Category Archives: Real Stories

Video: Toy Giveaway

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!

Check out this video of a previous toy giveaway to see what it looks like!

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!

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Starting out on the right foot

Greg works on the computerAll of the men enrolled in the Mission’s New Life Program are working VERY hard.

In the Foundations Phase of the New Life Program (the first three months), between classes, tutoring, counseling, homework, D&A recovery meetings, and hands-on workforce development opportunities, each man is involved in about 50-54 hours each week of programmed activity.

When he graduates from the Foundations Phase of the Program and moves into the Careers Phase, he begins his job search or starts attending school outside of the Mission. Right now, Jerome is at Lincoln Tech studying automotive repair, George is at the Philadelphia Technician Training Institute studying welding, Akil is at Orleans’ Technical Institute for property maintenance and repair, and Mike is in a culinary training program at Philabundance Community Kitchen. These four men will begin their job search after they graduate from school.Jason in the thrift shop

Once a man finds full-time work, he stays at the Mission for another 3 months so he can budget and save, mapping out a plan for the future. He graduates from the Mission when he moves out into his own permanent housing.

The 6-9 months (or longer) that a gentleman spends at the Mission in the New Life Program represents a lot of hard work with a heaping dose of perseverance!

Chapel with Dr. BobWith all of this going on, we start each day with a hearty breakfast and good coffee (with real half & half, thanks to a friend of the Mission!), followed by a spiritual feast. Right after breakfast, Monday – Saturday, we gather in the chapel at 8:00 am to get our footing for the day. It’s a time to pause before the busyness of life gets rolling again and set our hearts and minds on the Lord and his grace. It’s a time to be reminded that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and that his mercies never come to an end. That mercy and love – they are new and available for us today, no matter what happened yesterday. And so, together, we press on!

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Learning Program Highlights

 A word from our students

Mike proudly displays the "A" he received on his homework assignment

Mike proudly displays the “A” he received on his homework assignment

Mike: I love the Learning Program. My typing speed has improved from 30 characters per minute to 71, and I’m getting all A’s and B’s in my classes. I got my GED in 1994 but it’s been years since I’ve been in school. This is encouraging me to go on to cooking school and become a chef.

Eugene: Being in the lab makes me feel comfortable, and I love it because the teachers really want to help me – not just as a student but as a person.

 The Career Track Learning Program

The Career Track Learning Program is the educational component of the Whosoever Gospel Mission’s residential New Life Program for homeless men. The Mission’s teachers work together with each resident to craft an individualized learning plan based on his test scores, educational history, and his own personal goals to help him secure and flourish in a good job.

Eugene (right) works with Learning Program Director, Jason, on Vocational Discovery

Eugene (right) works with Learning Program Director, Jason, on Vocational Discovery

Our top-notch team of highly qualified and gifted teachers works together with a wonderful group of dedicated volunteer tutors to come alongside each man in the New Life Program to help him achieve his goals.

Formerly homeless men are equipped by God’s grace to succeed in the workplace and in life with weekly classes, one-on-one tutoring, extensive access to a state-of-the-art computer lab staffed by teachers, and an abundance of other resources right at their fingertips. New worlds of opportunity open up to men who are working hard to get back on their feet. Thanks for being a part of the Mission family and helping to open a bright new future to men who are ready for change!

Course Offerings:

Monday:
Professional & Vocational Development
Applied Math

Tuesday:
GED Prep 1
Overcomers (Addiction Recovery Support)
Communication Workshop
Inductive Bible Study – Group A
Communication Skills

Wednesday:
Introduction to Computers
Life Skills
College Skills
Math Processes
GED Prep 2
Math Foundations
Bible Research & Reflection

Thursday:
Inductive Bible Study – Group B
Computers
Overcomers (Addiction Recovery Support)

Computer Lab Hours:

Monday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Tuesday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 9:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday: 9:30 AM – 4:15 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 12:00 Noon

Individual Tutoring:

18 volunteers + 3 staff teachers provide 50+ hours of individual tutoring sessions each week to students.

Want to volunteer as a tutor? Call Heather at (215) 438-3094 x 103

Pictured below:
Learning Program awards received by students in the spring of 2019

Learning Program Awards March 2019

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Crisis Averted ~ Kevin’s Story

New Life Program resident Kevin is happy to be fighting the good fight

New Life Program resident Kevin is happy to be fighting the good fight

Crisis — that moment you’re sure life is over and there is no hope.

For New Life Program resident Kevin Wayns, his crisis was becoming homeless. He had been working two full-time jobs, living at home, and was spending all of his money on himself and his pleasures. Then suddenly, for the first time in his life, Kevin found himself arrested, unwanted and unable to go home. He was in crisis.  Kevin was ashamed to ask for help, but he felt the Lord nudging him to come to the Mission. So for the first time in a long time, he humbled himself, sought the Lord, and followed Him to the Whosoever Gospel Mission for help.

The Mission’s Overcomers’ meetings (our addiction recovery support groups) are a favorite time of Kevin’s. They remind him of the riches that are ours in Christ as he finds community, accountability, support, and encouragement to say no to his own passions and to take up his cross and follow Jesus. Renewed and reassured, Kevin is overcoming self a little more each day and fighting the good fight. He’s seeking ways to use his unique gifts to serve Christ and others. Men like Kevin—men in crisis—are coming to the Mission every day. And because Jesus has overcome the world, so can they.

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Hantz’s Story

Hantz with his daughter, Teeyah

Hantz with his daughter, Teeyah

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Hantz came to the Whosoever Gospel Mission on March 28, 2018 with a bandage on his right arm and apprehension in his heart. At his lowest point, he found himself homeless, malnourished, and addicted. The last time he was in Germantown, he was using drugs. Now, he was coming to enter the New Life Program.

Not long before, Hantz was in the hospital waking up from a coma. He had to relearn to walk while nursing a serious addiction-related wound that nearly cost him his arm. Hantz knew that the Lord had spared his life and his limbs. He also knew that he needed Jesus.

When Hantz came to the Mission, his heart was ready for the good news of the Gospel – that in Christ there is forgiveness and hope, there’s a way forward out of the shame. He soaked up the messages in chapel and began to grow in confidence and a sense of purpose. He realized the Lord had placed two big tasks in front of him – pursuing his career and reconnecting with his family.

Hantz in his school uniform

Hantz in his school uniform

While in the hospital, Hantz was deeply touched by the kindness of two particular people – a CNA named Derrick and an RN named Nicole. When they cared for him, they made him feel human. Their small acts of kindness – a word of encouragement, a gentle tone of voice, a smile – had a huge impact. Hantz was ready to give up and die. But they gave him a reason to want to press on. He saw the difference kindness makes and thought to himself, “I have the power to do that.”

Currently, Hantz is addiction-free and enrolled in the Prism Career Institute to become a Licensed Practical Nurse – his first step toward becoming an RN. He plans to stay at the Mission until he graduates from school and launches into his nursing career. He loves serving others and spreading kindness and joy. As for reuniting with family, they’ve welcomed him with open arms. Nothing has brought Hantz more joy than spending time with his 8-year-old daughter, Teeyah – she’s the apple of his eye.

Teeyah finds Hantz's reindeer costume amusing

Teeyah finds Hantz’s reindeer costume amusing

Teeyah's first day of 3rd grade

Teeyah’s first day of 3rd grade

Hantz thanks the Lord for using the Mission to remind him of his capabilities and show him how, in Christ, God always provides for and never forsakes His children. He’s grateful for a second chance at life.

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Worshiping the Famous One

Matthews, Jenkins, Tate, Ngata and Matthews’ dad serving lunch

Matthews, Jenkins, Tate, Ngata and Matthews’ dad serving lunch

4 Philadelphia Eagles & their families serve at the Mission on Christmas Eve

On the morning of December 24, 2018, the Mission family was busy getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve luncheon and chapel service. As we prepared the food and arranged all the presents for our residents, several volunteers showed up to help. Among them were four of the Philadelphia Eagles and their families.

They came quietly with no fanfare. It wasn’t about them – they didn’t want it to be. They snuck in under the radar to serve the Lord and our residents here at the Mission. Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Jenkins, Golden Tate, and Haloti Ngata served meatball sandwiches and sides while their kids handed out desserts. Together, the four families filled a gift bag for each of our men that they handed out after chapel. During chapel, several family members joined in our impromptu ladies’ choir to sing “What Child is This?”

Together, we sang Christmas carols, read Scripture, prayed and shared testimonies of God’s goodness. NFL players stood next to men who are often overlooked by society – men without homes or jobs, men struggling to get back on their feet. The highly regarded next to the oft forgotten – all stood worshiping Jesus, the Famous One who comes to bring life and healing to kings and shepherds, rich and poor, famous and invisible alike.

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Christmas 2018

IMG_9494A great big thanks to our friends and donors for sharing your resources, time and love so generously this Christmas with our men! Here are a few of the festive highlights:

Our men and graduates selected and wrapped over 1,500 FREE toys and gifts for 201 of their kids and grandkids! Pray that the Lord uses these gifts as He works to restore family relationships!

Four members of the Philadelphia Eagles and their families came on Christmas Eve to serve our men lunch, hand out gifts, and worship the Lord with us in our chapel service. It was awesome to see famous football players and homeless men side by side singing songs of worship to Jesus. Thank you, Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Jenkins, Haloti Ngata, and Golden Tate!

Each man was blessed with about 2 dozen Christmas presents lovingly prepared for them by churches and families. This year’s gifts included gift cards, scarves, hats, gloves, socks, candy, professional portfolio folders, pens, thermal travel mugs, umbrellas, homemade treats and various other presents.

At a time when people can feel so alone, thank you for sharing the love of Jesus, our Emmanuel, God with us!

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Gifting Dads

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.

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Thanksgiving Day 2018

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!

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Building Bridges to Family

New Life Program resident Alton enjoys a visit with his family this summer

New Life Program resident Alton enjoys a visit with his family this summer

The men who come to the Whosoever Gospel Mission looking for help and a way forward are sons and fathers, brothers and cousins, husbands, nephews, uncles, grandfathers and grandsons. Addiction and homelessness can eat away at these relationships leaving both the men and their families grieving the loss.

But there is hope! Jesus is the great Reconciler. Here at the Mission we get to see God at work restoring relationships and rebuilding families as men work hard by God’s grace to rebuild trust, make themselves vulnerable, and repair broken relationships.

Alton hasn’t had much to do with his family for ten years – not since he moved out when he was 18 years old. Over the years, his dad has tried to reach out to him, but Alton would never respond. He spent the next ten years living mostly in the streets until coming to the Mission.

Alton & his dad ride a roller coaster during Alton's recent trip home to spend time with family in NY

Alton & his dad ride a roller coaster during Alton’s recent trip home to spend time with family in NY

Alton shares that he’s thankful for the counseling he receives here at the Mission. It’s given him a chance to talk with someone who loves him and is willing to listen. He found himself able to trust his counselor and open up about hurts he had been holding on to for a long time.

With counsel, Alton was able to begin seeing things from a new perspective. Since coming to the Mission, Alton has made two trips home to New York to spend time with family, and both were a blessing!

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