Sweet God Sighting

Read Around The Block registration was closed due to being full when a girl, let’s call her “E” and her mom came to the house to sign E up. She was involved in our summer reading program and wanted to continue in the fall. I explained I didn’t have enough volunteers to add any more children because  RATB involves each child reading one on one with an adult volunteer. They were so disappointed. I asked if I could put them on the waiting list and took her mom’s phone number, and had her mom fill out a registration form. As they walked away, I heard her mom say, “We’ll just pray for more volunteers, E.” We restructured RATB to make the most of our existing volunteers, and soon we had more people agree to help! I called E’s mom, and the next week Mom and E arrived at Hope House in a taxi; her Mom didn’t want her to be late. When E came into the house, I asked, “Did you pray for volunteers, E?” She grinned and nodded. And in that moment, both of us understood the power of a little girl’s prayer. Becky Gentry,...

Food for Thought

As a Mom I spend a lot of time stressing over grocery shopping. There’s the list that I spend diligent time on only to leave it at home. There’s wrangling my toddler into the cart and bribing her with stickers to keep her there. Then of course there’s the infant strapped to my chest that prevents me from shopping for anything on the bottom shelf. Of course, let’s not forget the ballet of hauling everything from the car into the house in the least amount of trips I can manage. Because without fail both kids are restlessly hungry, everyone needs to go potty or get a diaper change, and the dog is running laps of excitement around the living room. Despite the stresses of the actual adventure that grocery shopping becomes I spend even more time meal planning to ensure that our family is eating all the healthy food groups. I read something somewhere that toddlers should have 2 cups of fruit a day. Seriously? Just in case that’s true I keep a bowl of apples and bananas on the kitchen table. For my family food is important. As you can tell I spend a lot of time and energy focusing on all that is food related. This is why Harvest Day at Hope House was so awesome to me. It was one day that I didn’t have to plan dinner because, as a family I knew we would be attending to help out. More importantly as an organization we got to prepare and share a meal with our neighbors and friends. Most of our large events have food...

Be Present

One of the coolest things that I like about Jesus is how present he is.   It’s really hard for me to slow down… The fast pace of every part of our world is so much a part of our reality that we barely notice it anymore.  This summer at Hope House Detroit has been insanely busy with all of our programs and abundant access to kids virtually every hour of the day.  We have been working tirelessly to get our kids connected to Jesus and are seeing God do some amazing things.  The more God does, it seems like; the more we want to do for Him.  More kids, more interactions, more events, more, more, more! There is a danger that when you’re in this massive rushing river of God’s Story you sometimes can lose focus on simply being present to the people in front of you.   Many times I found myself in the same place Martha was in Luke 10.  So busy running around, focused on the things that need to be done to see that Jesus is present right in front of her!  I’d be standing in the front room looking down the street for more guys to come to Guys’ Group and not paying any attention to the two young men sitting at my table.   In the season of life we are entering into now at Hope House Detroit, we are trying to see the opportunities that God has placed in front of us now.  Slowing down when needed and being intentionally present to the people God has placed in our path.   Loving...

Real. Crazy. Summer

It’s real. crazy. summer. at Hope House Detroit! Sometimes it seems like God has pulled out all the stops during the summer. Our 3 summer interns are 3/4 of the way through their internships. They are trained, released, and dangerous! When God sent 3 women, I wondered if He was sure about that. But evidently this is exactly what we need this summer. They are helping, and they are learning. They are investing in kids and in the Kingdom. At our Big Water Event over 100 neighbors joined us in water games like slip and slide kickball and a water balloon fight. Hope House staff was in full force. Suddenly a fire engine, sirens sounding, pulled into the driveway. No fire this time, only Wally’s Custard Fire Engine bringing free custard for all!!! TGIGC (Thank God It’s Girls’ Club) is focused on “How’s Your Love Life?” for the summer. Talk about real. crazy. love! This group of young women is discovering what God says love is and are growing in the wildest ways! (You have no idea!) Read Around the Block is searching for treasure in our own back yard. In addition to other local treasures, our children interviewed adults from the neighborhood and are going to make a book from the interviews of these local treasures. Computer lab is back; Guys’ Group is sharing God-sitings in people’s lives. Teen Council, a group of selected teens, is planning activity for the community, hoping to lead a block party in the future. Crazy to see children grow up and work in the local job training program. Young men going to...

Basketball: A New Perspective

I am not at all an athletic person.  Throughout all my years of school, I was never on a sports team – I did bumper bowling in early elementary school, but I’m not sure that really counts : )  And while I love going to a Tigers game as much as the next person, I rarely watch sports (the World Cup is the only main exception to this…and that’s only every four years!). I tell you all this to explain that it’s difficult for me to grasp how important sports are to some people.  And at HHD, basketball is basically a way of life.  Having a hoop and a half-court is how the original HHD team (which was mainly Gary, Becky, & Ralph) first started meeting some of the neighborhood kids.  And taking them to a Piston’s game was how some of the real bonds began to form. If the court isn’t closed due to an organized event, you can bet it will be filled with kids and teens vying for their time to compete and show their stuff.  A lot goes on that I don’t understand – and I’m not talking about the regulations regarding play.  Respect is fought for in that little space between the yard and the garage.  A teen girl proves she has the right to be there when she gets nothin’ but net three shots in a row.  Younger or smaller boys ‘trash talk’ the most in their attempt to be seen as equals to older, stronger guys.  A teen boy watches my husband take a turn and says to me in a serious...

Street Olympics…and Dance Party!

Hi!  My name is Shalmar, and I’m going to be the official blogger for Hope House Detroit, or as I more typically will type – HHD.  I want you to get to know me and the many other volunteers and leaders who have poured heart, soul, and sweat into this special place on the East Side of Detroit.  And I want to give you an intimate view into what we do…and why.  But today, I just HAVE to share about our recent event facilitated by our partners in the student ministries at Hope Community Church. On June 19th, starting at 7pm, we had a rush of about 50 kids and teens converge on the HHD yard.  And who could blame them?  Street Olympics was all set up and ready to roll!  Orchestrated by over 20 adult volunteers, there was a tricycle race, water balloon launching contests, mini-marshmallow biathlon, helicopter bowling (all I’ll say is that it involved nylons on kids’ heads), and a dunk tank.  I’ll admit – it was fun to watch my husband, Ben, get dunked by kids and teens from our church and neighborhood community.  And I was glad that we never got to my turn! With this many young people and adults participating in and helping with so many activities, the word ‘chaotic’ comes to mind.  But it was organized chaos, covered and made cohesive by rap music and the love of Christ.  And you have no idea how beautiful of a combination that is until you experience it for yourself. After about an hour of balloons splatting, marshmallows flying, volunteers heckling (in good fun) the...