On Thursday, December 20th, our chapel was transformed into a toy store and 54 of our New Life Program residents and graduates selected and wrapped about 1,500 gifts for 201 of their kids. See some of the joy and excitement as men reach out to rebuild and strengthen bridges to family and home.
Here at the Whosoever Gospel Mission, we have so much to be thankful for. Every day we experience the Lord’s blessing as He works to free men from their addictions and open doors of opportunity. We have the privilege of watching as He breathes new life into men who are weary and homeless, those who have been battered by the world.
We’re also thankful that God continues to provide our daily bread. He used you, our friends, to pull us out of a HUGE deficit. We never skipped a meal; our doors never shut. We give thanks.
It’s easy to be thankful for these things. But sometimes, when we’re in the midst of hard things, giving thanks is more of a sacrifice.
When we’re in the midst of great adversity and our hearts are overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, loneliness, anger or self-pity, we don’t feel like giving thanks. But the Lord invites us to call on Him while we make a sacrifice of thanksgiving – while we choose to thank Him in spite of what we’re feeling. Then our hearts find the freedom to truly sing songs of thanksgiving.
This would be impossible if not for Jesus, our Great Sacrifice, who gave Himself up for us. Emmanuel – God with us – the One who conquers sin and death by rising again – proves that He can be trusted with our lives, families, dreams and futures. He walks with us through the good times as well as the hard times.
Here at the Mission, we have the joy of seeing God do just that as He works in the hearts and lives of men, producing sacrifices of thanksgiving in the midst of life’s joys and adversities.
This Thanksgiving, may the same be true of us all! God’s richest blessings to you and your family as you give Him thanks!
Here are a few highlights of our summer!
Cordie 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
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!
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 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.
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.
When 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:
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!
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!
As they spoke to a packed chapel of (cheering) residents, staff and families at the Whosoever Gospel Mission, Wentz and Maragos both shared how Jesus gave them new life. Now their heart’s desire is to live in awe of Him and no one else. He is the One they want to make famous.
They admitted that fame can be intoxicating (they would know!). It’s also fleeting. When we live in awe of people or money or worldly goods, we end up disappointed. But when we live in awe of Jesus – the One who gave Himself for us, the One who is truly worthy of our worship and awe – then we can find and enjoy our proper place in this world. The struggle to deny ourselves and our own pride is tough, though. Thankfully, it’s not one we face alone.
We need to be rooted in the Word of God.
Maragos shared Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17:17: “Sanctify them in the truth. Your Word is truth.” God uses His Word to peel back the layers of our hearts and lives, to wash us and renew us, to make us more like Jesus as we walk in Him. We need to diligently study the Bible and ask God to teach us through His Word.
We need each other.
Walking with Jesus is not something we do alone. It’s like a team sport – we need each other to reach the goal. What’s the goal? Making the name of the Lord famous in all the earth as we share the love of Jesus with everyone!
How do we accomplish the goal? We accomplish it as the whole Body of Christ works together in the church, building each other up as we seek to love God and others. It’s a church where a homeless man in a rescue mission working to rebuild his life and a famous NFL football player at the top of his game have the same rights, responsibilities, privileges and power. Jesus levels the playing field.
Let’s make His Name famous!
This Christmas the love of many stretched far beyond their immediate family and reached out to include the 55 homeless men who live at the Mission and their families! As you baked cookies, prepared meals, bought toys and gave gifts to our men, our families truly became one. Here are a few of the festive highlights:
- Our men selected & wrapped over 1,400 FREE toys & gifts for 195 of their kids & grandkids! While they wrapped up their gifts, a pastor prayed with each man for his family.
- We feasted on Christmas cookies & special holiday meals all season long. The sweet laughter of children rang through our dining hall as families visited with men working hard to rebuild bridges to home.
- Each man was blessed with 13 Christmas presents lovingly prepared by churches & families and filled with all kinds of treats.
Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus, our Emmanuel – God with us! – at a time when people can feel so alone. Your love was deeply felt and greatly appreciated!
Check out these photos for a glimpse of what it looked like!
Here at the Mission, we are thankful for much! We gathered together on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the Lord’s goodness to us and to give thanks. Tim shared how he’s thankful for true friends who love him enough to speak truth to him even when it’s hard to hear. Mark thanked God for the Mission family. Others thanked Him for second chances, grace and many blessings. After a chapel service filled with joyful singing and grateful testimonies, we shared a feast around warmly decorated tables. Here’s a snippet of the festivities to enjoy!
This year’s garden produced a bountiful harvest that was enjoyed all summer long by Mission residents working hard to rebuild their lives! We’re especially grateful to the 2nd graders of William Penn Charter School who raised money to buy our plants again this year!