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April 13, 2010

WINTERHAVEN 2010 - Report by Grace Brown

This year New Hope served 25 men on the first night of the Winterhaven program and about 20 men on each succeeding night. More than 100 volunteers from NH and the surrounding community (yes! people from other churches in the community contacted me and volunteered, along with New Hope members) pitched in to help make this year's program a resounding success. An additional 45–50 children from New Hope Church and Sligo Elementary SDA School also participated by creating the beautiful placemats that were used for every meal.

On his first night at New Hope, one guest walked slowly around the dining area, reading and enjoying each and every placemat that the kids had drawn for the guests. Whether it was through the delicious meals that were graciously prepared by our volunteers, the powerful prayer meeting that was thoughtfully and prayerfully tailored to our guests, or the decorative touches that created a more comfortable environment, these men knew that they were warmly welcomed at New Hope.

All throughout the Winterhaven project I saw evidence of God's presence—always before me—leading the right volunteers to step forward at the right time, with just the help that was needed. The guests changed us as they shared their life stories with us. But I also saw God working on their hearts during that week, using little children to bring them joy, and using each of the volunteers to confirm the message that regardless of where we've been or what we've done, we are all deeply loved and precious to God.