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Stories of Redemption
Newsletter – April 2012
April 1, 2012 at 11:33
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: on the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’. . . In the same way, He also took the cup, after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'” -1 Corinthians 11: 23-25
Greetings in the name of Jesus,
This is a time of year when we prepare our hearts to be encouraged by the wonderful, true account of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In many ways, the yearly emphasis on this event constitutes the highlight of my spiritual journey. It is powerful!
The Passover account is for me, the unfolding of the ultimate mystery. “What was Jesus up to?” In our culture, to be invited to share a meal with someone, at the least, indicates their desire to spend time with us . . . get to know us. This was especially true in Jesus’ day.
Here we have His followers gathered for the annual feast dinner. When the chatter was done and the formalities attended to, Jesus focuses on the bread and the wine. Bread that had been made by grinding fine grain into powdery flour, baked in the pure oil of beaten olives, and wine, the juice of grapes crushed beneath man’s feet.
All that was omitted from the symbolism is the sacrifice. “Where was the lamb?”
We can look back, and rejoice, because history reveals God’s mystery. The twelve guests were, however, quite perplexed!
Jesus’ body was pummeled, His blood spilt, the “pure oil” of His Holy Spirit would fill His people. Jesus is the Lamb…Alleluia!
His Mansion is known, variously, as a healing community, counseling center, a place of rescue. It is all these things, but the key ingredient that empowers the process is HOPE.
There is hope for a future–for today–and tomorrow; and for the life to follow. This is to be found only in the atoning work of Christ at Calvary, His burial, and finally, in His resurrection from the dead.
Because you, our partners, pray and give, and young missionary men and women continue to stand in the gap, we enjoy the privilege of witnessing lives rescued from the fire, the mud, and hopelessness of their lives. Beautiful pottery being remade and fashioned, and bringing glory to God.
I encourage you to, from time-to-time, take a moment and pray that residents in the program will comprehend the love of God and experience this healing “hope.”
It is has been an exciting month, with His Mansion’s Board of Directors meeting on site to pray, observe and take general oversight of the ministry. Also the first of this year’s three Healing in the Context of Community course (HCC) was offered to people from all over the USA, Canada, and abroad.
We are preparing to open our doors to the many teams who will join us over the Spring and Summer months. Individuals and church teams from across the continent will be here to help plant, paint and patch things up. The impact upon the residents at His Mansion is only matched by the powerful–often life-changing–work done in the lives of our guests! These summer team schedules fill up early (this summer is about filled!) so contact us and start the process now for next summer.
It is my joy and privilege throughout the year to travel around the country greeting many of our partners personally and ministering in churches and colleges. There are others who serve on staff who are also available to speak at your church, small groups, or visit colleges and camps sharing the exciting work God is doing at His Mansion. Again, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any member of the staff by contacting the Office Manager at email@example.com.
As is typical, February and March are tough months financially for most ministries and missionaries, but this was anticipated and planned for. His Mansion is careful to not immediately spend every dollar that comes in, but because we have been doing this for forty years, are able to predict the ebb and flow that comes over time. So-called “surpluses” are carefully spread out over these predictable bumps in the road and avoids any sense of panic.
The cost of energy, food and materials has placed a huge burden on churches, families and individuals. Because of that, we all-the-more appreciate your sacrifice. If it were not for a unique and generous cadre of partners, there may be reason for concern.
I’d love to report that the economic hardship felt by our citizens is paralleled by a decrease in number of broken, abused, addictive men and women crying out for help. Such is not the case. His Mansion keeps beds filled knowing that God will provide. We are well aware of your faithfulness, and arevery thankful. Bless you!
Now, Paul . . .
Spring is here and the hill has come to life! His Mansion has been a busy place this month, bustling with friends, family members, supporters and visitors.
March brought the blessing of our first work team of this season with a visit from our faithful friends from Wheaton College in Illinois. Wheaton has been bringing a team each spring break for three years now. This group, comprised of 4 men and 8 women, brought hearts full of enthusiasm and joy to the work crews as they labored alongside our staff and residents for the week. We are so thankful for the work that they helped us accomplish but even more so for the love and zeal for our Lord that they both expressed and demonstrated while in our community. One female student from the team emailed the following reflection on her time here.
My time spent at His Mansion was more impacting than I could have planned for. What struck me the most was the authentic community I was immediately immersed in. As I tried to understand the ins and outs and the structure of the program, I quickly realized, although it is complex, at the core it is just a community of broken people working together to strive for wholeness in Christ. It was wonderful to be included in that community and family at meals, in prayer and share, at sociogram and even in work. One of the experiences that impacted me a lot while living in this family, was that I was free to BE broken and even more than that, admit I AM broken. It was refreshing to be in a body of Christ where for one of the first times, I wasn’t labeled by anything or expected be someone I’m not. I felt “myself”; broken, sinful and in desperate need for the cross, but more loved than I could ever dare hope. His Mansion is a unique place, a refreshing and freeing place and I am forever grateful for the way my time there opened my eyes to the humility of God’s people and the family that can come out of being broken, yet understanding, accepting and intentional.
We were also privileged to host our first HCC course of 2012 this past month. Although the class typically brings a large mix of people from all over, this particular group was predominantly New Englanders with several from our local area. The week proved to be a powerful time as the Lord moved and worked in the lives of many of the participants. We still have two more HCC offerings this year; June 9-15 and October 6-12. Contact Nick Clark via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Speaking of Nick Clark, it is my pleasure to introduce the Clark family to you all as they share their personal testimony. I ask that you lift each member of their family and the unique ways they serve here, up in prayer to the Lord throughout this coming month.
This summer will mark our two-year anniversary with His Mansion. Nick began his time here as the Program Administrator for the His Mansion Institute. He has since added Director of HCC and Men’s Counseling Supervisor to his job description. Kate stays home with our three children (Noah, 3, Amelia, 2, and David, one month), which keeps her very busy! In addition to that, Kate mentors one of the female Short Term Staff and helps work with some of the men who are looking to get their GED. Everyone at the Mansion has an amazing story about God’s work in their lives. Our story is how God worked for years to equip us for our roles here, even before we had any clue we would be called to His Mansion!
Nick’s faith journey began at the age of 13. Within a year, he lost his father to cancer and, through this experience, began to see God work in his life through the people around him. These people were instrumental in helping Nick grasp God’s ability to redeem all situations. This gave Nick the desire to help others who are hurting in a distinctly Christ-centered way. This desire took Nick from being on a track to become a police officer (he majored in sociology, psychology, and criminology in college) to seminary, where he studied counseling.
Kate’s journey began at a much younger age. As a child, Kate observed God working in people’s lives through her parents’ pastoral ministry. She always felt that God wanted her to help others, but wasn’t sure how. As a high school senior, Kate heard about the ministry and felt a call to volunteer at His Mansion as a mentor. Because she had plans to head to college to get a teaching degree, she put the call on the back burner.
Here is where our stories come together. We got married after Nick graduated from seminary and Kate graduated from college and moved to New Jersey. Kate got a job teaching and Nick, fresh out of seminary, began looking for a job that would suit his calling to vocational ministry. In the meantime, he took a “temporary” job as a counselor in an inpatient psychiatric ward – temporary lasted for five years!
We were reminded of His Mansion at this time by Kate’s dad. We visited and were soon offered a position. And the rest, as they say, is history. God used our period of waiting for this job to prepare us for it. Not only have both of our educational backgrounds been helpful these past couple of years, but our work experiences have provided us with skills that God has used here on the hill. Nick’s time in the hospital gave him hands-on experience with mental health issues, many of which he sees on the hill. Kate’s time teaching prepared her for her responsibilities as a mother, a mentor, and a GED teacher. Praise God for His wisdom and timing!
Since coming to the hill, we have seen God work in so many areas. It’s been amazing to see residents and staff transformed before our eyes. We have also been blessed to see God work within our family. He has met our physical needs, sustained us through some difficult parenting moments, taught us about ourselves as individuals and as a couple, and He has given us some wonderful gifts along the way, the most recent being our new little one. The more time we spend on this hill, the more we see our faith stretched and grown. We look forward to seeing God continue to work through us in this ministry and in us through this ministry!
Recently, the parents of a resident were visiting with us on the hill. It had been less than 2 months since they originally arrived on this hill with their son on our January intake day. I am certain that day was full of conflicting emotions, fears and uncertainities. After this recent enjoyable weekend visit with their son, they stopped by our office before departing the hill to say thank you with a card and treats for our staff. The words in the card express the feelings that so many parents of addicts only dream of one day being able to say. I want to share these words with you as I am sure that these words were once just a dream for them too.
Thanks just doesn’t seem sufficient for the dedication and love your group offers. You put hope back into hopeless for so many. We will continue to pray for the staff, mentors, leaders and residents. Even through struggles in life, we know we have an awesome God and that you are a part of His awesomeness!
It is a continued pleasure for me to be able to report on the blessings and provisions of our Lord as He works through you, our faithful supporters. We give thanks and praise as I am able to say that all of our bills are paid and we carry no debt. God is in control and He is good! God bless you!
Joyful in His service together,
Stan Farmer; Director Emeritus Paul Atkinson Sr.; CEO