Celebrating New Hope Ministry

Let’s celebrate! This past May, our New Hope Ministry life skills classes gathered for our Spring graduation at First Presbyterian of Waukegan. We fellowshipped with 31 graduates, 40 volunteers from our churches, and 27 other guests and family over a delicious community meal provided by Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ. Over the course of the semester, over 19 churches connected to this community as Love INC lives out our mission to mobilize churches. God is so good!

Twelve weeks can be a long time to stick with anything. Those who persevered to the end shared their testimonies. We were also sure to share other words of encouragement. This is what a few of them had to say:

Encouragement from Board Chair Cora Buckner

“We’ve all been there and we all get to the place where we’re tired of running around. We’re tired of doing it our own way and we want to see some change in our life. What happens when you do the same thing over and over again? You get the same results over and over again and we’re always shocked by that. So that’s why I applaud you all for being here and sticking with this class, coming out night after night, week after week.

And volunteers, thank you for being The Church. THIS is what the church looks like. THIS is what the church does. And THIS is what it looks like when the church is done right. A few graduations ago, Gary said, and I remember it, ‘Love INC doesn’t do anything, it’s the churches that do it.’ Love INC is just a catalyst and it’s really true. We see that lived out here tonight.”

Testimony from Community Member Synthia Nash

“A lot has happened these last two years. I was looking at being homelessness two years ago and through Love INC I was able to find a new apartment. I was able to find the job of my dreams, and it’s only five minutes away. I’ve been affiliated with Love INC since 2011 but had never thought that I would be able to be able to help people or talk to people or be in this position [to serve in New Hope Ministry]. I shared in class that for the longest time, until recently, I didn’t think that I was important to God or that He loved me, but I see now from all the blessings that He does, that it was His will to take me from one place to bring me to the other, for me to receive the blessings that I’ve gotten.”

Closing Words from Executive Director Gary Garland

“I joke that God’s given me two gifts – being able to build relationships, hear people’s stories with a wide variety people, and being able to parallel park. That’s it. And those are the only two things I can do. But the stories for me are how I see God. And God just shows himself to me through each of you. And this is what I’ve learned what God is through each of you:

1) God is the God of beautiful surprises. We can be walking along and we can miss them. So watch for God’s beautiful surprises.

2) God is the God of second chances, third chances, fourth chances, fifth chances – every single one of us. There’s nobody who hasn’t had that second chance with God. We have a great forgiving God and, so let Him do that for you.

3) God is a God who loves us for our good and His glory. So allow Him to do that through you.

And finally, God is not done with any of us. Until we go and meet Him, we have more to do. So take everything we’ve learned here, this fellowship, and build upon that.”

Sound intriguing?! Join our community!

Our Fall semester will start up in early September. Join us as a class participant, as a volunteer helping make the night happen, as a child care helper to give our kids a safe place to be, as a meal provider so we can build relationships by breaking bread, and so much more! Check out our New Hope Ministry webpage, pray about how you might get involved, and then let us know you are interested!