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.

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Welcome, Michelle!

We have a new addition to our staff at The Hope Center. But this newest addition to our team really isn’t that new at all.

Michelle Rizer (2)We are excited to welcome Michelle Rizer to our staff as the new assistant to our youth program, Wildside Youth.

To some of you, her name and face may not ring a bell, but to others who’ve been following The Hope Center, even back when it was called the Union Rescue Mission or Hagerstown Rescue Mission, might recognize her. Michelle may be a new staff member but she’s actually the granddaughter of the founders, Jim & Ellen Resh.

Jim & Ellen were parents to four daughters, Sharon, Dorcas, Laurel and Becky, and one son, Jim. Those five children gave Jim & Ellen twelve grandchildren who are now having children of their own.

Michelle is one of the daughters of Sharon & Henry Hughes. When the Mission had a TV show, Echoes of Hope, a publication, Free Press, and other public events it was quite often that Michelle, along with the rest of the family, was in attendance or participating in one way or another.

But now, Michelle has officially joined our staff and is eager to start her journey into ministry in a facility that has a deep personal connection to her.

We asked Michelle to tell us about the journey that brought her from her early days on Echoes of Hope to her current position working with kids in Hagerstown.

“My name is Michelle Rizer and I’m the granddaughter of Jimmy and Ellen Resh, founders of the Four States Christian Missions, Inc. (The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission).

Sin, and the inability to forgive myself or believe God could forgive me, lead me away from God for many years. Then, 5 years ago, I rededicated my life to my Lord Jesus Christ and began a new life with Jesus in the center of my life.

My husband, Brian, and I became very active in our church and became youth leaders. Being in this position gave me the opportunity to go with our youth pastor to take a class certifying me to work with high risk youth.

Although Brian and I loved our position in the church, I kept feeling a nudging from the Holy Spirit that God was leading me into full-time ministry.

I felt that if God was leading me into ministry maybe it would be back at the Rescue Mission and my family heritage. So, I contacted Becky and Sonny Shank, my aunt and uncle, who run the Mission now, and shared God’s leading in my life with them. We all decided to pray where God was leading me.

In the meantime, I took a leap of faith and left my job in the hair industry after 33 years and waited and prayed for God to reveal His plan for me.

It was about a month later that Becky called me to come in and talk with them. I was excited and scared as to where God wanted me, but I had placed my complete faith in Him and believed that whatever He had revealed to them was where He was leading me.

I went in and talked to them and when they presented me with the opportunity to serve as Assistant Director of Wildside Youth Ministries I about fell off my chair because Becky and Sonny had no idea I was already working with youth at my church or had taken a class to work with high risk youth.

God had clearly revealed His plan to me and everyone involved, but I had no way of knowing He was preparing me in advance for the ministry He was calling me to do.

What a mighty God we serve! He has taken a broken, lost soul and transformed her for His glory! The road I’m on is challenging and hard, but the rewards are many and God gives me the strength everyday to do the job He has called me to do and to lead others to His kingdom.”

We are so thankful and excited to have Michelle join our staff at The Hope Center. We are so proud of all she’s accomplished in her life and we look forward to seeing her wisdom and compassion reach so many children and their families for Christ in this new endeavor in her life. Please pray for Michelle, her family, and Wildside Youth as she starts this new chapter of her life and the beginning of her journey in full-time ministry.

Remember, God doesn’t just use those who we deem are perfect. He is a God of redemption, forgiveness and He loves to show how His power changes people. God doesn’t need perfect people to do His work. He needs willing people who are able to acknowledge their mistakes and allow Him to do a miraculous work in them. This is the story of hope. This is what we are about. We know that we serve a God who sees all of us, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly and loves us unconditionally. He loves us enough to not only send His Son but to allow that perfect Man to die for us so that we might have the opportunity and power to change who we are.

This is why The Hope Center exists. It’s for the son who was lost to drugs. It’s for the mother trying to feed her children. It’s for the family dealing with heartache. It’s the child struggling with abandonment. The Hope Center exists because God is real and has a real plan for each and every one of us and He’s not willing to give up on us. And we’re not willing to give up either.

Michelle traveled a path that many people haven’t. But that path, through it’s dark valleys, was being watched over by a God who doesn’t miss a beat nor misses a step. Michelle, and so many others, serve as a living testament to how powerful and awesome our God truly is. And we are so thankful and fortunate to have her sharing her life and her personal experiences with the children and their families in our city.

Thank you to each of you who support our ministry of hope and change. Your donations, time, and, most importantly, your prayers have been changing lives and reaching thousands of people for Christ for over 60 years. Thank you for supporting us and showing God’s love to all of Hagerstown.

To learn how you can support our ministry, or just learn more about the work that we’re doing in the heart of Hagerstown please visit http://www.hagerstownhopecenter.com. And if you’re interested in learning more about our youth ministry where Michelle is serving please go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com. To learn more about volunteer opportunities please visit http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com. Ok, so that’s a lot of http://www.com’s…but we’re genuinely thankful for your support through the years. You help us bring hope to so many.  And because of your support we’re still here, more than 60 years later, to help anyone and everyone who is ready for a fresh start or a new chapter. To God be the glory!

A Picture’s Worth

The holidays kicked off with another great Thanksgiving celebration at The Hope Center. And as soon as we polished off that last piece of pumpkin pie it was as if we were ringing in the New Year!

The holiday season goes by so quickly and there’s so many activities and things to do that it sometimes feels like you can’t even catch a breath. But we love the holiday season because it gives us a chance to really see how incredible our community is. Each year we’re reminded that God has given us a support system of volunteers, donors and friends who continually give their time, energy and resources to help others in need.

From Thanksgiving morning until the last Christmas cookie was eaten, we had so many volunteers and supporters making the season bright. We cannot thank each of you enough for all you did this season. From the homemade treats, to the food donations, to all the gifts given and time invested, our residents and guests were able to see God’s love through each of you. And a time of year that can be very difficult and lonely for so many wasn’t at The Hope Center because of kind people like yourselves who did so much to make it so memorable for everyone.

Enjoy some pictures of the some of the different faces who volunteered, donated items or were guests of honor this holiday season. From our annual Great Hagerstown Thanksgiving Feast, to Wildside’s Christmas party, our Ladies’ Auxiliary party, Maranatha Cantata, Kingdom Heirs party and more, these pictures give a quick snapshot of the festive celebrations hosted at The Hope Center.

If you would like to volunteer at The Hope Center, go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com to learn more or call 301.739.1165.

 

A Wildside Party Kids are Gonna L-O-V-E

Valentine’s Day is almost here and Wildside is ready to celebrate with a big party!

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All kids ages 5-12 are invited to join all their friends at Wildside’s Valentine’s Party on Tuesday, February 10th, from 5-7pm in the Trinity Center.

Kids are gonna have a great time playing games, earning prizes, creating art projects, eating delicious food, and learning all about the love of Jesus! And there will be special prizes for the person who wears the most red!

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This is a free activity for kids but we do ask that you call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to register your kids for this event.

Complimentary transportation is provided to select areas inside of Hagerstown but space is limited so please call or email Wildside immediately if your children need transportation to and from this event.

To learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries and other activities at Wildside, go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

Wildside’s Festive December is Here!

Christmas is here! Who’s ready to party? December is a great month at Wildside Youth Ministries!

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Get your Santa hat on and join us for Wildside’s Party Before Christmas event on Tuesday, December 9th from 5-7pm in the Trinity Center. There will be plenty of fun games & prizes, holiday foods and a time to celebrate and learn about the whole reason for the Christmas season: Jesus! And there’s a special prize for the person who is decked out in the most red & green for Christmas!

Wildside’s Party Before Christmas is free for kids ages 5-12. Call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com to sign up for the Christmas party. Transportation is available but space is limited so contact Wildside Youth now to try to reserve a spot for free transportation.

The Party Before Christmas isn’t the only thing Wildside has going on in December. On December 7th & 14th, Sunday Night Wild is all Christmas! Join Wildside for Sunday Night Wild to celebrate the birth of Jesus, get special gifts, eat great snacks, play games, and earn Bear Bucks!

Sunday Night Wild is from 7-8pm in the Sanctuary at Wildside and is free for kids ages 5-12. For more info about Sunday Night Wild, call 301.739.1165 or email info@wildsideyouth.com.

To learn more about Wildside Youth Ministries go to http://www.wildsideyouth.com.

 

 

Missions Team Lends a Helping Hand at The Hope Center

A missions team from Rochester, New York spent a day working at The Hope Center as a part of their youth group’s summer missions trip with Wonder Voyage.

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On July 23rd, the missions team spent the day serving at The Hope Center. Upon arrival in the morning, the group spent a little time learning about the various ministries and programs at The Hope Center before starting their day of service.

 

The team was broken into two groups: one group stayed in the Trinity Center, our multipurpose building on property, to help with different projects, and the other group went to our outdoor camp area outside of Hagerstown.

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The missions team worked from 9am until 2pm doing various projects like painting backdrops, preparing Camp Wild manuals, and some physical labor preparing for the next two weeks of Camp Wild.

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After the morning work session, the group came back together to eat lunch with our residents. They had the opportunity to talk & mingle with the guys in the program and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by our kitchen crew.

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We are very thankful to Wonder Voyage for arranging this missions team to help at The Hope Center. They were a great service to the staff of Camp Wild and they helped get a lot of necessary tasks finished before the last weeks of camp.

Wonder Voyage is a ministry that helps to get churches and youth groups to various missions opportunities or pilgrimages worldwide. To learn more about missions trip and pilgrimages hosted by Wonder Voyage, go to http://www.wondervoyage.com.

A Wonderful Christmas Surprise!

The week of Christmas one Hagerstown family received an awesome Christmas gift – boxes of food!

A generous person in the community wanted the opportunity to give thanks to God by giving to others. So this person went to the grocery store and bought box after box of groceries for an anonymous family.

Just days before Christmas, the groceries were dropped off at our office and were ready to be delivered to the family of our choice.

After thinking about the many families that we work with in one way or another, a family was chosen.

Sarah with her father and brother

We chose to give the boxes of food to a family that is a part of our Wildside Kids ministry. For several years, Samantha & Sarah have been actively participating in our youth program. While at Wildside, they have always brought a ton of energy and excitement and never caused trouble. So naturally, we felt that since they are such good girls and have been so faithful to Wildside, their family should enjoy cabinets full of groceries.

As we delivered the groceries, the family was beyond excited to get all the great boxes of food! And the groceries came at a great time. As we were helping the family carry in the food, the girls father informed us how much this food was going to help his family since his hours at work had just been drastically cut back to only two days a week. God knew exactly what family needed the groceries!

We want to thank our generous friend for thinking of others and providing plenty of good food for a family that definitely needed the assistance. And we want to ask you to join us in praying for this family as well as the countless other families that are struggling through this terribly difficult economy.