Category Archives: Real Stories

Summer Highlights

We received a special grant to buy planters and flowers to beautify the Mission’s front entrance. This is where New Life Program residents hang out to get fresh air. It’s also where men coming in off of the street enter the building to begin their journey in the New Life Program.

As one resident said, the flowers give a sense of hope and cheer – like a message from the Lord that you’ve come to the right place. Bob Emberger clearly had fun selecting and planting all of the flowers.

Great Faith Vision came to the Mission and blessed us with complete eye exams and health screenings for 28 of our residents, almost all of whom ended up needing and receiving prescription eye glasses!

Poor eyesight is such a hindrance to employment and independent living. When we send an uninsured gentleman in desperate need of eye care to a local vision center, it costs us around $180 for the exam and glasses. We can’t afford to do that for everyone.

But Great Faith Vision treated 28 men for free! Everyone around the Mission is seeing things much more clearly now!

A friend of the Mission won a new bicycle but didn’t need it, so she gifted it to one of our residents. It was the perfect thing for Ezra. He’s still in therapy after a knee replacement and could use the help getting around. He went to the bike shop to pick up this amazing bike, custom fitted to him!

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Meet Will

Tastykakes aren’t the only reason Will has many friends at the Mission, but it sure doesn’t hurt when he brings them home from work to share with the Mission family!

After completing the Foundations Phase of the Mission’s New Life Program, Will got a job at Tastykake where he continues to thrive. He has good benefits and has just been approved for full-time permanent work. But that’s not his end goal. He’s striving for more. He wants to build this job into a career, save up money, find a good apartment, and get more involved in his home church. He wants to keep growing.

If you ask Will what he’s learning these days, he’ll tell you God is teaching him to slow down and not move too fast. He’s learning that God is the One who blesses his efforts, and that walking with Him and taking the time to do things the right way always pays off.

It’s like the laws of the harvest we often talk about at the Mission. We reap WHAT we sow, we reap MORE than we sow, and we reap LATER than we sow. Will is working on planting seeds of faithfulness, and he’s waiting patiently. Now he’s starting to enjoy a harvest of good things. He’s praying more, trying to listen more than he speaks, and choosing to humble himself before the Lord and trust in Him and His timing.

Will takes to heart and lives out the Bible verse that says “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

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Meet Michael

If you’ve dropped off food at the Mission’s kitchen door recently, you might have been greeted with a burst of joy from Michael, our new Hospitality Supervisor. He loves sharing God’s love through good food and warm smiles.

But Michael wasn’t always joyful. At 13, he lost both of his grandparents in one week. He was devastated. His uncle reached out and took him to church where he found comfort, joy and peace in Jesus and through fellowship with people. Things were better for a season.

But over time, depression and anxiety set in and Michael found himself drifting in and out of dark places. In March of 2020, his father passed away suddenly and Michael sank into a deep depression. He withdrew from life.

After losing his car, his apartment, and ultimately, any strong desire to live, Michael came to the Mission in December of 2021 and joined the New Life Program.

Chapel, Bible studies, and our Overcomers drug and alcohol recovery support groups are Michael’s favorite parts of the program. After rededicating his life to following Jesus, Michael says his joy has been restored. His coworkers and fellow residents concur.

He’s found a new church home that he loves, and a new outlook on life. If you were to pick a word to describe Michael, it would without a doubt be “joy.”

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Congrats Grads!

“Run Hah-Dah!”

That’s “run harder!” with the Brooklyn accent of Bob Emberger’s cross-country coach, Phil Golden, from Lincoln High School in the 1970s. It’s also the charge we share with men as they graduate from the New Life Program, based on Hebrews 12:1-2.

Coach Golden would tell his runners to keep looking at him. Don’t look to the right or to the left. Don’t look behind you. Just look straight ahead, and run harder!

Running the race of life is similar. In the battle to overcome addictions and navigate life’s obstacles, we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Don’t get distracted by what other people are doing. Just keep running with your eyes on Jesus who delights in responding with “well done!”

Recently, we had the joy of celebrating the graduations of Ed, Mark, Lamont, and Ray. Each one’s life is a testimony of perseverance as they worked through obstacles and pressed on toward the goal. And they’re still running the race today!

May we all, by God’s grace, keep our eyes on the Lord and “run hah-dah!”

Ray at his graduation with Executive Director Heather Rice and Director of Advancement Bob Emberger.

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A Christmas Thank You Note

New Life Program resident Michael shares this thank you note with our Mission family and friends for all of the wonderful gifts we received this Christmas!

Dear Friends,

We here at the Whosoever Gospel Mission are still overwhelmed with gratitude for how blessed our Christmas was. With everything we have faced all year long, it felt amazing to be acknowledged and appreciated. Because of you, we were able to put smiles on our little ones’ faces. And there were even gifts for us!

We can’t stop thinking about how the Mission presented us with these wonderful gifts. We were spoiled. The setup was beautiful, and our whole day was festive. There was a beautiful layout of food along with the gifts. We will never forget this.

You all reminded us that we matter in not only God’s eyes, but also in the eyes of others. To everyone who contributed to making our Christmas special, you gave us an extra push to continue on this path of victory, triumph and happiness. From the bottom of our joyous hearts, thank you!

~Michael

Gifts for the Men of the New Life Program

Each resident received more than a dozen personal gifts on Christmas Eve. We even had extra gifts to give to the new men who continue to come in after the holiday.

Toys for Men’s Children

This year, 42 residents and grads selected and wrapped about 1,000 gifts for 163 of their children and grandchildren. Gifts included toys, puzzles, books, stocking stuffers, stuffed animals, hats, gloves, & scarves. Continue to pray that the Lord would bless our men and their children and families! We were also able to bless some other local children with gifts for a total of 329 kids!

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“Carry On”

“Carry on!” That’s Mark’s trademark phrase. It means, “We’re on the same page. We’ve got a plan. Something good is in the works.” As our dorm supervisor, it often comes out as a word of hope after stopping to pray with and encourage someone who’s struggling after-hours in the dorms.

Mark isn’t unfamiliar with the struggle. He came to the Mission homeless and addicted himself. But through the work of Jesus in his life, Mark is a new man. Before coming, he was adrift. “Every time I looked up, I was further behind than before.” Then he came to the Mission and he found the structure, love, community, and direction he needed.

His family stopped worrying about him and started allowing him to hang around and get close, especially to his grandkids. They saw that he was changed. They knew he was safe. Now, those grands are his joy! They mean the world to him, and he means the world to them!

Today, his passion is to bless, encourage, and help everyone he can in any way he can. Mark’s presence here at the Mission is a big part of how we show the love of Jesus to the men who come looking for help and hope.

Mark is always looking for ways to bless and encourage others. He spared no expense out of his own pocket to provide the men this amazing feast Memorial Day weekend.
Mark is always looking for ways to bless and encourage others. He spared no expense out of his own pocket to provide the men this amazing feast Memorial Day weekend.
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Meet Moses

If you’ve visited one of our thrift shops in the past couple years, chances are you’ve met Moses.

Moses came to the Mission in October of 2017, just a few days after his father passed away in his arms. His wife had died of an illness several years before that.

Unable to sustain the rent, after years of taking care of his loved ones, Moses knew he needed a new beginning. He donated his dad’s furniture to the Mission, then came that very afternoon to enter the New Life Program.

For Moses, the counseling and chapels were life changing. The Mission eventually hired Moses to work in the thrift shop where he’s since risen to manager.

After graduating, he moved into his own place and continues to serve full-time at the Mission. He sees his ministry as one of helping the men who come to the Mission realize that they are loved, and that they too can have a good future because Jesus can and does make all things new.

His family sees the difference. His mom recently said “Moses, now you know what God intends for you to be. How does it feel to be part of something greater than yourself?”

Moses’ answer? Good. Very good. “It feels like home, like it’s where God meant for me to be all along.”

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Jerry’s Story: An Update

Jerry wants to thank everyone for their prayers! He has some good news to share.

A little over a week ago, we shared that Jerry had been excitedly apartment hunting, enjoying his work as an upholsterer, and getting ready to graduate from the Mission and move into his own place when it all fell through because of COVID-19.

Jerry was grateful to God that he hadn’t moved out of the Mission yet – otherwise, he’ be facing homelessness again.

The good news: Jerry just got word that his application was accepted for a lovely apartment. His move in date is tentatively May 1st.

Thanks for sharing God’s love with men like Jerry through your prayers and support!

If you’d like to give, you can donate here online. Thank you to all who have given so sacrificially! With our thrift shops closed because of the pandemic, every extra gift helps us to continue to provide shelter, food, clothing, and spiritual and social support to over 50 men currently experiencing homeless.

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Breaking Bread

Food is necessary for survival. But good food, when shared in community around a common table, is life giving.

We have the joy of witnessing this reality often. Meal times are a highlight at the Mission. We serve three all-you-can-eat, high-quality meals every single day. Men laboring hard to rebuild their lives find friendship, encouragement, and camaraderie around our tables.

We always eat well. But now and again, we have friends who come to the Mission to provide an extra special treat. These friends might have vastly different backgrounds and cultures from the homeless men they’ve come to serve, but those differences melt away when the food is dished out and everyone sits down to eat, laugh, and talk together.

Fellowship happens, community is built, and volunteers and Mission guests are mutually encouraged. We learn from each other. We grow together.

Sometimes, all it takes to start breaking down personal walls of isolation, prejudice, fear, and the like are the little touches – the fresh flowers, the heart-shaped balloons, that extravagant, costly cut of meat, grandma’s homemade recipe – and a willingness to get some food stuck in your teeth :)

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2019 Toy Giveaway Video

A peek at this Christmas’ toy giveaway. Mission residents and grads gave over 1,200 gifts to 236 of their children. That’s 236 little hearts being blessed with the gift of a dad or grandpop this Christmas. A big thank you to all who made it possible!

The Whosoever Gospel Mission 2019 Toy Give Away from John Purring on Vimeo.

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