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From the Director ~ September 2014

IMG_8088Your gift today keeps us going strong tomorrow!

Dear Friend,

Your kind and faithful support this past year has been used by God to make all of these good things happen. I personally take great comfort and joy in knowing that while I may be on the front lines of this ministry of helping the homeless, yet there is a vast army of supporters such as you who are praying for us, volunteering at the Mission, sending money to us, donating good used items for our thrift stores, and buying for our men much needed items on our current needs list. Out of the thousands of other ministries and nonprofits that you could support, we are honored and humbled that you have chosen to support us.It is hard to believe that September 30th will soon mark the end of our current fiscal year and October 1st will mark the beginning of our new fiscal year. I want to thank you for your kind and generous support this past year. It has been a challenging year with what seemed like the snowstorm of the week back in the winter months, with the sad news that a family foundation that generously supported us with an annual gift since the 1990’s was ceasing operations at the end of 2013, with a growing number of our men arriving at the Mission with serious health problems that have been neglected far too long, with the Philadelphia job market still being very stingy with good jobs for our men, and with our men battling overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair. But the Lord is able, and in spite of these challenges, the Mission has weathered the snowstorms, our “daily bread” has been provided (sometimes at the last minute!), our men have received life-giving medical treatment, a good number of our men have obtained decent jobs, and many of our men have testified that the Lord is their hope and that God’s grace has been more than sufficient even on the darkest of days.

As we come to the end of our fiscal year on September 30, 2014, please consider sending an extra generous gift that will enable us to finish our fiscal year in good shape and will also help us to start our new fiscal year on October 1st on a strong financial footing.

Thank you for your friendship and support.


Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ August 2014

BobDear Friend of the Mission,

Earlier this summer my wife Marcia and I looked forward with eager anticipation to a 10 day visit from our three precious granddaughters who live in California (we also looked forward to their parents, our son and daughter-in-law, visiting! ). The joy and excitement of picking up our loved ones at the airport was wonderful beyond words. Spending time with our granddaughters was even better than what we anticipated. It was 10 of the best days of our lives (and we’ve been around for a few years!).

Sadly, however, when you are homeless, you really don’t have much to look forward to. The future holds little promise for the homeless men who come to the Mission, and the only foreseeable change they envision is for the worse. Thankfully, by God’s grace and through your generous support, the Whosoever Gospel Mission is a place of hope and joyful anticipation. When a homeless man comes to the Mission, he has an abundance of good things to look forward to, and as he continues to move forward with his life, this abundance of good things grows even bigger. We can honestly tell our men that by God’s grace, each day can be better than the day before.

Through your kind support, the Mission is an oasis of rest and refreshment, a place of hope and change for the better, and best of all, an inviting home where our men experience firsthand the love and grace of the Lord. Thank you for your part in helping to make all of these good things happen.

Summer is usually a down time for cash donations to the Mission, and it is also a slow time for our thrift stores. Please consider shopping in our two thrift stores as a way to help the Mission. Please also consider supporting the Mission through a kind and generous financial gift before summer ends. We want to continue to be a beacon of hope to whosoever comes to us for help.

Working together with you,

Bob signature

Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ July 2014

IMG_7645Dear Friend of the Mission,

Graduating one of our men from the New Life Program is always a celebration for us. Our graduates have traveled light years from when they first arrived at the Mission. Together we rejoice in God’s amazing grace in giving them a new life filled with all sorts of good things. We keep in regular contact with our graduates through our Aftercare Counselor Joe McAvinney, and we especially rejoice that many of our graduates keep in touch with us. Here are some brief updates on a few of our graduates from the 25 years that I have served at the Mission:

  • Rudy, a certified welder, now lives in Florida and is building boats. He has his own company. His current project is a boat he is building for a retired admiral.
  • Amir is the pastor of a church in the Logan section of Philadelphia. He also works fulltime as a senior account executive for the sales division of Enterprise Car Rental.
  • Rollo now lives in Texas. Over the years he has earned two masters degrees and has traveled to the Republic of China on missions trips through his church. In fact, he met his wife on one of his missions trips.
  • Tony is now retired from Rutgers University. He still runs his own plumbing business and takes special joy in his daughters whom he was able to put through college.
  • George still works for the U.S. Postal Service. For a number of years George worked part-time for us as our dormitory supervisor and full-time as a church sexton. And then the Lord opened up the door for him to get his old job back at the Post Office.
  • Jerry, Tony, Whitney and Rufus all work for the Philadelphia Streets Department. I remember teaching Tony how to drive so he could get his driver’s license – he now drives a sanitation truck. Jerry and Rufus drive trucks that clean out clogged sewers.

All of these men came to the Mission unemployed, homeless and in pretty bad shape in every area of their lives. But Because of God’s amazing grace, their lives are forever changed. Your kind and generous support during these challenging summer months will keep the Mission going as a life-giving and life-changing safe haven of hope for our men. Thanks so much for your support! Your gifts really do make a difference in the broken life of a homeless man.

Working together with you,
Bob signature
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ June 2014

Dear Friend of the Mission,IMG_7365

When you take the “less” out of homeless, you end up with the word “home.” The Whosoever Gospel Mission is all about helping homeless men to no longer be homeless – to have a safe place they can call home. When a homeless man comes to the Mission, we become his temporary home by providing transitional housing. When he graduates from the Mission’s New Life Program, he moves into his own home which is considered permanent housing. And during a man’s stay at the Mission, we also tell him about God’s wonderful eternal home. So in every way possible, we try to take the “less” out of homeless.

One of our graduates, Lonsy, was chronically homeless for over 20 years. He came to the Mission in 1989 when I first started serving at the Mission. He didn’t complete our New Life Program at that time, but instead he ended up living in Germantown pretty much as a homeless person for the next 20 years. I would often see him roaming the streets of Germantown near the Mission. By God’s amazing grace, Lonsy came back to the Mission in 2009 – he attended school, graduated and obtained fulltime employment. He then graduated from the Mission’s New Life Program in October 2011 and moved into his own place. I love to drive by Lonsy’s apartment because he has put his name on the front door as a joyful declaration that he is no longer homeless, that this is his home. Another one of our graduates, Nate, grows plants in his apartment. Years ago he worked at a luxury apartment complex in Philadelphia which also provided him with a luxury apartment. But tragically, he lost it all through drugs and ended up being homeless. Today, Nate is working fulltime and living in his own apartment with his own garden of indoor potted plants. A third graduate, Greg, lives with his wife and children in Germantown in his own house. When I drive by his home just about every day, I see a big BBQ grill on his front porch. Greg is a good husband, a good father and a good Christian, actively involved in his church. A couple of years ago, at the bequest of his young daughter, Greg bought from our thrift store a festive, lighted Christmas decoration to put on his front porch railing.

Your kind and generous support helps us to make all of these good things possible! Thanks so much! Please see our current Needs List for other important ways you can help our men.

Working together with you,
Bob signature
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

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From the Director ~ April 2014

IMG_5621Dear Friend of the Mission,

Within a month after I came to the Mission in February 1989, a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer lived as a homeless man on the streets of Philadelphia for five days.  In his subsequent article which was published on June 4, 1989, he wrote: “I spent my third night at the Whosoever Gospel Mission on Chelten Avenue which turned out to be a gem.”  A few years later in December 1992, another reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer did a very positive and complimentary article on the Mission entitled, “A persistent success with second chances.”  He talked about how for 100 years we have been successful in providing homeless men with a second chance to start over.  A third article also written in the early 1990’s by a reporter from the Daily News highlighted how the Mission provides a fresh start for homeless, disadvantaged men.  I remember well as the Daily News reporter toured the Mission, he was amazed that we did everything we did without government funding and with a relatively small budget compared to other programs for the homeless.  He told me that other non-profits and city-run agencies could take a few lessons from us on how to stretch a dollar.  The reporter was truly impressed.

While the Mission has greatly expanded and improved what we do for homeless men, one thing that remains true today is that we still make every dollar count.  As help provide an vast array of life-giving and life-changing services through your gifts to the Mission, you can be sure that we will continue to work hard to be good stewards of your kind and generous support.   We will work hard to make sure that every dollar counts!

Working together with you,
Bob signature


Robert A. Emberger, D.Min
Executive Director

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A Video Glimpse of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Video Screen Shot

Thanksgiving At The Mission from K2 Media on Vimeo.

A look at the celebration that takes place at the Mission every year on Thanksgiving day. Its a day where those at the mission get to reflect on what God is doing in their lives and enjoy tons of food!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.” -Psalm 118:1

Song: Love Take Me Over
Artist: Steven Curtis Chapman

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From the Director ~ February 2014


Dear Friend of the Mission,

The post entitled “A Dad for Helen” brings tears to my eyes. Robert and his precious daughter Helen are powerful reminders of what the Mission is all about and why we keep on keeping on even in the midst of and in spite of great challenges and difficulties.

As you well know, Philadelphia’s weekly snow and ice storms have made life difficult for everyone affected by them. The Mission is no exception. Because of the weekly snowstorms, we are thousands of dollars behind in thrift store income – this is money that will never be made up through our two stores even when nice weather comes. The only way we can get back on budget and stay financially stable is if friends such as you help us out. I appreciate that the storm may have impacted your finances as well. However, whatever extra gift you can give at this time would be deeply appreciated and would be a great help. Through the Mission’s ministry, your gifts do change lives and give great kids like Helen good and godly dads like Robert.

Thank you for your help!
Bob signature
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.
Executive Director

P.S. Help us get free money – the Feinstein Foundation will once again (for the 16th year) proportionally match your donations with its annual $1 million giveaway during the months of March and April. Although this is not a dollar for dollar match since the $1 million is divided up proportionally among all of the participants, nevertheless this is an easy opportunity for us to receive free money from the Feinstein Foundation. Thanks for increasing the value of your dollar by sending your gifts in during the months of March and April. Not only will the Feinstein Foundation proportionally match the cash gifts you donate to the Mission, but the Feinstein Foundation is also allowing us to assign a value of $1.00 per donated food item or pound to increase the amount of the grant we receive from the Foundation. For example, if you, your family, or your church donates 25 canned goods or 25 lbs of food to the Mission, we can count your gift of food as a gift of $25.00 toward the Feinstein grant. As a result, your cash and food donations wonderfully benefit the Mission in more ways than one! Thanks for your help.

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A Dad for Helen

IMG_6036If you could meet Helen I think you’d agree that she’s a pretty awesome kid. Raised by her single dad from birth, this 9-year-old third-grader loves to dance and play the flute (and pound away on the drums when she gets the chance). She’s a helper by nature who loves to serve. At church, she sings in the children’s choir, serves as a junior usher and dances in the Christian arts ministry. Her dad, Robert, even has her help him out in the church’s food and clothing pantry ministry.

Robert always wanted to raise Helen God’s way – to teach her to know and love God, and to know God’s love for her. He wanted to show her a lifestyle of sharing God’s love with others. Because of Robert’s example, following and serving God is a way of life for Helen.

But Robert’s life was not always heading in the right direction. Before Helen was born, Robert’s life had spiraled out of control. He was ensnared in a life of drugs and crime. Robert came to know the Lord in 1999; that same year he was incarcerated.

In 2003 Robert came to the Whosoever Gospel Mission. He credits the Mission’s classes, chapels and staff with being the tools God used to pluck him off the path he was on and set him on the right one. It’s where he finally committed his life to the Lord, found the strength to overcome his addictions, and as he says to “dust off” his brain.
Robert graduated from the Mission’s New Life Program on March 17, 2004 – just four months before Helen was born, and he’s never looked back to his old life. Today, in addition to being a fulltime dad, Robert is a Certified Peer Specialist and Trainer for Northwest Human Services, a missionary of his local church, and an alumnus of the Whosoever Gospel Mission.


One of Robert’s greatest joys is bringing Helen with him to the Mission as he serves as chairman of his church’s annual dinner and chapel ministry at the Whosoever Gospel Mission.

Robert has a very simple but heart-felt message for the Mission’s friends and donors – thank you. Because of strangers like you who loved Robert enough to help him by supporting the Mission, Helen has a dad today. And that’s made all the difference in the world!

Robert’s church brings a double feast of spiritual and physical food

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Helping dads be dads through toys


New toys help dads at the Mission connect with their kids and grandkids over Christmas. For some of the men, this is the first time in a long while they’ve been able to give anything to their kids. During our toy giveaway, dads and grand-dads actually select the specific unwrapped toys that they want to give to their children.

After lovingly selecting toys for each individual child, the dads and grand-dads wrap and label each gift.  Each man is able to give one or two main gifts and about 5 or 6 stocking-stuffers to each child (including some things too big to fit in a stocking, like board games, coloring books, puzzles and the like!).


In all, the 55 men who call the Mission home while working to rebuild their lives were able to reach out to 186 of their children and grandchildren with over 1,300 toys.  Some graduates were able to join in, too, bringing the total number of children up to 200 and the gifts to over 1,400!

Big thanks to everyone who donated awesome toys and to those volunteers whose help made things go so smoothly!  Your gifts were presents not only to the children of men at the Mission, but they were gifts to the men themselves.  You gave the gift of giving, opening up the door for men to be blessed as they give good gifts to their children. 

Please keep praying with us that God would help the men of the Mission be the best dads they can be to their precious children by God’s grace and because of the love of Jesus, our Emmanuel whose birth we celebrate with these gifts! Thanks!!

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Video: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace from K2 Media on Vimeo.

God’s Grace is Greater than Our Past
How exciting to know that despite our past, God invites us into his family and graciously give us a new identity! No matter how great our sin is, His amazing grace is greater still.
Song: How Sweet The Sound
Artist: Citizen Way


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