Seasoned with Salt

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are not believers, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:2-6  Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving Abba Father, We thank You for being the awesome, immeasurable, and matchless God that You are. We thank You for wrapping us in Your mercy and dipping us in Your grace. Father, we thank You that You have enabled us to take special care of YOUR CHILDREN! Thank You for the guys that come to Guys’ Group; guide their hearts and let them know Your love. Thank You for the girls that come to Thank God It’s Girls’ Club and High School Girls’ Bible Study; reveal Yourself to them as they learn about You and how they are precious daughters of the King. Thank You for the kids in Read Around the Block and Computer Club; let them supernaturally learn skills that they can use in their lives. Thank You for Your faithfulness all these years to provide volunteers AND staff! Thank You, Father, for the volunteers that You will bring this new year and the hearts and lives that You will continue to...

An Internship Reflection

For the last four months, I was able to be a public relations intern at Hope House Detroit. An internship was required for me to graduate and I honestly can’t think of a place that would have been a better fit for me. I first went to Hope House in 2014 when Rochester College sent a group of students there on Urban Plunge (RC’s alternative spring break to Detroit). I hadn’t been sure what to expect and I had my doubts about how fulfilling that week would be. I ended up experiencing God in ways that I never had before and I fell in love with the city of Detroit. I continued going on the Urban Plunge trip throughout college and loved getting to know Hope House better and better. Through the semester, I found myself becoming more and more grateful for my opportunity with Hope House; how many people can say that their internship brought them closer to the heart of God? The staff of Hope House made me meals, prayed with me, and deepened my understanding of God’s word. These are things that speak volumes of this non-profit which strives to show God’s real, crazy love to anyone who is willing to receive it. Aside from being able to utilize everything about PR that I’ve learned in 3 years, I was able to volunteer once a week at Hope House for their reading program called Read Around The Block. I was able to build relationships with the kids there and to see Christ’s love put into practice by the staff and volunteers around me. Hope House really...

Come Around the Line

This fall, the girls in our Teen Council program have been individually organizing different  service projects for our group to participate in.  One of those projects involved helping out at a local soup kitchen not far from Hope House.  Before we were allowed to lift a finger to help, we first had to watch a short training video.  The video walked us through the history of the organization and shared its vision and goals.  At the very end of the video, a man shared a story that really touched me.   There was a visiting group of volunteers who had come to help prepare and serve meals.  The group worked hard prepping food and loving on the people in line as they served them. Toward the end of their time, a woman who was serving the food suddenly stopped and screamed.  She ran out from behind the serving area and grabbed a man that was in line.  It turned out that this man was her brother that she hadn’t seen in 15 years!  She smothered him with hugs and kisses, embracing him as they talked for the rest of the time.   It goes without saying that everyone in both lines was shocked.  What are the chances of something like this happening…especially after 15 years?  But what stood out to the man sharing the story was the genuine way this woman literally embraced her brother.  She had seen numerous people while volunteering and lovingly served them all well, but when she saw her biological brother, it was a completely different reaction.  He said that is the goal of their...

Living Missionally

As a new addition to the Hope House family, I had the unique perspective of looking in from the outside as I transitioned. Slowly turning to look outward into the world, I grew accustomed to the new life in which God had placed me. Life on the inside of Hope House ministry is so different from that of a 9 to 5. In a workplace, you are expected to complete the tasks you are assigned and you may seek advancement or a pay raise to further your career. This upward motion is a necessity for success in a career and there is nothing wrong with this focus. This strategy would not work in the ministry at Hope House though. Relationships get in the way of tasks that need to be completed and lines between work life and not-work life get blurred and sometimes erased altogether. The house needs to get cleaned for the next program but there are kids outside who want to play ball or just sit and share life with you on the porch.   This is because ministry is not a job you can clock in and then clock out of at the end of the day. Ministry is continuous, messy, beautiful relationships with people: constantly humbling yourself to the needs of those around you, surrendering your schedule, loving them unconditionally. After a few weeks at Hope House, I realized this was much harder to do than clean a bathroom or sweep a floor. Cleaning? I could do that on my own, but loving? And not just that, but loving everyone? I felt as if I...

Blown Away by the Body!

Blown Away by the Body! Hope House allows for a unique opportunity of self-discovery. Those who have chosen to embrace its culture – one of community and real crazy love – have experienced the joy of being used by God, in both expected and unexpected ways.  Each and every person involved brings with them a unique set of talents that we love to put to good use, as well as an openness in allowing God to stretch them and show them yet undiscovered gifts that may have been inside of them all along. That’s the beauty of what happens when you serve the Lord!!!  The simple step of joining with a ministry and helping to shine Jesus’ light, even in the smallest of ways, allows us to see much clearer all that God has to offer, whether to us personally, to someone we are serving, or to us as a community as a whole.  That’s what makes this idea of community and being a part of the body of Christ so powerful.  God has work ready for us to do.  He has given us the ability and resources to carry out the plan.  All we have to do is trust that He will be with us as we go. The body of Christ has an amazing amount of gifts and talents.  We at Hope House see what can happen on a regular basis when a small amount of people decide to throw down for Jesus in a way that is truly their own.  So we want to say thank you for bringing your unique gift, offering your time, praying, supporting financially,...

Hope House Detroit Summer: MAX IT OUT!

Kick-Off Big Event Every year, in the summer, we at Hope House host Big Events to help raise awareness for our programs at Hope House and kick start the summer. This summer’s kick off Big Event was completely designed and lead by our four students in Teen Council. These girls did everything!!! –They came up with the theme, games, food, as well as designing shirts to raise funds to help execute the event and passed out fliers around the neighborhood! It was truly awesome to see them rise to the occasion on the Big Event and work together, run a volunteer meeting, problem solve, and direct people all day.  There were a few hiccups like with any event, but the girls showed why they are on the council and the potential that God has placed in each of them. Coming Soon… This summer saw the opening of the new play structure built last October on the lot behind Hope House. The kids love it! It provides a great sheltered area for younger children to play safely. Gary plans to build a park pavilion in the lot next to it to create a space for families to come, barbeque, and spend time together. There will be picnic tables and even a bonfire pit! We are looking forward to having an area families can come spend time at Hope House! We hope it will be a place for togetherness and relaxation. Introducing… Troy Wilkinson and Hannah Kwiecinski joined the Hope House ministry team as the new House Directors in May. Both Troy and Hannah are recent graduates of Rochester College and...

Love One Another

I was planning on writing today about a completely different topic but, as usual, I find my mind focused on somewhere else instead.  And with the largest mass shooting in American history happening earlier this month, I guess that’s understandable.  It would be oh so easy to politicize this horrific tragedy and use it as a soap box from which to broadcast an opinion about a particular candidate or a certain law, which seems to be the popular American thing to do now when these types of events occur.  But instead, please allow me to dig a little deeper and examine what may very well be at the root of a much larger issue. To get right to it, I think it’s hate. At first, hate doesn’t always seem like that big of a deal.  We throw the word around casually, saying we hate this vegetable or that style of music.  This seems to match the simple definition as found in Webster’s Dictionary: a very strong feeling of dislike.  But check out the full definition: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury. Whoa.  That seems quite a bit more intense.  And a quick skim through the world’s and our own country’s history unfortunately provides a lot of examples.  Native groups and settlers.  Race against race.  Nation against nation.  And, perhaps worst and least understandable of all, religion against religion. There has always been plenty of hate to go around. Maybe that’s why Jesus chose to talk so much about the opposing force: love. Especially as His time on Earth was growing short, Jesus...

And Who Is My Neighbor?

When I was in college, I used to always look forward to the time when all of my friends and I could leave our Christian campus to go do ministry out in the ‘real world.’  We would often go to feed the homeless in Cass Park or go to a nearby non-profit, God’s Helping Hands, to help sort clothes and food.  I also had occasional bigger ministry opportunities, such as going to the Bronx in NYC twice to work with different organizations, heading down to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to lend a hand to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and spending a week in Detroit working with HCC.  These moments of doing ‘real ministry’ really opened my eyes to people in need, and they always made me feel really good about myself. But then I would return to my everyday life and those positive feelings of making a difference in the lives of others would fade.  I fell back into my self-centered routine of my own spiritual journey and rarely thought much of helping others.  I longed to be back on these trips doing ‘real work’, important work.  I felt like we a Christians made the largest impact when we retreated from regular life to focus solely on ministry.  My eyes better saw the needs around me when my brain was geared towards doing ‘real ministry.’  Being on the mission field forced to me to be more intentional about thinking about others, where they were coming from, and being empathetic towards them.  And it certainly helped that a lot of the talk on those trips centered around concepts like imagining...

You Matter. Your Story Matters. Jesus’ Story Matters.

This year, our Middle School girls club, Thank God It’s Girls Club (TGIGC), has been exploring the fact that each girl matters and so do their stories. On Tuesday evenings, we share highs and lows of the week over a delicious snack, we play fun games, do crafty activities and have girl talk related to our theme. Tuesdays are easily one of my favorite days of the week because I get to spend time with these sweet girls; they are full of life, energy and lots of fun, very giggly and silly, smart and kind; they’re precious, they’re priceless, they’re full of potential, and they matter. Looking back, there is so much that could be written about our girls, and especially, about the countless times God has been with us. The best part is that He relentlessly continues to show up at Hope House week after week, and today, I was overjoyed to see Him again. With Easter around the corner, the sponsor team (aka the friends I get to lead TGIGC with) put together a fun time coloring eggs and a more serious time discussing the last days of Jesus’ life, leading to his death and resurrection. We used the resurrection eggs to do this which was how the founders of girls’ club (Becky and her friends from Brighton) shared this story a few years back; if you’re wondering what these are, well, allow me to tell you. They are a set of twelve plastic eggs each containing an item that symbolizes a piece of the Easter story. For example, the first egg had a plastic donkey in...

A Year in Review: Hope House Detroit

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...