Newsletter Summer 2017: He Is Doing A New Thing

He Is Doing A New Thing During this summer, I was involved with our church’s vacation bible school.  Before the week came, my attitude was not what I wanted it to be.  At first I was resentful of losing a whole week of my summer in order to supervise kids that I didn’t know.  In addition to this, I disliked the theme of the VBS and the music.  I wasn’t alone.  There were several voices that were expressing disapproval and criticism.  When the week arrived, I resigned myself to take it one step at a time and to prepare myself for something that could be awful or at the very best, awkward. Luke 24:38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Upon entering the church, I was aghast at the sanctuary magnificently adorned with decorations.    The volunteers smiled and laughed, zealously acting out their parts.  There were lines of happy children waiting for everything to get going!  The first day was great fun and every day after that.  Kids sang Jesus songs.  They memorized scripture.  The gospel was preached.  There was goodness and light and every part humming along in harmony like a perfect song.  God made it an amazing success! 2nd Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. Why should this kind of supernatural success still surprise me after being a Christian for 30 years?  I...

August Evening

I get out of my car, and a 6th grade boy runs across the side lot, yelling, “Miss Becky!” He runs to me, gives me a side hug and says he is great. He isn’t kidding. He is intelligent, clever, and having fun on this August evening. He is waiting for his computer teacher to arrive at HHD. And he truly is great. A sweet shy little girl, walks toward me, stops, eyes averted, waiting to be noticed. I hug her, say her name, ask how she is. Today she is fine. She is going into first grade and has done a great job at Read Around the Block. She is precious. Teens are sitting under the pavilion at the picnic tables, talking, probably flirting. There was a time when I didn’t know if teen girls would ever come to Hope House. The basketball goal assured us of guys, but not so much the girls. But now… the café, the job training program, the girls’ club and Bible study, the great staff and volunteers make Hope House a place the teen girls can feel at home. I take out Teen Leadership Council applications to the teens under the pavilion. They laugh and joke with me, say they’ll fill them out. A wiry little boy going into 2nd grade runs over for a hug. He has just noticed I’ve arrived. He giggles and squirms and runs on. He smiles. I introduce myself to guys waiting for a turn to play basketball. They are new to Hope House this summer.  We share the awkward: hello, what’s your name, do you stay...

Volunteer of the Month: Eleanor Alcala Mercier!

Eleanor has been working with our Read Around The Block program for about seven months now.  Her favorite part about volunteering is what a joy and inspiration the students are to be with!  In her spare time, Eleanor likes to keep up with current affairs and learn about art.   An interesting fact about her is that her paternal grandmother, who came here from Mexico and raised her family in southwest Detroit, lived to be 110 years old.  Her family must have great genes! Please make sure to congratulate Eleanor on being picked for Volunteer of the Month, & most importantly, thank her and all of our volunteers for all that they do!...

Volunteer of the Month [May]: Shalmar Nelson!

Shalmar works alongside our Teen Council as Co-Leader and also is a part of our Discipleship program.  She has been working with Hope House for at least 5 years and has been involved with Teen Council since it began.  Her favorite part of volunteering is the relationships she gets to develop with the other volunteers and with the young people at Hope House Detroit, and especially getting to see everyone grow as people.  In her spare time Shalmar likes to read, write, and travel.  An interesting fact about her is that although many young people can’t believe this, she didn’t start using a smart phone until this year! Please make sure to congratulate Shalmar on being picked for Volunteer of the Month, & most importantly, thank her and all of our volunteers for all that they...

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...