Dear Family & Friends, August 10, 2014
I want to share some exciting news with you about the journey God has placed me on. I have stepped out in faith as a missionary in Southwest Philadelphia. My prayer is that you would consider praying and providing support through giving or volunteering.
Shortly after God called me to America's Keswick eight years ago today (August 10, 2006); He told me “don’t go until I tell you to go.” In the fall of 2013, God called me to a new place. Circumstances within my capacity as a Colony of Mercy Chaplain, ministering in the life of one of the men, connected me with Greater Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church (5522 Woodland Ave. Philadelphia, PA. 19143). Ministering alongside of these faithful men of God was a powerful, unexpected experience. As the days progressed, God spoke to my heart. He made it clear to me that he wanted me to serve alongside Pastor Ernie Chandler as an Associate Pastor. This made absolutely no sense to me; “I have no money, the church has no money and I love my ministry at America's Keswick,” but there was no mistaking God's call. Here I was ministering in what most would consider to be paradise, a fruitful, Christ-centered ministry working with motivated, broken men. This was what I was born to do.
"God, how could you be calling me to poor, crime-ridden southwest Philadelphia? Lord this makes no sense, but I do hear you and I will go." God reminded me that being a minority was not a barrier to love. His love knows neither ethnic nor economic boundaries. He showed me that his call is often illogical and in addition, when He calls He will provide the way. He pointed me to the story of Philip in the book of Acts.
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."
This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And because Philip was faithful, all of Africa heard the Gospel. I asked God to lead and guide me in the way He wanted me to go. He made it clear that He wanted me to go as a missionary. As I continued to seek God He directed me in a miraculous way to the four unit apartment building that is attached to our church. I clearly sensed Him directing me to take my savings and buy the building next to the church. He wanted me to use this building for His glory to help men who have struggled with addiction to become ministers of the gospel of hope; and so sprung forth New Hope Philly.
God continued to reveal His plans to me and New Hope Philly took shape. This would be a place where men who have struggled with addiction in their past but, have been called to serve Him in a deeper way would come to be built up as disciples and ministers. We will pour into their lives for an eight to twelve month period. The men will receive Biblical counseling, daily devotions, and in depth Bible study. In addition they will engage in a discernment process to understand their own gifts and learn to utilize them in ministry.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
I will direct the daily activities of the seven to ten men who will live in the apartments. These men will attend Greater Fellowship Church and enroll in New Life Bible Institute which has been training and sending out missionaries for over 35 years. New Hope Philly's mission is not only to help raise up men to serve in God's Kingdom but to also transform the neighborhood around us.
God placed us in the middle of a struggling community. Poverty, crime, joblessness and spiritual darkness are all around us. These lives need the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over time, our plan is to establish a Thrift Store where clothing, home goods, toys and personal products would be sold at a very low price. Donations of items will come from individuals and churches who desire to come alongside of New Hope Philly. For those unable to afford the store items there will be an opportunity to work on community projects such as painting buildings, cleaning lots and serving the homeless in exchange for vouchers for thrift store items. As we work together to better the community we will encourage through love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:16-18 “ But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles- to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
Thank you for your prayers and support over the weeks and months to come.
Founder, New Hope Philly