Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peace in the midst of the storm

I tend to panic in storms. The wind, rain, tornado warnings, flash flooding and mud slides over the last two weeks claimed lives and caused wide-spread flooding, damage and debris.

Thankfully Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24-27 have brought me peace in the midst of the storms: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”

Jesus’ words assure us that if we build our lives on Him, then we can weather any storm no matter how great the wind, rain and floods become. His words remind me of the storms of life our resident moms at Hope Alive have faced. They can choose to rebuild their lives on the Savior and find healing, love, hope, and peace from the storms that have shaken their foundations. As they come to know Christ, their lives change in amazing ways! Or sadly, they can choose to continue to live on shifting sand with no firm foundation.

Please pray that every homeless family – whether at Hope Alive or struggling to survive in our community – will see Jesus reaching out His hands to them in the midst of their storms. Pray that the storms they face in life will move them to build their house upon the rock – Jesus Christ! May you know His peace in the midst of the storm. Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Rescuer

Psalm 34:7 reads, The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.

King David in the Bible wrote this psalm after he was driven away by Achish king of Gath by feigning madness to protect his life. David knew that it was the Lord who had rescued and delivered him out of the hands of evil. This was part of my scripture reading this past Tuesday morning. Just hours later, this verse would have a whole new meaning for me.

In the pouring down rain, I left a meeting in Frederick about noon and headed north to Hope Alive. A very serious accident on Rt. 15 just north of Seventh Street detoured traffic onto Thomas Johnson Drive and Hayward Road. Just as I was turning right into the merge lane on Rt. 15 from Hayward Road, my car suddenly accelerated. I quickly assured myself that I had my foot on the brake and not on the gas pedal, but the car continued to lurch forward as if someone had stomped on the gas pedal. To avoid hitting the car in front of me in the merge lane and trying to steer my car that was quickly speeding out of control, I swerved into the traffic lanes. For the next few seconds - but what seemed like minutes - I panicked trying to think of what to do to stop it.

But just as quickly as it all started, the accelerator released and I slowed to a crawl with my emergency lights flashing. I pulled off on the shoulder of the road and sat there crying and thanking God for rescuing me and saving my life. If you know Frederick at all, the intersection at Rt. 15 and Hayward Road is famous for serious and sometimes fatal accidents. But at this particular moment, no cars were coming as I veered out onto the highway. God miraculously rescued me from danger!

Since then, I’ve thought of little else and have shared this experience with everyone I’ve talked to giving praise to God for being my Rescuer! But God was not only my rescuer this past Tuesday, but He is my Rescuer from sin and death and has delivered me to new and eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It’s this week that we celebrate the cross where Jesus freely gave His life and took on the punishment for the sin of the world so that we might have eternal life if we believe in Him.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. John 3:16-17

Jesus is my Savior and Lord and my Rescuer! I have much to praise God for this Easter - the gift of His Son, His sacrifice for me, and His Resurrection that promises me eternal life! May you receive our Rescuer by faith this Easter and celebrate with me the eternal life that He came to give!

Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saying good-bye to a friend

We heard early this week that UpCounty Family Partnership in Emmitsburg, MD will close their doors the end of May. UpCounty has been an important partner to Hope Alive since we received our first family more than four years ago. They’ve provided GED classes and exam preparation as well as the Nurturing Parenting course for our resident mothers. Two of our moms completed this 12-week course already this year. It’s inspiring to watch them apply all the effective and positive skills they’ve learned.

We understand UpCounty Family Partnership lost a significant source of their funding through a state grant. Following Head Start’s closure in Emmitsburg the end of February, this will be another devastating loss to northern Frederick County and Hope Alive families. We want to thank the amazing staff at UpCounty for all their loving support and training for our resident mothers over the years. It’s been a privilege to partner with them to meet the needs of our community’s families. Their closure will leave a tremendous gap in our community and in Hope Alive’s needed services. We wish their staff well as they start this new chapter in their lives. We trust God will provide for their needs as well as ours!

On a happier note, it’s not too late to register for our upcoming Visions for Hope event on Thursday, April 28 at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center. The artwork that we’ve received will provide a beautiful selection of special items for bidding. Visit our website at or call 301.241.4005 for more information or to purchase tickets. It’s a really fun family-friendly event that you don’t want to miss. Hope to see you there! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rekindling the vision

Nine years ago this week, God told me it was time to step out in faith. On Sunday, April 7, 2002, my pastor preached a sermon on “rekindling the vision”. For me, the vision was one of a new women and children's ministry that God had birthed in my heart two years earlier - a ministry that was located outside the city of Frederick in a safe and secure nurturing environment where homeless women and children could find healing, recovery and hope of a future. By the end of the two years leading up to April 7th, I had lost hope that the vision would ever be fulfilled because nothing seemed to be happening to make it a reality.

When I heard my pastor’s message that Sunday morning, I knew God was speaking to me. My pastor challenged each of us in the congregation with this question: “What’s keeping you from seeing the vision fulfilled?” God answered the question for me. He told me it was my fear of loosing a paycheck. I knew at that moment that God was asking me to step out in faith, leave my job, and start this new ministry as a full-time volunteer. That’s when Hope Alive, Inc. was born.

I wonder what would have happened if I had not been in church that morning or if I was preoccupied during my pastor's message and didn’t hear God speak to me. Or what if I assumed his message was for someone else thinking God couldn’t possibly be speaking to me! April 7, 2002 changed my life. The nine years since that time has been tremendously challenging, but incredibly rewarding and spiritually life-changing! What a privilege to watch what God can do to make His vision a reality. What a blessing to be used by God to serve His people in need when we say “YES” to His call. And what an honor to serve alongside so many of God’s faithful servants in the kingdom work He has called us to do.

What about you? Is there a vision God has laid on your heart that you’ve lost hope will ever be fulfilled? As my pastor asked me that Sunday morning nine years ago, “What’s keeping you from seeing the vision fulfilled?” Believe that with God all things are possible and listen intently for His voice because He is speaking!

Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director