Category Archives: From the Staff

From the Director ~ April 2017

IMG_5206

Bob Emberger with New Life Program Graduate, John

Dear Friend of the Mission,

We just celebrated our 125th anniversary with a joy-filled Night of Celebration at one of our supporting churches. It was a wonderful evening filled with moving testimonies, great music, countless reminders of God’s faithfulness, sweet fellowship and delicious refreshments.

Tony King, the very first graduate of our New Life Program going way back to 1989, shared how the Lord opened up a job for him at Rutgers University/Camden in November of 1989 through the New Life Program. During his stay at the Mission, he overcame his drug addiction, his faith in the Lord was renewed and he was able to become the kind of father that his daughters hoped for and wanted. Both of his daughters are now college graduates and enjoy successful careers. A few years ago, one of his daughters who buys toys for us every year for our annual Christmas toy giveaway thanked us for giving their dad back to them. Our Men on a Mission singing group (they are all graduates from our New Life Program) blessed everyone with their extraordinary 4-part, acapella Gospel singing. These men all entered the Mission more than 20 years ago as homeless, drug addicted men – their lives have been forever changed by the grace of God working through the Mission.

Gilbert Reese, another graduate, shared how he had been homeless on the streets of Philly from age 18 to his early 40’s, often living under 30th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. He was in and out of the Mission 9 times before “it took.” Because of God’s love and kindness working through the Mission, he is now living in his own apartment and is reunited with his family up in the New Brunswick, NJ area.

Robert Jessie, also a graduate of the Mission who now works for the Mission as our sorting room supervisor (he supervises the processing of the 6-8 tons of clothing you donate each week to the Mission), shared how he was number 39 on our waiting list when he first called the Mission as a homeless man years ago. He thought he would never get into the Mission, but the Lord opened the door, and he was able to come into our program just a few days later because none of the 38 men ahead of him returned our phone calls. Robert knew that the Lord was smiling upon him. Today he is married, active in his church, lives in his own house, and enjoys his ministry at the Mission.

Because of your support, these successes and celebrations are your celebrations. Your gifts are being used every day to provide life-giving, life-changing and life-saving help to the homeless men who live at the Mission. Thank you for making a difference through your gifts.

Celebrating together with you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ February 2017

Save the date! Celebrate with us 125 years of God’s faithfulness to the Whosoever Gospel Mission on Saturday, April 1st, 2017 from
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove!
We turn 125 years old only once! Refreshments will be served after the program. Admission is free – just a free-will offering. More details to follow.

Bob Serving

Bob serving the shrimp at our Christmas Eve luncheon

Dear Friend of the Mission,

Please check out this heart-warming collection of photos filled with laughter, smiles, good food, toys and gifts from our 2016 Christmas celebration at the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your financial gifts, gifts of new toys for the children and grandchildren of our men, gifts for our men and all sorts of other wonderful kindnesses made Christmas 2016 an amazing time at the Mission. Thank you for making Christmas for our men (and their kids and grandkids!) a time of celebration and joy rather than a sad time filled with crushing loneliness, heartache, regrets and hopelessness. Our men and their families join with me in thanking you.

I also want to thank you for your kind and generous support throughout 2016. You have given us food, good used items for our thrift stores, laundry detergent, personal care items, office supplies, over-the-counter medicines, paper products, cleaning supplies, trash bags, new underwear and socks, pillows, good used grocery bags for our thrift stores and a host of other blessings. You have supported us financially through generous cash gifts, employee giving programs such as the United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign, gifts of stock, donor advised fund grants, employer matching gift programs, and gift cards to stores we shop at for the Mission. I wish I could thank you all individually and in person. Your support helped us to provide life-giving, life-changing and life-saving help to our men. The Mission is ultimately not about programs or buildings, but it is about loving broken and hurting homeless men with the love of Christ, giving them a hand-up and not just a handout, giving them a solid hope that changes their lives both now and forever. The positive changes that take place in just one of our men will touch and impact for good the lives of hundreds of other people – perhaps even your life. Keep on investing in our men – your support will pay dividends for years to come.

With heartfelt thanks,

Bob signature

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ Christmas 2016

unknown001115Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dear Friend of the Mission,

“There’s no place like home for the holidays!” That is so true, but for many of our men, they will not be home for the holidays – instead they will be at the Whosoever Gospel Mission – not a bad place, but not their true home. However, we work extra hard to make the Mission a warm and happy home for the holidays. If you would stop by at the Mission during the month of December, you would see festive Christmas decorations, you would enjoy delicious food, you would munch on homemade Christmas cookies, you would see our men select Christmas toys and gifts for their children and grandchildren, you would hear glorious Christmas carols joyfully sung in our chapel, you would see our men smile on Christmas Eve at our Christmas party as they receive gifts donated by Mission friends, and you would experience firsthand the wonder and joy of the season. We go all out at Christmas to bless our men, and we also go all out to remind them of the true meaning of Christmas – “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). As the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds that first Christmas, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). We want our men to capture and experience for themselves the wonder and joy of that first Christmas. This is the best present of all!

As we quickly move toward the end of 2016, please consider making a special gift to the Mission so that we can keep the joy and hope of Christmas before our men each and every day throughout 2017. Here are several great ways you can help:

  1. A generous year-end gift of cash. God will use your gift to impact and change lives.
  2. Some families bless our men by pooling their resources and giving a special Christmas gift to the Mission from their family (individual receipts for each donor can still be given).
  3. If God has especially blessed you this past year, please consider sending a larger than usual gift to the Mission. Large gifts take big bites out of our budgeted expenses. They also strengthen and expand our direct services to our men. Your gift would be a major investment in the lives of our men.
  4. Give a gift of appreciated stock. A gift of appreciated stock is always a great help and can also provide you with some excellent tax benefits, especially if you transfer the stock directly to the Mission rather than first selling it. Please consult with your financial advisor to confirm these tax benefits. We can easily arrange for an electronic transfer of your stock. If you would like to do this, please call me at 215 438 3094 (ext 102).
  5. If you have set up a donor-advised fund, you can recommend that a grant be made to the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your grant will make a difference in the lives of our men.
  6. Make a Charitable IRA Distribution. This provision has now been made permanent by the IRS, and it allows you to make up to a $100,000 qualified charitable distribution. The effect in most situations is both a tax savings and an increased gift. Please consult with your financial advisor to confirm these tax benefits.
  7. Save postage and time, you can go to our Whosoever Gospel Mission website to make an on-line donation. You can also set up a monthly recurring donation for 2017.

Christmas tree in our chapel

Christmas will be here and gone before we know it. But through your kind and generous support, the hope and joy of Christmas will continue throughout the year in the lives of our men. Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is also our hope and joy for the rest of the year. Our men truly do thank you for your support.

As we finish out 2016 and begin 2017, my prayer for you is that the Lord will abundantly bless you and your loved ones with good health, much happiness and great success in all of your endeavors. Thank you for standing with us in 2016. The Lord wonderfully used your gifts to make life-giving, life-changing and life-saving differences in the lives of our men. Your generous support impacted over 175 homeless men in 2016. Their families and friends and society as a whole also benefited from your support as our men became responsible, contributing members of society. Pray with us for even greater reasons to celebrate with our men in 2017.

Wishing you the joy and peace of Christmas,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ Thanksgiving 2016

img_1508Dear Friend of the Mission,

Every day at the Mission is a day of giving thanks.  As we come to Thanksgiving Day, here are a few things from a long list of many that I am giving thanks for during this holiday season:

  • Three men recently graduated from our New Life Program on Tuesday night, November 1st – Rusty, Lee and Roger. All three are now working fulltime, they are drug and alcohol free, and they are living in their own place they can call home.  All three have also made a commitment to the Lord and are seeking to honor God in and through their lives.
  • Thirteen of our men are working outside of the Mission, two of our men are attending Philabundance Community Kitchen training for a job in the food service industry, and thirteen of our men have successfully completed the initial 12-week Foundations Phase of our New Life Program and are now on the Career’s Phase actively looking for work. These are all great milestones and achievements in the lives of our men.   Each one of these men arrived at the Mission, homeless, destitute, hungry, addicted and unemployed.  The differences that God is making in their lives are truly night and day.
  • One of our men in particular is working long, hard hours to provide a home for his wife and daughter. They too are homeless, and this gentleman is being a responsible father and husband to make enough money to provide a home where all three of them can be reunited.

Thanksgiving Day will be soon be here, and as in other years, we will have our amazing Thanksgiving Day Feast filled with all sorts of delicious food – roast turkey, giblet gravy, sage stuffing, buttered corn, green bean casserole, candied yams, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, garden salad, dinner rolls, apple cider, and all sorts of delicious desserts.  We anticipate over 100 people will attend our annual Thanksgiving Day Feast.

Please let me thank you in advance for your kind and generous support that keeps the Mission going as a place where hungry souls are satisfied, where the hurting are healed, where broken men are made whole, and where God’s grace is big enough for everyone and anyone.

Thanking the Lord for you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ October 2016

unknown001115Dear Friend of the Mission,

Our staff gathers every day (except Sunday) at 8:45 a.m. to pray and thank God for our men, for one another, and for you. For our men, we pray for their health, for a job, for victory over addiction, that they would experience hope, that they would not give up, for their relationship with the Lord, for their relationship with their family, and for the overwhelming challenges they face. Our staff also prays for each other. Our ministry is a tough one, and we need the Lord’s grace, mercy and love to fill us so we in turn can day-in and day-out share God’s love with our men. We also pray for our own loved ones and struggles. We also pray for you. A good number of you have included a prayer request with your gift. While praying, we thank the Lord for your faithful support. Your financial support as well as your non-financial support (gifts of food, laundry detergent, pillows, new underwear, donations of items for our thrift stores, etc.) give us the resources we need to minister God’s love in word and deed to the broken and hurting homeless men who come to the Mission desperately seeking help. Our time of prayer in the morning centers our thoughts and hearts on the Lord and His goodness, and this in turn gives us what we need to minister God’s compassionate love to our men without wavering every day.

Thank you for your faithful support. As we enter the fall season and quickly move toward the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I want to invite you to support the Whosoever Gospel Mission in a number of ways. As you know, we always need money, and you are very generous in meeting this need. But please see our needs list for additional ways that you can help us this fall. In addition, if you purchase items on Amazon.com, you can register with AmazonSmile (which is run by Amazon) and designate the Whosoever Gospel Mission to receive a percentage of all of the eligible purchases you make on AmazonSmile. You can search for the Mission on AmazonSmile, or you can type in the following link and follow the prompts:

http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-1352579

You purchase items on AmazonSmile the same way you do on regular Amazon.com. The prices are the same, the only difference is that you will also be supporting the Mission. The 0.5% of all eligible purchases that Amazon donates may not seem like much, but it does add up, and we currently receive a few hundred dollars a year from Amazon through AmazonSmile.

With much gratitude,

Bob signature

 

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ September 2016

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Dear Friend of the Mission,

“Life can be totally different – you can enjoy a good life filled with the blessings of the Lord!” In many different ways this is something we try to convey to our residents during their stay at the Mission. The homeless men who come to the Mission have suffered a hard life – a life of poverty, homelessness, hunger, abuse, loneliness and despair. They are rather skeptical that their life can ever be any different. For years and sometimes even a lifetime, all they have known is pain and hardship.

We work hard to light a spark of hope in the hearts of our men. We do so by both our words and our actions. For example, our chapel services are joy-filled celebrations in which we emphasize the love and goodness of the Lord. Our meals are delicious and nutritious and often end up with no leftovers because our men come back for seconds and even thirds. We try to maintain a clean, comfortable and nicely decorated dormitory. Our dormitory air conditioning was really appreciated by our men this past summer which set records for the number of days in the 90’s.

Lately, we have been asking folks to either donate new pillows for our men (you can order them on-line and have them delivered directly to us) or to give us gift cards to buy pillows at Walmart, Target or Amazon. While we put vinyl mattress covers on our mattresses to protect from bedbugs, we never put a vinyl pillowcase on our pillows because vinyl pillowcases are just plain uncomfortable. We use only cloth pillowcases. However, this results in our pillows wearing out sooner with the result that we are always in need of new, fluffy pillows for our men.

We also provide our men with a comprehensive program that gives them all of the skills and resources they need to get a good job, move into their own home and to no longer be homeless. As the Lord begins to rebuild the broken lives of our men, that small spark of hope implanted in their heart is fanned into a brightly burning flame that fills them with hope and confidence to move forward in life. Our men begin to experience for themselves what we told them when they first arrived at the Mission – that life can be totally different, that they can enjoy the good things of the Lord for themselves.

Please accept my special thanks for the generous gifts you have given to eliminate our cash deficit by the end of our fiscal year on September 30th. You have made a huge dent in our $30,000 cash deficit. Please continue to give as you are able so we finish our current fiscal year with all of our bills paid and we begin our new fiscal year on October 1st on a firm financial footing.

With much thankfulness,
Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ July 2016

img_2435In 1892 our founder often prayed-in the evening meal!

 Dear Friend of the Mission,

When the Whosoever Gospel Mission was founded in 1892, our founder, William Raws, had no money, no denominational sponsorships, no corporate backing, no foundation grants, and very little church support.  His journals indicate that some days the Mission’s cupboards were bare – he had no food for the evening meal.  And so he prayed.  Our records indicate that we never missed a meal – our men were always fed – 3 meals a day, 365 days a year.  God always gave us our daily bread!  Thankfully, 124 years later, our cupboards are not bare.  We serve three hearty and plentiful meals each day.  We even have a snack table with fresh fruit, and right now, with a big bowl of Sweetzels spiced wafers (someone donated 15 plus cases of these delicious cookies – they are my favorite cookie!).  However, we still ask the Lord to give us our daily bread.  We know that God is the giver of all good gifts, and that He promises to provide for us.  And so we expectantly and thankfully look to the Lord for His provision.  He never fails us – our men have never gone hungry.  And our food is consistently good, plentiful and nutritious.

You are a big part of how God gives us our daily bread.  Your kind and generous financial gifts and your non-cash donations of food and other items give us the life-giving resources we need to provide our men with their basic needs as well as everything else they need to achieve a fulfilling life, a lifestyle of recovery from addiction, restored family relationships, a good job, a place of their own they can call home, and long-term success as productive, contributing members of society.  Thank you for making a huge difference for good in the lives of our men.

Enjoying the goodness of God,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ May 2016

Executive Director

Executive Director, Bob Emberger

Dear Friend of the Mission,

Perseverance is one of the most important qualities that our men need to possess.  Without it, the obstacles, challenges and set-backs they face will cause them to give up.  And if they give up, then nothing will ever change for them, and they will stay stuck in a hopeless pit of chronic homelessness, crushing poverty, acute hardship, personal degradation, compromised health, and they will more than likely suffer an untimely death. So in all that we do, we work hard to encourage our men to persevere, to never give up, to ask God to move the mountains in their lives, to believe that the Lord can make a way when there is no way, to keep on keeping on.

Our chapel and graduation services abound with testimonies of how God brought our men through overwhelming trials and difficulties.  Recently one of our graduates, Robert, shared how he almost left the Mission within a week after he came here, but his fellow residents encouraged him to stick and stay.  Robert told how the Lord wonderfully blessed his decision to stay even though everything within him was crying out to leave. Staying at the Mission is one of the best choices he ever made.

Another recent graduate, Gerry, shared how he was determined to persevere and graduate from the Mission’s program in spite of numerous set-backs.  When Gerry first came to the Mission, he did quite well and obtained a good job.  However, Gerry had a trial pending.  At his trial, he was sentenced to a work-release prison sentence and lost his good job even though his general manager tried to get his corporate headquarters to make an exception to their policy so Gerry could keep on working at their company during his work-release prison sentence.  Gerry was assigned to another work site but then was hit by a car during one of his work assignments.  He was pretty banged up but eventually completed his prison sentence and came back to the Mission to finish our New Life Program.  However, because of his injuries from being hit by the car, Gerry needed to have knee surgery which prolonged his graduation from the Mission’s New Life Program.  But eventually Gerry did successfully graduate from the New Life Program – his perseverance paid off.  Today, he continues to press on by God’s grace.

Thank you for your kind and generous support which is used to help our men persevere, to never give up, to trust God to make a way when there is no way.  Your gifts to the Mission are a sound investment in the lives of our men that pay dividends for years to come.  Thank you for helping us to keep-on-keeping-on so we in turn can help our men to keep-on-keeping-on.

Pressing on by God’s grace,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger. D.Min.                                                                                                          Executive Director

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From the Director ~ April 2016

Bob at Colorado Monument

Bob at the Colorado Monument

Dear Friend of the Mission,

At the end of March, my wife Marcia and I visited our son, daughter-in-law and 4 precious granddaughters in Grand Junction, Colorado. My son Jason is an Assistant Pastor of a church in Grand Junction. We certainly had a wonderful time with our son’s family – we can never spend enough time with our granddaughters!

jason tina and the girls 2016

Bob’s son Jason with his wife Tina and their four daughters

Grand Junction, Colorado is a very beautiful part of our country. On one side of the Grand Valley where Grand Junction is situated is the Grand Mesa, a majestic 11,000 ft. high flat mountain. On the other side of the Grand Valley is the Colorado National Monument, a beautiful national park filled with amazing rock formations, ravines, and breathtaking panoramas.

As beautiful as this scenery is, the amazing grace transformations that take place in the lives of our men are even more beautiful.

A view from the Colorado National Monument

A view from the Colorado National Monument

On a daily basis, we have the joy and privilege of seeing God rebuild and transform shattered lives that have been damaged and destroyed by addiction, childhood trauma, street violence, the terrible consequences that come from poor choices, incarceration, serious health problems, unjust treatment from others, a poor education, and deep poverty that is impossible to escape apart from someone giving you a hand-up. Through our life-changing ministry, we have seen God bring beauty out of ashes, turn mourning into joy, give hope to the hopeless, and even put Humpty Dumpty back together again – doing the impossible for our men.

Your kind and generous support keeps the Mission going as a place where every day the Lord makes happen these wonderful transformations in the lives of our men. Thank you in advance for your financial support. Please also take a look at our enclosed Spring and Summer Needs List. Whether you give cash or items on our needs list, your gifts will be used to help our men rebuild their lives brick by brick. And most exciting of all, the Lord will use your gifts to transform the lives of our men so that they truly become masterpieces of God’s amazing grace.

Joyfully working together wtih you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ March 2016

Bob with his wife Marcia and their 4 granddaughters

Bob with his wife Marcia and their 4 granddaughters

Celebrating families – how the Lord has used the Whosoever Gospel Mission to restore, rebuild, strengthen and bless the families of our men over the last 124 years!

Dear Friend of the Mission,

All of us come from a family. And whatever we do, whether it be good or bad, affects our families. The homeless men who come to the Mission for help are no different than any of us. They have families, and in most cases the families of our men have been deeply hurt and damaged by the choices and actions of our men. In some cases, our men’s families have been shattered into a thousand hopeless pieces of broken dreams and crushing heartache. But we have good news for the homeless men who live at the Mission – God loves families, and God cares deeply about the families of our men. We believe that the Lord wants to heal, rebuild and make strong the broken and shattered families of our men. Over the years, we have seen firsthand God wondrously restore our men to their families, we have seen the Lord make whole and healthy the damaged families of our men, and we have seen new families established in which God is at the center of the family. Through your kind and generous support, we are able to love homeless men with the love of Christ, we are able to provide for their basic needs, and we are able to equip them with the vital skills and resources they need to enjoy a fulfilling life, a lifestyle of recovery from addiction, a good job, their own place to live they can call home, and long-term success as productive, contributing members of society. And perhaps best of all, through your support, we are also able to help our men restore, rebuild, strengthen and bless their families.

On Saturday night, April 9th beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m., please join us for our second annual Night of Celebration. The Whosoever Gospel Mission will be celebrating 124 years of God’s grace in the lives and families of the hundreds and thousands of homeless men who have entered our doors over the years. Refreshments will follow at 8:00 p.m. after the program. Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, PA is graciously opening up their church for this event. I hope you can join us. This wonderful event is free, and you can bring as many people as you like. Reservations are not required, and please feel free to dress casually. We are looking forward to a great night filled with much joy and celebration. All of the details are included here. I look forward to seeing you on April 9th.

Warmly yours,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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