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A family had been referred to us about 8 months ago from St. Vincent De Paul. They had been staying in the temporary shelter there and had just gotten into their own apartment.

Mom had just had her fourth baby. We helped them with furniture and household items. They were so thankful, tender, believing and hoping for the very best. The children are 11, 9, 5 and 1. Dad, a skilled carpenter, was being blessed with work and things were going quite well.

Unfortunately, he was recently deported in October.

The mom began to cry as she shared how sad they all are at the recent radical difficulty and loss. She sold his van to pay rent and is selling his tools and recycling each day to survive.

She came to ask for help with a computer as her children need it for school and the library is too far on very limited gas money each month. We called the Jesus Geeks and God opened the door within two days for them to receive a laptop!!

This usually does not happen this quickly, but it was truly God’s grace and intervention to help this mom and her children who are now grieving over their father and struggling in school. She does not have the gas to come to City Heights each week for help with food, but surprisingly my own mother lives a couple blocks away and is able to meet her each week.
God sees the needs, loves to meet the needs, cares, provides, and is near to the broken hearted.

-Sheri

There is a young Hispanic man that came to us about nine months ago. He had to complete 200 hours of community service. I love this young man, as all of us do at Bridge of Hope. I will call him Daniel.

About 5 months ago I had to drop off a couple pieces of furniture, a TV and a DVD player to a new Congolese family that had arrived to the U.S. a month before. They speak French and a little Swahili, but no English. They were so excited to get a TV. The family all ran outside to greet us as we pulled up, all 8 of them. I asked my friend Daniel to see if he could hook up the DVD player to the TV for the family. He said he would try.

Daniel had never experienced anything like he was about to. He worked on it a while, and then suddenly there was a blank screen that looked like if we put a movie in the DVD player, it might work. They ran into a bedroom looking for the only DVD they had that they had brought from their homeland before being in a refugee camp. It was a worship and Congolese dance DVD in their language.

They put it in, and suddenly they were looking at their homeland, their music, their dance, in their living room in the U.S. They all screamed and shouted and grabbed Daniel thanking him for this wonderful gift. He stood there still and shocked by their embrace, exuberant embrace and JOY at something so simple, but it was no small thing to them. It was so sweet to see these two worlds collide. No need to speak each other’s language- pure bliss on both sides. Thank you Jesus for these tender, amazing moments. Oh, and Daniel just received Christ a few weeks ago. Thank you Jesus!!!

-Sheri

As many of you know, we have been blessed with a new building. It is not just a building, but a beautiful chapel, fellowship hall and gigantic courtyard with two apartments on the property.
It is called the Bridge of Hope Community Center.
The Lord has moved mightily and abundantly!

Thank you old and NEW friends, we are blessed and encouraged by you all coming along side us in this venture- even before we/you knew we had the building. That was just more confirmation that this was indeed the Lord’s leading and our next step. The negotiations were amazing, as we clearly witnessed that our Almighty God was making a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert.

We have been diligently praying and waiting on the Lord for His direction for the new building. We have given it back to Him and we say that He is Lord of it, and may His plans prevail! That this will serve as a community center with His gifts and ministries operating. We cry out, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.”

We thank you for your heart for God’s people and the desire to see freedom for the oppressed. Thank you for your obedience to give and to serve and to partner with us. May God bless you in 2014 and may your cup overflow and spill out onto all that your hands touch.

 

BIG, BIG THANK YOU to all of you
Pomerado Christian Church
Venture Church
Grace Point Church
Coast Vineyard Christian Fellowship
Dwell Church
Anchor Church
Coastline Community Church
Mosaic Church
The Pike Family
Richard and Barbara Alleway
Bob and Lauren Hasson
Mike and Georgette O’Brian
The Carpenter’s Hands
World Impact
…and all those who have helped us move, clean and work so hard to cover all the daily needs of Bridge of Hope during this season.

 

Thank you to all who participated in our Christmas Adopt a Family Program! What a total blessing you were to over 55 families this year. Thank you to all of our friends along with businesses, restaurants, churches, Bunko groups, Bible Study groups and individuals. You went above and beyond to bless our families this year!!!

Thank you to all who faithfully give each month. Words cannot express the hope and encouragement that brings!
Thank you for all who gave financially this year. With your gifts, we have been been able to move forward into the land the Lord has given us! We have been blown away by your generosity.

Big shout out to The Jesus Geeks!
We have been partnering with them over the years to help our new families with computers. This is so important, especially for all school-aged children. Not to mention a huge gift that allows communication to their loved ones across the globe.

Thank you to my team and ALL the amazing volunteers and co-laborers in Christ, that serve each day, week, month and year. What a joy to work alongside you. Some of you have been with Bridge of Hope since 2007. Some are new this year. ALL OF YOU are truly a blessing and are Bridge of Hope.

 

-Sheri

Bridge of Hope started back in 2005, reaching out to women who were facing their addictions and in recovery programs.

We have a big heart for this and have continued to serve those families on a weekly basis.

Every Wednesday we open our doors to a number of different agencies and their case workers, working with those facing recovery, domestic violence, homelessness, veterans, those facing illness, the elderly poor, and new refugee families who have just arrived from all over the world.

There always a variety of challenges working with people facing transition, whatever the circumstances maybe.

We had a recent call from a caseworker that deals only with elder abuse…

Her eighty-year-old client had been badly beaten, resulting in her being hospitalized for a month. In addition, everything in her apartment was stolen.  The caseworker and her client reached out to Bridge of Hope for help as the woman had nothing to start over with, and would be released from the hospital that next week.

Bridge of Hope was able to provide everything she needed for her new apartment, including an extra bed for her caretaker.

She was in tears as we filled her apartment. I felt badly about the kitchen table we had given her as it was not in the condition we would have preferred, but she was absolutely overjoyed and had even mentioned to her case worker that she loved the kitchen table.

Being at Bridge of Hope brings so many wonderful experiences as we see God’s provision come through and bring hope to those who are suffering.

It is difficult to hear and see many of the heartaches and painful experiences people face in this life. But it is always a blessing and comfort to see God’s hand extend into the darkest places and bring His light and love that says, “I see you. I care about you. I love you.”

– Sheri

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands.” Revelation 7:9

One of the things Bridge of Hope is doing and will continue to do, is hold worship nights. This is something we know we are called to do! We had a few of these nights last year, where we invited churches or worship leaders to bring their teams and lead us in worship, and it was a total blessing!!

Spending time with our friends from all over the world, we have learned that worship, song, dance and praise just erupt. It just happens when you put a bunch of people who love Jesus together. I have sat in many meetings where we are talking and praying, then suddenly a song will come out of one of my African brother’s mouth, and BOOM we are worshipping…no instruments, no plan, no words on the overhead projector, just PRAISE!

The group that was originally signed up to lead out June worship night had to cancel. But God wanted us to move forward with it, so we decided to still do it as planned.

We put out flyers inviting the community to come and worship with us, posted on facebook and our website. We set up the sound system, we had a few friends come with their guitars, a cajon and their voices. Our Bridge of Hope guitar class came and played a few songs. We opened the mic for anyone to share a prayer, song, poem, dance, whatever! We had an art table there for whoever wanted to paint or draw as we worshipped. It was beautiful! We had friends from all over the world singing and bringing their songs…. Iraq, Africa, Mexico, Burma. 

It was a picture of heaven. It was truly beautiful.

Worship Night June 2013

I was with about five of our teens one night, right after the random, crazy murders in Connecticut.

The teens were asking me questions, confused about why this would happen in America. I let them ask, we processed and shared in a very real and vulnerable way. I prayed to God as we continued to talk, “Please God help me! I don’t know what to say to help them understand this incredible darkness. I am hurt and bewildered too. I want to speak your words. What do I say?”

I told God, “I do know your word and what has helped me: ‘We don’t war against flesh and blood but principalities or powers.’ Another scripture: ‘The weapons of our warfare are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.'”

I shared these verses with the teens and the Lord reminded me of a movie I saw about ten years before called Transformations. It is a documentary about four different cities in the world that were dealing with incredible darkness. They came together to pray corporately and God moved in such miraculous ways. Drug lords left the cities, bars were closed down, gang members met Jesus, denominations came together that never spoke before.

I shared this with the teens and they told me they really wanted to see the movie. They instantly felt hope. After that talk, just a few weeks later, one of those same kids was held up at gun point, and another friend was attacked and beaten by a gang.

Pray with me, “PLEASE HELP US LORD! PROTECT AND EQUIP OUR CHILDREN WHO YOU BROUGHT HERE!”

-Sheri

Here’s a quick rundown of our most current happenings at Bridge of Hope:

— Youth group second and fourth Saturdays at Bridge of Hope!

— Kidz Club- 1st thru 5th graders starting on second and fourth Saturdays too!

— We have 5 youth boys who are doing court mandated community service with us. They are facing a crossroad on how they are going to live life- Free or doing prison time. We had the privilege of taking them to see our dear friend and community leader Cisco- ex- gang member, who did many years in prison and addiction. We are going to funnel the youth to Cisco as they continue to come us for service hours, where the impact of reality of the darkness meets Jesus our resurrected Lord!

— The Spanish speaking church at Bridge of Hope called Puente de Vida, (Bridge of Life) is outgrowing our building. We are praying for a bigger place for them to meet on Sundays. Good problem!

— Healing Rooms starting in May or early June.

— Annual Easter event at Cherokee Park on May 30th. God has blessed us with 530 baskets!! That is 100 more than last year. Thank you Melissa Drake and family, Anchor church and Sante Fe Christian School!! You are always a huge blessing to all of us!!

— The Day of the Child- Grace Point church is bringing to us a traditional celebration from Mexico called the Day of the Child. We will be at Azalea Park and reaching out to our community with food, games, music, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Sunday, April 28th.

— ESL and Tutoring for the Karen- led by Norman Zhu and Eric and Bernadette Winters and their volunteers- meets at Bridge of Hope each Saturday from 1:00-4:00. They are a huge blessing to that community of refugees and they also keep the door open for our neighborhood families who need help too! We are happy to have you with us!

— PLAY IT SAFE- Self defense class for girls will be happening this summer. We are in an area where there is a lot of crime and our kids feel unsafe. Some have all ready faced or witnessed violence against them or others, here in the city. We are offering a three hour training on how to defend yourself if attacked. Also Tracie Arlington, the director of Play It Safe, will be bringing awareness on how girls can be unknowingly trapped into slavery as well as bringing awareness about alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships and eating disorders.

Thank you to all our amazing volunteers who make all this happen every day!!! Thank you to all our supporters who bless us with donations, prayers and love for our community!

Love to you all,

Sheri