Author Archives: Whosoever Gospel Mission

From the Director ~ August 2018

IMG_8439Dear Friend of the Mission,

We need your prayers and your help at this time to keep doing all that we do to restore homeless men to society as productive, contributing members of our community. Our income always decreases in the summer months, but this summer our finances are especially tight. We currently are running over $90,000 behind in operating income versus expenses. Here’s why:

  • We just found out that a major grant of $86,500 that seemed like a sure thing will not be coming our way any time soon if at all. One of our supporting foundations decided a year ago to cease operations and planned to give us this generous grant as a final distribution. However, they were recently told by the Attorney General’s Office of the state in which they are incorporated that we as well as other non-profits slated to receive a final distribution are not eligible for a final grant since the foundation’s charter (from the 1800’s) limits its grant making to a very specific geographical area of which we are not part. The foundation and we are stunned. This seemed like money in the bank and was actually included in our budget for this year. $86,500 is a huge hole to fill.
  • Some of the churches and individuals that support us have had to significantly reduce their financial support because of their own financial struggles.
  • Other much needed budgeted grant income is reduced this year. Applying for grants is very competitive, and many foundations do not fund the same organization every year.
  • Ten years after our rebuilding from the arson fire, many things are wearing out all at the same time. On a monthly basis we have had HVAC, electrical, sprinkler system, fire alarm, plumbing, and equipment repairs and replacements. Thankfully some of the bigger ticket items have been paid for by special gifts, but the other repairs continue to add up.
  • Our budgeted sales for our two thrift stores are behind by $28,500. Not just our stores, but many thrift stores in the Philadelphia area are struggling. In fact, one large chain of five thrift stores recently filed for bankruptcy. Thankfully we are still far from that point.

Our fiscal year ends on September 30, 2018, and we are praying fervently, cutting expenses, not replacing staff, and working hard to pay our bills and end the year without a deficit. We need your help and prayers over the next six weeks by September 30, 2018. Thanks so much!

Trusting the Lord (Psalm 20:7),

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ Summer 2018

Dear Friend of the Mission,

Your gifts on these hot summer days continue to feed, shelter and clothe the homeless men who live at the Mission. Homelessness never takes a vacation. Your gifts, though, provide our men with so much more than food, shelter and clothing. Your generous gifts also equip our men with the skills and resources they need to achieve a fulfilling life, restored relationships with their family, a lifestyle of recovery from addiction, improved physical and mental health, a good job, a place of their own they can call home, and long-term success as productive, contributing members of our community. Your gifts this summer are being used to make life-giving, life-changing and even life-saving differences in the lives of our men. And all of these critical supports and services are wonderfully blessed by the amazing love and grace of our Lord. We encourage our men to taste and see for themselves the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 34:8).

I want to encourage you too with the truth that your gifts also support and encourage our dedicated and highly trained staff. Our compassionate and talented staff provide our men with all of the practical helps and resources that your gifts make possible.

Heather with family and friends at graduation

Heather with family and friends at graduation

Just a few weeks ago, Heather Rice, my Executive Assistant, graduated with her Doctor of Ministry Degree in Urban Mission from Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, PA. Her dissertation is entitled, “Helping Homeless Men at the Whosoever Gospel Mission Build Healthy Relationships with their Children.” It is such an exceedingly practical and well-written document that other missions are already asking Heather for a copy. Just on a side note, Heather has faithfully served at the Mission since 1993 when she was 13 years old as a freshman volunteer from Central High School. Heather has served at the Mission first as a volunteer and now as a paid staff member for 25 years. During her tenure at the Mission, she earned her bachelor’s degree, her master’s degree and now her doctoral degree. Quite an achievement!!!

I pray and hope that you have many special times this summer with friends and family. Thank you for remembering us and the homeless men at the Mission with your generous gifts.

Sincerely,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ Summer 2018

Overcomers: Reaching Forward

Supporting men on their journey to becoming Overcomers

Men huddle to pray at the close of an Overcomers support group meeting

Men huddle to pray at the close of an Overcomers support group meeting

“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on.”
Philippians 3:13-14

On top of being homeless, many of the men who come to the Mission find themselves ensnared in a life-and-death battle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

The battle isn’t easy. That’s where our Overcomers Drug & Alcohol Recovery Support Groups come in. It’s one more way we seek to offer a hand-up and not just a hand-out.

Here’s what being a part of our Overcomers means to a few of our men:

WilliamWilliam: “Before I came into the program, I felt all alone. In Overcomers, people know how I feel. I’m thankful for my fellow Overcomer’s ears.”

Overcomers DougDoug: “The Overcomers meetings provide me with Christ-centered recovery support & fellowship. It’s a close family. It has brought me closer to Jesus Christ.”

RodneyRodney: “In the group, iron sharpens iron. The Overcomers meeting allows me to keep pressing on.”

Overcomers RogerRoger: Overcomers is “a constant reminder to me that I am not alone in this struggle.”

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From the Director ~ May 2018

IMG_8439Dear Friend of the Mission,

In the Bible we read these sobering words, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15,19 ESV). The Apostle Paul’s words in these verses are a bit of a tongue twister, but in his graphic description of the power of sin in our lives, the Apostle Paul uses language that also describes well the power of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Most of the homeless men who come to the Mission are in fact struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. They come to the Mission because they don’t want to keep using drugs or abusing alcohol – they are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

At the Mission, we help our men overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol. We have our Overcomers drug and alcohol support groups, we provide individual counseling to find answers to the reasons why our men choose to use drugs and alcohol, we do on-site drug and alcohol testing to provide our men with accountability and we provide a loving and supportive community that equips our men with the knowledge, skills and resources they need to overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol. Above all, we point our men to the Lord who is able to give them the motivation and power to break free from the bondage of even years of a life-dominating addiction. In the 30 years I have served at the Mission, we have seen the Lord over and over again set the proverbial captive free from the bondage of drug and alcohol addiction. None of our men were born an addict, but through a variety of circumstances and people, they began to use and abuse drugs or alcohol – they never planned on being an addict, but it happened and quickly took them captive. They became slaves doing what they hate and not doing the things that they love. And tragically once they were addicted, they discovered that they were powerless to overcome their addiction through their own strength. But thankfully, we have a message of hope and power – that addicted men can be set free through the power of Christ living out His life through them.

Overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a tough battle and a life-long struggle – but thankfully through the power of God it is a winnable battle. Please join with us through your generous gifts to help our men overcome their addictions. Your gifts will be used to save a life, to set a captive free, to reunite a father with his children, and to restore a broken man to our community as a productive, contributing member of society. Please give our men a hand up!

With much thanks,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ May 2018

Going Somewhere

Each year, we put out over $16.5K in essential carfare expenses for men in our New Life Program to access medical care and education, to find employment, and to take care of legal issues.

This is what free access to transportation means to a homeless man working hard to get back on his feet:

IMG_8080Brelan – “I’ve had to go to court at 13th & Filbert twice so far, and I go next week, too. If I didn’t have SEPTA tokens to get there, there would e a warrant for my arrest.” Now, as Brelan works hard to do the right and get his life on track, he can focus on putting one step in front of the other and moving forward.

Isaiah and MikeIsaiah & Mike – Isaiah and Mike are both facing surgery on their hands. Mike lost the tip of his finger from an injury he sustained. Isaiah broke his hand and found out it needs to be set with a pin. Neither one would have taken care of their injuries without carfare to get to the hospital. Now, they can get proper treatment to heal.
UPDATE: Both Isaiah and Mike have had their surgeries and are healing well.

IMG_2112 (1)Leonard – The Mission provided carfare for Leonard to get to and from school for orientation and classes, and to go job hunting. Now, Leonard is glad he has the means to purchase his own SEPTA key card for his part time job and school. He couldn’t have gotten started on this path without the transportation help up front.

IMG_8094Michael – Michael is an accomplished chef. He did much of his job searching strategically online. But eventually he needed to go to an interview at Wesley Enhanced Living – Pennypack where he cooked his way into a job at his 2nd interview. Without carfare, his new job would not have been possible.

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From the Director ~ April 2018

IMG_5567-001Dear Friend of the Mission,

It is amazing how time flies!  On Monday, February 19, 2018, I celebrated my 29th anniversary of working at the Whosoever Gospel Mission.  During my tenure at the Mission, we have had the privilege of ministering to thousands of homeless men.  It is always a joy to be traveling around the city and have either a former resident honk their horn at me as they drive by, run up to the Mission’s van when I am stopped at a red light, or walk up to me on the street to say hi.  One of our graduates is a city sanitation worker and used to pick up my trash each week.  One of my most amazing encounters took place years ago in New York City at Christmas time.  One of our graduates, Richard, operated a watch kiosk on the streets of New York City; he was fully licensed as a street vendor by the city of New York.  My family and I were up in New York to see the play, A Christmas Carol, and were making our way to a food court to get lunch before the play.  Manhattan is always crowded, but at Christmas it is impossibly crowded.  As we were standing on a street corner ready to cross the street after the light turned green, I heard a voice calling out, “Rev. Bob.”  And there was Richard, our graduate from the Mission, selling his watches from a kiosk.  God definitely made that meeting happen.  In a city of millions at Christmastime, the chances of Richard and I running into each other is almost impossible.  We had a nice visit, albeit brief, before we went on to see our play.  Just a side note, Richard today is retired and living in California with his wife.  He keeps in touch with us via email and every now and then sends a check our way to help keep the Mission going.

Probably the most eventful thing in my 29 plus years at the Mission is the catastrophic arson fire we suffered on February 25, 2006.  We were shut down for almost three years, and when we re-opened everything was brand new and in perfect condition.  Today, 12 years later, things are starting to break down and wear out – sadly at the same time!  Right now we have over $27,000 in equipment/building replacement and repairs including a new lobby tile floor, a new fire alarm monitoring panel, emergency repairs to our phone system and the need to replace it with a new system (we actually discovered our phone panel smoking with melted plastic – we really don’t want another fire!), and pump repairs to our heating system and water booster pumps.  We need your help at this time to keep the Mission going as a safe, warm, pleasant, efficient and comfortable place for our men.  Our ministry to homeless men is much more than bricks and mortar, but a good facility helps to make our ministry even more effective.  Thanks so much!

With warm regards,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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Christmas 2017 Video

For men experiencing homelessness, the holidays can be a hard. The Mission family wishes to extend a great big THANK YOU to everyone who gave to make this Christmas special for the men of the Whosoever Gospel Mission and their families.

Check out this short video that gives you a taste of our Christmas celebration.

 

Thank You for a great Christmas!Thank you to everyone who donated to make Christmas special for the men of the Mission!

Posted by Whosoever Gospel Mission on Friday, January 12, 2018

 

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Giving Gifts, Building Bridges

IMG_7499When someone struggles with unemployment, an addiction, or other issues that can end up leading to homelessness, family relationships suffer. Many of the men here at the Mission working hard to overcome these and other barriers to successful, productive, independent living desire to rebuild and strengthen those relationships – especially with their children.

Because of the generosity of  countless donors, this Christmas residents and graduates of the New Life Program lovingly selected and wrapped approximately 1,550 gifts for 227 of their children. The gifts are from the men – not the Mission. Each toy purchased and donated to the Mission is a gift to a dad  – it’s the gift of being a dad, of having the joy of giving a present to his child.

It’s also a gift to a kid – the gift of a dad – a dad with whom to play catchphrase or Candy Land or to throw that football.

Thank you, all who gave! Here are a few photos of the festivities:

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From the Director ~ Christmas 2017

Bob Emberger

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Dear Friend of the Mission,

When you are homeless, there is no peace or joy living on the harsh streets of Philadelphia. There is only chaos, danger and strife. There are no halls to deck with boughs of holly, or Christmas trees to decorate. Ironically, for a person experiencing homelessness, the festive decorations and joyful music of the season can feel like salt being rubbed into an open wound. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration with friends and family, but none of this is true when you are homeless. Because of these sad and painful realities, we work extra hard to make the Mission a warm and happy home for the holidays – a place of joy, family, friends and celebration. The Mission becomes a place of safety, hope and peace. If you stop by at the Mission during the month of December (and you are always welcome to do so!), 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 wonderful Christmas carols joyfully sung by our men in chapel, you would see our men smile at our Christmas party as they receive gifts donated by Mission friends, and you would see our men experience for themselves the real joy and hope of the season. We go all out at Christmas to bless our men. 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), “and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). We want our men to capture and experience for themselves the hope and joy of that first Christmas. This is the best Christmas present ever that our men can experience.

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

  1. Give a generous year-end gift of cash. God will use your gift to impact and change lives.
  2. 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 compassionate services to our men. Your gift will be used to make life-giving, life-changing, and life-saving differences in the lives of our men.
  3. Some families bless our men by pooling their money and giving a special Christmas gift to the Mission from their family (individual receipts for each donor can still be given).
  4. Give the Mission 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. Please call me at 215 438 3094 (ext 102).
  5. If you have a donor-advised fund, you can recommend that a grant be made to the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your grant will bless our men in many ways.
  6. Make a Charitable IRA Distribution to the Mission. 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 online donation. You can also set up a monthly recurring donation for 2018.
  8. Make your online purchases through AmazonSmile which is run by Amazon.com as a unique way to support charities. You will get the same service, same merchandise, same prices. Register with AmazonSmile and designate the Whosoever Gospel Mission to receive a percentage of all the eligible purchases you make on AmazonSmile. You can search for the Mission on AmazonSmile, or you can type in the following link: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/23-1352579. You won’t pay any more for your purchases, but you will be helping the Whosoever Gospel Mission.

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 New 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 kind and generous support.

As we finish out 2017 and begin 2018, 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 2017. Your generous support was wonderfully used by the Lord to impact 196 homeless men in 2017. Your gift also impacted their families, their friends and society as a whole as our men became responsible, contributing members of our community. Your support made a big difference, and will continue to do so in the days ahead.

Wishing you the joy and peace of Christmas,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

Posted in From the Staff | Comments Off on From the Director ~ Christmas 2017

The Mission family is thankful for much!

Enjoying the fellowship at our 2016 Thanksgiving Day Feast

Enjoying the fellowship at our 2016 Thanksgiving Day Feast

When asked what they’re thankful for, this is what our men shared:

  • The opportunity to get myself together
  • Peace
  • Being clean today
  • Joy
  • God’s love
  • A place to be while I deal with my health problems
  • Grace and mercy
  • That Christ forgave me
  • Life
  • Peace of mind
  • Being clean and sober
  • A Savior that loves me no matter what I do
  • Having good people around me
  • The opportunity to come here and reestablish who I am
  • A place to call homes
  • The opportunity to interact with people here at the Mission
  • Everything!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1

Thank you for helping to make these blessings and so many others possible.

From our family to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving!

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