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.

 

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“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!

Join Us for Easter Weekend Activites

We are just days away from Good Friday and Easter and we want to keep you up to speed on all the activities and scheduled changes this weekend as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ!

Easter Closure-001Before we get into the activities we need to let you know that we will be closed on April 19th in observance of Good Friday. That means all offices, our Thrift Stores in Hagerstown & Chambersburg, our donation drop center and pick-up, and our recycling will be closed for the day.

Our overnight shelter will be open and operating on normal schedule on Good Friday as well as our food services. Our daily Soup Line will be on holiday schedule which means that doors open at 12:45pm on Good Friday.  For questions or more information please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com.

Even though our offices and stores are closed on Good Friday doesn’t mean that we IMG_4189aren’t celebrating the miraculous resurrection! We are thrilled to have the choir from Maranatha Brethren Church return again this spring to present their cantata, “The Easter Song”. The Easter celebration starts at 7pm at the Trinity Center and there will be a community meal provided by Maranatha along with the show. All are invited to join! This is a great Good Friday activity for the entire family – and it’s free! There’s plenty of parking located on our central lot on Church Street between Walnut and Prospect Streets. Tickets are not required so invite as many people as you want to join you in our Good Friday celebration! If you’d like more information on Maranatha Brethren Church, including Sunday services times for Easter, then please visit http://www.maranathagbc.net or call 301.733.1717.

Easter Bake Sale Full-001Then on Saturday swing by our Hagerstown Thrift Store for our Auxiliary’s annual Easter Bake Sale from 8:30am – 1pm! You’ll be able to purchase some great homemade treats for your Easter celebration like cakes, pies, fudge, cookies and more! Plus our Auxiliary will be selling homemade soup-to-go like Chili, Chicken Corn Noodle and more. The bake sale is only at our Hagerstown location and from 8:30am – 1pm on Saturday, April 20th.

If you are looking for a church to attend on Easter Sunday then please contact us and we can help you find a wonderful place to worship and celebrate the resurrection. We are happy to have so many great churches as partners in our ministry. Please call 301.739.1165 or email info@hagerstownhopecenter.com to get information on local churches.

And don’t forget that one week after this holiday weekend is our 5th annual Rock the RTR Pirate PrincessRun 5K: Pirates vs Princess on Saturday, April 27th sponsored by Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe (potatorolls.com). There’s still time to register and it’s only $25 until April 26th. This is a great event for the entire family because we not only have kids activities planned during the 5K but also a Kids Fun Run prior to the main event. Have the whole family dress up as pirates and princesses, knights or mermaids and have fun hitting the course to raise money for our upcoming renovation and expansion of our kitchen, dining room and pantry! Learn more and register by visiting http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com. And don’t forget to spread the word to your church, co-workers, scout troop, civic club, athletic team or anyone else you see! We look forward to seeing each of you in your eye patches and crowns on Saturday, April 27th at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. Go to http://www.rocktherunhagerstown.com to register now!

More Than Just a Thrift Store

by Aimee Izer

IMG_2324Since becoming store manager I have come to realize that The Hope Center Thrift Store is for everyone in the community. I used to think this was a place for only those whose budget was very limited. Boy, was I mistaken. God calls all of us to manage our money and to be good stewards of what He has given us.

The Hope Center Thrift Store is just the place to start. Not only are you able to bring us your gently used or new items that you may no longer need, but it is the place to start to look for those items that you do need. You may be surprised at what you may find, from clothing to housewares, toys, games, puzzles, furniture, decorations, to cosmetic, jewelry and so much more. We have it all.

There are lots of things that you will find that you can repurpose and reuse. Like a dresser that with a little TLC becomes a coffee bar or a piece of pottery that you turn into a bird bath, there is no limit to the things you can do. The Hope Center Thrift Stores are a treasure trove of unique and amazing finds.

Yes, we are a place for those who are struggling financially, and we love helping those in need, it is our purpose and mission. So please keep this in mind: all money taken in by the Thrift Stores goes right back into all the ministries of The Hope Center. As you can see, not only do your donations greatly help, your patronage to the store helps as well.

I encourage you to come to our Thrift Stores and look at what we have; it’s new almost every day. Then when you see all the great finds, tell your friends and family so they too can see what a treasure our Thrift Stores really are.

God is so good, and you may think shopping at the Thrift Store is no big deal, but let me tell you many people will be shown the love of Christ and His gift of salvation through your donations and purchases at The Hope Center Thrift Stores.

 

We have two convenient Thrift Store locations for your shopping pleasure: Hagerstown (corner of Walnut and Church Streets with free parking on our lot off of Church St) and Chambersburg at 64 S. Main Street. For more information about our Thrift Stores please visit https://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com/thrift-store

Aimee Izer is manager of our Sorting Department and Thrift Stores. In addition to all she does at The Hope Center she also spends her time reading, gardening, painting, and hanging out with her family. She is happily married for 26 years to her best friend, Terry, and is the mother of 4 boys and the proud grandmother of 4. She attends Evangel Baptist Church in Hagerstown. 

Faith Chapel of Johnstown Serves a Heaping Dose of Happy

We were so happy to have some of our friends from Faith Chapel in Johnstown, Pennsylvania serve lunch to our residents and Soup Line guests!

The group of 8 made the two hour trip from Johnstown last Saturday. While they came prepared to cook and serve meals for the community, they also brought donations of diapers, peanut butter, creamer, and clothing for our Thrift Stores!

The group, organized by Larry & Cindy Lazer, also lead singing and an inspirational message for our Soup Line guests before the meal.

This is not the first time that the group has made the trek from Johnstown and we certainly hope it’s not the last. We appreciate their commitment to helping the least, the last, and the lost in the community.

If your church, Scout Troop, youth group, or business would like to prepare and serve a meal just like our friends from Faith Chapel then please contact us. We are always looking for groups to help on the weekend. Please call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.

 

“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!