Embracing the Interruptions
I’m constantly amazed at how Jesus treats the people who interrupted Him during His ministry. He treats each of them with great respect, kindness, and intentionality. It’s like each person is the only one in the world at that moment, and nothing else is more important. He is God for goodness sake, and He is on this earth with important things that he needs to do, but He still takes the time to stop and embrace the interruption. In fact, it usually seems that the interruption itself was where His most important ministry work took place. For it was in those crucial moments that He touched people, healed them in powerful ways, and then sent them out.
Think about it…Jesus more often than not:
• Embraced the interruption and gave them significance with a new name
• Healed/ touched/ forgave/ saved them
• Sent them out
But as I reflect on what we do here, at Hope House, I have come to realize more clearly that Jesus isn’t a tool. He isn’t some program or system that can be used to get a better outcome. He is a Friend. A Healer. A Savior.
And if we are really honest with ourselves, we need Him now more than ever before. We need Jesus to give us a new name, heal us, and send us out. Only after He has done that for us can we be a witness for Christ. We become His living examples of what it looks like to go in peace after being healed and renamed.
So if you are not making space in your life for embracing interruptions, think about all the times that you may be missing the purest Jesus moments. Those pivotal but fleeting chances we have to be Christ to the ones right in front of us.
Riley Chowning, Assistant Director
What’s Been Happening?
This year has been full of God’s radical, crazy love! For that, we are blessed. Thank you, each of you, for the support and encouragement you have poured out on Hope House! We have felt and cherished your words, prayers, donations, visits, and so much more! As 2015 comes to a close and we welcome in all that God has in store for 2016, we’d like to share with you some highlights from the last year.
God has provided us many opportunities to join Him at work this year! Some of those opportunities have been through our big events where people from the surrounding community come to have times of fun and fellowship. We have cooled off at our Big Splash Event with some refreshing ice cream, sat together as one around big tables at our Harvest Event, watched the story of Jesus’ birth come to life at our Living Nativity. We have been honored to spend sweet time with our neighbors.
Programming at Hope House has been in full swing as we have not only carried on programs, but also added them! Thank God It’s Girls’ Club (TGIGC) had a great year full of transition as girls graduated girls and many new faces were welcomed into the group. God is using the leadership of TGIGC to help the girls discover and affirm that they are precious, priceless, and full of potential. After realizing our middle school girls would soon be high schoolers, we took a leap of faith and created a High School Girls’ Bible Study (HSGBS) to continue and even deepen our relationships with them as they grow. HSGBS has been an encouraging example of God’s faithfulness as new girls come and actively participate in looking at the Bible through new eyes. Saturday Guys’ Group has continued to be a source of good breakfast and great conversation as the young men talk about life, the Bible, and how they are related. We can really see God working in these young mens’ lives! We have seen God do big things as Read Around the Block (RATB) has been growing fast! More and more kids have showed up to participate in one-on-one reading and now, for the older kids, a more advanced, group reading time. Through answered prayer, Computer Lab was relaunched and is now a fun place for kids to come and learn basic computer skills while also hearing truth about God. Teen Council has also seen progress and officially added two new teens from the neighborhood to join them in leadership training, working for a better community, and growing as young adults. It has been a joy to see each program growing and establishing relationships with the young people in our community! We are thankful for the work the Lord is doing in each of these programs and are following His direction as we venture into 2016!
As we continue on journeying with our young people in Detroit, we are reminded how very important it is to develop meaningful relationships. Our experience is that before most people will truly let you speak into their lives they must feel like they belong and are in community with you. Our discipleship program is at the early stages of developing those foundational relationships, and we are already seeing God opening doors to work in their lives.
Hope Hospitality House has been so blessed to have hosted so many wonderful groups this year! Each visiting group has encouraged Hope House by their presence and passion to follow Christ. We love getting to show them a little bit of what it’s like to be at Hope House, to partner with Jesus in an urban setting, and to serve and share in our community!
Recently Hope House Detroit was given the ability to purchase and build a playground and play structure on another lot that we acquired directly behind the house. This amazing blessing to the community was made possible by the passionate and intentional partnering of Brighton Christian Church and their VBS program. Kids from this church raised over $2,000 to gift and bless their peers on the other side of Michigan!! What an awesome form of witness, and it’s amazing to see God using children to help advance His kingdom like that. The local kids have already loved getting to play on it and are very excited for it to be open for their enjoyment this coming summer!
Jessica Brown, Assistant Director
Someone asked me lately for the HHD 5-year plan. I wasn’t able to cough that up as we attempt to follow Jesus on a day by day basis. While we have notions about what He is up to and what He may do next, our intention is to let Him lead and join Him at work. A wise friend once told me that if you’re not sure what the Lord wants you to do, just keep doing the last thing you know He directed. For us at Hope House Detroit, that is “Love the Lord your God. And Love your neighbor as yourself.” So in 2016 our goal is to continue doing those last things we think we heard Him say. We’ll hope to continue to grow in worship and prayer. We’ll continue to deepen our relationships with children and youth as well as with one another. We hope to come to know more young people in our neighborhood. We hope to be involved in mentoring/discipleship relationships with more young people. In order to do that, we hope to bring on a person or young couple as house director, adding more people to those dedicated to this goal. We believe our relationships with important partners like Rochester College, Hope Community Church- Detroit, Hope Community Church-Frankenmuth, Brighton Christian Church, Adrian First Church of the Nazarene, Cru and others will impact and nurture this goal. We think we’ll have a summer VBS in partnership with such partners.
Will we add more staff? Will we have more interns? Will we add another house a few blocks over? We aren’t sure. We’re praying. Gary and Becky will take on the role of Director, releasing the daily function to Jessica Brown: Assistant Director over Programming, to Riley Chowning: Assistant Director over Student Care, and to possible others.
So while we don’t have a long-range plan in order, we know Who does. And we’re trying to keep in step with Him.
Becky Gentry, Director
As we move into the new year, welcoming in what 2016 has in store, we would like to invite you to be in prayer with us. Here are some ways you can be praying for Hope House Detroit:
• A house director. We are asking for a strong, responsible, passionate person or young couple that can lead in the house. We are hoping they can be in place by Spring.
• Interns. We are looking for passionate interns, now and in the future.
• Our partnership relationships with churches and schools.
• Our budget meeting in January, that we properly steward our finances according to God’s vision. Please pray that we discern our future direction.
• A spirit of prayer, for the Lord’s protection, presence, and power among us as we love Him and others.
• An overall sense of unity and community amongst our high school girls.
• A spirit of love, respect, safety and community among the middle school girls.
• That the guys in Guys’ Group would continue to allow us to be involved in their lives and doors would start opening for Jesus to work.
• Committed volunteers who love children and wish to serve them for Read Around the Block.
• That the girls in Teen Council would be able to further develop the leadership skills needed to reach their full God-given potential.
• That we would get more kids for Computer Lab and the ability to accommodate them.
• The furthering of relationships with our kids.
• Our kids to accept Jesus for all He is and for us to have the strength to place them in front of Him continually.