Author Archives: Whosoever Gospel Mission

From the Director ~ September 2018

IMG_8339-001Dear Friend of the Mission,

Each of our men comes from a family. When we deal with homeless individuals, it is easy to forget that our men are not islands unto themselves, but rather they are in fact sons and fathers, brothers and cousins, husbands, nephews, uncles, grandfathers and grandsons.

This month’s true-story highlight tells a wonderful story of reconciliation and a restored relationship between one of our men and his father.

One of the benefits of serving at the Mission for almost 30 years is that I have the joy of seeing the Lord do wonderful things in healing, building, restoring and strengthening the relationships between our men and their families. Here are a few stories that especially warm my heart – these men are either graduates of the Mission or current residents:

  • The Mission’s staff teachers and volunteer tutors taught George how to read, and for the first time in his life he was able to read a story to his 9-year old daughter.
  • Robert is a single parent father who has raised from birth his daughter Helen. Helen is a delightful young lady doing well in school and is quite active in her church.
  • Greg is a great dad to his birth children and step-children. He has put one daughter through college and currently has two other children in college. Apart from Greg, these children perhaps never would have made it to college.
  • After years of suffering from her husband’s criminal activity and imprisonment, Norma divorced her husband, Tyrone. While incarcerated in Graterford Prison for multiple felonies, Tyrone turned his life over to the Lord through a prison ministry. Tyrone came to the Mission after prison, and we had the joy of helping him to reenter society as a good and godly man. The changes that Norma saw in Tyrone’s life were so great that she remarried him. Tyrone met grandchildren at his wedding that were born while he was in prison. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church!

Your gifts are being used to bless not just our men, but also their families!

With joy and gratitude,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

P.S. Because of your wonderful generosity, our $90,000 deficit has been greatly reduced. Ending our fiscal year on September 30th without a cash deficit is within striking distance! Thank you for your continued prayers and on-going support. A miracle is in the making!

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Summer at the Mission

Here are a few highlights of our summer!


Cordie graduates from the New Life Program

Cordie graduates from the Program

Robert graduates from the Program

Robert graduates from the Program





Cordie and Robert both faced big health challenges while at the Mission. While they were here, they accessed the medical care they needed and worked hard to get back on their feet. Both Cordie and Robert had long journeys to moving into their own places and graduating. But move out and graduate they did! We celebrated their graduation with cake and balloons, the sharing of testimonies, singing, and a charge to the graduates from God’s Word. Cordie & Robert both encouraged the men currently enrolled in the New Life Program to press on and stay the course. We praise God for Cordie and Robert!

Dr. Donna examines Craig's eyes

Dr. Donna examines Craig’s eyes

Eye Clinic

In June, Dr. Donna Elcock and her wonderful team from Great Faith Vision came and provided complete eye care for free to 29 of our men, including prescription glasses. It’s easier to work on rebuilding your life when you can see! We thank God for Dr. Donna and her team!

Our garden!

Our garden!

The Garden

2nd graders from William Penn Charter School earned money to buy plants for our garden. We are looking forward to enjoying fresh salads and other dishes from our homegrown bounty this summer.

Ray keeps on learning

Ray keeps on learning

Forward Movement

Ray Johnson learned how to read for the first time at the age of 50 here at the Mission. Now he’s learning to use a computer. He’s proud & excited to be moving forward. Ray continues to work with Mission teachers & tutors to strengthen his skills.

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Urgent Financial Need

We need your prayers and any help you can give.

We just found out that an $86,500 foundation grant we were actually awarded isn’t going to be coming anytime soon, if at all. This is no one’s fault – please see this letter for an explanation of what happened.

We’ve also had some other financial challenges. This leaves us with a $90,000 deficit as we quickly move toward the end of our fiscal year, September 30, 2018.

God is good. Please pray with us for our daily bread!

We’re reminded that our provision and help is now and always has been from the Lord alone (Psalm 20:7). He’s a good shepherd.

If you’d like to give now online, click here.


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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.


Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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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

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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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