Saturday, August 31, 2013

Update: Praises and Prayer Requests

Things with Her House have been moving along kind of slow, but we are always reminded that God's timing is the best and only time and that doors will open and close as needed to keep us going in the right direction. We have been prayerfully considering many options that have been presented to us, and a few times now doors have closed for us. We are thankful for the times when we have clarity and know that we should not move forward in specific directions. It just means that God has another, better plan.

Here are just a few of the many things that we have to be thankful for:

A few weeks ago we were told of an opportunity to have a second location because there was another home in Danville that a woman was hoping to donate to a non profit. It was arranged for us to see it, and although it needed so much work, it was in a central location and it had a great layout. Chelsea and I loved it very quickly and could envision another shelter for families called "His House" or even a second location for Her House in the future. However, we were still unsure as to if we should accept the home or not due to the large amount of work that we already have to do on the first home and we really wanted Cheryl to see it before making any sort of decision about the house. Before Cheryl could find time to see the home, another non-profit spoke for it and we became second on the list for the house. God closed a door for us in that moment, and we felt a lot of peace. He could open it back up, who knows?! But for now, a door is shut and we are thankful for the answer. Praise God for giving us clarity!

A pre-established non-profit organization in Chicago showed a great deal of interest in what we are doing due to the amount of families they are responsible for sending to Danville. They felt as if they should be held responsible for helping pregnant teens find shelter since they have sent so many of those families away from their homes. They offered to make us a division of themselves. This was such an exciting thing because it provided us with legitimacy, support, grant-writers, resources, financial guidance, and so much more, but after meeting with them we realized that there would be so many restrictions placed on us as Christians to do the work that we believe matters most. Speaking openly about our faith and praying with the young women became a very sticky area and we gradually understood that the core values and beliefs of this non-profit did not line up with ours. Although this seemed to be a financial haven, it was also a barrier to sharing the gospel with the young women we so greatly hoped to reach out to. We have with certainty and peace decided to go our own way, and continue the path to establishing H.O.P.E. Ministries as an independent non-profit. Her House is one of the many divisions to come of H.O.P.E Ministries. Praise God for directing us in that decision and for not letting us get caught up in the temptation of security that would have led us astray.

The first step we took toward becoming independent and established has been completed! Praise God for the help we received as we filled out our business license application and were assigned an employer identification number! We are officially a business that is recognized by the federal government! This was such an exciting step for us.

Money has been coming in for Her House in little bursts through donations and fundraisers. We know this is just the beginning of God's provision. The thirty-one fundraiser that most of you heard about was a success, raising nearly $400 for the cause! Praise God for meeting and exceeding our current financial needs!

We had a meeting last week with the woman who has donated the home in Tilton to us, and we are officially now ready to begin working on the house. So many of you have asked how you can give your time to volunteer. We have our first big project coming up on September 14th from 8 AM to 5 PM. Lunch and water will be provided, and if you can't come for the whole day that's okay! We will be sorting through the items in the home, selling some, throwing others away, and saving some back for the family who donated the house. The hope is to have the home cleared out at the end of the day and ready to begin construction. Praise God for helping us move forward and for giving us and all of you the opportunity to do something that feels like progress. This is such an encouragement to us.

We have met with so many amazing people who are on board with Her House! You wouldn't believe me if I told you how many different women across the community have had this very thing laid on their hearts for years for Danville. The support we have received and the encouragement has been just what we need to keep going, persevering, and waiting on the Lord. Praise God for all of the hearts he has been preparing to be a part of something so big and bold and beautiful!

 As you can see, God has been on the move. He's been moving and changing me through all of this as well. It's amazing to me because as you read before, I feel like things have been going slowly, but I am realizing now that I just contradicted myself with this large list of praises! To me it feels they are moving slowly because I have not had to force anything or really put forth a huge amount of effort. I don't find myself struggling to do thing after thing for this ministry. God has made the path and we have just walked in it in His timing. I am learning to have faith and not to rush things. Chelsea is in the same place. Our timing is not what Her House needs. The perfect timing is in God's time, and really he has made the path pretty smooth. We believe that He will continue to do so.

Here are a few things that you can pray for with us, and wait on with us:

The non-profit paperwork seems so intimidating to Cheryl, Chelsea, and I. We have some help coming our way in the next couple of weeks though and I think we will have the application filed by the end of September. Pray that this whole process goes smoothly and that someone with the knowledge of the legal side of things will come alongside us and help us through every step of the way. Pray that our application will come through and we will officially become non-profit so that we can write tax receipts and begin fundraising on a larger scale.

We need another committed individual to join our trio. We are finding that not one of us has the gift of managing the financial side of the business. Right now we're on a very small scale as far as donations coming in and receipts to keep, but we know that the small scale is going to get larger and larger as all of this progresses! We need someone with knowledge and skill who is good with numbers, and taxes, and being organized. We are praying for a willing individual with time and the right heart to become a part of our team. We know that this will happen in God's timing!

We've been down a few different paths trying to hire someone to write a business plan with us, and help us set up some sort of budget so that we know a general idea of what we need, and so that when we do seek out financial help we can present a business plan along with our requests. So far, we have had no luck in getting this accomplished. Pray that the perfect person will come along to help us in this venture.

Once the home is cleared out, we have some big decisions to make as we begin the process of restoring it. Pray that God would make that path clear and that the resources will be made available. Pray that we would know some sort of timeline to having this finished.

Lastly, pray for all of us who are making decisions for this future ministry. Pray that we would be rooted in scripture, seeking God day after day. Pray that we would not be distracted by the toils and troubles of daily life, but that we would find rest in Him. Pray that we do not grow weary of doing good and that we would be patient always. Pray that every decision we make is made prayerfully and out of solid relationship with Christ.

"Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

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