Bethesda News

Reflections on Nearly Two Decades at Bethesda

“Why don’t you come and help us at the Mission to fundraise to support the life recovery programs for hurting men, women, and children at this House of Mercy,” and “by the way, it will be a part-time position, just 20 hours a week” (oh boy). “And oh, there is no room in the office so if you are entrepreneurial, could you work out of your home” (sure)?

Some of you have heard my story, so I won’t bore you with many details. I spent 35 years with a small state agency (DCED) managing grant and loan programs, helping local governments and nonprofits. After wondering what was in store for a rather older person, or so I thought at 58, it appeared God had something planned for the next stage of my journey.

Needless to say, it was a humbling experience that tested my faith. Through God’s amazing grace, I was led to a rescue mission in Harrisburg. A few weeks after I started, I was told nicely “we want you in the office, and you really need to be full-time.”

At the time, I knew very little about homelessness. Where was God leading? Then, I began to reflect on a moment a decade prior to my employment at Bethesda, when God led me to walk from my state office up to the Men’s Shelter. I distinctly recall walking and not having a clue why, other than sensing God wanting me to see if there was something I could do to help these hurting people. The program director asked if I would be willing to spend time with some recent graduates to encourage and mentor them. I said yes, and I was richly blessed by those relationships.

God had begun to capture my heart, giving me a passion for hurting men, women, and children who face life with little hope.

You are receiving this letter because you are a faithful donor, who has supported God’s wonderful work through Bethesda in this community.

Bethesda’s customers come in two forms: our guests whom we serve but who cannot pay, and you, our committed donors, who do pay to make it all possible. It is all by God’s grace, but with your help.

Through interactions with donors like you, I have come to realize we share many of the same motivations and convictions:

Support those who have hit rock bottom, giving them a real chance at a life restored without destroying their desire to work hard to succeed themselves.

Root for the underdog, the ones who have faced tremendous challenges and have become derailed.

Buck the odds; human intellect says these folks can’t change, while we wholeheartedly believe God can change their lives, every day.

Help others to hear God’s voice, knowing it is the game changer; “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”Jeremiah 29:13

Homelessness has been a political issue, and no can any longer deny it has increased significantly in recent years. Advocates of large government programs want to proclaim the end of homelessness will be realized if enough money is thrown at the problem. To us, the key is to change the way people make choices.

Folks ask us periodically what are the greatest challenges that Bethesda Mission is facing – my response at this time is this, which I shared at our Celebration Banquet in 2023: “While together (our donors, our board, and staff), we at this House of Mercy remain wholeheartedly committed to caring for the hurting, helpless, and hopeless; may we be steadfast in navigating the culture without compromising our core beliefs in the gospel of Christ.”

So, what is our timeless Mission and Vision at this House of Mercy.

OUR MISSION

Reaching into the community one man, one woman, one child at a time, offering the love of Christ in tangible ways.

OUR VISION

We aspire to be God’s House of Mercy, through which He brings about life recovery and restoration for hurting, hopeless, and homeless men, women, and children in our shelters, in our community, and throughout the region. We desire to holistically serve those in need, equip them to engage purposefully and meaningfully with society, and lead them to experience the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.

Guest coming into our shelters have been ravaged by drug addiction, abuse, mental disabilities, and debilitating physical diseases. Our state of the art medical/dental health clinics deliver professional care, giving our guests hope for healing.

But even more critical is the offer given to each guest to discover or to renew a personal relationship with a loving God via our Savior, Christ the Lord! He has plans for each person, and His healing is not temporal but eternal! Their stories, their challenges, and their life changes are yours, as you have fueled the opportunities they have experienced!

I have been richly blessed by having the privilege of serving God at Bethesda Mission. Your faithfulness in catching the vision for the impact you can have on these hurting folks we serve is a wonderful inspiration that I have treasured and for which I will be eternally grateful.

May God bless you for your faithful support of Bethesda!

 

 

Scott Dunwoody
Executive Director

PS: Please consider your own story of connection with Bethesda Mission, how it has impacted you, and how you have impacted others. If you have been touched by what you have read, prayerfully consider who you might become more involved with the work that God is doing through our ministries. Whether that looks like volunteering, praying, or continued financial support, we, and the men, women, and children that we serve together, are supremely grateful. Thank you.

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