Category Archives: Real Stories

“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.
Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on “Carry On”

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.”

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Meet Moses

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.

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Jerry’s Story: An Update

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 :)

Posted in Real Stories, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Breaking Bread

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.

Posted in Photos & Videos, Real Stories, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2019 Toy Giveaway Video

Gifts that Keep Giving

The day after Christmas, one resident shared that he selected little journals and pens for his kids as stocking-stuffers at our toy giveaway to go along with the bigger toys he picked. After the kids unwrapped their presents Christmas morning in the company of their dad, they wrote in their journals. He happened to see what they wrote, and it went something like this: “I’m so happy with all my presents! But I’m REALLY happy that my dad is here!!”

This is one dad who wants to thank all of you who gave gifts and toys to the Mission. He’s amazed that anyone would be so kind. He’s incredibly grateful. And now, he is more determined than ever to stay the course and do what he needs to do to provide a safe, stable, and nurturing family for his children.

Many other dads reconnected with their kids this Christmas through the Mission’s toy and gift giveaway. Men in the New Life Program lovingly selected gifts free of charge for their children and grandchildren. An army of volunteers helped men wrap over 1,500 gifts for 415 children!

Thank you for investing in families!!

Posted in Photos & Videos, Real Stories, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gifts that Keep Giving

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!

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Starting out on the right foot

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:

Professional & Vocational Development
Applied Math

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

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

Inductive Bible Study – Group B
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

Posted in Real Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Learning Program Highlights

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.

Posted in Real Stories | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Real Stories | Comments Off on Hantz’s Story