We are grateful for the support of Ball Corporation, who helps enrich the communities where they live and work. With Ball’s recent $9,000 donation, we are addressing needs in our community regarding employment, transportation, and currently, COVID-19 relief. We look forward to continued partnership, as Ball opens its new manufacturing facility in 2022 (see news release below). Those interested in employment at Ball in Bowling Green can apply here.
December 13, 2020, is the five-year anniversary of our first Program Living for Men resident’s entry. In the words of our Program Living Director, Jon Calloway, “Several thousand good times, laughs, heartaches, and memories later here we are today... still confident Christ will save sinners out of the stronghold of addiction!”
I am amazed it has been five years since our first residents entered Program Living, and I am overwhelmed by the hundreds of men that have followed in their footsteps over the last five years. I came across a news article from December 2015, where I said, "Today I sat for two and a half hours at our Program Living house at 1149 Adams Street with our first three Program Living students sharing our stories and seeing how God's grand story wants to intersect our stories...I saw hurt and pain in our stories, but what I didn't see was anything the Gospel hasn't overcome. Today, I got a picture of what God has been leading Hope House to do for three years."
Thank you to everyone who has joined us in the sometimes difficult, but always worthwhile, work of addiction recovery through Program Living for Men. While we seek to do this work faithfully and obediently, we are so thankful you have graciously chosen to walk with us, to walk with our men, and to give so sacrifically to help us get to where we are today.
As we look forward to the opening of Program Living for Women in the coming year, we are humbled by this five year anniversary and reminder of where the Lord has brought us and the lives He has changed for His glory!
Recently we have witnessed the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. Their lives were tragically ended by white police officers and community members. It is clear these three sacred lives were taken unjustly and reminds us of the many black lives that have been taken unjustly at the hands of the white community. Myself and the Hope House staff reject these murderers’ actions and stand with the black community in opposing and rejecting the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, among others. These precious image-bearers of God were husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and valuable members of their communities and our nation.
These recent events have shown us how far we, as a nation, have to go to fight back the injustice toward and oppression of the black community. At Hope House, we believe the Scriptures to be true, and the Bible tells us that all people are created in the image of God and have inherent worth, value, and purpose in the eyes of God. It is one thing to say someone is created in the image of God, but it is something completely different to then treat that person as an image-bearer of God.
The disgusting and grotesque deaths we have witnessed have grieved our staff and families. We are heartbroken, confused, angry and frustrated. We all agree something has to change, but how? We know that, as an organization, we must continue to press on with our mission to see our community restored through gospel restoration. We must listen to and partner with our brothers and sisters to empower their voices to be heard and work toward mutual betterment of our nation, starting in our own community.
The staff and I believe, with great conviction, that the only hope we have to tear down the walls of hostility, racism and oppression that have caused great hurt, trauma, fear, anger, sadness, and grief, is through the power of Jesus! We have been praying and continue to pray that the Gospel is the foundation of our words, motivation, and choices we make moving forward. We know this: Jesus sees people of all colors, created people of all colors, and values people of all colors to have inherent worth and purpose.
We long for the day when Jesus will return to make all things new, restore all our broken relationships and establish the new Heavens and new Earth! Until then, we will live in the tension of striving for justice but knowing complete justice and peace is impossible on this side of Heaven. However, we will not wait idly. We will fight against injustice and in favor of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. We will love unconditionally, listen intentionally, and act justly in a way that honors the black community and gives honor to our Creator.
Bryan Lewis, Executive Director
Hope House Ministries
In 1985, Donald and Susan Hazlewood purchased the property at 445 Glen Lily Road from the Willoughby family. As small business owners, Susan operated a local florist company called Canary Cottage. For 24 years, they loved their family, raising four children, and served their community while living in this home. When Donald passed in 2009, Susan moved out of the home, and it remained vacant. Susan's daughter and son-in-law, Pam and Keith, began asking the Lord how they should best steward Pam's childhood home.
They trusted scripture like Psalms 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart;" Matthew 7:7, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you;" and finally, Psalms 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go." God made his instructions clear to them, and they simply obeyed. Pam writes, "It brings our heart so much joy to announce that Susan Hazlewood has donated her property on Glen Lily Road to Hope House Ministries. Susan’s prayer along with Keith and I is that all who enter would hear the Gospel and choose to anchor their lives on Jesus Christ. May the Lord continue to bless this ministry and all those who are a part of furthering God’s Kingdom."
Even 35 years ago, the Lord was at work to restore lives in West End Bowling Green. Little did the Hazlewoods know, when they purchased their family home, that Hope House would be building Program Living for Women and a new ministry center on land that touches the back edge of their property in 2020. We don't yet know God's plans for this addition to our new property on Glen Lily Road, but just as Pam and Keith trusted the Lord to show them what to do with the property, we trust that He will guide us in step with his plan for this property and our neighborhood.
I am prayerful and hopeful that you and your extended family are doing well. For all of us, COVID-19 has changed the direction of our lives in how we work, live and play. It has been a challenge for all walks of life. But with this challenge I have seen the majority of our community respond with excellence, generosity and sacrifice. I’m grateful for the many healthcare professionals who have sacrificed themselves for our community, Fruit of the Loom and other local businesses that are stepping up to produce medical masks, and the many stories of banks, landlords, BGMU, WRECC and ATMOS assisting businesses and homeowners to ease financial hardship.
To the many of you who have given sacrificially, even in the face of current and future financial uncertainty, I want to thank you! To our partnering churches who continue to give to Hope House even when your giving is down, thank you. Though the context is not identical, the generosity I am seeing reminds me of the generosity of The Churches of Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8, “For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part."
God is giving the Church and Hope House a great opportunity to extend hope, peace, and the love of Jesus in the midst of much fear and worry during this pandemic. At the same time, we must practice wisdom in how we associate with others for the health of our neighbor.
As we walk that tightrope, I want to thank you for adjusting with us. We've had to cancel weekly dinners that so many groups graciously provide for our residents of Program Living for Men. We've had to close our Community Store, and in turn, stop all donation pick-ups and drop-offs, and these are just a couple examples of how this pandemic has impacted our work.
Currently we have three top priorities:
1. Protect our staff, their families and our volunteers.
Relief is critical during this time of uncertainty and loss for so many. The sad reality for many is that it will take three, six, twelve or more months to rebuild their lives. Hope House will be here after the pandemic ends to help with housing, transportation to work because of a repossessed car, training to get a better paying job and manage finances, and help with recovery because unfortunately, this will cause addiction and relapse for many.
Please pray for us and consider how you can join us in the rebuilding of our community that will hopefully begin soon. In the meantime, continue checking on your neighbors, offer to pick up prescriptions and food for the most vulnerable around you, and most importantly, don’t miss this opportunity to spend time with Jesus and your family.
Praying for you and our city!