“A New Hope” for Those in Need
By Mary Hendrix | January 7, 2020
I wouldn’t classify myself as an avid Star Wars fan, but I do enjoy the movies. I was a teen when they came out, my son enjoyed watching the prequels and catching up on what I grew up on, and now we all watch them together. It struck me as we were re-watching the series in preparation for seeing Episode IX, just how much the nonology’s (new word for me) theme mirrors aspects of the Christian faith.
The overarching theme of all the movies is hope. Dan Zehr, one Star Wars aficionado, says the “Jedi sense there is more to life, and just beyond what is known is something greater…. Having hope, and trusting that there is something to believe in that cannot be seen with the five senses inspires optimism, creativity, and hope…. He has hope, as well as faith, and comes out more powerful than he could possibly imagine.” The characters in all the Star Wars episodes realize that by uniting against evil, they become so much more as a whole than they ever could be individually and this is their only hope.
And my favorite line in all the movies is in Episode IX when Poe begins to despair that evil will win. Zorii tells him, “They (evil) win by making you feel like you’re alone. But we aren’t alone.” This message is so important for each of us in our daily lives. The presence of hope allows us to survive and thrive. We all need to know we are not alone, even when we feel like we are.
Leading up to Christmas, St. Philip’s provided hope, a lot of hope. There are so many people living in despair, feeling like they have no one or nowhere to turn. Through our partnerships and your generosity, we united together to do more than any one of us could do individually. People on the receiving end of our gifts now KNOW they are not alone or forgotten. We provided a smile, a feeling of warmth and comfort, and most importantly hope for children in need, seniors who most definitely feel alone, foster care children who feel abandoned and forgotten, men and women struggling with poverty, whether it be material, relational or spiritual.
I am so blessed to be a part of a church where we understand the importance of impacting the world for Christ. We thank you for your generosity this Christmas season and wanted to be sure you know how grateful our partners are for you:
When you purchase an item for Embrace from the Hope for the Holidays tree, you’re helping an individual from our community today… but you’re also changing generations to come. The teens who receive the household items or gift cards you contribute leave foster care with an extra boost. When they move into their first apartment or dorm they will have tools to prepare meals, keep house, and rest well. Studies show that, when given the tools to make a home, at-risk young adults are more likely to maintain their housing and are at less risk of eviction or homelessness. Some of our young adults and teens are parenting or will be soon. A few have even brought their little ones to the graduation party hosted at St. Philip’s each May. It’s amazing to sit back and watch these young people delighted to “shop” at the mini store set up at the party for household basics like sheets and pillows. Imagine the pride a young mom must feel being able to provide a comfy bed for her child. It is our hope and prayer that, with a supportive community and the tools they need to succeed, these teens will not only escape the cycles of addiction, poverty, and violence that caused them to enter foster care but break these cycles for a new generation as they lovingly raise their own families.
Thank you St. Philip’s so much for the Hope for the Holiday gifts. You have made our Christmas party a little better (since we get to add to the presents we are giving to our staff this year.) Also, the money you raised to pay our weekly wages for our farmworker interns is incredible! You raised enough to cover 2 weeks’ worth of wages for our people. On top of that, you are the first church that has caught our vision: getting churches to support discipleship efforts for our interns financially. Thank you! We are so very grateful for you leading the way in the endeavor! Your partnership is and has been so wonderful over the years, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Seek first the Kingdom,
Trog (Bonton Farms)
Y’all have been so good to Redeemed Women. I can’t thank you enough for your love, prayers, and support. BEST community partner ever! There are so many things that I could list over the year that we’ve enjoyed through our partnership with you, but I wanted to highlight the special gifts you give from The Hope for the Holidays program. As a small NEW nonprofit ministry, I’m sure you can understand our budget being very tight.
The restaurant gift cards help us build community and provide the opportunity for personal relationships. One young lady had NEVER been to a Subway in her life. Time spent together breaking bread is so meaningful and crucial in forming relationships and trust.
The Visa gift cards help with things like gas, field trips, court fees, providing legal documentation and more. These things help our ladies thrive and have better opportunities for financial stability for their families. Lastly, the journals. We have a weekly Bible Study, called “Just for Us”, and this year we studied the Book of John. We like to encourage the ladies to dive into the word but also take notes. We are so grateful to be able to provide a journal, Bible, and pen throughout the year for them to feel empowered, but to also come equipped each week. It has been so fun to actually SEE them come each week with the journal they pick out from the selection you collect for us and YES, they actually use them. They love having a choice, which is not a normal occurrence. These things help us stay connected to our mission of addressing the spiritual, physical and vocational need and we could NOT have done this without you!
Chocolate (Redeemed Women)