Author Archives: Whosoever Gospel Mission

Video: Toy Giveaway

Christmas is coming! Now is a great time to start collecting new, unwrapped toys so homeless dads working hard to rebuild their lives can gift them to their children!

Check out this video of a previous toy giveaway to see what it looks like!

2014 Toy Giveaway! from K2 Media on Vimeo.

Giving gifts is a big part of the Christmas season and every year hundreds of gifts are given away at the Whosoever Gospel Mission. This year over 1,000 brand new toys were donated and distributed to the men of the mission, giving them an opportunity to bless their kids and grand kids!

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Starting out on the right foot

Greg works on the computerAll of the men enrolled in the Mission’s New Life Program are working VERY hard.

In the Foundations Phase of the New Life Program (the first three months), between classes, tutoring, counseling, homework, D&A recovery meetings, and hands-on workforce development opportunities, each man is involved in about 50-54 hours each week of programmed activity.

When he graduates from the Foundations Phase of the Program and moves into the Careers Phase, he begins his job search or starts attending school outside of the Mission. Right now, Jerome is at Lincoln Tech studying automotive repair, George is at the Philadelphia Technician Training Institute studying welding, Akil is at Orleans’ Technical Institute for property maintenance and repair, and Mike is in a culinary training program at Philabundance Community Kitchen. These four men will begin their job search after they graduate from school.Jason in the thrift shop

Once a man finds full-time work, he stays at the Mission for another 3 months so he can budget and save, mapping out a plan for the future. He graduates from the Mission when he moves out into his own permanent housing.

The 6-9 months (or longer) that a gentleman spends at the Mission in the New Life Program represents a lot of hard work with a heaping dose of perseverance!

Chapel with Dr. BobWith all of this going on, we start each day with a hearty breakfast and good coffee (with real half & half, thanks to a friend of the Mission!), followed by a spiritual feast. Right after breakfast, Monday – Saturday, we gather in the chapel at 8:00 am to get our footing for the day. It’s a time to pause before the busyness of life gets rolling again and set our hearts and minds on the Lord and his grace. It’s a time to be reminded that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and that his mercies never come to an end. That mercy and love – they are new and available for us today, no matter what happened yesterday. And so, together, we press on!

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From the Director ~ September 2019

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Our fiscal year ends on September 30, 2019 – help us end the year financially healthy!

Dear Friend of the Mission,

It is hard to believe that another fiscal year will soon end on September 30, 2019. Your wonderful support this past year has helped us to have a pretty stable year financially. I want to thank you for your kind and generous gifts which made this possible. As we come to the end of our fiscal year, please give an extra generous gift so we end our fiscal year in good financial shape. Ending the year well also gives us the go-ahead to give our staff much earned and needed raises. Because we had a financially challenging fiscal year ending September 30, 2018, we pretty much put a hold on staff raises this past year. We have a hard-working staff who are willing to work at the Mission for far less than what they can make elsewhere. Since routine staff raises were skipped for a year, we want to provide raises for our staff in our new fiscal year beginning October 1, 2019. Ending this fiscal year financially healthy helps us to do so. Thanks so much for whatever you can give!

Click here for our New Life Program flier – you can print and give it to a man experiencing homelessness. Feel free to call or email me (215-438-3094 ext. 102, or remberger@whosoevergospel.org) if you would like printed copies to share. This handout was put together by our residents a few years ago. We asked our residents the following: “Knowing what you know now about the Mission, what do you wish you knew when you were out there on the street that would have convinced you to come in sooner? What do you want guys who are out there now – men you think should come to the Mission – what do you want them to know?” The enclosed handout is what our men came up with. Every word and photo on the flier is something that one of our men insisted MUST be shown or shared. We think the attached flier is warm, welcoming and winsome – please give it away to a homeless man. Perhaps they will make their way to the Mission and find a new and abundant life to enjoy.

Thanks so much for your support. I am grateful for all that you do for our residents. Your gifts are making life-giving, life-changing and life-saving differences in the lives of our men.

Your friend and co-worker,

Bob signature

 

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

 

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From the Director ~ Summer 2019

IMG_8439Dear Friend of the Mission,

I trust that your summer has been a good one thus far. We do thank the Lord for our air conditioning. When we rebuilt the Mission after the arson fire of 2006, we decided to have our main dormitory building retrofitted with central air conditioning. This was one of the best decisions we made. Our dormitory building has thick stone walls made out of Wissahickon Schist – a kind of stone that used to be quarried in the Wissahickon Valley section of Philadelphia. A lot of buildings in Germantown, Mt. Airy, and Chestnut Hill are made out of Wissahickon Schist. This beautiful stone makes for a strong and sturdy building, but in the summertime after the walls heat up, our four-story dormitory building becomes unbearably hot. Fans blowing hot air around turn our dormitory into a huge convection oven. This is why we are so thankful for our central air conditioning. Our residents are especially grateful. The streets of Philly are dangerously hot in the summertime. Our men are grateful for a refreshingly cool place to live. Your gifts make our dormitory a cool oasis on a hot summer day.

As you know, we have a long-term residential program for homeless men. We typically operate at our 55-bed capacity year-round and often have a waiting list of men seeking to enter the New Life Program. Every week so far this summer, we have turned men away on almost a daily basis. If men call us, we may have to tell them we are full and put them on our waiting list. However, if a homeless man comes to the Mission, and we sadly have to tell him we are full, we give him a few things to help him along. We give him two tokens (we still have a supply of SEPTA tokens we can give out) – one to get to a shelter, and one to bring him back to the Mission when we have an open bed. We also give him a list of shelters he can go to until we have a bed for him. And then with a kind word of hope and encouragement, and usually a prayer, we give him a gift bag filled with hand sanitizer, a snack or two, a pair of socks, and other personal care items. We don’t let him leave empty-handed, and we encourage him to try to keep in touch with us so we can bring him into the New Life Program as quickly as possible.

The Mission is all about change and hope – real change and a true hope rooted in the love and kindness of God. Your generous gifts are used every day to keep the Mission cool in the summer, and to be a beacon of hope and help to all who stop by. Thanks for your support!

Serving with joy and hope,

Bob signature

 

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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Learning Program Highlights

 A word from our students

Mike proudly displays the "A" he received on his homework assignment

Mike proudly displays the “A” he received on his homework assignment

Mike: I love the Learning Program. My typing speed has improved from 30 characters per minute to 71, and I’m getting all A’s and B’s in my classes. I got my GED in 1994 but it’s been years since I’ve been in school. This is encouraging me to go on to cooking school and become a chef.

Eugene: Being in the lab makes me feel comfortable, and I love it because the teachers really want to help me – not just as a student but as a person.

 The Career Track Learning Program

The Career Track Learning Program is the educational component of the Whosoever Gospel Mission’s residential New Life Program for homeless men. The Mission’s teachers work together with each resident to craft an individualized learning plan based on his test scores, educational history, and his own personal goals to help him secure and flourish in a good job.

Eugene (right) works with Learning Program Director, Jason, on Vocational Discovery

Eugene (right) works with Learning Program Director, Jason, on Vocational Discovery

Our top-notch team of highly qualified and gifted teachers works together with a wonderful group of dedicated volunteer tutors to come alongside each man in the New Life Program to help him achieve his goals.

Formerly homeless men are equipped by God’s grace to succeed in the workplace and in life with weekly classes, one-on-one tutoring, extensive access to a state-of-the-art computer lab staffed by teachers, and an abundance of other resources right at their fingertips. New worlds of opportunity open up to men who are working hard to get back on their feet. Thanks for being a part of the Mission family and helping to open a bright new future to men who are ready for change!

Course Offerings:

Monday:
Professional & Vocational Development
Applied Math

Tuesday:
GED Prep 1
Overcomers (Addiction Recovery Support)
Communication Workshop
Inductive Bible Study – Group A
Communication Skills

Wednesday:
Introduction to Computers
Life Skills
College Skills
Math Processes
GED Prep 2
Math Foundations
Bible Research & Reflection

Thursday:
Inductive Bible Study – Group B
Computers
Overcomers (Addiction Recovery Support)

Computer Lab Hours:

Monday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday: 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 12:00 Noon

Individual Tutoring:

18 volunteers + 3 staff teachers provide 50+ hours of individual tutoring sessions each week to students.

Want to volunteer as a tutor? Call Heather at (215) 438-3094 x 103

Pictured below:
Learning Program awards received by students in the spring of 2019

Learning Program Awards March 2019

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From the Director ~ June 2019

IMG_8339-001Dear Friend of the Mission,

Can you imagine being 50 years old and being unable to read? What a hardship and what a heartache. We actually did teach one of our residents who is 50 years old to read. It was a wonderful sight to see him stand up in chapel and read something publicly for the first time in his 50 years. Years ago we had another resident whom we taught how to read. For the first time in his life, George was able to read a story to his 9-year-old daughter. In 1991, we decided to implement a Learning Program to help our men with adult basic education, GED preparation, life skills, job readiness skills, and computer skills. In order to make our Learning Program as effective as possible, we were advised by educators who specialize in adult learning that our Learning Lab should be teacher based and computer assisted rather than computer based using proctors with no teachers with college degrees on-site. The Lord was gracious, and we were able to secure a multi-year grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Pew agreed that a teacher based Learning Lab was far better than a computer based Learning Lab. For 18 consecutive years beginning in 1992, Pew funded what became known as our Career Track Learning Program. We were sad when their funding priorities changed, and our funding from Pew was discontinued. Pew had given us about 1/3 of our funding needed to operate the Career Track Learning Program. The Lord made up the difference, though, and our Learning Program continues today even more effective and comprehensive than when it began in 1992.

Your gifts to us truly are an investment in the lives of the homeless men who live at the Mission. Each of our men is enrolled in our intensive Career Track Learning Program. Our Learning Program is designed to equip our men with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to get a good job and to achieve long-term success as productive members of our community. We view each of our men as wonderfully created in the image of God, and we strive to help each of them become all that the Lord wants them to be. Your gifts to the Mission are never used to give a hand-out to our men, they are always used to give a hand-up.

We are entering the summer months when our donor giving usually drops off a bit. Homelessness never takes a vacation, and we are just as full in the summer as in the winter – our 55 beds are typically filled. Please consider giving a larger than usual gift to help us get through the summer months in good financial shape. Thanks!

Working together with you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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Crisis Averted ~ Kevin’s Story

New Life Program resident Kevin is happy to be fighting the good fight

New Life Program resident Kevin is happy to be fighting the good fight

Crisis — that moment you’re sure life is over and there is no hope.

For New Life Program resident Kevin Wayns, his crisis was becoming homeless. He had been working two full-time jobs, living at home, and was spending all of his money on himself and his pleasures. Then suddenly, for the first time in his life, Kevin found himself arrested, unwanted and unable to go home. He was in crisis.  Kevin was ashamed to ask for help, but he felt the Lord nudging him to come to the Mission. So for the first time in a long time, he humbled himself, sought the Lord, and followed Him to the Whosoever Gospel Mission for help.

The Mission’s Overcomers’ meetings (our addiction recovery support groups) are a favorite time of Kevin’s. They remind him of the riches that are ours in Christ as he finds community, accountability, support, and encouragement to say no to his own passions and to take up his cross and follow Jesus. Renewed and reassured, Kevin is overcoming self a little more each day and fighting the good fight. He’s seeking ways to use his unique gifts to serve Christ and others. Men like Kevin—men in crisis—are coming to the Mission every day. And because Jesus has overcome the world, so can they.

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From the Director ~ April/May 2019

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Dear Friend of the Mission,

We care deeply about the families of our men! And we especially celebrate when a resident is able to restore, strengthen and enjoy his relationship with his family as never before. The families of our men are always welcome to visit the Mission to see their loved one. In fact, we encourage our men to invite their families to enjoy a meal at the Mission or to attend one of our chapel services. After serving 30 years at the Mission, I never tire of hearing the happy sound of children laughing and playing as they spend time with their dad at the Mission.

Every day your gifts are being used by the Lord to accomplish a lot of good things in the lives of our men. I think, though, that one of the most important things your gifts help to make happen is the healing and strengthening of our men and their families. I think you will enjoy this story about Hantz and his delightful daughter, Teeyah. I have also had the privilege of meeting Hantz’s mom and dad when they would drop him off at the Mission after spending time together. You can be greatly encouraged knowing that when you invest in the lives of our men, you are also investing in the lives of everyone they touch. Your gift is a gift that will keep on giving for generations and generations.

Thank you in advance for your support. While we work hard to be good stewards of your gifts, to use them wisely and carefully, we still need over $3,800 each day to pay our bills. When you think of all that the Mission does for the 55 homeless men who live at the Mission on any given day, $3,800 a day for 55 men is a pretty good bargain ($69.00 per day per man!). Years ago a reporter from the Philadelphia Daily News did an article on the Mission. When I told him all that we do for our men, he asked me how many staff we have and what is our budget. He was stunned that we do so much with so little. This interview was several years ago, and a lot has changed since then. But I would daresay that this same reporter would be even more amazed today that we do so much for our 55 homeless men with so little. We need your generous support more than ever to keep our life-giving, life-changing and life-saving ministry going.

I thank you, and so do Hantz and Teeyah!

Warm regards,

Bob signature

 

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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Hantz’s Story

Hantz with his daughter, Teeyah

Hantz with his daughter, Teeyah

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Hantz came to the Whosoever Gospel Mission on March 28, 2018 with a bandage on his right arm and apprehension in his heart. At his lowest point, he found himself homeless, malnourished, and addicted. The last time he was in Germantown, he was using drugs. Now, he was coming to enter the New Life Program.

Not long before, Hantz was in the hospital waking up from a coma. He had to relearn to walk while nursing a serious addiction-related wound that nearly cost him his arm. Hantz knew that the Lord had spared his life and his limbs. He also knew that he needed Jesus.

When Hantz came to the Mission, his heart was ready for the good news of the Gospel – that in Christ there is forgiveness and hope, there’s a way forward out of the shame. He soaked up the messages in chapel and began to grow in confidence and a sense of purpose. He realized the Lord had placed two big tasks in front of him – pursuing his career and reconnecting with his family.

Hantz in his school uniform

Hantz in his school uniform

While in the hospital, Hantz was deeply touched by the kindness of two particular people – a CNA named Derrick and an RN named Nicole. When they cared for him, they made him feel human. Their small acts of kindness – a word of encouragement, a gentle tone of voice, a smile – had a huge impact. Hantz was ready to give up and die. But they gave him a reason to want to press on. He saw the difference kindness makes and thought to himself, “I have the power to do that.”

Currently, Hantz is addiction-free and enrolled in the Prism Career Institute to become a Licensed Practical Nurse – his first step toward becoming an RN. He plans to stay at the Mission until he graduates from school and launches into his nursing career. He loves serving others and spreading kindness and joy. As for reuniting with family, they’ve welcomed him with open arms. Nothing has brought Hantz more joy than spending time with his 8-year-old daughter, Teeyah – she’s the apple of his eye.

Teeyah finds Hantz's reindeer costume amusing

Teeyah finds Hantz’s reindeer costume amusing

Teeyah's first day of 3rd grade

Teeyah’s first day of 3rd grade

Hantz thanks the Lord for using the Mission to remind him of his capabilities and show him how, in Christ, God always provides for and never forsakes His children. He’s grateful for a second chance at life.

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Join Us for Chapel April 27th!

old chapelDate:
Saturday, April 27, 2019

Time:
Service begins at 6:30 pm
Refreshments to follow at 8:00 pm

Cost: FREE
A freewill offering will be taken during the service. All proceeds help offer a hand-up rather than a hand-out to homeless men at the Whosoever Gospel Mission.

Location:
Calvary Presbyterian Church
405 Easton Rd., Willow Grove PA 19090
(On Rt. 611 heading north, on the right just above where
Routes 263 & 611 separate; or on the left heading south on
Rt. 611 from the PA Turnpike Willow Grove interchange)

Parking:
Calvary Presbyterian Church has a wonderful,
large on-site parking lot.

No RSVP needed:
Invite friends, family, church family & anyone
you wish to introduce to the Mission!

Men singing in chapel - oldFor 127 years, God has been working in the hearts of men and changing lives at the Whosoever Gospel Mission. The world has changed a bit, but the same message of the Gospel – the Good News of Jesus – continues to go forth every day in our chapel, just as it has for the past 127 years!

The Mission continues to be a place where God shines light into dark and lonely places, a place where hope is reborn in the hearts of struggling, homeless men. It’s a place where God’s love continues to melt fear, where His grace and mercy forgive sin, where His compassion covers shame, and His power strengthens the weak.

If you look inside the Mission, you will see a place where God delights to trade beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and hope for weariness – not just in words, but in actual everyday life.

Men singing in chapel - newJoin us for a good old-fashioned chapel service (the kind we have seven days a week!) as we celebrate God’s faithfulness over these past 127 years! Enjoy an evening of firsthand testimonies, joyful singing, and an update on what God is doing in the life of the Mission. Fellowship with us after the service and enjoy refreshments with Mission residents, staff, our board of directors, volunteers, supporters, and friends! We hope to see you there!

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