As we celebrate this Holy week of Easter, we reflect on Jesus' final week on this earth. Everything about Jesus' life was a miracle ... His virgin birth, His sinless life, His profound teachings, His miracles and His resurrection from the dead. But what do you think is the greatest miracle of Easter?
I believe the greatest Miracle of Easter is the miracle of eternal life which God gives over and over ... every day around the world ... every time one of us confesses our sins and accepts Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That is the greatest Miracle of Easter! Jesus paid the price for ALL who believe and redeems us to a life in Heaven with Him.
We see this Miracle of Easter played out in broken human lives every single day at Star of Hope as men, women and children in deep distress and lost in this life, turn to God through his Son, Jesus, and experience this miracle of rebirth into God's kingdom for themselves.
A recent graduate of Star of Hope's programs, Justin says: “I have lived more in the last 2 ½ years of sobriety than I have in my whole existence. And that is no exaggeration. So I want to thank you all very much for helping me change my life into something worth living.”
Thank you for being a part of the Star of Hope ministries to the homeless of our city! As we serve together with you, through your prayers, volunteering and gifts, we serve their immediate needs for food, shelter, clothing and love ... just as Christ commanded us to do. And we see the Miracle of Easter occur every day in these lives, as they find their way back to life, and for many begin a new relationship with Christ.
I hope you will seek God as never before and claim Him this Holy Week as your own. Renew your relationship to Him, and commit to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate all around us. You will be honoring Christ's admonition to us from John 21:17: If you love me, feed my sheep.
Happy Easter from all of us at the Star of Hope family of ministries!
While I contribute regularly financially to Star of Hope, I felt I wanted to do more but could not due to time constraints. Helping out socially is a great way for me to contribute.
A few years ago, I decided to choose an organization to give to regularly since I finally had a full time job and could afford to give. Ever since I was little, I had a desire to help those in need. While I didn't have the best of everything growing up, I was blessed to have shelter and food and I knew there were people out there that did not. I vowed even then to help those in need when I got older. When it's cold outside and/or bad weather, my heart goes out to those on the streets or in homes without heat or protective roofs. My heart is especially pained for children who have no choice in the matter and are suffering and, most times, forced to grow up too soon.
Star of Hope is an organization that I am confident helps those in need, especially children and mothers. I believe the work of Star of Hope is invaluable to the Houston Community.
Two weeks ago, I bought a homeless man a blanket and another homeless man a bowl of hot soup, but it is frightening and dangerous to approach them alone and I can't make a real difference by myself. We're having a very cold winter and people are sleeping on the pavement that I see daily on my way home.
I was praying this morning and asking God what I can do to help make a difference. I don't have much money, I don't have a lot of time and I don't have a good, safe distribution method for approaching the homeless to try to help. But I have a loving heart and I asked God to show me how I could help where the "Rubber Meets the Road" in a legitimate organization that has the resources and distribution system to make a real difference ... right here in our own city.
With Christmas approaching and reading of the North Star that led the wise men to the birth of Jesus, I immediately thought of the Star of Hope. As I researched it, through their purchasing power they can serve a homeless person a meal for $1.92. We can't do that! They can prepare and distribute it. They can send people in to the places to reach those most in need - the ones there is no room for in their own shelters.
They provide meals and blankets, shelter as many as they can, provide counseling and job skills training to help them get on their feet and they work diligently to get them off the streets, out of the shelters and reintegrated into society.
I decided to set a goal of obtaining $250 in donations to the Star of Hope by the end of 2013 through my personal fundraising mission, which I have named, Where Rubber Meets Road.
We are so excited to announce a new opportunity for Star of Hope friends to serve as virtual volunteers and help end homelessness in Houston!
Star of Hope Mission invites you to be among the first fundraisers with the launch of our new personal fundraising opportunity.
This means social connections and friends from all over the world can easily support your service and love for the homeless in our community by giving to your personal fundraising goal.
Maybe your passion is to provide meals for the 1,200 people in our shelters, so you ask friends to contribute in increments of $1.92 to feed Houston's homeless?
Is your heart drawn to help the hundreds of children who are experiencing homelessness by no choice or fault of their own? Set up a personal fundraising page dedicated to raising money for these children in need.
Give your birthday or Christmas away this year in honor of helping Houston's homeless. Encourage your friends and family to support your dedication to care for the homeless in lieu of giving gifts!
We are eager to join with you in this effort and hope many lives will be touched, healed and made new because of your participation.
Many thanks and gratefulness, you are helping to end homelessness with every post, tweet and share.
by Star of Hope Friends
Thursday night, October 24, churches from across Houston gathered at Star of Hope’s Men’s Development Center (MDC) to experience an evening chapel service with our clients. Occasionally individual churches lead a chapel service, but this was the first time churches were invited to join the congregation.
Dr. Dick Druary, the Director of the MDC, shared a heart-felt message from Matthew 1:18-23 and “Band of Grace” provided music for worship. Band of Grace was started by one of our clients and its music and ministry continues to be a very welcomed and important part of the men’s understanding and acceptance of God’s love. Also, evening chapel services have a long history at the Mission. “Our Chapel services have happened almost every night for over 100 years at Star of Hope Mission,” says Druary.
Approximately 35 men responded to the invitation asking for prayer and/or accepting Christ as his Savior, critical steps to each man in his journey of recovery from homelessness. The MDC provides homeless men with wholesome food, safe shelter, and short and long-term Spiritual Recovery programs. Some of the services include: alcohol and drug education; Life skills classes to provide skills for independent living; work therapy, tutoring, career development, employment assistance and GED: spiritual skills classes to ground each man in the Word of God and Christ-centered living.
If you would like to partner with Star of Hope as a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to meeting the needs of the homeless, please visit our volunteer page for information about how you or your group can serve.
Star of Hope Mission
As you go about your day to day lives, many of you encounter homeless individuals on the streets of Houston from time to time. Star of Hope’s mission is to help these individuals get off the streets and into life recovery programs so they can start a new life and become independent, contributing members of society once again.
After taking part in the city-wide annual Homeless Enumeration for the past five years, Erika Wise, Star of Hope’s Director of Extended Services, was given a vision of doing a massive "street outreach/evangelism" effort. Plans came together, and just last week, "Takin’ Hope to the Streets" happened! We partnered with YWAM (Youth with a Mission), and sent teams to Butte Park, the Greyhound Bus Station and Spaghetti Warehouse area, the Downtown Library, Montrose and other areas of town where homeless adults and youth gather … to bring HOPE!
Wearing brightly colored shirts with the "Takin’ Hope to the Streets" logo -- seventy-one volunteers distributed HOPE Water Bottles (provided by I AM WATERS Foundation), snacks, Christian literature, great music and the HOPE of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those on the streets of Houston. We particularly desired to reach the 18-23 year-olds who were out on the streets, to inform them of Star of Hope’s New Journey Program for homeless youth in that age group, and to begin to establish a "heart-to-heart" connection in the hope that they would eventually come for help. The results of this fun effort are exciting:
- 238 homeless or near homeless individuals were visited
- 91 persons requested prayer
- 219 water bottles were distributed
- 300+ snacks distributed
- 7 men and 1 woman requested transportation to Star of Hope shelter facilities
- 1 man was taken to the VA Hospital and then to shelter
And of most significance, two people chose to enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Star of Hope is taking hope to the streets! And we are excited about all God is doing to redeem hearts and lives into the fullness of life He has planned for each one. We invite you to join us as we serve during the coming holiday season … there is still so much need in our community!
Most Friday evenings don’t look like this.
Two men led us in worship by playing hymns and songs about the love of Jesus, our Savior and Friend. I’m reminded now of His goodness in that first hour, allowing His people to gather, sing and pray for the night ahead. In one look around I saw nearly 100 people standing in a parking lot, hands raised in adoration for our King, singing His praises and pleading for His presence.
We split into groups and headed to areas of town where homeless men, women and children are often found. I jumped into a van with eight others and we made our way to an area under a bridge where the Metro runs. With honeybuns, water and help cards in hand, we got out of the van and began talking with the folks staying there.
Our group had on bright orange Takin’ Hope to the Streets t-shirts. Amongst a crowd of homeless people were orange shirts with hands praying and extending gifts of food, mouths offering hope and resources for help and hearts aching over the brokenness of our city.
Star of Hope Mission is a safe haven, where the homeless in our city can go for support, encouragement, food, shelter and love. In outreach opportunities like Takin’ Hope to the Streets, our hope is to let people know they are cared for and help them make the choice to leave a life on the street and seek change.
I met a young girl, very close in age to myself, and after offering her a snack and some water we started talking. Over the next hour we laughed, cried, prayed and shared stories about our lives. I keep thinking to myself, “this girl shouldn't be homeless.”
I’m praying hard that Jesus guides her to Star of Hope, prepares her heart for change and heals the broken parts of her life. Join me in praying for the thousands of street homeless men, women and families in our city, hoping He leads them to Our Mission. Our staff will welcome them with open arms.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
by Hank Rush
At Star of Hope’s Summer Camp for children of homeless families last week, the answer was a resounding “YES!”
With the amazing financial support of so many of you, 130 children ages 6-17 went to Camp Good News and had the time of their lives. While their moms and dads were working through tough life issues with our staff, these bright, talented and promising young people were having great fun AND learning about God’s love for them!
We know God has a special plan for each one. Thank you for helping these kids to have this special opportunity to grow and learn! If you haven’t given yet to the Children’s Programs at Star of Hope, we could really use your help in meeting our August budget need for the kids’ summer activities. Please make a gift NOW.
As we enter the final weeks of the summer, we are preparing for the start of school next week. And, as these children enter the classroom, we will be right alongside their parents, helping ensure their success, so homelessness can end in their families and not be repeated in the next generation.
Many of the clients we see in Star of Hope’s New Haven program need a second chance on LIFE. Our ladies come to us from abusive and broken relationships, their pasts filled with tragedy and disappointment. They have potential to reach great heights, but no one will give them a chance.
Watch this video and see how appreciative Alisha is to have her second chance!
“Star of Hope opened doors to me and gave me a second chance.” -- Alisha
Have you ever wanted a second chance to do something over? Perhaps a meeting with your boss, a golf game, or some other missed opportunity?
The precious ladies in New Haven hear things like this all the time:
- “You were denied for benefits because you did not respond to our request in time.” Meanwhile, her stomach and refrigerator are empty.
- “You cannot qualify for an apartment because you have a felony on your record.” No matter that the felony was several years ago and she has NO PLACE else to live unless her application is approved.
- “We are looking for someone with more experience.” She is likely the best candidate, but because she is older, she is passed by.
In New Haven, we say “YES” whenever we can! We screen clients IN, rather than screen them OUT. We set them up for success rather than failure. We work with a housing partner who is willing to work with our clients with “imperfect” backgrounds and give them their own apartment. We are able to help our clients “open doors” and give “second chances” … not because they earned it or deserve it, but because of Christ’s death on the cross. Three days in the tomb and the door opened when the stone was rolled way … and, we ALL got a second chance for salvation and eternal life.
Won’t you help us as we continue open doors for ladies like Alisha?
What does it take to end homelessness?
This is a question many of us ask every time we see a homeless person on the streets of Houston. We all see homeless individuals most every day and wonder, “Why are they there and what can we do to really help them?” But for every man or woman you see on the streets, there are thousands more hidden from our view. And a large percentage of these are homeless families.
This summer, we are seeing more homeless families coming for help than we have ever seen before. Most of these “hidden homeless” have been doubling up on a friend’s living room floor. Many were told that they had to find another place to go once the kids were out of school for the summer. When they cannot find anything else, they come to Star of Hope, and we try never to turn anyone away … day or night.
Star of Hope welcomes these families each day … and immediately begins working with them to deal with their crisis and to help them develop a plan toward full independence in their future. Once safely housed with us, and with the help of many other Houston agencies, we work to help them move down the road to a full recovery and independent living.
With each new family at our doorstep, we are excited because they are seeking help and we KNOW that God has a plan and a purpose for each one. In time, many will be healed, restored and able to live a happy life once again.
Your help, especially during the summer, enables this work to go on each and every day and night. If you would like to touch the life of a mom or dad, an infant or toddler, a middle school or high school student who is embarrassed and ashamed of their family’s homelessness, searching for their own identity … please make a gift today. You can make this a SUMMER OF HOPE and a fresh start for those who have lost their way in our community!
Every Wednesday, we look forward to our volunteer time at Star of Hope. Jim goes early in the morning to the eye clinic at the Men’s Shelter on Ruiz Street where he assists Dr. Moorehead as she examines clients’ eyes.
Then we spend the afternoon at the Transitional Living Center teaching science and social studies for a GED class full of students eager to earn their high school equivalency diploma. In the past, we have worked in kitchens, clothing rooms, offices – anything that we are qualified to do.
What’s the benefit? Wow! We get to meet the clients, sympathize and celebrate with them, encourage them, and rejoice at the obvious “new” lives they have experienced. We get to interact with staff, such dedicated people who love their jobs and love the homeless. Those folks are so good at letting us know how much they appreciate our hours.
Most of all, we expect our volunteer hours to pay off in the lives of those we serve. And we are fulfilling the Lord’s command to serve those in need. Someday we hope to hear the Lord’s words, “Welcome, thou good and faithful servants.”
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Matthew 25:23, ESV
Jim and Marge Feaster
Star of Hope Volunteers
by Scott Arthur
Dr. Phyllis Morgan has wanted to be a dentist since the age of 8. In 1994 she realized her dream when she opened her own practice and began to make other dreams come true. Community and outreach has been a driving force in her life and for the last 14 years, in addition to her regular practice, she and her staff work with the under insured and the underprivileged.
Last week, the good doctor opened her heart and her arms to the homeless children of Star of Hope. Dr. Morgan personally met the twelve school aged children and their parents as they got off the Mission’s bus. She assured them that they were in for a treat – not a treatment.
Soon, kids who have not been in a dentist’s chair for years – or ever – were getting their teeth cleaned and x-rayed, toothaches were being soothed and hearts were being won. Each child received a balloon and a back pack with dental supplies and a fun surprise.
“I love children,” said the Tooth Fairy in disguise, “they make me happy – and I want to return the favor.” As you might imagine, the top priorities of many homeless families don’t often include caring for a child’s tooth ache or much needed fillings. They need immediate crisis care and then long term structured recovery programs focusing on Life Skills, Education, Employment and Recovery from Substance Abuse. With your help, Star of Hope is here to provide these things. And while we put the smile back on the face of God’s broken children – Dr. Morgan makes sure it’s a healthy smile.
The end of the day was special as well. Although this charitable session was scheduled just for the homeless children – Dr. Morgan looked into the waiting room and said “Let’s see if any of the kid’s parents need dental help.” Two of the moms had major problems and teeth extracted – with a promise of follow - up visits.
The bus returned to Star of Hope with miles of smiles – and the best thing is - nobody even had to leave anything under their pillow!
Summer is here and our shelter is FULL.
144 people served in overflow last night!
As the temperatures rise, so do the needs of the Mission. Summer is one of our busiest times and this year we are expecting more children off the streets, more families in need and more hungry and homeless than ever. Last night we had an all time record of 144 people ... women and children, sleeping in overflow at our Women and Family Emergency Shelter because all of the rooms are full! Our emergency facilities will continue to be filled with people trying to escape the heat all summer long.
And it is only through the generosity and support of friends like you that we will be ready.
Other ways you are making this summer a Summer of Hope.
School is out and summer is in full swing! Our friends at Key Energy Services kicked off Summer of Hope with an end of school party last Friday. All of the children and families had a great time on water slides and other games.
This summer will be filled with fun and challenging events and activities for all of the children and teens at Star of Hope. They will make memories for a lifetime visiting museums, the zoo, the beach, Vacation Bible Schools, summer camps and so much more! Please keep our Children’s Department staff and volunteers in your prayers as they have more time in the summer to build relationships with and minister to the school age children and teens.
Thank you for making this summer a Summer of Hope!
If one has never been homeless you may not understand the important impact the Star of Hope Mission has in someone’s life. You may never experience the overwhelming panic, the knot that forms in the pit of your stomach or the physical pain caused by the fear of being homeless. You may not identify with the feeling of terror that one has when they have no idea where they will sleep that night, the fear of how to feed their children or concern about how to keep their children in school.
Many are blessed in life and never personally experience these terrorizing emotions. Others are blessed because Star of Hope was there to help them through this terrifying time in their life. My volunteer time has been spent in administrative support working for caring and dedicated staff. Each time I'm there, I see the lives of the many people whose lives have been altered. It may look like just a piece of paper that gets filed away, but each represents a life that has been touched and changed by the Star of Hope. The mission depend on volunteers to keep going. If you want to be involved with life changing moments in someone’s life and offer hope and confidence in the future, I encourage you to volunteer. You will gain more than any of the people you serve.
For many reasons people may find themselves in a temporary position in life in which a helping hand can make all the difference in the world. Star of Hope offers people a lifeline to a successful life when the world seems to be against them. They offer food, shelter, training and job placement . . . but most of all they offer hope and confidence in the future.
Deborah L. Stich
Star of Hope Volunteer
I knew for a long time that I have always wanted to do volunteer. It didn't matter the form of it, just knew it was in my heart. Two months ago, God placed in my heart to Google "shelter for the homeless in Houston." It's exactly what I did. The first shelter that popped up was Start Of Hope. I called and scheduled a day and time. Not only did God use me that day, but he used me by inviting 2 girlfriends that never have done volunteer work. I knew God smiled down on me that day, and ever since I never fail to invite some one to any event that gives glory to God!
Star of Hope Volunteer
I am currently a first year student in the Graduate College of Social Work at University of Houston. Initially I didn’t know what to expect coming to intern at Star of Hope's Transitional Living Center. All I really knew about Star of Hope was that it is a “homeless shelter”. Little did I know that it is so much more.
From the first day I entered the building, I could feel the welcoming spirit of the staff and residents. I expected to see a scene like portrayed on television with beds everywhere, a dirty or unkept building, unprofessional staff, and sack lunches with who knows what in them. That was my little view, but my eyes were widened and my spirits were lifted when I realized how different Star of Hope is from what I expected.
I have been allowed to do intake interviews with clients, I have taught some personal development classes and introduced topics such as self care, stress management and relaxation techniques. I have sat in on the New Hope Recovery Program, I interact and even have lunch with clients in the wonderful cafeteria where there are three hot meals served and not the sack lunches I thought there would be. I have gone to the chapel service and witnessed women graduate from recovery programs.
Overall the intensity of my excitement has grown more and more each day that I am here. I feel so blessed with this opportunity. The Spirit of God is all around this place and it is for anyone who really wants help. Star of Hope helps clients using a non-judgmental and holistic approach. My faith, spiritual outlook and belief in God has been greatly increased and I am constantly reminded that God is there for us all.
There is a sense of peace and God’s constant presence in this atmosphere of kindness, consideration, respect and cheerfulness.
The scripture I would associate with Star of Hope is Mathew 11:28. "Come to me, all ye labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!"
Star of Hope Mission Intern
Last June I heard Kelly share her testimony at a Star of Hope graduation. She admitted with sadness in her eyes that in her 30 years of living, she had experienced alcohol and drug addiction, rape, violent relationships and brain damage. Thankfully, I knew that coming to the Star of Hope meant that Kelly had hope for a much brighter future. She was determined to take the necessary steps and live life to its full potential.
Through graduations and other events I often see clients like Kelly who come into Star of Hope completely broken . . . sometimes without a job, a career or an education. Yet, they hold on to how good God is and the possibility of reaching goals that once seemed unattainable.
Not long ago a friend and I walked in to a restaurant and saw an amazing testimony beaming joyfully behind the hostess stand. I don’t think Kelly recognized me and I did not want to not make her uncomfortable. After being asked to sit and wait for the next open table, I watched proudly as I saw this lady bounce back and forth from the hostess stand, escorting patrons to their tables. She was so friendly, polite, and had a contagious spring in her step that made everyone around her smile.
I thought this could not be the same Kelly that I saw eight months ago who walked around with her head down, hoping to go unnoticed in a crowded room. This Kelly was a new lady. . . hopeful, proud, and a shining star! The feeling in my heart made me ecstatic! It was then that I remembered why Star of Hope is my mission, and why I continue to show my support to an organization that believes in building up the broken-hearted! And why the Word of God says, “. . .Greater is He that is in [us] than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Thanks Star of Hope for allowing me to witness such amazing transformations like Kelly.
Annual Giving Program Specialist
Star of Hope Mission
I have often heard the saying, “You are going into a storm, going through a storm, or coming out of a storm.” The truth is that we really do not like any parts of storms—before, during, or after. As hard as we pray and prepare for storms to leave us alone, we still find ourselves dealing with them in some manner. Since stormy situations are inevitable, let’s take a look at a particular storm to help equip us to navigate stormy situations. Luke 8:22-25 is a good place to start:
"Now it happened, on a certain day that Jesus got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.' And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Master, Master, we are perishing!' Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, 'Where is your faith?' And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!'"
The disciples were afraid and cried out to Jesus in the mist of the stormy situation, and the Master woke up and calmed the storm and then challenged their faith.
If you or a loved one is experiencing fear in the midst of the stormy situations of homelessness and alcohol or drug addiction, don’t give up! Do as the disciples did when they cried out to Jesus, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Jesus can turn your stormy situations into stories of hope and healing. Jesus will get you to the other side of the pain and suffering just keep the faith in Him! It may seem strange but God is working it out and is with you according to Romans 8:28; 38-39:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (28)."
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (38-39)."
Because we are the hands and feet of Jesus, Star of Hope exists as a shelter of love, hope and healing to help you navigate stormy situation.
Matthew 6:19-20 says, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.”
Star of Hope taught me what to invest in. I learned to invest in Jesus. To invest in those things that brought me peace and joy. I learned to expect a return on investing in learning how Jesus wanted me to live. To invest my time and energy to read, learn, depend, ponder and receive the Word of God. Every day I invest my energies in thinking on those things that are true and pure. I had learned and was taught to think the worst of things. To expect that bad things will happen and to continually get a good dose of bad news through our nightly news broadcast. If you realize, bad news sell. Bad news has a way to capture your attention and time.
What harvest or investment am I expecting? Every day we sow either a good or bad seed. Therefore, the harvest that is to be expected is dependent on the seed that we sow. I try my best to tell people something that would encourage, strengthen and support them. Believe me, we can get bad advice and bad information from or media and friends and family, but who will help to give us hope and faith. Sometimes we can be in a bad mood or having a rough day, but just think, if someone would encourage us or tell us to continue to have hope and faith in Jesus… we may just have a better day.
Star of Hope taught me to invest my time, thoughts, energy, and speech, on those things that are true and pure and that I should always have hope and faith in Jesus. If I invest in Jesus, I am guaranteed a good return on investment - Peace, Joy and Eternal Life.
Former Star of Hope Client
Last night we at Star of Hope experienced an amazing Christmas miracle... a Christmas Tree Lighting Service with several hundred homeless parents and their kids together... children joyfully singing. It was just wonderful!
The miracle is that just a few short months ago, these families were in despair, with no place to go and no hope for their future. That is a terrible place to be in life. But last night, the Christmas Miracle...the HOPE that is ours in Christ was apparent all around! And it’s all because of you that these families have the support and services they need to put their lives back together.
Thank you for helping us financially and for your prayers and volunteer hours. Because of you these families have HOPE once again. And we will work diligently while they are in our care to help them find all that God has planned for them in the future.
Give a Christmas Miracle of your own right now, and help change a life forever!