Rick Roche

We are going to start focusing on some of the various staff and volunteers at The Hope Center who help to make this ministry run so effectively. These faces are the wonderful people that God has placed here to help change lives and provide hope to all types of people in the community who are looking for help in one way or another. We are so thankful to all of our staff and volunteers who give so much to reaching the least, the last and the lost.

My name is Rick Roche.  I am the Job Supervisor here at The Hope Center.  I have a BS in Pastoral Studies from Antietam Bible College.  I was ordained into the ministry in 2003 while serving as an assistant pastor and youth pastor at Grace Bible Church in Greencastle, PA for approximately 4-1/2 years.

The Lord opened the door here at The Hope Center in 2004 through a good friend who was a monthly speaker here in the evening chapel service.   I served as evening chaplain for 5 years, overseeing all chapel services, counseling residents and transient men in spiritual matters and life issues when needed, and supervising residents’ and transients’ activities.

In 2009/10 we as a staff team revamped our program and I moved to day shift as Residential Job Supervisor.  Our “Foundations” program requires that the program members all have job responsibilities to help them learn accountability and responsibility.  As Residential Job Supervisor, I have the challenge of matching the many varied personalities, skills and work ethics of the program members with the various job responsibilities of the different departments of The Hope Center which would include housekeeping, kitchen duties, recycling, Thrift Stores, donation drop-offs, trucks, maintenance, grounds keeping and farm work.

I also teach between 3 and 4 classes each week from the inherent Word of God about a relationship with Jesus Christ and the freedom from sin and slavery that He gives to all who trust in Him.  I’ve had the opportunity to see many lives changed during the past 8 years.  The Lord opened this door of opportunity and blessing and I am grateful to Him for allowing me to serve Him here at The Hope Center.

For You, Do Two!

At the beginning of every month we have a birthday celebration for residents who were born during that month. Our good friend, Stormy, always bakes & decorates a delicious birthday cake for our guys, and they love it! We recently celebrated Frank’s birthday, the only resident in the program with a birthday in the month of August.

After celebrating Frank’s birthday, we asked him to jot down a few thoughts about how his life has been changing and what another birthday means to him. So we’re gonna let Frank tell you, briefly, his story of hope and redemption in his own words.

‘For you, do two!’

“By the grace of God, all glory and praise be to my Savior, Jesus Christ!

Hello, my name is Frank Bercaw and I’ve just celebrated my second birthday at The Hope Center.  On August 1, 2011 I returned to the “Foundations” program after a second chance was granted me by the staff.  My battle with alcohol was a war I couldn’t win on my own.  The only thing I can say is that my battle was fought and won by my Lord Jesus Christ.  All I needed to do was accept it.  By the grace of God, they accepted me back into the program which has allowed me to grow more and more in my relationship with God the Father.

If I can encourage anyone to let God start and finish a work in your life, please have an open heart to accept His Spirit to work through you.  I hope my life serves as a testimony of God’s love for His children.

The Hope Center has taught me to empty myself of what I was full of so God has a useful vessel.  The devil was determined to bump me out, but with regular prayer and worship my mind is focused and I’m a better man because of it.

I’ve been blessed by God to be able to do many things with my hands.  Work was never a problem for me.  As a matter of fact, I over-worked.  My daughters ask me over and over again, “Daddy, when are you finished with the program?”  And I tell them, “Your daddy is coming through this program as a better father to you.”

Thanks be to God for allowing a place like The Hope Center to rescue the lost as I have been rescued!

“For you, do two?”  The two birthdays I’ve spent here at The Hope Center have changed my life in an amazing and beautiful way.  God brought be back here so I can do amazing things by glorifying His name!”

I could write a book, and maybe some day I will.  But for now, may God’s love be with you all.”

The change in Frank’s life has been very evident since he returned to the Foundations program for the second time. God is using Frank to be a testimony and example to the other residents in the program. Please continue to pray for Frank. Please keep praying for the residents that are currently in the program and all the new men that will seek help this year.

Thank you for being a part of this ministry and helping to make it possible for men like Frank to turn their lives around. Each time you give, in one way or another, you are helping to change lives for Christ. Please don’t forget how important you are to this ministry!

Happy Birthday!

We want to wish some of our residents a very happy birthday!

Staff members Rick & Brad (far left & far right) pose with two of the birthday guys, Charles and William.

Three of the guys in the Foundations program are celebrating their birthdays this month. James, Charles & William were treated to a birthday celebration on Friday.

Join us in wishing these three guys a happy birthday and continue to pray for these men and all the other guys in our program as they continue to make the changes needed in their lives to help them be the man God wants them to be.

Thanks again to Stormy for baking our residents another delicious birthday cake!