By Ryan Keller, Executive Director
2019 has been a busy year so far, and we are thankful for the opportunities that have been place into our path. Through August of 2019, we have processed close to 2000 requests for assistance; have added 11 new resource partners, and 7 new church partners. One of our goals is to increase the number of new churches on the network by 40 new churches in the next year. To meet this goal, we are planning 3 regional meetings to which we will invite existing and new churches to help them better understand the Hope4Healing network and to invite them to partner with us in helping and reaching new people for Christ. We have recently been reminded of how the church serves to provide comfort in tribulation through the words of II Corinthians 1: 3-7.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
We are seeing greater opportunities for volunteers to get involved, and are excited to have our second volunteer fully trained and answering phones for us during the week. We are still seeking four to five more volunteers to help in this capacity, and are prayerfully considering how we can develop a volunteer emergency response team as part of a more long term goal. We have been privileged to be invited to coordinate 6 camps (one of which was held in August) for children in Marshalltown who went through the tornado a year ago. The remaining 5 camps will be held at Wolfe Ranch throughout the school year providing opportunity for 200 or more youth to learn to cope better with anxiety, fear, and stress. We are coordinating this effort with Quakerdale Family Services, the Marshalltown School System, and 6 other human services organizations in the Marshalltown area. We are working to put together several fundraisers like a Chili Cook Off in Marshalltown in October, our second annual gospel concert with Higher Power, our second annual Christmas Concert and Dinner in Waterloo, and other dinners with partnering churches through the end of the year. We will also have a fundraiser and information booth at Wolfe Ranch’s Christmas in the Stables event this year. Our Executive Director has also had opportunities to do pulpit/missionary reports to several of our partnering churches.
We had a record breaking successful first year with our VITA (volunteer income tax preparation) site this spring. It was record breaking, because it is the first VITA site in the country to be staffed by immigrants who speak the home language of the people for whom they are providing services. Not just the first in Iowa, but the first in the nation! Hope4Healing has been a partner with the Iowa Center and the Federal IRS to provide this service to families in the Waterloo area and are scheduled to provide this service again next year.
We ask that you continue to pray for us as we seek to stay the course; and we ask that you share with others the impact we are having. Also, it would be our privilege to come and speak to your church about Hope4Healing and how we can be a part of helping the church fulfill the example of II Corinthians 1: 3-7 through the churches local missions outreach.