If you’ve visited one of our thrift shops in the past couple years, chances are you’ve met Moses.
Moses came to the Mission in October of 2017, just a few days after his father passed away in his arms. His wife had died of an illness several years before that.
Unable to sustain the rent, after years of taking care of his loved ones, Moses knew he needed a new beginning. He donated his dad’s furniture to the Mission, then came that very afternoon to enter the New Life Program.
For Moses, the counseling and chapels were life changing. The Mission eventually hired Moses to work in the thrift shop where he’s since risen to manager.
After graduating, he moved into his own place and continues to serve full-time at the Mission. He sees his ministry as one of helping the men who come to the Mission realize that they are loved, and that they too can have a good future because Jesus can and does make all things new.
His family sees the difference. His mom recently said “Moses, now you know what God intends for you to be. How does it feel to be part of something greater than yourself?”
Moses’ answer? Good. Very good. “It feels like home, like it’s where God meant for me to be all along.”
We have an amazing and dedicated staff here at the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Every day without fail our staff members show up at the Mission ready to serve the Lord by serving our men. Each staff member shows up with dedication, enthusiasm and joy for the work that the Lord has given us to do. When you think about the Mission and COVID-19, our story is pretty remarkable. We have been operating at our 55-bed capacity during the whole pandemic. We have a staff of 21 which sadly was cut to 15 because of the closure of our two thrift stores. Thankfully we have called back all of our full-time staff with the exception of one staff member who is looking to retire. On any given day during the entire pandemic, our staff members were and continue to be fearless. With 55 residents and 15 staff members, we have about 70 people living and working at the Mission. Humanly speaking, the probability of the coronavirus making its way into the Mission was and is rather high. We did everything we could to keep the virus out and to protect our residents and staff, but at times we felt like we were fighting a forest fire with a garden hose. We realized that ultimately God was the only one who could protect the Mission and keep us all safe. And the Lord has in fact done so! As of the date of this letter (I am writing this letter on July 1st), we have not had one case of COVID-19 in the Mission. Our residents and staff have all stayed healthy. We thank God for His amazing grace and mercy.
And through it all, our staff never complained. They never hesitated to come to work and risk their health and possibly even their lives. Our staff understood that we are essential workers and that the Mission is an essential life-giving ministry permitted by the government to stay open. But above all, our staff understood that our ministry is a ministry close to the heart of God. Our staff did not call out sick or suggest we stop taking in new homeless men, nor did they ever suggest that perhaps we should close down the Mission until the COVID-19 pandemic passes. Our staff understood that a ministry such as ours cannot be done by staying home, or by doing our ministry virtually online. Our ministry must by necessity be done face-to-face – ministering the love of Christ to our residents in person – meaning we daily become the hands and feet of Jesus to our men in practical, compassionate and tangible ways.
Thank you for your kind and generous support. You are our critical supply lines, prayer intercessors, and cheerleaders. We cannot do what we do without your continued support.
Because of your kind and generous support, our ministry to homeless men is going strong in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to operate at our 55-bed capacity, we continue to serve three delicious and nutritious meals a day, our Overcomers drug and alcohol meetings are held twice a week, all of our men have a scheduled counseling session at least once a week, tutoring and classes are still conducted with face masks and social distancing, we still have chapel services (although we have divided our men into smaller groups so our men can spread out in chapel and maintain social distancing), seven of our men are employed, and best of all, as of the date of this letter, not one resident or staff member has gotten sick with COVID-19. Our residents and staff are working hard to keep COVID-19 out of the Mission, and by God’s grace and mercy, everyone has stayed healthy. Please continue to pray with us that we get through this pandemic without one case of COVID-19 in the Mission.
I have so much to thank you for during these challenging and difficult days. You have been a friend that sticks closer than a sister or brother. Thank you for your financial support, for your prayers, for masks that you made for our residents and staff, for food donations, for donations of retail gift cards, for encouraging emails, cards, texts and Facebook postings; for donations of paper products and cleaning supplies, for special dinners purchased for our men from a Germantown pizzeria, for holding onto your thrift store donations until we are permitted to reopen our two stores, for sending additional financial gifts to the Mission to make sure we can pay our bills, for making up Blessing Bags filled with treats for our men, and for letting us know in so many ways that you are with us and for us – that we are not facing this pandemic alone. The Lord promises to never leave us or forsake us. I think one of the ways that God fulfills that promise is through friends such as you who stand with us during such a trying time as this.
I especially want to thank you for your patience in receiving our thank you letters and receipts for your gifts. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, everything takes longer to do – nothing is easy. And every day is filled with unexpected challenges. There is many a night that I am still awake in the wee hours of the morning weighed down with concerns over the present and future welfare of the Mission. And thankfully, the Lord gently reminds me to cast my burdens upon Him – His shoulders are bigger than mine. I thank the Lord for that truth! Thank you for helping us to “keep on keeping on.” We are pressing on to better days. Please find enclosed a wonderfully creative photo from one of our residents that is all about joy!
Working together with you,
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min. Executive Director
Please check out this wonderfully creative photo from one of our residents that is all about joy!
Jerry wants to thank everyone for their prayers! He has some good news to share.
A little over a week ago, we shared that Jerry had been excitedly apartment hunting, enjoying his work as an upholsterer, and getting ready to graduate from the Mission and move into his own place when it all fell through because of COVID-19.
Jerry was grateful to God that he hadn’t moved out of the Mission yet – otherwise, he’ be facing homelessness again.
The good news: Jerry just got word that his application was accepted for a lovely apartment. His move in date is tentatively May 1st.
Thanks for sharing God’s love with men like Jerry through your prayers and support!
If you’d like to give, you can donate here online. Thank you to all who have given so sacrificially! With our thrift shops closed because of the pandemic, every extra gift helps us to continue to provide shelter, food, clothing, and spiritual and social support to over 50 men currently experiencing homeless.
Pray. Please pray for our residents and staff. Please pray that the Lord will place a hedge of protection around the Mission and keep the coronavirus out of the Mission. Please pray for the health and safety of our residents, staff and their families. We had to lay off 6 staff members (almost 1/3 of our staff) and make salary and budget cuts to keep the Mission viable. Please pray that things soon return to normal, and we can recall our staff members.
Give.Our two thrift stores are closed which results in a loss of $30,000 – $32,000 each month. All of our budget cuts and layoffs will cover less than ½ of our lost income. We need your help to make up the other half in lost income. You can mail your check in or make an online gift.
Donate. Please donate gift cards (mailing them to us
is fine) to the following stores:
Walmart, Aldi, Giant Supermarkets, Target, Home Depot or Lowes. We still need to buy food, cleaning supplies,
and facility maintenance supplies. We
also need disinfecting wipes (Clorox, Lysol, or any other brand) and hand
sanitizer (any size container).
During this COVID-19 outbreak, our shelter for men experiencing homelessness remains open. Please consider donating to help us at this crucial time while we provide services to men who truly have no place else to go. This is home.
Wow, it has
been a wild ride the last several weeks with the coronavirus outbreak. With confidence and trust in the Lord, we
believe that God calls us to act in wisdom as we seek to love and protect the
homeless men who live at the Mission as well as our staff and their families. We are instructing our men every day to
practice good personal hygiene, we have canceled all volunteer service and
chapel groups to minimize the risk of someone from outside bringing the virus
into the Mission, we are routinely taking the temperature of our residents and
staff, we are regularly sanitizing all high-touch surfaces, and men who are not
feeling well are being examined ½ a block away at the City Health Center. While it is hard to maintain social distancing
in a tight-knit community such as ours, we are instructing our residents and
staff to not shake hands, to cough into their arms, to wash their hands
frequently, to not touch their face, and to refrain from friendly hugs and pats
on the back. And as a precaution for our entire Mission family, which includes you, we
have canceled our Night of Celebration on Saturday, April 25th.
reality is that the homeless men who live at the Mission have no place to go –
the Mission is their home. Our residents
are some of the most vulnerable people facing COVID-19. Many of our men have chronic health
conditions that compromise their ability to fight off the coronavirus if
infected. Our men are poor and
destitute, they are homeless and do not have a place to stay apart from the
Mission, they are unemployed, and they do not have the resources and social
safety-net that most of us have during a national emergency such as now. We therefore need your help to keep the
Mission open as a safe haven and refuge for our residents.
us financially as generously as you can.
We know that many of you are also suffering from reduced income and
increased expenses (e.g., child-care because the schools are closed). But for those of you who are financially
able, we really need your help. Our
thrift store income is taking a huge hit, our church speaking engagements are
all canceled, churches and schools are not collecting food and other needed
supplies for us because they are closed, and donations of leftover perishable
food from supermarkets have decreased because people are over-buying food when
they shop. Above all, please pray for
By God’s mercy and grace, we know we will get through this. I encourage you to read, rejoice, and rest in the truths of Psalm 46 – we will not be afraid, the Lord is with us.
The official registration and financial information of the Whosoever Gospel Mission and Rescue Home Association may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1 (800) 732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.