Seasoned with Salt

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“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 

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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 transform. Thank You for Your love! Thank You for Your guidance and hope. Thank You for Hope House and all that You are doing in it!

We ask for Your favor, Your hand of blessing on the ministry of Hope House Detroit. We pray that our neighborhood be full of grace and truth. We pray a special protection, a special ounce of love, and a special touch for the children of Hope House and in the community! Lord Jesus, help us remember to let You lead in all things and to have eyes to see and ears to hear where You are guiding us each day. Help us to trust that You will give us the words to say to each kid, to each neighbor, and to each volunteer. Words that encourage, bless, and call forth Kingdom life in our neighborhood. We ask You, Father of our Maker, to have His eyes run throughout the whole earth showing Himself strong on Hope House Detroit’s behalf! We pray for our current volunteers and staff and ask for Your hand to guide us all and to fill us with Your love. Father, we ask for Your grace and encouragement to see You and what You’re doing here and to join You without fear or holding back. Lord, we ask for 2017 to be a year of Your favor. A year where You pour out Your Holy Spirit in power through the ministry of Hope House. A year where we see Your restoration, renewal, and revival in our community.

Father, thank You for teaching us to love one another.

In Your mighty name we pray. Amen.

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That God may open to us a door

Hope House is constantly looking for more ways to “open our doors” and invite the neighborhood into our home. One of the most recent developments is the construction of a reading and game room café. The front porch (recently enclosed) will be combined with the sun room to create a space for kids to come and spend time with a good book, play a game together, or enjoy a snack. This is an exciting opportunity to deepen current friendships with kids, create new ones, and encourage more time for reading. Teen Council will be leading the design portion of the project. We hope to open the doors this summer!

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That I may make it clear

Meet our budding author, Jadair McGowan! Jadair is in the 5th grade at Carstens Elementary. He is a regular attender of Read Around the Block. Jadair enjoys talking about politics, reading about science, and spending time with his family. Kaitlin Milligan was Jadair’s reading buddy at Read Around the Block this semester. The two of them decided that Jadair would write an article about Hope House based on interviews with the staff and volunteers. Jadair attacked this project with enthusiasm, and we promised him we would share his work here in this newsletter. Without further ado, here is “The Gold Treasure in Hope House,” by Jadair McGowan.

The Gold Treasure In Hope House

JaDair McGowan

For many years, Hope House has worked with the community to improve the community and teach the love of God. Becky and Gary Gentry, Hope House founders, just wanted to live closer to their church, but eventually put a hoop in the driveway, which brought community kids to their home.

Ms. Alyce Hartman is a volunteer at Hope House, and she says, “I get to spend time with kids in the community.” She says, “I love to be able to experience the love of God in different ways,” and also, “it brings together a diverse group of God’s people.”

Hannah Wilkinson is also a volunteer  at Hope House, and she loves the big events and also loves lo help out.

That’s the way we love the Jefferson-Chalmers area.

Whoever reads this Hope House email, please come and participate in as many Hope House activities as you can.

READ AROUND THE BLOCK is every Thursday 4:15-6:15 – soon to come Mondays in January 2017 at the same time.

You should come because you will be able to participate in programs with wonder children, like me (JaDair).

HOPE HOUSE DETROIT NEWS.

(News reporter/interviewer)

JaDair McGowan

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Making the most of every opportunity

Our theme at HHD this year is Maxxing It Out. We have been entrusted with a property, a staff, volunteers, solid programs, and young people. How can we make the most of these opportunities?  This fall we added Joy Ferguson to our staff as Read Around the Block (RATB) director. She is invested in facilitating appropriate individual reading sessions for each child. We will be adding a second day of RATB, under Kasey Moore’s direction in January.  We have found that the second day per week should increase the children’s average reading improvement by another reading level per year. We hope to make the most of this opportunity.

We have purchased a 12 passenger van to bring young people to Hope House for programming, intending to max out our number of kids per program.

Our kids are being led, and are doing the leading themselves, in service projects of various kinds: fundraising for and packing Christmas shoeboxes for children in other countries, serving at a soup kitchen and a nursing home; helping people move items in their house; adopting a family for Christmas; helping distribute baskets to neighbors for Christmas; and baking cookies, acting and singing for our annual Living Nativity. In these ways, we learn together to max out our character growth, our hearts for others, and our ability to make things happen.

Two weeks before Christmas the staff took hot chocolate and baked cookies to a corner near our local school and shared goodies with kids and their parents as they left  school. This treat was a huge hit, making the most of the opportunity to share Christmas joy with our friends and remind our neighbors that Hope House exists.

Even in our hard moments, when discipline is needed, we are making the most of the opportunity to talk, to explain, to listen, and to walk on through together.

But the best opportunities come in quiet moments with young people who ask all about Jesus, ask to study the book of Luke together, ask for a hug after a hard day. Quiet moments when a mentor asks, “What are your long-term goals, and what will have to happen for you to achieve them?” Moments when a child is told how creative he or she is, how helpful they’ve been. Moments when a young woman tells a story and holds the room’s attention.  Moments when a child believes that they are valued and loved, and they return those feelings toward us…then we at HHD know that we are making the most of our time, and that it is totally worth it!

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Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt

“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 4:3-6

A few months ago before a team meeting, Becky shared the above passage along with some of her thoughts on it.  She highlighted the idea of staying devoted to prayer, as well as making the most of every opportunity we have with the kids in our neighborhood.  It was very timely and right on point with what we needed to hear in that moment.  And while those two concepts are great and true, the part of the passage that SCREAMED out at me was towards the very end when Paul talks about being seasoned with salt.  I don’t know why, but for some reason that stuck with me, and I couldn’t shake that phrase.

In Paul’s day, salt was the main way to help make food last.  It was the primary method to preserve food for people who did not have access to ice or fridges.  Nowadays when we think of salt, it’s more widely seen as bringing out the flavor in food.  Salt makes things attractive, it brings out the best, and in our Hope House world the seasoning of salt keeps us going and encourages us to stay the course.

Looking back at this year, I can see many times where God was bringing out the best in our neighborhood.  Where he was making His message attractive to others.  And even times where he was preserving His child for just the right moment to connect.  Many of those precious moments have been highlighted in this letter.

But the one I want to mention now involved our Teen Council girls.  We adopted a family for the Christmas season and used the money we raised selling our “Hope is Dope” t-shirts to fund it.  They were so excited walking through the store picking out things that the family would like or need.  The ride home from the store was filled with Christmas songs and crazy excitement.

When we got back to the house and had just finished wrapping the presents we purchased, we actually sat around the Hope House table for a meal with some leaders and the girls.  The meal wasn’t all that great.  I had grabbed some family-size frozen pasta dishes from Kroger, trying to keep it simple and quick. But their faces and attitudes after wrapping the presents is what stands out in my mind.  As they sat there, you could see that they felt they had made the most of their opportunity.  You could tell that they tried to be wise with their purchases. I think I will remember those faces for a long time.

Making the evening even more special was the fact that two of the girls were now giving back to others through the same program that helped them years ago.  This helped add ‘the seasoning’  to the whole event, making it even better than it would have been.  It was the salt to the evening.  It brought out the best of what we were doing, as these young women brought their best for others, as they clearly proclaimed the message of Christ with their actions.

1 Comment

  1. I love how u out all are making a difference in these kids lives! Blessings to Gary, Becky, and staff for loving on these kids!

    Reply

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