The Strain of a Fast Pace

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By Ryan Keller Hope4Healing Director


Summer on a beach

As a parent, I miss those days when I had my summers off.  I think my wife and I have done a decent job of setting boundaries with our children and not piling too much on our plate as a family; but this summer we still have felt like the only reason we are alive was to make sure our kids took part in activities they signed up for with our permission.  For the past eight weeks we have spent a fair amount of time, energy, and money to equip our children for obligations or activities we felt were important for their individual development into responsible young adults; however, now mom and dad are tired.  My family is fortunate to have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and reliable transportation; but then I think of the individuals we work with through Hope4Healing and realize that if my family is struggling from a fast pace how much more difficult must it be for those who are disadvantaged socially, financially, emotionally, spiritually, and/or physically?


Often times when things seem too difficult to bare, we struggle to keep all dimensions of our whole self in equilibrium; that is why Hope4Healing seeks to help the whole person and not just be vessel of information.  Information can be a useful tool; but how often have you bought a new item that needed to be assembled and you found the assembly instructions to be almost incomprehensible?  Maybe the instructions are in a language you don’t understand, maybe they are incomplete, or maybe there are just too many steps.  Did you realize that this is exactly how most individuals feel when they contact Hope4Healing for help?  If we just provided information, the people we seek to help would still struggle to overcome their current situation.  Instead, our Hope4Healing partners help us provide for the physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, and social needs of the individual.  The Church’s Friendship Ministry Team Partners provide for the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of the individual or family.  Without them, the individuals we help would be trying to assemble their new item without the instructions.  Resource partners provide for the financial and physical needs of the person in need.  Our resource partners provide both the assembly instructions plus the item that the individual needs to make effective, practical changes in their life.  It is only with all of us working together that the individual we are helping can make lasting, positive changes.

Did you know that Hope4Healing provides all of these types of help in such an efficient, simple process?  Did you also know you can be a part of this simple process?  You could be a Friendship Ministry Partner for your church!  You could help your work become a Resource Partner!  Beyond that, you could help the Hope4Healing staff through volunteering, prayer, sharing information on Facebook, sharing our newsletter, and making a financial investment.  Together, we are providing a holistic approach toward meeting the needs of people in your community and across the state of Iowa.  For more information on how you can get more involved, give us a call at 319-233-2554 or shoot us an email at  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.


Join our CAMPAIGN by becoming a FUNDRAISER



Thank you,


Ryan Keller, Hope4Healing Director.

Ferguson Bible Church

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Ferguson Bible Church

By Ryan Keller Hope4Healing Director

            Hope4Healing is so privileged!  As we seek to help those in need across the state of Iowa, we cannot hope to help those we serve without the assistance of the great partners that seek to serve with us.  We have been taking the time to share with you, the last couple of months, stories about some of our amazing partners.  We have discussed groups like the Dream Team in Waterloo and Family Services of Iowa; and I hope you have taken the time to get to know these partners better and understand the magnitude of the impact we can make by serving together.

Today, I am sharing with you another great partner who seeks daily to find ways to have an impact in their community; and it is showing in some really great ways.  Before I share with you about Ferguson Bible Church, I want to explain briefly what a Hope4Healing partner looks like.  Partners of Hope4Healing do not pay a fee to be a part of the Hope4Healing Resource Assistance network; instead, Hope4Healing and our partners join together to find and/or provide the resources necessary to help those we serve live a better life.  Some partners serve by providing services or resources, some serve by providing encouragement, mentorship, or a shoulder to cry on, and others serve by referring individuals and/or families to Hope4Healing for assistance.

I had the privilege to sit with the congregation this past Sunday at Ferguson Bible Church.  Their pastor is Pastor Darren Young or Pastor Darren as most people like to call him.  It was a time of celebration at Ferguson Bible Church, because it was the Sunday on which Pastor Darren was ordained by the church.  There is a lot I could say about Ferguson Bible Church from their children’s ministry, to their weekly service, to the respect I have for Pastor Darren; but I want to share with you the blessing that this congregation seeks to bring to its community at large.

I have no doubt that Pastor Darren loves his church, neighbors, and has a burden for those who do not know and love the Lord Jesus Christ.  I also have no doubt that the church loves their pastor and seeks to help others.  Recently, Pastor Darren shared with me how the church is working on creating a new vision for how the church will continue to serve the Lord in the future; and a big part of that new vision is to help those in need and to show those who do not attend church that genuine people are in the church’s membership and they invite all to come and see the blessing of having the God of the Bible in their lives.  I am also impressed with the church’s outreach.  They host a meal every year that is open to the public to show their appreciation of the blessings they have received.  Pastor Darren attends a weekly pastor’s prayer meeting where men of God (pastors) get together to pray for their community and to seek how their churches might better share the gospel.  Recently, Ferguson Bible Church took part in an effort to get a Bible into the hands of every household in the Ferguson/Marshalltown areas.  I hope you can see that this church is doing wonderful things to serve as Christ served during His earthly ministry.

So, how does Ferguson Bible Church fit into being a Hope4Healing partner?  Ferguson Bible Church provides the important role of friendship and spiritual/emotional support for people in need in the Ferguson and surrounding area.  They provide encouragement, prayer, a listening ear, and a caring heart to those individuals who contact us looking for help.  The person in need chooses the church with whom they develop a relationship; and Ferguson Bible Church is there to encourage those in need when given the opportunity.  I hope you take some time to get to know Ferguson Bible Church better.  Check out their website or contact them @ 641-478-3318 with any questions; I know Pastor Darren and his congregation would be glad answer any questions and to invite you to be a part of their fellowship.

I hope you can see that serving others doesn’t have to be difficult, and I hope you will consider becoming a partner with us.  To find out more about being a Hope4Healing partner check out our website at or email us @ at Hope4Healing are so privilege to work with awesome groups like the church in Ferguson; please shoot us an email if you would like to find out how you, your church, or organization can partner with us and Ferguson Bible Church to make a difference in lives of people in need.

Thank you, Ryan Keller Hope4Healing Director.

Would you like to hear more stories of our partners and Hope4Healing?  Signup for our newsletter! 

Creating an Individual Dream Path

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Written by Barb Sanders, Hope4Healing Database Administrator

For the past few months I have been functioning as the resident “resource expert” on the Dream Team at the Eaton Building on Quakerdale’s Waterloo campus.  The Dream Team is part of a larger community building effort based on a model, “Community That Works” developed by Lois Schmidt in Boone, IA.  We named our version “Circles of Attention.” Our purpose is to create a place of radical hospitality where everyone has enough money, friends, and meaning to fulfill their dreams.  We utilize reciprocity which means, the ability to meet needs, wants and offers without the exchange of money”.

The Dream Path is a tool participants use to visualize their life goals and organize the necessary steps to achieve those goals.  On a very large sheet of paper the dreamer creates an image of what their future will be like. This process includes the dream, the goals, where they are now, people to support them, their strengths, the action steps, and a time frame for each step.


Dream Team members ask questions, fostering concrete, specific action steps.  They assist the dreamer in completing the actions steps, offer resource information, and most importantly, provide emotional support.  For example, participants looking for work may need help loading their resume on one of the employment sites.  A member of our team can easily help with that task.  If someone needs part time employment or loans to go back to school, I have contacts on the Hope4Healing Network who can help with employment or secure funding to further their education.  Many participants do have the support and encouragement of family or friends.  Dream team members can also fill that void.  The Dream Team consists of organizer Felicia Carter, Rita Kelly, Angela Thronson, and myself.  However, the dreamer can invite anyone they wish to be part of their team.  People are able to accomplish so much more when they have the support of community.


We come together as a community each Thursday evening to share a meal, stay connected, and  work to improve our community. This process helps us identify the good things going on in our lives.  Focusing on the positive contributes to healthy connections in our brains.  Please consider joining us.  We have an open door policy.  Everyone is welcome and people can come and go as they want.


The Dream Team is a great group in Waterloo that has as its goal to help others.  This is a group Hope4Healing is honored to working with and you could be a part of what they do to help people reach their dreams.  To find out more about the Dream Team, give Hope4Healing a call @ 641-497-5294 or email us @  To learn more about great groups and organizations like the Dream Team, signup to receive our newsletter as we continue to highlight other awesome  Hope4Healing partners.

Thank you, Barb.

Horses Aren’t Just for Cowboys and Cowgirls

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Check out what our friends at Family Services of Iowa are doing to bring Hope and Healing to families in Iowa!

By Beth Andrew, LISW; Cheryl Tanis, LISW; and Ryan Keller, BS

           One of the options we love to offer families is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). Saying equine assisted psychotherapy can be a mouthful, but it is a valuable tool for individuals and families with whom traditional counseling services are not a good fit. We have seen young children who struggle with paying attention in school, at home, or in any part of their life learn to focus and stay engaged because of their love and respect for the horse they choose to work with during therapy. We have seen families put past hurts to rest because the horses force them to be honest in the communication. Recently, we shared an article with our Facebook followers to provide some excellent insights as to the value EAP brings to families. If you missed it earlier in the month on our Facebook page, click the picture to the right to learn more about the power of horses to assist those who are facing mental health concerns.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of the comments we get from individuals and families who have worked with the horses during therapy. We think these comments speak volumes about how EAP has made a difference in their lives.

  • Before working with the horses, Billy would have daily struggles with taking anger out on me and my husband. After only a few sessions, we have not seen any anger outbursts at home. I think the therapy you provide could help my other children as well.”
  • “Working with the horses has allowed me to see how my behavior makes life more difficult for my parents. I was working with a horse the other day that didn’t want to do the activity I was working on with him. I realized this must be how my parents feel when I won’t do my chores or do things with them; instead, I just stay in my room.”
  • “My therapist has been encouraging me to be more calm, yet assertive; instead of getting angry and throwing things. I was scared of the horses at first; but now I know if I am calm and assertive with them, they trust me. My family has learned to be calm and assertive when we disagree; we trust each other more.”
  • “I used to get angry all the time. I would get frustrated with the horses when I couldn’t get them to do what I wanted them to do. I have learned if I can control myself it is easier to control the horses.”
  • “I learned that when working with horses I need to be consistent with them, so they will understand what I want them to do. I realized I am not very consistent with my children. Working with the horses has allowed me to learn how to be a better parent.”

What do you think of horse therapy? What is your favorite testimonial from the list above? Share your comments below; or better yet, share this post on Facebook , like our page, and leave a comment about what you like about EAP. By the way, did you know we get paid the same amount for therapy whether we use the horses or not? We
don’t get paid anything extra to help us provide for the horses and their care. We rely on people like you to help us repay the horses for the benefits they provide in being our partners in therapy. Could you help us out by donating $10.00 or more each month to keep this program available to our families?

Thank you from all of us here at Family Services of Iowa.

The Consequence of Winning the Argument

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By Ryan Keller, Hope4Healing Administrator


You know, we live in a very politically charged society today.  I hear individuals talking about how the government should help those in need; and I hear individuals chiding those people believing that the government has no place in human services.  What I don’t hear in these conversations is what each individual person is doing to help those in need.  Some say as a Christian nation we emulate Christ by having the government help those in need; some say that as Christian individuals we are not helping others by encumbering them to a system that provides their every need and takes away their personal freedom.  Again, I am not here to debate the finer points of being a Republican or Democrat, a Conservative or Liberal; it is my job to put my hand to the plow and do the things necessary to help those put in my path.  Despite which side of the argument you might be on above, despite who is right or wrong, at the end of the day what did you do personally to help others?  It is not a question of if, but when.  My fear with these types of arguments is that neither side is doing anything to help others; instead they just continue to be distracted by the fighting or by winning the argument.

In the meantime, Hope4Healing is working with a single mother who has a minimum wage job to support her and her two children and all she needs is a bed for one of her kids.  She has no extra income to buy the bed, how many of us could help?  We see a young child who has been exposed to sexual abuse struggling with night terrors over the fear of the experience, and, all, the child and the family needs is a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.  Who will step forward for this family?  It seems hard to put yourself out there in these types of situations; but that is where Hope4Healing, and our partnering churches, organizations, businesses, and individuals, makes a difference.  We work with a variety of team players to facilitate help for families in need; no one person has to do more than they can do.  You don’t have to be the counselor for that family whose child is dealing with night terrors; you can just be a friend who cares and shows them love and respect.  You don’t have to be the one who helps that mother find a better job or develop skills to obtain a better job, but maybe you have a spare bed frame or mattress you could donate.  I have said it before, but the reality is that each of us has a place in helping others.  Maybe you can’t be the friend, maybe you don’t have a bed frame; but maybe you could spare $10.00 dollars or more each month to help us and our partners help those in need.  Ask yourself these questions.  What have I done lately to help others?  Could I serve my church by serving others? Have I been distracted by being right or arguing with others?  Have I been stuck in the rut of trying to solve the problem so much, I ended up doing nothing?  The needs of this world are too big for one person, one party, and one theoretical or economic position to solve.  I encourage others all the time to realize that we each have a role in life.  We cannot afford to lose sight of our own role, nor can we effectively take on the roles of other people.  Maybe your role is to like and share this post, or to join our newsletter so you can learn and pray for those things we are doing!  Let Hope4Healing and its partners help you find and take part in your own role.

Thank you, Ryan Keller Hope4Healing Director.

P.S.  Leave us a comment below, and tell us what you have been doing to help others, what you think of Hope4Healing, or what you think of the newest post.  We would love to hear from you!


The Importance of Being Genuine

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by Ryan Keller, Administrator, Hope4Healing

The goal of Hope4Healing is to help individuals “build a better life”.  The reality is that making changes toward a better life do not come in a vacuum.  Hope4Healing has seen many blessings since its launch in August of 2014, and to date has worked on close to 450 requests for more than 200 individuals all across Iowa looking to “…have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV).

I get the joy of speaking to many different groups across the state of Iowa, sharing with them the opportunities that Hope4Healing brings; allowing all of us to work together utilizing our individual talents or gifts.  Often times after I speak, someone will come up to me and want to discuss some of the finer points of how Hope4Healing might work; and usually when I am speaking to a church about their role as a Friendship Ministry toward those individuals needing help, I get a version of this type of question.  “What type of training do you offer to help us (the individuals in the church) to work with people who are looking for help through Hope4Healing?”  I was just asked this question last Sunday after a presentation.  Normally, I would diverge into a discussion about facilitating training in areas of knowing our role within the network, how to set boundaries, etc…; but I remembered something that changed my perspective when talking to the man who presented the question this past week.  We need to be genuine!  We might feel the need to be trained, and training is certainly a good thing; but there is such a thing as being overly trained to the point that our interactions become stale and insincere.

Let me share a shortened version of a story given by Dr. Chuck Swindoll that helps to make this point. (Pillow, 2001) 1

Teddy was disinterested in school. Musty, wrinkled clothes, hair never combed, he spoke in monosyllables. Unattractive, unmotivated and distant, he was just plain hard to like.

Even though Miss Thompson said she loved all her class the same, she wasn’t being completely truthful. She always marked the errors on Teddy’s paper with flair. She should have known better. She had Teddy’s records.

1st grade: Teddy shows promise, but poor home situation.

2nd grade: Teddy could improve. Mother seriously ill.

3rd grade: Teddy is good boy, but slow learner. Mother died.

4th grade: Teddy is very slow. Father shows no interest.

Christmas came and the boys and girls in Miss Thompson’s class brought her presents. Among the presents was one from Teddy Stallard. Teddy’s gift was wrapped in brown paper with a simple message on it, “For Miss Thompson from Teddy.”

When she opened Teddy’s present, out fell a gaudy rhinestone bracelet, with half the stones missing and a bottle of cheap perfume. Miss Thompson put the bracelet on and dabbed perfume on her wrist with feigned delight.

At the end of the day, when the other kids had left, Teddy lingered behind. He slowly came over to her desk and said softly, “Miss Thompson, you smell just like my Mother, and her bracelet looks real pretty on you. I’m glad you liked my presents.”

When Teddy left, Miss Thompson got down on her knees and asked God to forgive her. The next day when the children came to school, a new teacher welcomed them. She was no longer just a teacher; she was an agent of God. She was now committed to loving her children and doing things for them that would live on after her.

She helped all the children, but especially the slow ones, and especially Teddy Stallard. By the end of the school year, Teddy showed dramatic improvement. She didn’t hear from Teddy for a long time. Then one day she received a note that read:

Dear Miss Thompson: I wanted you to be the first to know. I will be graduating second in my class. Love, Teddy Stallard.

Four years later, another note came: Dear Miss Thompson: They just told me I will be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy, but I liked it. Love, Teddy Stallard.

And four years later: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today, I am Theodore Stallard, M.D. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. I am getting married next month. I want you to come and sit where Mother would sit if she were here. You are the only family I have now. Dad died last year. Love, Teddy Stallard.

She went to the wedding. She sat where Teddy’s Mother would have sat. She deserved it.

Look around. Give yourself to a Teddy Stallard. Help somebody get a Fresh Start Now.

Miss Thompson was genuine throughout the whole story.  She had the training of a teacher to help her deal with what would be called today a problem child.  Many times today, we would see a school counselor, the department of human services, or foster care get involved in the life of Teddy; and those things are all benefits.  However, what Teddy WhatTeddyneeded most was the genuine concern and care expressed by another.  When Miss Thompson took a step back and realized that she had the opportunity to be a genuine friend in the lives of her students, she was (through God’s help) able to make a difference in the life of her students.  In the life of Teddy, she helped him “…build a better life…”

It is easy for all of us to want to hesitate to act out of a fear that we are not prepared for the task we are about to undertake.  Many times what is needed is our genuineness to befriend someone else; it is no different when intentionally befriending someone through your church’s Friendship Ministry team.  Were you trained to be a friend to your current friends?  We need to practice discernment as people of God, but don’t let fear keep you from genuinely touching the life of another.

1 Pillow, L. (2001, 12 21). Fresh Start: Give yourself to a ‘Teddy’. Retrieved 02 26, 2016, from The

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