To survive is good. To thrive is better. How glorious it is when we have the opportunity and honor to help others to thrive in the name of Jesus. Glorious because we get to do it in His name. Glorious because we get to do it by His great power. Glorious because we get to witness the fruit of our labors.
Hope House Detroit is a place where, everywhere you look, you can see God working to help people to thrive. He works on hearts. He brings smiles. He brings growth. The best part is that every labor of love is not an isolated act of will. It is empowered by God, and God makes it multiply and spread outwards, like the ripples on the surface of a pond when you toss a stone into it. You toss the stone in, and it immediately disappears into the depths, but the effects of its passage linger and spread outwards, making ever larger circles of motion.
At Read Around the Block, Hope House’s literacy program, it has been my honor to witness the fruit of the labor of volunteers and staff that have invested hours of their time in the lives of our neighborhood children. Here are just a few of their stories.
One little boy used to have severe anxiety/emotional breakdowns when he came to us. He used to run away from us and hide under a van outside, or have full-blown screaming tantrums. Now, he has only small episodes when he will lock up and refuse to participate, but these are few and far between and short in duration. He has also moved up at least 2 reading levels in the past few months.
A little girl used to be shy and shut down when she came to us. She was a nervous reader, who was terrified of making a mistake. Now, she is all smiles when she attends. She is comfortable, relaxed, and has made new friendships. She is a bold and confident reader at the present time.
Another little girl was suffering with ADHD, a tongue and palate deformity, and very low self-esteem. She had zero confidence when she read, skipping over words, guessing at words, and inventing words in the text. Now, she is a confident reader, has bonded with our staff, and is a happy, laughing child when she is with us. Although she still needs meds to cope with the ADHD, she has advanced in her reading from a 1st grade level to a 4th grade level (she is currently in 4th grade) within a year.
One little boy came to us as a fair reader with a good attitude. He moved up 3 grade levels in 5 months and now helps the other children who are struggling readers!
This thriving has been brought about by Jesus, as we have depended on Him for everything. Each of these little ones is precious to Him, and He gives us His heart for each of them.