Women’s Mission Site Renewal: Oh What A Future!
A wonderful celebration is scheduled for August 18, 2022 at 1933 Forster Street, Harrisburg, Pa 17103.
- Tours begin: 6:30pm
- Program: 7:00pm-7:45pm
- Tours resume at program ending: 7:45-8:00pm
Seven years ago, a small group of Bethesda Mission leadership formed a “Dream Team”, strategizing on what to do with two, very old shelter buildings that needed to be replaced or find another site for the Women’s Mission. These old buildings faithfully welcomed and served thousands of hurting women in crisis to find lasting recovery for nearly four decades. After unsuccessfully seeking several other sites (due to zoning restrictions and/or exorbitant prices), in 2017 it was decided to stay home at the existing site. This entailed demolishing the old buildings and constructing a brand new, four-story, 18,400 square foot shelter complete with outdoor space for flower and vegetable gardens, meditation and reflection, and play area for children. The Shelter was completed in the fall of2021 and the outdoor area recently completed in June, 2022.
Expanded Programs & Services
Now we have the capability to shelter up to 51 women in crisis, some with young children. Our recovery programs house women for short and long-term stays, 8-12 months and 12 – 18 months, helping our guests with or without drug or alcohol addictions. Some of our programs allow for employment or to attend school, as well. A new program for young adults ages 18-24 will offer short term housing, with a commitment of an 8-12 month program and has the flexibility to maintain guests that are employed or enrolled in an educational pursuit. An Aftercare Program is available for graduates of the recovery program – going to school, employed, independent – stay in shelter ranging from 3-12 months with staff general support.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.*
Nearly 20 years ago, M discovered she was pregnant. She was wading through deep waters as she found herself addicted to drugs and living on the cold, dark Philadelphia streets. Realizing that her life was not conducive for a healthy child’s growing up, she decided to give her child up for adoption after her birth. M and her daughter were separated and, while it was a painful decision, it seemed to be the most loving thing she could do for her child at the time. Many women who’ve stayed at our women’s shelter have had similar experiences. They know the guilt and shame that comes with finding oneself unfit to parent or worse yet, being declared unfit by the authorities. Yet after completing the long-term program at our Women’s Shelter, M made herself the protagonist in her life’s narrative, and went on to get a college degree and eventually reunite with her long-lost daughter and forged a fresh relationship with her family to frame a future unlike any that preceded it.
With the Lord’s help, the sanctuary given to her from our Mission changed the trajectory of her life, and became a reality she had previously seen only in her dreams.
” God began to heal our relationships, which wasn’t easy, and it’s still not easy on some days because there’s a lot of things you regret or you missed out on, but you just build on what you have now with Christ.”
M is just one of the hundreds of stories that have come through our Women’s Shelter over the last four decades seeking a warm meal as well as a warm embrace. That statement should NOT diminish or belittle the gravity of her story, but testify of the Mission’s reach to women of the Central PA area and God’s provision in impossible situations. M came to us at a time where finances were tight, and the building site of the Women’s Shelter was crumbling. Even when our resources were small, the Spirit flowed in such a way that the longings of her heart (to be reunited with her family) would come true.
Like M, a long-waited dream Bethesda Mission had prayed to become a reality, has now come into fruition.
God can use the most impossible of circumstances to our (and His Kingdom’s) benefit, in a creative, strategic lens that He alone can see. Like M’s life, full of disappointment then restored, we hope to provide that same chance to thousands of women for years to come. So join us, as we tell the stories only the walls could hear previously, and help us lead the charge to freedom and restoration for the families of our beautiful city.
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