Category Archives: From the Staff

From the Director ~ September 2016

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Bob Emberger, Executive Director

Dear Friend of the Mission,

“Life can be totally different – you can enjoy a good life filled with the blessings of the Lord!” In many different ways this is something we try to convey to our residents during their stay at the Mission. The homeless men who come to the Mission have suffered a hard life – a life of poverty, homelessness, hunger, abuse, loneliness and despair. They are rather skeptical that their life can ever be any different. For years and sometimes even a lifetime, all they have known is pain and hardship.

We work hard to light a spark of hope in the hearts of our men. We do so by both our words and our actions. For example, our chapel services are joy-filled celebrations in which we emphasize the love and goodness of the Lord. Our meals are delicious and nutritious and often end up with no leftovers because our men come back for seconds and even thirds. We try to maintain a clean, comfortable and nicely decorated dormitory. Our dormitory air conditioning was really appreciated by our men this past summer which set records for the number of days in the 90’s.

Lately, we have been asking folks to either donate new pillows for our men (you can order them on-line and have them delivered directly to us) or to give us gift cards to buy pillows at Walmart, Target or Amazon. While we put vinyl mattress covers on our mattresses to protect from bedbugs, we never put a vinyl pillowcase on our pillows because vinyl pillowcases are just plain uncomfortable. We use only cloth pillowcases. However, this results in our pillows wearing out sooner with the result that we are always in need of new, fluffy pillows for our men.

We also provide our men with a comprehensive program that gives them all of the skills and resources they need to get a good job, move into their own home and to no longer be homeless. As the Lord begins to rebuild the broken lives of our men, that small spark of hope implanted in their heart is fanned into a brightly burning flame that fills them with hope and confidence to move forward in life. Our men begin to experience for themselves what we told them when they first arrived at the Mission – that life can be totally different, that they can enjoy the good things of the Lord for themselves.

Please accept my special thanks for the generous gifts you have given to eliminate our cash deficit by the end of our fiscal year on September 30th. You have made a huge dent in our $30,000 cash deficit. Please continue to give as you are able so we finish our current fiscal year with all of our bills paid and we begin our new fiscal year on October 1st on a firm financial footing.

With much thankfulness,
Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ July 2016

img_2435In 1892 our founder often prayed-in the evening meal!

 Dear Friend of the Mission,

When the Whosoever Gospel Mission was founded in 1892, our founder, William Raws, had no money, no denominational sponsorships, no corporate backing, no foundation grants, and very little church support.  His journals indicate that some days the Mission’s cupboards were bare – he had no food for the evening meal.  And so he prayed.  Our records indicate that we never missed a meal – our men were always fed – 3 meals a day, 365 days a year.  God always gave us our daily bread!  Thankfully, 124 years later, our cupboards are not bare.  We serve three hearty and plentiful meals each day.  We even have a snack table with fresh fruit, and right now, with a big bowl of Sweetzels spiced wafers (someone donated 15 plus cases of these delicious cookies – they are my favorite cookie!).  However, we still ask the Lord to give us our daily bread.  We know that God is the giver of all good gifts, and that He promises to provide for us.  And so we expectantly and thankfully look to the Lord for His provision.  He never fails us – our men have never gone hungry.  And our food is consistently good, plentiful and nutritious.

You are a big part of how God gives us our daily bread.  Your kind and generous financial gifts and your non-cash donations of food and other items give us the life-giving resources we need to provide our men with their basic needs as well as everything else they need to achieve a fulfilling life, a lifestyle of recovery from addiction, restored family relationships, a good job, a place of their own they can call home, and long-term success as productive, contributing members of society.  Thank you for making a huge difference for good in the lives of our men.

Enjoying the goodness of God,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ May 2016

Executive Director

Executive Director, Bob Emberger

Dear Friend of the Mission,

Perseverance is one of the most important qualities that our men need to possess.  Without it, the obstacles, challenges and set-backs they face will cause them to give up.  And if they give up, then nothing will ever change for them, and they will stay stuck in a hopeless pit of chronic homelessness, crushing poverty, acute hardship, personal degradation, compromised health, and they will more than likely suffer an untimely death. So in all that we do, we work hard to encourage our men to persevere, to never give up, to ask God to move the mountains in their lives, to believe that the Lord can make a way when there is no way, to keep on keeping on.

Our chapel and graduation services abound with testimonies of how God brought our men through overwhelming trials and difficulties.  Recently one of our graduates, Robert, shared how he almost left the Mission within a week after he came here, but his fellow residents encouraged him to stick and stay.  Robert told how the Lord wonderfully blessed his decision to stay even though everything within him was crying out to leave. Staying at the Mission is one of the best choices he ever made.

Another recent graduate, Gerry, shared how he was determined to persevere and graduate from the Mission’s program in spite of numerous set-backs.  When Gerry first came to the Mission, he did quite well and obtained a good job.  However, Gerry had a trial pending.  At his trial, he was sentenced to a work-release prison sentence and lost his good job even though his general manager tried to get his corporate headquarters to make an exception to their policy so Gerry could keep on working at their company during his work-release prison sentence.  Gerry was assigned to another work site but then was hit by a car during one of his work assignments.  He was pretty banged up but eventually completed his prison sentence and came back to the Mission to finish our New Life Program.  However, because of his injuries from being hit by the car, Gerry needed to have knee surgery which prolonged his graduation from the Mission’s New Life Program.  But eventually Gerry did successfully graduate from the New Life Program – his perseverance paid off.  Today, he continues to press on by God’s grace.

Thank you for your kind and generous support which is used to help our men persevere, to never give up, to trust God to make a way when there is no way.  Your gifts to the Mission are a sound investment in the lives of our men that pay dividends for years to come.  Thank you for helping us to keep-on-keeping-on so we in turn can help our men to keep-on-keeping-on.

Pressing on by God’s grace,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger. D.Min.                                                                                                          Executive Director

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From the Director ~ April 2016

Bob at Colorado Monument

Bob at the Colorado Monument

Dear Friend of the Mission,

At the end of March, my wife Marcia and I visited our son, daughter-in-law and 4 precious granddaughters in Grand Junction, Colorado. My son Jason is an Assistant Pastor of a church in Grand Junction. We certainly had a wonderful time with our son’s family – we can never spend enough time with our granddaughters!

jason tina and the girls 2016

Bob’s son Jason with his wife Tina and their four daughters

Grand Junction, Colorado is a very beautiful part of our country. On one side of the Grand Valley where Grand Junction is situated is the Grand Mesa, a majestic 11,000 ft. high flat mountain. On the other side of the Grand Valley is the Colorado National Monument, a beautiful national park filled with amazing rock formations, ravines, and breathtaking panoramas.

As beautiful as this scenery is, the amazing grace transformations that take place in the lives of our men are even more beautiful.

A view from the Colorado National Monument

A view from the Colorado National Monument

On a daily basis, we have the joy and privilege of seeing God rebuild and transform shattered lives that have been damaged and destroyed by addiction, childhood trauma, street violence, the terrible consequences that come from poor choices, incarceration, serious health problems, unjust treatment from others, a poor education, and deep poverty that is impossible to escape apart from someone giving you a hand-up. Through our life-changing ministry, we have seen God bring beauty out of ashes, turn mourning into joy, give hope to the hopeless, and even put Humpty Dumpty back together again – doing the impossible for our men.

Your kind and generous support keeps the Mission going as a place where every day the Lord makes happen these wonderful transformations in the lives of our men. Thank you in advance for your financial support. Please also take a look at our enclosed Spring and Summer Needs List. Whether you give cash or items on our needs list, your gifts will be used to help our men rebuild their lives brick by brick. And most exciting of all, the Lord will use your gifts to transform the lives of our men so that they truly become masterpieces of God’s amazing grace.

Joyfully working together wtih you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ March 2016

Bob with his wife Marcia and their 4 granddaughters

Bob with his wife Marcia and their 4 granddaughters

Celebrating families – how the Lord has used the Whosoever Gospel Mission to restore, rebuild, strengthen and bless the families of our men over the last 124 years!

Dear Friend of the Mission,

All of us come from a family. And whatever we do, whether it be good or bad, affects our families. The homeless men who come to the Mission for help are no different than any of us. They have families, and in most cases the families of our men have been deeply hurt and damaged by the choices and actions of our men. In some cases, our men’s families have been shattered into a thousand hopeless pieces of broken dreams and crushing heartache. But we have good news for the homeless men who live at the Mission – God loves families, and God cares deeply about the families of our men. We believe that the Lord wants to heal, rebuild and make strong the broken and shattered families of our men. Over the years, we have seen firsthand God wondrously restore our men to their families, we have seen the Lord make whole and healthy the damaged families of our men, and we have seen new families established in which God is at the center of the family. Through your kind and generous support, we are able to love homeless men with the love of Christ, we are able to provide for their basic needs, and we are able to equip them with the vital skills and resources they need to enjoy a fulfilling life, a lifestyle of recovery from addiction, a good job, their own place to live they can call home, and long-term success as productive, contributing members of society. And perhaps best of all, through your support, we are also able to help our men restore, rebuild, strengthen and bless their families.

On Saturday night, April 9th beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:00 p.m., please join us for our second annual Night of Celebration. The Whosoever Gospel Mission will be celebrating 124 years of God’s grace in the lives and families of the hundreds and thousands of homeless men who have entered our doors over the years. Refreshments will follow at 8:00 p.m. after the program. Calvary Presbyterian Church in Willow Grove, PA is graciously opening up their church for this event. I hope you can join us. This wonderful event is free, and you can bring as many people as you like. Reservations are not required, and please feel free to dress casually. We are looking forward to a great night filled with much joy and celebration. All of the details are included here. I look forward to seeing you on April 9th.

Warmly yours,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ February 2016

Save the date! – Our second annual night of celebration will be held on Saturday, April 9th from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – Refreshments will be served after the program. Admission is free – just a free-will offering. Details will follow.

Dear Friend of the Mission,

Derrick and Steve enjoy each other's company at a Christmas luncheon.

Derrick and Steve enjoy each other’s company at a Christmas luncheon.

Please enjoy these photos filled with laughter, smiles, good food, toys and gifts from our 2015 Christmas celebration at the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your financial gifts, gifts of new toys for the children and grandchildren of our men, gifts for our men and all sorts of other wonderful kindnesses made Christmas 2015 a wonderful time at the Mission. Thank you for making Christmas for our men (and their kids and grandkids!) a time of celebration and joy rather than a sad time filled with crushing loneliness, heartache, regrets and hopelessness. Our men and their families join with me in thanking you.

Gifts for the men

Each resident personally received 14 different presents this Christmas from friends who lovingly made up gift bags for the men.

As we begin this new year of 2016, please let me also thank you for your kind and generous support throughout 2015. You have given us food, good used items for our thrift stores, laundry detergent, personal care items, office supplies, over-the-counter medicines, paper products, cleaning supplies, trash bags, new underwear and socks, and good used grocery bags for our thrift stores. You have supported us financially through generous cash gifts, employee giving programs such as the United Way and the Combined Federal Campaign, gifts of stock, donor advised fund grants, employer matching gift programs, and gift cards to stores we shop at for the Mission. We truly wish we could thank you all individually and in person!

Your support helped us to provide life-giving, life-changing and even life-saving help to our men.

2016 02 toys

New Life Program Residents & Graduates gave over 1,000 brand-new gifts to 127 of their children and grandchildren this Christmas! Each child received an assortment of gifts including a main toy, puzzles, games, stuffed animals, hats & scarves.

The Mission is ultimately not about programs, bricks and mortar, but it is about loving broken and hurting homeless men with the love of Christ, giving them a hand-up and not just a handout, and giving them a real hope that changes their lives both now and forever. Your gifts are a sound investment in the lives of our men that will keep on growing and paying out dividends for years to come. The positive changes that take place in just one of our men will touch and impact for good the lives of hundreds of other people – perhaps even your life and the lives of your friends and family. Keep on investing in our men – your support makes a huge difference for good.

With heartfelt thanks,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ Merry Christmas!

IMG_2174Dear Friend of the Mission,

“There’s no place like home for the holidays!” That is so true, but for many of our men, they will not be home for the holidays – instead they will be at the Whosoever Gospel Mission – not a bad place, but not their true home. However, we work extra hard to make the Mission a warm and happy home for the holidays. If you would stop by the Mission during the month of December, 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 glorious Christmas carols joyfully sung in our chapel, you would see our men smile on Christmas Eve at our Christmas party as they receive gifts donated by Mission friends, and you would experience firsthand the wonder and joy of the season. We go all out at Christmas to bless our men, and 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). As the angel of the Lord said to the shepherds that first Christmas, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10). We want our men to capture and experience for themselves the wonder and joy of that first Christmas. This is the best present of all!

As we quickly move toward the end of 2015, please consider making a special gift to the Mission so that we can keep the joy and hope of Christmas before our men each and every day throughout 2016. Here are a few special ways you can help:

  1. A generous year-end sacrificial gift. God will use your gift to change lives.
  2. Some families bless our men by pooling their resources and giving a special Christmas gift to the Mission from their family (individual receipts for each donor can still be given).
  3. 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 direct services to our men. Your gift would be a major investment in the lives of our men.
  4. Give 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. If you would like to do this, please call me at 215 438 3094 (ext 102).
  5. If you have set up a donor advised fund, you can recommend that a grant be made to the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your grant will make a difference in the lives of our men.

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 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 support.

As we finish out 2015 and begin 2016, 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 2015. The Lord wonderfully used your gifts to make life-giving, life-changing and life-saving differences in the lives of our men. Pray with us for even greater reasons to celebrate with our men in 2016.

Wishing you the joy and peace of Christmas,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ Thanksgiving 2015

IMG_2022Dear Friend of the Mission,

We work hard to help our men rebuild broken relationships with their families. It is always a real joy and a reason to celebrate when one of our men tells us with a big smile that he will be spending Thanksgiving Day with his family. But sadly, there will be a host of men at the Mission who have no home to go to on Thanksgiving Day. The Mission will then become their home, and we will become their family. And so on Thanksgiving Day at 1:15 p.m., our men will enjoy an all-you-can eat feast of delicious, homemade food – roast turkey, cranberry stuffing, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, macaroni and cheese, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, buttered corn, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, cider, coffee, tea, cookies, ice cream and an assortment of pies are all on the menu. We work extra hard at Thanksgiving to love and bless our men by preparing a feast fit for a King (in fact, we prepare our dinner as though we were serving it to Jesus Himself!). Some of you have volunteered at the Mission on Thanksgiving Day and can testify that our Thanksgiving Feast is truly a wonderful time of good food, warm friendship, a sense of family and heartfelt laughter. You can still join us if you would like – just call Heather Rice at 215 438 3094 ext. 103.

As we quickly move toward the end of 2015, please consider making a special gift to the Mission so that every day at the Mission can be filled with the warmth and happiness of Thanksgiving with friends and family. Here are a few special ways you can help:

  1. A generous year-end sacrificial gift. God will use your gift to change a life.
  2. Some families bless our men by pooling their resources and giving a special Christmas gift to the Mission from their family (individual receipts for each donor can still be given).
  3. 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 direct services to our men. Your gift would be a major investment in the lives of our men.
  4. Give 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. If you would like to do this, please call me at 215 438 3094 (ext 102).
  5. If you have set up a donor advised fund, you can recommend that a grant be made to the Whosoever Gospel Mission. Your grant will make a difference in the lives of our men.

Your faithful and generous financial support gives us the resources we need to work as hard as we can with the Lord’s help to make the Whosoever Gospel Mission a warm and loving home for the homeless, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but on every day of the year. Not only do our men enjoy good food at the Mission, but they are also given real hope – hope in the Lord, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for today, hope that will not disappoint or fail. For 123 years, the Mission has been a place of real hope for broken and shattered men who are homeless, destitute, crushed by despair, without jobs and facing a future that looks pretty bleak and hopeless. But through God’s amazing grace, our men are able to rebuild their lives. Achievements that may seem ordinary to us are miracles in the lives of our men – miracles such as getting a good job, earning a GED, overcoming a stubborn addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, rebuilding destroyed relationships, getting their own home, becoming a member of a good church, regaining their health, learning to read, and developing a purpose driven life that is productive and fulfilling. Your kind and generous support makes possible these miracles.

As you enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner with your friends and family, my family and I will also be enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner with our friends and brothers at the Mission. And together, we will thank God for you – our giving friends who keep the Mission going as a place where broken lives are made whole, where broken families are restored, and where broken hearts are healed and changed forever.

Warmly yours,
Bob signature
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ September 2015

Bob head shotDear Friend of the Mission,

Even though I have served at the Mission for over 26 years, I still am excited and enthusiastic about our ministry to homeless men. While many aspects of the ministry are the same day after day, month after month and even year after year, what keeps our ministry to homeless men fresh and fulfilling is our men themselves.

The homeless men who come to the Mission looking for help are not cookie-cutter duplicates, but rather they are unique individuals who grab our interest and attention and most importantly of all, our hearts. As we get to know more about their lives, their families, their past, their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their dreams, our staff comes alongside of our men to help them understand better what the Lord has for them, and to then help them achieve their dreams and goals.

One of the somewhat humorous but absolutely true sayings we motivate our men with is, “If you aim for nothing you hit it every time!” We work closely with our men to help them figure out what they want to do in life, and then we help them develop an action plan to actually achieve those goals. And through it all, we act as a coach and a cheerleader to encourage them to not give up, but to keep on keeping on.

We view our men as created in God’s image and filled with the good gifts and unique abilities that the Lord has bestowed upon them. Contrary to the harsh things that others have told them, we tell our men that they are not junk, trash or worthless. As the men move through our New Life Program, it is exciting to see them walking on the pathway to become all that God wants them to be. Our men are like beautiful flowers opening up into full bloom. It is especially encouraging when family members and friends see the differences in their loved one and call us to thank us for the part we had by God’s grace to facilitate this change.

I want to give a big shout-out of thanks to all of you who have helped us in our current time of financial struggle. Your gifts are a great help in reducing our deficit before the end of our fiscal year on September 30th. Since my last letter we did discover that the landing of our main staircase in the Germantown Thrift Store is sagging in one corner and will need to be repaired. Our Germantown thrift store building is a sturdy, well-built building – but it was built in 1899 and is well-worn. We don’t have a price yet for this much needed repair, but we imagine that it will cost at least a few thousand dollars to fix. Please also keep this in your prayers. Thanks!

It is a privilege & joy to partner together with you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ August 2015

Bob in garden with kids

Bob talking with 2nd graders in the Mission’s vegetable garden

Dear Friend of the Mission,

The Whosoever Gospel Mission is known for good food and good fellowship around the tables in our dining room. If you were to watch our men during a meal, you would see lots of laughter, friendly smiles and lively conversation in a warm and happy relaxed atmosphere. Our men come to the Mission for help because they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. A good meal after being beaten down and beaten up on the hard streets of Philadelphia fills our men with great hope that a better day has arrived. Some of our men describe the Mission as an oasis and safe haven, a place where they can finally rest. We are grateful beyond words that the Lord has blessed the Mission abundantly and has filled our ministry with His love, joy, peace and hope.

IMG_0029

Doug and John enjoying some laughs over a good meal

We are quickly moving toward the end of our fiscal year which ends on September 30, 2015. In terms of programming, our men’s progress, our dedicated staff, and our wonderful volunteers, this has been a great year! However, financially, it has been one of the most challenging years in the 26 years that I have served at the Mission. We will more than likely end our fiscal year with a significant deficit – right now we are running about $40,000 behind in our regular cash operating expenses. This deficit was caused by many factors beyond our control. We have aggressively taken care of the things we can control such as cutting expenses and holding off on hiring a new part-time teacher to replace one of our teachers who left. But sadly we still have a significant deficit that will hurt our ministry to homeless men in many ways.

As we move closer to the end of our fiscal year, September 30th, I would ask you to do two things. First of all, please pray that this shortfall will be made up before September 30th. And secondly, please consider making an extra generous gift to help us end our fiscal year in good financial shape. Thanks so much! Our ministry is strong, and we are not discouraged. But rather, we are excited about all of the good things that we see happening in the lives of our men. Just recently, for example, one of our men graduated from Philabundance’s Community Kitchen food service training program.

Steve at his Philabundance graduation with WGM staff Heather and Joe

Steve at his Philabundance graduation with WGM staff Heather and Joe

You’ve had a part in this celebration and success. Thank you for being our partners in ministry through your prayers and support.

Working together with you,
Bob signature

 

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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