In the early 2000's I was wandering the streets of Houston high from "crack cocaine" for almost 11 days in a row... paranoid, hungry, confused and 2000 miles from home (Toronto, Canada) - a friendly man stopped his car and asked me if I was ok? Turned out... he was the then director of Star of Hope.
He picked me up and brought me to the center, turns out he was on his way to work that morning. Praise God!!! I was only there a week, I received a call that my dad was dying from cancer back in Canada - of course this upset me and I just had to leave.
I've never been back to Houston since but never forgot the warm welcome and help I received there - Texans sure are a friendly bunch... and can they ever sing!
I am now currently married and father as well as step dad, self-employed and studying at McMaster University in Addiction Studies as well as completing an on-line Christian Counseling degree. The road wasn't easy... close to 20 years. of crack use on and off was rough on me... Praise God for all His mercy and places like Star of Hope!
I also attend church here in Canada - and have the privilege of hearing Charles Price preach live just about every week (pastor at The Peoples Church Toronto - Canada) where I am also involved with men's ministries and recovery ministries.
Early this morning I launched QuitCocaine.ca and linked to your site for others to see your work. Please pray that my testimony soon to be a book, "WHERE TOO FAR IS," will bring glory and honor to The Lord... and that my life would help others see that there is nothing to difficult for Christ and HIS perfect plan of love for our lives!
May Star of Hope and those who diligently either work or volunteer within your organization continue to touch lives near and far... as you once did mine. And may our Mighty Lord and Savior Jesus Christ continue to work through you to save lives and lead them into freedom and hope for HIS GLORY!!
Thank You Star of Hope!
Ken Blackburn Jr.
Founder - Heart Knocks Ministries
“Do you love Muslims?” he spat at me with hatred flashing from his eyes and a cynical tone in his voice as he handed back the tract I had given him.
“Yes,” I said.
Clearly, he did not believe me and fired a couple more questions at me. The questions were land mines. I had the sense that any misstep would result in an explosion, and the explosion came on the third question when I failed to answer it to his satisfaction. In essence, he called me a hypocrite, cursed me, and told me to get away from him.
“Ok, God bless you anyway” I said as I turned to walk away.
“And god bless you, whoever he or she is,” he spewed as I walked away.
I knew when he asked the first question that no matter what answer I gave I could not satisfy him. I was already judged by him and found wanting. He was a total stranger; I still don’t know his name, or he mine. Yet, by appearance alone, he determined that I was an intolerant, judgmental individual and his enemy.
Ironic, how the most intolerant, judgmental people I’ve met are always accusing other people of being judgmental and completely intolerant of any view but their own.
Not a surprise however. An old saint once told me that he could always tell what a man’s sin problem was by listening to what he harped on regarding other people.
Seems I remember Jesus saying something about judging others and getting the beam out of your eye before you try to help others with the splinter in theirs...
This counseling stuff is tricky...
I was living the American dream. I had a good job, a family, a home with a white picket fence and a dog. By the standards that I grew up around, I was supposed to be happy and complete. But that was not the case. I went from living the American dream to chasing it, making more money, getting larger homes, moving up the corporate ladder, needing more external things to make me feel whole.
By the time I reached my forties, material things were not working any more. I had thoughts like, “Is this all there is to life?” I had reached the annual salary that I thought would make me content, but it didn’t. I had the job title that I thought would bolster my self-esteem, but it didn’t. And I had a big home and the right kind of cars that I thought would increase my self-worth, but they didn’t.
I became increasingly unhappy, and there seemed to be nothing that would fill the emptiness within me. Medication helped my symptoms but didn’t take care of the root problem. I soon became more reliant on the drugs to numb the way I felt and, of course, they, too, quit working.
My American dream was crumbling. Depression had taken hold and was affecting me as a husband, father, employee, and so on. Then my father passed away and a close cousin committed suicide.
I began a downward spiral into deep depression and heavy use of prescription medication. I lost my job, got divorced, and my family moved away. Finally, I lost my home and, along with it, my will to go on.
A friend of my sister suggested the Star of Hope. I arrived at the Men’s Development Center a beaten man. I felt like a failure. I could not forgive myself, and from my limited knowledge of God, I believed He would not forgive me either.
But at Star of Hope, I had Christian role models around me teaching me about the Bible. I came to understand that God promises to care for all my needs, and I have seen that God keeps His Word. He gave me food, water, shelter and an opportunity to develop a relationship with Him.
I will never forget the night in Chapel, when I decided to submit my life and will to God, by asking Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was the start of a new beginning for me. I experienced the most peaceful moment of my life, and I felt whole, again. But this time I didn’t have money, the job, the family or any of the things of the world. All I had were the things God provided for me: a few articles of clothing, food and water, a bed, His love and His promises—promises like, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” And “I know the plans I have for you; plans for your welfare and not calamity; to give you a future and a hope,”
At Star of Hope, I was always encouraged by the staff. I have learned to do the same for others. I can give back to Star of Hope by helping those coming through the program and encourage them to finish it. I am involved in the alumni group whose purpose is to continue to build our community, be spiritually transformed, and to give back through service work.
Today, my family is being restored, I am employed, again, and I have my own place. I am a new man, complete, lacking in nothing. Today I am the father, son, brother and christian man God designed me to be! I give back to the Star of Hope by being a volunteer in ACTS Ministry which is the alumni program. I am eternally grateful to the Star of Hope for being a part of my recovery, and making it possible for me to be where I am, living the great American dream through Jesus Christ.
This tormenting spirit
The one that is too strong for me
The one that I have entertained for so long
I needed to get us out for a few minutes
A few snacks and hot chocolate in the warmth of the car
There was this beautiful choir singing to me through the radio
“I am standing…
In the need…
Of a blessing!”
And my thought was this,
God “is” the blessing
As I looked up through the front window of my car
From the parking lot
Through the wind and the trees
For the first time since it was erected
I really noticed the Cross
And its accompanying Star
It seemed especially beautiful in this very moment
As it shined so brightly in the dark of the night
It seemed to be speaking to me
And I knew I was still loved
And the Spirit of God spoke to me
Saying these words
“There is not one beyond my reach
Who are so close to my heart
I will never leave”
I have learned faithfulness
What it means to really yearn
After the LORD
And to need HIS Word,
To long for HIS comfort
That no matter what temptation comes along
Nothing or no one can separate me from God’s love
Wendi Hay - written 11/25/10
Learn more about Star of Hope Mission - Christian Ministries Houston.
The first pic is from many years ago and the second is more current! The parallels touched my heart in that, while years have passed, there are still the less fortunate in our city, who really need our help. Every day, Star of Hope helps over 1,000 persons, about 1/3 are children. The more I work in this homeless Christian Ministry in Houston, the more I am concerned for the children, the next generation. Last night the Star of Hope Women and Family Emergency Shelter on Dowling had 63 persons sleep on a pallet on the floor because the 74 rooms were filled! Please pray for these persons, that they will find their way in our world! If you can help, you can donate today. Also, you can find out how you can volunteer, and learn more about homelessness in our city!
Thanks for your prayers. They become the catalyst for life change! God bless.
BTW, don’t miss our annual banquet, February 2nd, at the Hilton Americas. It will be a great night to learn more about Houston’s homeless! Make reservations now and bring a friend or neighbor, or both!
May God richly bless you and your family during this Season of Thankfulness!
Discover ways to give and help Houston's homeless with Star of Hope Mission.
Visit Donation Opportunities Houston.
When I answered the phone Friday morning, I noticed the out-of-state area code. I was uncertain who would be on the other end of the call when I picked up the call.
"I know someone who is at your shelter," the caller began, "and, I looked up Star of Hope on the Internet and that's where I got your name."
I immediately began the "rote" answer in my head "I'm sorry, we cannot give out information on client who may or may not be in our program. You can leave a message and IF he/she is a client, the message will be left." But, the words never left my mouth.
That is not what this caller wanted. *Julie just wanted to know more about Star of Hope. The story unfolded...
*Gina, was in Julie's youth group at a church in Tennessee MANY years ago. As a 17-year old, Gina was involved in programs at the church and became close to Julie and her family. Now, eleven years have passed...Gina's family has disowned her; three failed marriages behind her; drug and alcohol abuse; seeking love in all the wrong places...and, the police brought Gina to the doors of Star of Hope's Women & Family Emergency Shelter.
"She's there," Julie told me. "She called me from there last night and there was someone there praying for her. I think a staff member. And, we have been texting this morning. Can you please help her?"
I explained to Julie that Gina was in a safe place. I told Julie that our staff are loving and care for each person who walks through the doors. I told her our mission statement and that we are a "Christ-centered" community. Julie was glad to hear that...she had been thinking of sending Gina a bus ticket to come back to Tennessee, but felt confident in Star of Hope's ability to care for her friend. "She's lucky to have someone like you, who cares about her, even if you are far away right now," I told Julie.
"She's hit rock bottom," Julie shared.
"That is where God takes us sometimes," I reminded Julie. "Sometimes He puts us in a place in life where all we can do is look to Him and the grace and mercy he supplies."
Julie was comforted that her friend would received God's love through the staff at the Women and Family Shelter.
When I hung up the phone, I called the staff at the Women & Family Emergency Shelter and asked if they would follow up with Gina. They did...and, she is excited about a future that will include a stay at our Transitional Living Center's New Hope program for drug recovery; finding a job and earning her own money; and, long term housing with the New Horizons program.
Gina has never really lived on her own...she is frightened, but comforted that Jesus said, "I will never leave you, or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
She is able to only see a few steps ahead, but knows that she is on a pathway leading to the Lord, and that is enough!
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.
- Alumni conduct weekend spiritual retreat camps.
- They organize many types of fellowships such as bowling fund raisers, acts of service outings, and sporting events to name a few.
- Several Alumni pick up current SOH programmers and take them to churches, ministry events and family outings.
Learn more about ACTS at Star of Hope Mission - Supporting Houston Ministries
Sandra is excited about her future...she is working for Goodwill Industries and loves her job. While she was just diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, she and her children continue to trust God with their present and their future. Sandra is concentrating on ensuring her children; Keiara-18; and Shawn-16; are ready for whatever life brings them. She prays that they know they are loved and she encourages them to dream for big, bright futures.
Cheri is gaining some ground. She felt she was spinning her wheels until recently. She had big dreams and plans that always seemed to be dashed at the last moment. However, she is getting those dreams and plans on track and the Lord is blessing her by placing encouraging, loving people in her path to help her along. Cheri was able to transition from part time to full time work last month; she was able to purchase a more reliable vehicle; and, she completed her FAFSA (financial aid forms) so she can return to school next month to complete her few more credit hours toward her BA in graphic design. She plans to leave this program a complete success.
As the staff consider the program since its inception, we have learned many things. The clients respond well to the spiritual and emotional encouragement offered through biblical counseling, Recovery Class, and Bible Fellowship. They encourage each other by offering to help when needed (see Artie's story "Please Pray for Me") and finding themselves as part of a positive community.
This past weekend, on June 4th, we had a Summer Fest. We reached out to our neighbors in the apartment complex and were able to encourage over 150 of our neighbors. "These are people we see every day in passing," Henry O. said of the event, "But, today I got to really talk to them and encourage them. They are nice people."
When we begin to see the next few "graduates" leave our program, we will know even more about them and the program's effectiveness. One thing we do know...we sure do have a great time encouraging each other with the Word of God and praying for each other, too.
Here are some of our kids who made some crafts for their mothers for Mother's Day:
We hope you will join us in the Summer of Hope and donate to Star of Hope Mission as we help our neighbors, others who are having hard times, and those who seek out shelter and assistance during these HOT summer months. Bless you and your families as you seek God's will for your lives!!
Learn more about New Horizons and Star of Hope's other life-changing programs at
Supporting Christian Ministries Houston.
Congratulations and many blessings to our graduates, parents, and supporters of our children. I would like to encourage parents and supporters to continue praying for, paving the way, and providing for our children’s academic pursuits and career advancements. As we strive to achieve excellence in academics and for the perfect vocation, let us always seek God first and His righteousness (Matt 6:33). As Christians, we should always expect God’s supply and will for our children’s life. After all, He is the supreme provider and wisest counselor. Whatever we need He will provide. Whatever we desire to become and long to achieve it will come to pass because of His wonder working power manifesting through us. For in him we live and move and have our being, Acts 17:28.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth, Psalms 127:4. Every archer’s arrow has a specific purpose—a target to hit. So, shall every parent position and aim their arrow (their child) to hit a spiritual bull’s eye (God’s will) every time. We must keep pointing our precious children towards the heart of God and trust His will for their life every step of the way.
Below are a few steps we can take as parents and supporters to position and lead our children into God’s desire for their lives:
- Give Them Direction: Spiritually nudge and encourage them with God’s Words to facilitate God’s will in their lives
- Creative Culture and Opportunity: Expose them to activities, environments, and organizations that arouse their spiritual consciousness and interest
- Connect Them to Others: Introduce them to strong believers they can relate to and who are capable of discipling them
- Train Them Up: Teach them to identify how God actively moves in all situations, i.e., work, home, play
- Pray Daily: Pray with them and for them. Pray God’s blessings and prosperity into their lives daily.
- Constant Communication: Maintain open dialogue with children. Listen well. Don’t solve all their problems. Every opportunity to teach them a lesson does not have to turn into a lecture. Give them support. Share from your own experience and let them make the connection with their own life. However, don’t use your child as a storehouse to stow your past sins and failures. Use wisdom in being transparent. Make sure you share things of the past that are applicable and useful to them for present situations.
- Walk Worthy: Live a lifestyle of godliness before them as an example of hope and holiness. Often times while rearing children, many lessons are caught much easier than taught. How parents respond under stress, in distress, and while going through life's test often times paint a more vivid, memorable, and meaningful picture than a 1000 words.
Reference Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-6, Joshua 24:15, Proverbs 2:1, Proverbs 22:6, Psalms 37:23, Colossians 1:10
The topic of the retreat was “Souled Out” and hinged on the thought of what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26) We had many keynote speakers that nailed this topic into the teens and brought them to pointed discussions about the things of this world that can choke the life out of their walk with God. On Saturday evening, a message was given that took all the thoughts discussed previously and brought it to a decision that the teens could choose. For some it would be a choice to find forgiveness of their sins and restore their relationship with God and for others it was a choice to reject this world and follow Christ (being sold out for Him).
Many came forward and spoke and prayed with counselors. On Sunday, May 1st before we left, we had our final session with the teens and it was a prayer walk. One of the volunteers had set up prayer stations along a trail in the woods. The leaders took a group of about 7 and took them on this prayer walk which involved complete silence as they went through each station. At each station they would individually pray for specific topics such as follows: God’s creation, Repentance, God’s forgiveness, God’s love as a sacrifice, Growing in God’s love, Knowing God’s love, and Sharing God’s love. Each teen had a booklet that would illuminate each station’s topic with Scripture and a thought. We think this proved to be a powerful tool with the teens that they were able to take what they had learned and put it to practice. The whole prayer journey took about an hour per group and we as leaders were amazed to see the teens be silent and thoughtful for that time. We were glad to hear good feedback from the youth about this time.
Overall, this was a powerful weekend for the 22 youth we took and for us. We love giving these opportunities to youth to escape the noise and distractions of this world so that they can start that journey of drawing closer to God and see God draw close to them.
Grace and Peace,
Chad & Myron
Learn more about Stars of 2morrow and Star of Hope Mission at Christian Ministries Houston
As Director of Star of Hope's New Horizons Program, I get to minister to the needs of others every day. I have the privilege of encouraging others in times of worry/distress and times of achievement/success. I also get to pray with others on a daily basis for just about anything and everything.
My clients have been concerned about my upcoming leave of absence for medical purposes. But, they are not concerned in the way we might think:
- They are not worried if their rental subsidy will be paid;
- They are not concerned as to whether the Community Prayer Time on Mondays will be canceled;
- They don't ask about services which will be delayed or eliminated...
So, that is what I am asking..."Please, pray for me." I will miss all my clients, staff and the daily running of the New Horizons Program, but I know that all will be fine in my absence. The Lord will guide the staff and clients just as He will guide me in my recovery. Again, what an honor and privilege to be a part of the Star of Hope and this New Horizons "family."
Many of our men have children from whom they have become estranged. Beneath the surface of their bluster and bravado gnaws the grief of knowing that their sin and self-serving lusts have separated these men from their boys and girls. In our shelter they come to understand that it is through the love and power of Christ alone that the grace of harmony has hope. Our men, knowing that they have demolished the blessing of fatherhood, look to Him for a miracle. So they pray for a spirit of forgiveness. They search for some opportunity to humble themselves before their children. They seek an avenue by which to demonstrate to those innocents whom they have wounded that they are new and trustworthy creations through the renewing mercy of Jesus Christ.
In three weeks, 51 men who have come here to begin again will have a simple gift to give to their children. Though not one of them has earned the money to purchase it, all will have something to give precisely because they have made the best decision possible: to come to Star of Hope where they may be cleansed and equipped for the walking of a new way. One man will have a football to give a young son. Another will have a doll to give his little girl. Each - through the generosity of Christ-honoring donors - will be supplied with a tangible expression of love's yearning. The father's hope is that his child's present will serve as another brick helping pave the pathway advancing toward a day of reconciliation.
At the Men's Development Center we expect Christ to undo the arrogant works of hell as He establishes, through the servant-leadership of redeemed fathers, multiplied houses built upon the rock. That will be an Advent-level miracle. That is what Star of Hope is about. That is what you support and love.
by John Mills
During my eight years working for Star of Hope Mission, I have watched over and over as homeless clients move from virtually “no hope” with total dependence, to beginning their independent walk in a new life. Star of Hope is not just a Soup Kitchen in Houston! We offer Christian Ministries with such services as drug rehabilitation, emergency homeless services, parenting classes, career building classes, for homeless persons and for battered women, men and for families. We offer care for men, single women and for families at our three homeless shelters and transitional living centers.
Last week I got to meet a young woman who lived here at Star of Hope twelve years ago. When she came here, she was 4 years old, and she got into a ballet dance program offered by a volunteer. Her family got back on their feet and now she is married and has three beautiful children. She was present at the opening of our newly decorated Intake area at Star of Hope’s Women & Family Emergency Shelter. It was a real blessing to visit and to see how well she is doing now. She and her family had received a chance to get back on their feet, and they had taken it!
I hope that you weren’t ever homeless! But if you had been, wouldn’t it be great to know that there was a place, where people would listen to you, pray with you, cry with you, and try to meet your every need! Star of Hope is such a place!
Would you consider partnering with us, through offering a prayer for the less fortunate, and through making a contribution? You can go to Charitable Donations Houston to make a contribution.
The recent upsurge in our nation of a capella singing has found a home here. We could rival "Glee" at a moment's notice. Several months ago we began singing at our Noon Chapel service some of the familiar old hymns and camp songs. Without instrumental assistance, our men stand and let it fly. At times, we enjoy a vigorous round of "The Old Rugged Cross" or "It Is Well With My Soul" offered in beautiful harmonies betraying within our flawed flock a soul-deep love for Christ.
Today, only about 48 hours into Advent, our song leader for the day closed the time with "O Come, All Ye Faithful". My first reaction was to lament the notion that we had fallen into the trap being set for us by our culture's retailers. As several hundered men gave voice, however, to the heavenly call to "come, let us adore Him," I immediately understood that they were not forcing the issue or jump-starting the season or capitulating to the sentimental. I found myself almost overcome by the nobility of a great and glorious hope pouring out of them. These men meant what they were singing. To them Jesus is not a hobby, a sociological phenomenon or the mascot of the church. He is everything and He loves them. I do not know that I have ever been more forcefully invited or more honestly compelled to worship.
As I sing this year the wonderful songs that are anchored to the Christmas season, I will pray as I sing. I will ask the Lord to give me a penetrated understanding, an infused discernment, one which seems seated in the hearts and lives of our men, men who have thrown away, sqaundered or have otherwise lost virtually everything, yet who hang all on a miracle come to earth on Christmas Day. Star of Hope exists for the purpose of introducing the broken and loveless to Him. Their resolution to forsake the past and move toward eternity in adoration of Him is nothing short of awesome.
by Scott Arthur
He's universally known as one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian Music. A three time Grammy Award winner with 40 Dove Awards and 13 million records sold, this Christian Superstar is an everyday Joe - I mean Michael.
On October 18th, just 11 days past his 53rd birthday, Mister Smith went to Houston - and without singing a note - wowed hundreds and hundreds of fans. He was signing - not singing and music lovers lined up to meet the man and have him autograph his new
CD " Wonder".
The occasion was another KSBJ Street and Greet. Star of Hope, in partnership with area Lifeway Book Stores, sponsors the event as music giants appear at selected stores and sign the merchandise. But most importantly - they meet their fans.
Now I think its fair to say that Michael W. Smith appeals to a vast and widely diverse audience. His career so far has spanned at least three decades and shows no signs of stopping. He is the Frank Sinatra of Christian Music - and his loyal audience goes ga-ga when he's around. No wonder he was named one of People Magazine's "Most Beautiful People."
He has the ability to treat every wide eyed housewife and giggling teenager, every bashful kid with a guitar and every hesitant husband with three CDs with fresh, genuine enthusiasm. He's the real deal - down to earth with a heavenly smile.
I even had a chance to chat with him about our city's homeless and the state of Houston Non profit Donations. I suggested that he record a song about the homeless - maybe with TobyMac - he smiled and said "write it - and we'll see." Hmmm - I love a challenge.
Michael will return at Christmas time to perform in our area - check out KSBJ for details and please continue supporting Houston Ministries.
by Scott McKinley
New Religious Enterprise on Franklin Avenue Will Be Launched Tonight
Dr. D. R. Pevoto, in charge of the mission, stated yesterday that no formal program had been arranged or would be arranged. “We want it to be a spontaneous meeting and we hope that the Christian men of the city who want to see some help extended the unfortunate class who are down and out, we hope that these men will come out and help us in our efforts.”
Services will be held in the mission every night this week. On the first floor of the two-story building occupied by the institution a comfortable meeting room has been fitted up, and here the daily religious exercises will be held. It is proposed to make the mission serve the unfortunate of all classes and as soon as the work can be fully organized, lodging rooms will be fitted up in the second story, a lunch room will be added, a reading room will be installed, an employment bureau will be maintained, and every agency contributing to the physical, mental and spiritual elevation of man will be employed.
The gentlemen already interested in the mission undertaking are earnest and active in their support and are determined to make it accomplish the work that they believe […unreadable…] Houston for it to accomplish.
As was reported in The Post last Monday, Mr. Richard Dowling, who was converted during the preaching of Evangelist Ham here last December, has been secured as superintendent of the mission and will arrive shortly.
Visit Star of Hope at Supporting Homeless Shelters Houston for a summary of the many programs and ministries offered today and join the Legacy.
Star of Hope's Men's Development Center Alumni (ACTS) are “Bowling for Souls” again on August 7th at Emerald Bowl at 9307 Boone Road Houston, TX 77099. This is the second year that ACTS is hosting a bowling tournament. Last year the event raised roughly $8,000, which included a 100% matching donation, which was used to meet the needs of individuals who are less fortunate in the city of Houston.
Below are a few ways ACTS have served over the last several months. During the first quarter 2010 alone, ACTS impacted over 6000 people. Members of ACTS have lead worship services, which includes preaching, praising, praying, and sharing personal testimony. They have ministered on the streets in the Montrose area, in Herman Park, at the Salvation Army, at Open Door Mission, and several other places. Their aim is always to do their part in saving souls for Christ and encouraging others to grow in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dozens have come to Christ over the last year.
As stated above, ACTS partner with several other Houston ministries and shelters to facilitate life change in Christ. Last week ACTS ministered at the “Church in the Park” in the court yard of Palmer Episcopal Church in the museum district where hundreds of homeless migrate. Many homeless individuals struggle with some kind of barrier that prevents them from living productive lives. These issues range from a lack of social skills to mental illness. Some have multiple felons and cannot obtain gainful employment. Whatever the barrier may be, ACTS is willing to do their part to assist them along the way.
Last Saturday, Farren, a 40 year old man from Nacogdoches, confided in one of the alumni. Farren needed a change of clothes because he had been wearing the same clothes for weeks. One of the alumni took him to SOH and helped him get a change of clothes, a hot meal, and a preached Word from God. While this may seem like a small feat for some, Farren was living “high on the hog” so to speak with clean clothes, a cool bed, and a freshly preach Word. As they journeyed to the Star of Hope together, the Alumni shared how he was once homeless and hopeless but now he is working, on his feet, and helping others. Farren asked for a change of clothes and God used a willing vessel to provide so much more.
One of the issues with homelessness is that most people know what they want but don’t know what they need and where and how to get what they really need. I know that was a tongue twisted but life can get twisted sometimes too. Farren now can see just a little more Jesus at the end of the tunnel.
ACTS also work closely with graduates as they finish the programs. ACTS provides alumni movers to help graduates purchase furniture through the Furniture Bank and provide one day Metro bus passes so that men in the program and graduates can attend church services on the weekend.
Because many “friends of ACTS” gave to the ACTS Ministry last year, they are able to win more soul for Christ and help somebody along the way. Thanks for your generosity, prayers, and your participation to make ACTS what it is in Christ.
Learn more about ACTS (Alumni in Community, Transformation and Service) at Christian Ministries Houston.
On Friday, June 18, 2010, Star of Hope Men’s Development Center hosted the Fifth Annual Alumni Fellowship Celebration (AFC). We celebrated the victory of “new lives” in Christ. We celebrated the victory that God has given the alumni over drugs, alcohol, and habitual sin. We celebrated the victory that God has given them as servants of the Gospel of Christ.
Men who have satisfied Client Services and Spiritual Recovery Program requirements and now live off SOH property in their own residence are classified as alumni. This year we celebrated their acts of service in the community and within the Star of Hope facilities. Three different awards were given to the alumni who rendered Acts of Service:
- Eleven alumni received the “Redeeming the Time Award” which was given to men who volunteered through ACTS Ministry (Alumni in Community Transformation & Service).
- Five alumni received the “Sowing the Seed Award” which was given to men who taught or preached at the any one of our four Star of Hope locations.
- Eleven alumni received the “Stirring it Up Award” which was given to men who discipled another alumni
Private Dale C. shared a brief testimony about how the Star of Hope played a tremendous role in saving his life, changing his life, and redirecting his life. On October 20, 2008, Dale signed up for the Spiritual Recovery Program (SPR). While at the Star of Hope, Dale accepted Christ as his Savior. While sharing his testimony during the fellowship, he said in so many words that his life was going now where fast. After completing the SRP, he left to sign up for the United States Army. Looking back over the last two years, Dale has completed two rigorous programs, the SRP and the Army Boot Camp. Dale talks about how rigorous the SOH and Boot Camp training was. He now knows that he needed both of these painstaking training programs to prepare him to serve his country for Christ.
Dale is a true solider for Christ. Dale entered the doors of the Star of Hope at the tender age of 19 homeless and hopeless. Today he is 22 and has a new home in heaven and hope for a brighter future in Christ. He is a great servant of the Most High, and we love and support him.
In the words of the Apostle Paul, “We give thanks to God always for you all (alumni), making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-6
Visit Christian Ministries Houston to learn more about ACTS, Star of Hope's Alumni Ministry.
Star of Hope is among many Non Profit Organizations Houston! And, during Hurricane Season, it has been one of the few Shelters Houston Texas which remain occupied during the some of the storms. The closest storm in my recollection--as for many of us--is Hurricane Ike, Fall of 2008. However, the stories I want to share today--the FIRST day of Hurricane Season--are from Hurricane Rita...
Still ministering to the evacuees and victims of Hurricane Katrina--a human flood coming from Louisiana and Mississippi to Houston and the surrounding areas--Star of Hope's Women and Family Shelter began to prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Rita. With the devastation of Hurricane Katrina still on everyone's mind...we were working with frightened, hurt, confused, abandoned and broken people leaving all they had--even loved ones--behind.
We as staff were used to working with those dealing with the "storms of life"--unemployment, drug addiction, abuse, and brokenness. But, this STORM was different--these precious men, women and children were clinging to the last few things they had left in this world--EACH OTHER!! The trauma was real...the fear was real...and, they were about to experience it all again!! Now these families and individuals faced a new threat; another STORM of life...Hurricane Rita...was threatening a direct hit to the Galveston/Houston area.
Outpouring of donations from all across America--Houston Non Profits, Christian Ministries Houston and Houston Non Profit Donations --SOARED. America responded to the material needs of the evacuees who fled to the Houston area. Food, blankets, clothing, water and other material items were coming in by the truckload...an answer to prayer!!
A few last minute buses were able to evacuate some of our residents (elderly, sick, very young)--an answer to prayer. The rest of us "hunkered down" in the cinder block safety of the Women and Family Shelter. I was among about 8 staff members who volunteered to "stay behind" and ride out the storm with the ones who had nowhere else to go or who could not be evacuated. That Friday night we held a Worship service--we prayed, sang hymns, and thanked God for His protection. All the residents and some locals who joined us went to bed early and staff began a vigil to pray and "watch this storm."
Of all the "storms of life" we had helped others through--this was the first one we could actually WATCH the progress and path!! We prayed for the storm to lessen--it was a Category 5; we prayed for the storm to turn--it was due to hit Galveston Bay directly. In the wee hours of Saturday, September 24, 2005, the storm came ashore in Louisiana as a Category 3 storm--answered prayer!
As we woke up Saturday morning (some of us had not slept), we found some wind damage and the lights were out--a generator provided some emergency lighting. Some of those Houstonians who had sought shelter with us as a "last resort" wanted to return to their homes and we all wanted to get on with life. As a few "relief staff" joined us later in the morning, we prayed again--for "light" and for transportation for those who wanted to return to their homes. As soon as we said, "Amen" and lifted our heads from prayer--a YELLOW TAXI CAB appeared in our driveway--an immediate answer to prayer! Staff talked with the cabbie and made arrangements to transport those who wanted to return home. The cabbie even returned to ensure all who had a place to go were taken there. We ate breakfast and lunch in the dim light seeping in through the skylights.
The mood was light, and happy as the residents rejoiced in God's protection, love and provision. And, as more staff began reporting to work to relieve those who had stayed through the storm...the electricity was restored at 2:00pm...it was only out about 12 hours--an answer to prayer!!
So, as this year's Hurricane season officially begins...and, predictions are made...I rely on the only thing I KNOW to be true---God answers prayer!!! In the midst of the storms of life--"hope floats up" as God answers prayer!!
"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield." Psalm 33:20
When I got to Houston I searched for "Non Profit Organizations Houston". I wanted to work in an industry which would allow me to utilize both my sociology and religion degree to further the organization's mission statement. I was certain among the Christian Ministries Houston, I would find a suitable job. I was not certain I had any business being where I was. But, God had greater plans.
Flash forward three months---October 12, 1992--It was my FIRST day on a new job...I had just moved to Houston from Indiana. I was dressed in a nice sweater and skirt--I thought I looked professional. I was 24 years old and in my THIRD job working in Social Services. I was nervous, excited, hopeful, anxious, and ready for whatever God handed me. Well, almost ready.
I had been at work for two hours...I was overwhelmed! Thirty families, over 50 children, and I was supposed to know their names, ages, and needs!!?? What did I get myself into?? I was introduced to my shift-partner--what was her name, again? Oh, yeah, Denise. But, Denise What?
I thought I had just gotten the hang of things when a resident of the Transitional Living Center walked up to me. She was smiling, thankfully. Then, the assessment; she looked me up and down and said, "You won't last a week."
Oh, my...here I thought I had gained my footing; knew what I was doing...her statement had me reeling. Was I really in the right place? I prayed all the way home--asking God to reveal His will to me. Was I really where He wanted me to be??
By the time I reached my home (a 45 minute drive), I had my answer. I looked at the seat next to me with all my "first day on the job papers"...and, there ON TOP, was a little picture one of the children drew for me. "Welcome, Miss Erika," it said, scrawled in the crayon-handwriting of a child. That was my answer--hope had floated up...and, I was where God wanted me to be.
And, I still am...