Author Archives: Whosoever Gospel Mission

Summer Highlights

We received a special grant to buy planters and flowers to beautify the Mission’s front entrance. This is where New Life Program residents hang out to get fresh air. It’s also where men coming in off of the street enter the building to begin their journey in the New Life Program.

As one resident said, the flowers give a sense of hope and cheer – like a message from the Lord that you’ve come to the right place. Bob Emberger clearly had fun selecting and planting all of the flowers.

Great Faith Vision came to the Mission and blessed us with complete eye exams and health screenings for 28 of our residents, almost all of whom ended up needing and receiving prescription eye glasses!

Poor eyesight is such a hindrance to employment and independent living. When we send an uninsured gentleman in desperate need of eye care to a local vision center, it costs us around $180 for the exam and glasses. We can’t afford to do that for everyone.

But Great Faith Vision treated 28 men for free! Everyone around the Mission is seeing things much more clearly now!

A friend of the Mission won a new bicycle but didn’t need it, so she gifted it to one of our residents. It was the perfect thing for Ezra. He’s still in therapy after a knee replacement and could use the help getting around. He went to the bike shop to pick up this amazing bike, custom fitted to him!

Posted in Photos & Videos, Real Stories | Comments Off on Summer Highlights

From the Director ~ September 2022

Dear friends

As we approach the end of our fiscal year September 30th, we have much to thank God for! It’s been a BIG year for us. We’ve definitely experienced huge change (and all the normal aches and pains that go along with such change). At the same time, we’ve thankfully enjoyed ongoing stability and significant growth.

Financially, it looks like we will end the year in the black with all of our expenses covered. That’s even with some capital projects we tackled this year including a new roof, a major repointing project, a new walk-in refrigerator, and all new computers. That’s a huge praise! We’ve significantly expanded our staffing (and with it our annual expenses) by hiring an Executive Assistant and a Program Director. Both were necessary for me to step away from some daily tasks and into the role of Executive Director. Bob Emberger continues to be a tremendous help mentoring me in my new role, coordinating our volunteers and church partnerships, and doing grant writing. We’ve also increased our minimum starting salary to make sure every team member earns a livable wage. We have a great staff that continues to joyfully love and serve the men in Jesus’ Name. All of this lends great stability to the Mission community.

This stability, in turn, has allowed us to keep on growing and developing the scope and quality of the program services we offer. Over the past year we began covering 50% of the money our graduates needed to move into their own apartments. We’ve been tweaking the New Life Program to better fit today’s job market and our residents’ current needs. We’ve leaned even harder into celebrating residents’ milestones and achievements, like publicly honoring men when they advance in the Program from the Foundations Phase to the Careers Phase and begin their job search. We’ve added more layers of addiction recovery support, and we’re actively trying to cultivate an atmosphere of hope in the midst of all that is broken in our lives, families, city, and beyond. These things and more are the results of asking the simple question, “What does it look like to love God and others right here, right now?”

That’s a question the Mission has been asking for decades. It helps us focus on people, not programming. It allows us to meet men where they are and adjust what we do to help. Thank you for your part in helping to love our men well. As we begin our new fiscal year on October 1st, your generous financial support is needed more than ever as we all continue to experience increased expenses. Thank you in advance for your support, prayers, and encouragement!

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Don’t mind our squinting faces – it was sunny! But you can see some of our newly pointed front wall. You’ll also notice that our flowers are still alive and thriving!
Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ September 2022

From the Director ~ July/August 2022

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Germantown where the Lord continues to do great things! Sometimes those things are big and loud. Other times they’re quiet and subtle. But we rejoice in them all. We celebrated with two New Life Program graduates who just moved into their own places this past month. Another gentleman was invited to his 7-year-old daughter’s kindergarten graduation. He made her a card and a ticket for one free movie outing with dad (which she redeemed that very afternoon!). They had a lovely daddy/daughter date. There’s much to celebrate.

The Lord has also been working in the heavier, harder things. Two of our residents recently lost loved ones. Another man received a tough medical diagnosis. Each of these men has stayed through the trial thus far. They are plugging into community and reaching out for help rather than running away to hide or relying on old habits to numb the pain. We rejoice in this good work of God, too, even while we grieve, pray, love, and hope.

And then there are the men who just keep plugging away through the ordinary obstacles of life. They’re choosing to keep on doing one right thing after another and trusting God to bless and provide. Will is one such gentleman. He recently shared a bit of his story. You can read it here. I think you’ll enjoy it (especially if you like Tastykakes). I certainly do.

My late dad was a Tastykake guy for most of his career. One evening, when I was little, we were all sitting around the dinner table after dad got home from work. When we had finished, he said “Hey Heather, I have something for you in my jacket pocket.” I excitedly ran to the next room and fished in his pocket for what I was sure would be a banana creamie, my favorite Tastykake at the time (they don’t make them anymore!). Instead, it was a digital Cabbage Patch Kid watch with a purple leather band that he picked up from a guy on his route. I declared “A Cabbage Patch Kid watch! That was my next guess!” After my parents finished laughing, my dad said “No it wasn’t! You didn’t even know such a thing existed until now!” He had a point.

When I saw that watch, I realized it’s what I would have wanted, if only I knew it existed. Often, it’s the same way here at the Mission. Men come looking for one thing – help overcoming an addiction, getting a job, or a place to stay. But then they encounter the love of Jesus and realize that God wants to give them so much more – peace, joy, forgiveness, hope, and a good future. Thanks for your part in helping men find not only what they came for, but so much more.

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff, Uncategorized | Comments Off on From the Director ~ July/August 2022

Meet Will

Tastykakes aren’t the only reason Will has many friends at the Mission, but it sure doesn’t hurt when he brings them home from work to share with the Mission family!

After completing the Foundations Phase of the Mission’s New Life Program, Will got a job at Tastykake where he continues to thrive. He has good benefits and has just been approved for full-time permanent work. But that’s not his end goal. He’s striving for more. He wants to build this job into a career, save up money, find a good apartment, and get more involved in his home church. He wants to keep growing.

If you ask Will what he’s learning these days, he’ll tell you God is teaching him to slow down and not move too fast. He’s learning that God is the One who blesses his efforts, and that walking with Him and taking the time to do things the right way always pays off.

It’s like the laws of the harvest we often talk about at the Mission. We reap WHAT we sow, we reap MORE than we sow, and we reap LATER than we sow. Will is working on planting seeds of faithfulness, and he’s waiting patiently. Now he’s starting to enjoy a harvest of good things. He’s praying more, trying to listen more than he speaks, and choosing to humble himself before the Lord and trust in Him and His timing.

Will takes to heart and lives out the Bible verse that says “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Meet Will

Urgent Need Met! Walk-In Refrigerator

UPDATE: Thank you to all who helped us reach our goal!

Our 14-year-old large walk-in refrigerator needs to be replaced as soon as possible. The whole project will cost us $17,950. Friends just committed $10,000 to replace the fridge. We’re looking to raise the remaining $7,950. We serve about 165 meals each day to men working hard to overcome addictions, find good jobs, and secure their own permanent housing. Any help is deeply appreciated!

https://www.facebook.com/donate/560075255849541/

Thanks!

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on Urgent Need Met! Walk-In Refrigerator

From the Director ~ June 2022

Dear friends,

With summer upon us, we’re grateful for good air conditioning in our main building. We had our system switched over from heat to air just one day before that 90+ degree weekend hit us in May. The relief is worth the increased electric bill – especially for several of our residents with serious health issues that affect their breathing (like asthma, COPD, and congestive heart failure). Thank you for your part in helping to keep the air conditioning on and our residents breathing easier!

Life around the Mission continues full speed ahead with all its joys and struggles. Pray for our residents – that the Lord would grant freedom for those struggling with addictions, encouragement for the weary, the opening of doors for those that are stuck, good jobs for those looking for work, and safe, affordable housing for those who are ready to graduate and move on. We have seen again and again how the Lord opens doors and provides in ways that we could never expect or imagine. It’s always a delight to witness.

Joey

One such joy is Joey. It’s been a pleasure to watch his growth and success. He persevered through several difficult situations. He stuck it out at a tough job until he found a better one. He kept to his budget and saved up and eventually found a place. I recently had the joy of signing a check payable to his new landlord for 50% of his security deposit, first and last month’s rent – all of which was due at lease signing. Joey graduated from the New Life Program and moved into his new place on May 19th! Joey, his family, and the whole Mission community could not be happier for him. Pray for Joey as he settles into this new season of life.

Thank you for all the ways you help and support men like Joey. Your prayers, financial support, and donations of items from our needs list are a blessing (you’ll find an updated needs list here). The Lord bless and keep you in His grace!

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ June 2022

Meet Michael

If you’ve dropped off food at the Mission’s kitchen door recently, you might have been greeted with a burst of joy from Michael, our new Hospitality Supervisor. He loves sharing God’s love through good food and warm smiles.

But Michael wasn’t always joyful. At 13, he lost both of his grandparents in one week. He was devastated. His uncle reached out and took him to church where he found comfort, joy and peace in Jesus and through fellowship with people. Things were better for a season.

But over time, depression and anxiety set in and Michael found himself drifting in and out of dark places. In March of 2020, his father passed away suddenly and Michael sank into a deep depression. He withdrew from life.

After losing his car, his apartment, and ultimately, any strong desire to live, Michael came to the Mission in December of 2021 and joined the New Life Program.

Chapel, Bible studies, and our Overcomers drug and alcohol recovery support groups are Michael’s favorite parts of the program. After rededicating his life to following Jesus, Michael says his joy has been restored. His coworkers and fellow residents concur.

He’s found a new church home that he loves, and a new outlook on life. If you were to pick a word to describe Michael, it would without a doubt be “joy.”

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Meet Michael

From the Director ~ May 2022

Dear Friends,

Blessings to you and yours! As I think about the “yours” of that last phrase, I think about family – both family by blood and family by love. Sometimes, in the brokenness of this world, families drift apart. Addiction, homelessness, and incarceration, among other challenges, have a way of driving families apart even farther. It can get lonely. But thankfully, the Lord delights to place those who are lonely in families. Psalm 68:5-6 says it this way, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing…” This is what He does at the Mission all the time!

There is healing that happens in relationship. As men come to the Mission and form deep bonds of love and friendship with fellow residents, the Lord has a way of lessening the loneliness. Many times, as men grow and change while working hard to rebuild their lives at the Mission, opportunities to reconnect with long lost family arise. But when that happens, sometimes it comes with new waves of grief. Some men reconnect with family only to find out that while they were lost to the streets or their addiction, a loved one died, and they are now buried and gone. Sometimes that loved one is a parent or grandparent, or perhaps an aunt who raised them.

Our own Rev. Dr. Bob Emberger’s sister, Kay, recently passed away. Keep him in prayer. Losing a loved one is always hard, but it’s especially difficult to officiate at their funeral as Bob did for Kay. By God’s grace, the Embergers are blessed with the gift of family in the midst of their grief, including a brother/uncle/father/cousin in Bob who could minister to them and point them to the sustaining love of Jesus in the midst of their sorrow. But imagine the added layer of sorrow for someone who misses out on the support that comes from being together as a family in the midst of their grief. When this happens to our men, they are left to grieve alone. It’s at times like these that the Mission family naturally and spontaneously reaches out to surround and uphold their brother. They encourage and help one another like family.

Thank you for your part in making it possible for the Mission to be such a safe, rich, and nurturing family. May God bless and keep you and yours!

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff, Uncategorized | Comments Off on From the Director ~ May 2022

Congrats Grads!

“Run Hah-Dah!”

That’s “run harder!” with the Brooklyn accent of Bob Emberger’s cross-country coach, Phil Golden, from Lincoln High School in the 1970s. It’s also the charge we share with men as they graduate from the New Life Program, based on Hebrews 12:1-2.

Coach Golden would tell his runners to keep looking at him. Don’t look to the right or to the left. Don’t look behind you. Just look straight ahead, and run harder!

Running the race of life is similar. In the battle to overcome addictions and navigate life’s obstacles, we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Don’t get distracted by what other people are doing. Just keep running with your eyes on Jesus who delights in responding with “well done!”

Recently, we had the joy of celebrating the graduations of Ed, Mark, Lamont, and Ray. Each one’s life is a testimony of perseverance as they worked through obstacles and pressed on toward the goal. And they’re still running the race today!

May we all, by God’s grace, keep our eyes on the Lord and “run hah-dah!”

Ray at his graduation with Executive Director Heather Rice and Director of Advancement Bob Emberger.

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Congrats Grads!

From the Director ~ April 2022

Dear friends,

So much has been happening around the Mission, I hardly know where to begin! First of all, I want to start with a great big THANK YOU. Since Bob Emberger shared the news of our leadership transition, we have not ceased to be encouraged! As you may have heard, March 1st of this year Bob stepped down from being Executive Director because of his health and moved into the vital new role of Director of Advancement. I, in turn, have become the new Executive Director. So many friends have reached out to support and encourage us. We are grateful!

Your prayers are so very necessary and deeply appreciated. Please keep praying for Bob’s continued recovery, strength, and stamina. Pray for me – for wisdom and a heart that is open to the Lord’s leading. Pray for our residents and staff and their families – that the Lord would give grace upon grace as we seek to follow Him one step at a time.

As winter comes to a close and spring begins, we look ahead with joy and anticipation. We have several long-in-the-works facilities projects finally coming to completion. These will beautify our property, ensure its usefulness for years to come, and facilitate ministry here and now. Our oldest building is 111 years old and with a little love is ready to keep on serving us for many more. We’re also excited to be able once again to have outside church groups come in to do chapels. We have our first groups returning this spring!

Meanwhile, the Mission is a hive of positive, forward-moving activity every day. James is in school studying to be a chef. Will started a job at Tastykake (and brings us Butterscotch Krimpets!). Lamont put together a workable budget, saved up enough money from his job at a local pizza place, graduated from the New Life Program and moved out into his own place. We also just hired two New Life Program residents to work full time at the Mission – Roger as a Thrift Shop Associate and Michael as our Hospitality Supervisor. There are dozens more like these men, working hard to overcome the obstacles in their path, build a solid foundation for life, achieve their goals, and move into their own permanent housing.

Your support is used by God to make all of this possible. On behalf of the whole Mission family, thank you. God’s richest blessings to you and yours.

Grace and peace,

Heather L. Rice, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ April 2022