Celebrate Changed Lives!

The same day that everyone was celebrating Punxsutawney Phil, we were having our own celebration. While our celebration had nothing to do with winter, spring, shadows,  or any type of burrowing animals, ours was a celebration of change, new life, hope, and a bright new future!

Our celebration was actually a graduation for four of the guys in our Foundations Life Recovery program!

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the program, Foundations Life Recovery is a 13-month rehabilitation type of program for men who are dealing with various addictions or issues that have caused them to basically lose everything of value in their lives. Foundations Life Recovery is a free program to help these men break the destructive patterns and give them hope of a new life through Christ. While in the program the men stay in our residence dormitory which is located on the second floor of the main facility building at The Hope Center. They attend classes, various church services, and also work different jobs at The Hope Center. As they progress through the program they go deeper in the Word while also going deeper into the issues that caused their life to go off-track. Once they complete the various levels of the program then they are able to graduate and move on to a new life in Christ!

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Graduates seated (L-R): Terry Barnes, Danny Sluss, Keith Coleman, and Ron Trenton

And that’s what we were celebrating on February 2nd. We are so proud of our four graduates for putting in the hard work to complete this program. It’s not easy to admit that you need help and even more difficult to go through the steps to make lasting change.

These four men did it and they are happy to announce that they are clean, sober and solid in the Lord!

Join us in congratulating Ron, Terry, Keith, and Danny for all their hard work and persistence in their life recovery!

The graduation ceremony & celebration was a sweet moment for these men. They were surrounded by friends, family, pastors, staff members, and members of our Board of Directors. Following the ceremony we had a time of celebration with desserts and light refreshments.

These guys, and the many other men who’ve graduated from the program, have achieved a major victory but the war for their soul is hardly over. Please continue to pray for Ron, Terry, Keith, and Danny as they start the process of starting over in society.  Pray that these four men continue to daily fight the good fight and trust God for guidance through the good times and the bad times. Pray that wherever the four guys end up that they will have a body of believers supporting them, cheering for them, and encouraging them through all the ups and downs of their journey.

And pray for the men who are currently in our Foundations Life Recovery program and pray for those who are yet to enroll. This is not an easy fight for these men so please continue to lift them up in your prayers.

Again, please join us in congratulating and celebrating Terry, Keith, Danny, and Ron for completing our life recovery program! It’s an amazing accomplishment for them and a huge celebration for Heaven as four more men have chosen Christ over everything. These four men were seen as dead to the enemy but not anymore!

If you’d like to know more about these men and their stories of victory, we’ll be following up with individual stories of each of them in the next few posts.

Thank you for being a supporter of this ministry and all the various outreach programs at The Hope Center. Your continued support, whether through prayer, in-kind gifts, financial support, or volunteering, you are a part of the victory celebration of these men and the thousands of others who’ve met God at The Hope Center! Thank you for caring & sharing!!

To learn more about our Foundations Life Recovery program please visit hagerstownhopecenter.com/rehabilitation-

Here’s to a Wonderful 2019!

We’re just hours away from not only a new year but a brand new decade! And with this new year comes another chance to celebrate a milestone: 65 years of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission! We’re so excited to celebrate another year of God’s miraculous work in Hagerstown and surrounding communities. We have some exciting changes in the works and 2020 is the perfect year to kick off a major project that will bless the lives of so many in the decades to come.

But before we jump into 2020,  we want to take the opportunity to thank God for all His continued blessings and faithfulness to this ministry and all the amazing things He did and provided in 2019. Each year He continues to amaze us and reminds us that we aren’t in this fight alone. We are truly blessed to have a God who loves us and cares so deeply for this ministry and the people we help each day of the year.

God shows His faithfulness in many ways but one of those ways is with the continued support of people like you. We want to thank each of you for partnering with us to bring the hope of God’s Word to so many people in many different ways. From our daily soup line, to our overnight homeless shelter, to the men in our rehabilitation/life recovery program, to all the precious children who’ve attended a Wildside Youth event, God has done amazing things in 2019 and each of you have been a part of this story.

We look forward to all the great things that God has planned for 2020 and beyond! As we mentioned, 2020 is a big year as we celebrate 65 years of continued hope for our community. But we do have some big news coming that we’ll be sharing with you in the near future. Until then, please continue to help us as we fight the good fight to bring healing to the broken, food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, and love to all of God’s people.

To learn more about our programs and services, how to get involved, how to give, or how you can get help, please go to http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And don’t forget to make plans to join us in April for our annual Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess! We kicked off this race back in 2015 to celebrate our 60th anniversary and here we are still going strong! The 5K is on Saturday, April 25th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. And we’re proud to announce that our Rock the Run 5K: Pirates vs Princess is once again sponsored by our good friends at Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe in Chambersburg. As you plan your New Year’s parties don’t forget to pick up some of their delicious potato rolls! To learn more about our upcoming 5K please visit http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com.

So as we bid farewell to 2019, join us as we take a quick look back at all the beautiful faces who were a part of our amazing year. From staff, to guests, to volunteers, these smiling faces are what it’s all about! Thank you for helping us have another miraculous year of hope in Hagerstown!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

“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.

You Say Tomato…

We go through a lot of food each week. From the multiple meals each day to our residents and guests to the bags of supplemental groceries we give to individuals and families in need, we certainly do use a lot of food.

And when it comes to our food service program, we do our best to make our dining room feel like home to every person who stops by for a meal. While the overall look doesn’t necessarily say “home sweet home” we do our best to make sure the food on the plate has a “welcome home” kind of taste to it.

IMG_7921So our cooks and kitchen staff do everything they can to make sure that each meal is more like how “mom” did it so that our guests feel the comfort of a good homecooked meal.

And one of the most used items in our kitchen, and most kitchens around the globe, are tomato products. Our cooks use tomatoes in a multitude of ways to create delicious comfort dishes to serve.

And as you can imagine we go through a lot of tomato products each month. Right now we are currently in urgent need of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes for our daily meals. Any size jar or can of these products would be helpful!

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In addition to the tomato products for our hot meals, we are also in urgent need of 14-16oz jars of peanut butter for our food bags. Peanut butter is one of the most important items at our Food Bank and we go through it the quickest.

We’ve also listed some other items that we use quite often in our food bags for neighbors in need like boxes of mac & cheese and canned meals.

If you, your school, workplace, church or civic club are thinking about hosting a food drive this fall then this list can be a jumping off point to items to suggest for collection.

For more info on how & when to donate or to learn more about hosting a food drive please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

And to learn more about our food programs and all the other programs and services at The Hope Center and even how you can get more involved please visit 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!

 

“Those Frightened Eyes Still Haunt Me to This Day.”

By John Miller

JohnMiller (2)It happened 25 years ago. I was in my early 20’s. My wife sat on the kitchen floor looking up at me with tears because in anger I pushed her and she tripped over our young daughter. Those frightened eyes still haunt me to this day. I ran out of our small mobile home into the woods from sheer embarrassment at having abused my young wife. Now, she and our daughter were legitimately afraid of the one who was supposed to protect them from harm.

I found in the woods a huge log, sat down and wept. You see, I was full of rage and unreconciled pain from my childhood. My drug-addicted birth mother abandoned me when I was 9 months of age. She couldn’t handle being a mom and a drug addict so she made her choice and danced her “Woodstock Flower-girl” way into the sunset searching for her next “buzz”. Dad came home from work and found me in the crib with a wet diaper and an empty bottle. Dad was fighting his own demons of alcoholism and the next 14 years turbulently unfolded. We never did see “mom” again, to this day we don’t know where she ended up. Dad went through another bad marriage before he met his third wife and today I claim her as my “mother”.

But in my early 20’s, Dad was still trapped in the bottle and I was working through my own pain of feeling worthless, abandoned, and extremely inadequate to be a father and husband. I became a father at age 16. I did not grow up in church or in a Christian environment. When I met my girlfriend, now wife, we had no Biblical guidelines in our relationship. She stepped off the school bus in our Senior year of high school with tears and told me the news. Everyone pushed abortion but in our hearts we knew that was wrong and had our firstborn 9 months later, I had turned 17.

At age 19, after 2 years of a very troubled marriage, Melissa recovered her childhood Christian Faith and rededicated her life to Jesus Christ. I followed her to church one day and after listening to the Gospel for a few months and researching the evidence for the Bible, I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior and Lord! However, though I was truly saved, I had some inner wounds that needed healing.

That day in my early 20’s, as a young Christian sitting on that log in the woods near our home, I poured my heart out to the Lord. I said: “Lord, I know I’m saved, but I’m still struggling with how to control my tongue and my temper. I need your help Lord. I can’t do this alone. You have to help me. I want to be a better man.”

I had to walk back to that mobile home where a frightened mother and daughter waited for the angry monster to return. I walked in with swollen, moist eyes and announced my apology, stating that I am going to change. Well, those are nice words, but we’ll see. What about the next time I become angry? What then? What kind of hope can I give them in that moment to show that I am allowing the Lord to heal my pain and help me recover godly, gentle manhood to lead my family with love and in a safe environment?

I began to study verses of Scripture in the book of Proverbs about anger. I memorized verses like Proverbs 29:11, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 15:18, also Galatians 2:20, Philippians 1:21, Galatians 5:22, and Philippians 4:13. These verses became lodged in my heart and mind! God’s Word was bringing about transformation. I urge you to look at these verses that will help not just in areas of uncontrolled anger but any area of weakness and sin that trips you up!

Over a period of time and “proving”, the Holy Spirit had more of me. I didn’t get more of Him, He got more of me as I surrendered areas of my life over to Him and continue to do so every day of my life! You see, this old flesh is still in me! I need these truths every day if I want Jesus to be seen in me. He has brought healing, trust, and a feeling of safety to my marriage. We still have disagreements just like every marriage but now it’s “safe” to argue. And since those early days, my dad and stepmom have given their hearts to Jesus! I baptized them myself! God broke the addictions in their lives and has given them a beautiful marriage.

I don’t know where this blog finds you today but I want you to know there is hope. Hope is found in a personal relationship with the Lord and His Word. God’s Holy Spirit can heal and fill you to overflowing. You cannot do this alone. You need the Lord to give you the strength every day. Please, surrender to Him now and be diligent, intentional, and deliberate in knowing Him and His Word. Call the Hope Center and inquire about how you can learn more about this Hope. It’s the answer! HE is the Answer!

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 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!

New to Hagerstown, BJ’s Restaurant is Making Their Mark in our Community

Earlier this year a new restaurant opened at The Valley Mall and has been the talk of the town – and you can tell by the constant wait times just to dine there.

BJ’s, located at 17318 Valley Mall Rd, has only been opened for a few months but is already making an impact in the community that they serve.

On October 29th, 11 employees from BJ’s in Hagerstown volunteered to serve lunchtime meals to our residents and Soup Line guests as a part of their TASC FORCE (Team Action to Support Communities).

But they didn’t just come to serve the food – they also brought the food. They served our residents and guests food from their own menu at the restaurant and prepared by their own chefs which included salad, pizza, chicken quinoa bowl, grilled chicken alfredo, and chocolate chip cookies! We’re hungry just thinking about all the great food they served!

We had a full house eating lunch that day and we can confidently say that all of our residents and guests enjoyed their lunch from BJ’s! We were so thankful for the crew from BJ’s, not just that they prepared and served lunch, but that they also mingled and interacted with our residents and guests and made their time with us feel like one big family meal.

So we want to say ‘thank you’ to BJ’s for all they did for our residents & guests and we will welcome them back any time they want to help out in the community again!

And if you haven’t been to BJ’s yet then you definitely need to go! If you’ve never heard of BJ’s before then check out http://www.bjsrestaurants.com to see their menu and get business hours.

Our guests and residents can openly attest to their delicious food but in addition to their incredible menu, including everyone’s favorite treat, Pizookie, they also have wonderful, kind employees and are an organization that is committed to giving back to their community and being involved by helping others.

Has BJ’s inspired you or your organization to get involved? If so call 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net to talk to someone about how you can partner with us to help those in need. You can also learn more about our food services and other community programs by visiting http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com.

 

You Shop. Amazon Gives. Support Us on AmazonSmile!

Hey Amazon shoppers, what if there was a way for you to shop at Amazon PLUS donate to The Hope Center?

Guess what? There is! Thanks to AmazonSmile you are able to enjoy the same great low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon with a charitable twist. For eligible purchases made at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate .05% of your purchase to The Hope Center.

Amazon Smile 1

Simply go to http://smile.amazon.com to get started. Once at AmazonSmile just search for Hope Center Hagerstown in the charitable organizations search bar and then select Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission as your organization of choice. Then start shopping!

If you already have an Amazon account then you can log in to AmazonSmile the same as Amazon. You’ll find that both websites are identical and offer the same products but at AmazonSmile your purchase is going to help fund the various programs and services at The Hope Center.

Once you’ve chosen The Hope Center just remember to shop from AmazonSmile. Purchases made at Amazon do not go towards charitable donations. Only purchases made from AmazonSmile will benefit The Hope Center.

Amazon made shopping online easy and now they’re helping to make giving back easy too. Your purchases on AmazonSmile will help to provide shelter, food, safety, rehabilitation and more to thousands of people in the greater Hagerstown area. So please remember AmazonSmile and The Hope Center as you do your online shopping.

Go to http://smile.amazon.com to get started. Happy shopping!