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                                                                                        January/February 2007

                                 HOPE FAMILY CENTER • DOOR OF FAITH                                  BETHEL MISSION

                                                                                                                                      GIVING HOPE. CHANGING LIVES.
            WELCOME PARDON
              CLEANSE RELIEVE
                                            “Each time I’ve moved an inch toward God, He’s moved 10 feet toward me,” Dirk
                                       observes. But his journey hasn’t been easy. “My brothers were real party animals and I
                                       idolized them. I was the golden child who got great grades. I decided that wasn’t very
                                       cool. I wanted to get great grades and be a party animal, too.”
                                            While in college, Dirk married and soon one of his brothers introduced the
                                       newlyweds to methamphetamine. College became a thing of the past. Dirk joined the
                                       Army Reserves and stayed clean for a while, but meth was hard to resist. “We were so
                                       young and vain. We thought we were bullet proof,” he admits. When meth began to
                                       dominate their lives, the marriage failed.
                                            Dirk says joining Narcotics Anonymous was his first step toward God. “I went to
                                       NA a chest-thumping atheist, but I was amazed to see drug addicts who were clean and
                                       happy. When my sponsor told me I should pray, I started by praying, God if you’re there,
                                       and I don’t know if you are . . .”
                                            Dirk met and married a recovering addict, but when hardship struck, temptation
                                       won again. “The bottom fell out. We were losing our house, selling our belongings,
                                       and stealing for drug money. I ended up spending some time in jail.” When the couple
                                       reunited, they repeated the old patterns. Soon Dirk’s wife went to jail and their 3-year-old
                                          daughter was taken away.
                                                   Ironically, Dirk’s brother was instrumental in his coming to Hope Ministries.
                                               “He had gotten sober in church,” Dirk explains. “He encouraged me to go to a
                                                faith-based recovery program. That was God.”
                                                       “My welcome to Hope Ministries’ Door of Faith was awesome. Cole
                                                    (program director) took me where I was and talked to me where I was. God
                                                      changed my life completely in three months. I take my sin personally now,
                                                        because I’m hurting Someone I love—God.”
                                                               Dirk and his wife are excited about renewing their vows in church
                                                          in 2007. “My wife got saved the first week she was in jail. We pray and
                                                           share through the prison glass. I know now God’s plan is better than
                                                            mine. He came to me on my own self-centered terms. First I believed
                                                             in ‘god’ with a little ‘g,’ then a very distant God. Now I know He’s
                                                             right here with me.”
                                 Get Connected
                                       The lyrics to the song Just As I Am were written by
    Door of Faith                 Charlotte Elliot in 1836. Miss Elliott was introduced
                                  to a minister by the name of Cesar Malan who told her
   Bethel Mission
                                  he hoped she was a Christian. Though offended at the
    Hope Family                   time, when she met Malan again three weeks later, she
       Center                     asked him how to come to Christ. “Just come to Him as
                                  you are,” he replied.
  Hope Transitional
                                       This is the message we want to convey to every
                                  homeless person who comes to Hope Ministries. Just as
  Hope Bargain and                Christ welcomes and pardons us, we want to welcome
 Community Outreach               and share His pardon with others.
       Center                          In this issue, you’ll meet several men and women
                                  who found welcome, pardon, cleansing and relief
      P.O. Box 862                through the ministry of Hope Ministries. God bless you
Des Moines, IA 50304-0862         for your partnership. Together, let’s continue to welcome
                                  the lost just as they are!                                                                                President/CEO Leon Negen and his
  Donate online.                                                                                 family enjoy the Great Thanksgiving
                                                                                                 Banquet along with hundreds of
                                                            Leon Negen
                                                                                                 hungry and homeless guests.

                                                                                     Mission of Hope 2006 ended January 15. This

You Helped Provide
                                                                                     valuable annual campaign allowed us to raise
                                                                                     about half of the resources we’ll need to fund our
                                                                                     programs and services for the coming year. I,
                                                                      along with my staff and board, thank you for your generosity and
    Your partnership has made it possible for                         obvious compassion for the hungry and homeless of Des Moines.
 Hope Ministries to provide the services below.
 Thanks so much!
                            January-November (YTD)
 Total nights of shelter	                     45,966	
 Total meals served	                         106,045
 STAR recovery graduates	                         16	
 Number veterans served	                         327
 Nights of shelter since Jan. 2001	          223,001
 Meals served since Jan. 2001	               639,752

                                                                                 A strange and wonderful thing happens to your
 We’ve updated our Web site to
                                                                            donations to our Bargain Center—they turn into food and
 include our greatest needs and                                             shelter for the homeless!

 most-wished-for volunteer                                                       New and gently used clothing, household goods, small
 positions for 2007. You’ll also                                            appliances and other items are displayed for purchase or
 find testimonies, a description                                            King’s Closet voucher exchange. Sales put money into
 of our Journey of Hope continuum                                           Hope Ministries’ general fund, ultimately providing food,
                                                                   shelter and recovery for homeless men, women and children.
 of care and ways to give online! Check it out
                                                                   Thanks for providing relief for the needy through your donations!
 at!                                              (Read more about our Bargain Center on pages 4 and 5.)
GOD WANTS ME                                                                                          Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
                                                                                               Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

 JUSTAS I AM                                                                                           Because Thy promise I believe,
                                                                                                     O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

                              Men and women come to Hope Ministries with broken hearts, broken bodies and broken lives.
                         There’s no need to fake a smile or pretend everything is okay when you walk through our doors—we’ll
                         take you just as you are because that’s how God takes each and every one of His children. Here, Jenni,
                         a resident at Hope Family Center, shares how she’s gone from brokenness to blessing.

                                                When Jenni first came to Hope Ministries, she really didn’t want to be here.
                                           Being homeless and temporarily losing custody of her children was too much, and
                                           Jenni says, she broke down and cried. “The staff at Hope Family Center comforted
                                           me,” she recalls. “They let me talk about my problems and helped me find
                                           solutions.” Now Jenni feels better every day. “I always feel like I’m being heard and
                                           that’s why I’m feeling more positive. Being here is a hard thing, but a good thing.
                                           The staff here is awesome.”

                                               God’s forgiveness is a new idea to Jenni, but she’s excited about learning more.
                                           “I’m slowly getting it,” she says. “At first I thought I just didn’t want to hear anymore
                                           about it. Then, even while I was struggling with being here, I realized I was listening
                                           to Christian music on the radio and enjoying reading my Bible. I wasn’t doing it
                                           because I had to. I wanted to do it for myself.”

                                                Jenni may understand more then she realizes about God’s love and forgiveness.
                                           In a recent telephone conversation, she told her children’s father, “You have to pray.
                                           You have to surrender your will to God.” Jenni is now taking a Grace 101 class at
                                           Hope Family Center and is looking into the meaning of baptism at the church she
                                           now regularly attends.

                                                Jenni knows the journey has been worth the cost. “I got my kids back at the
                                           end of October, just in time to be with my 6-year-old, Dylan, on his birthday,” she
                                           says with delight. Her daughter, Alyssa, will be 5 years old in January. “I have an
                                           awesome family,” Jenni says. “They’re very supportive. My parents are getting older
                                           and I want them to know everything’s going to be okay. I am blessed to have my
                                           family and the people at Hope Ministries. They’re my friends.”

                                                          Each of Hope Family Center’s three ranch-style houses at 3333 E.

Adopt-A-Room at                                      University has eight bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining room and
                                                     bathrooms. You can help make these temporary living spaces like home

Hope Family Center
                                                     for little ones like Alyssa and Dylan, and their moms, by adopting one
                                                     or more rooms. Adopting requires a financial commitment and limited
                                                     decorating. Call David Burrier, (515) 265-7272, to learn more.

 Hope Ministries provides a continuum of care for our residents. Learn more about it on our
Web site at With your partnership, we can offer men, women and children
            welcome, Christ’s pardon and real hope for the future. Thanks so much!
                      Faith inAction!
                         The back and front of this pull-out page have numerous ways you or your group can bring hope and healing to the homeless
                     and near-homeless of Des Moines—a mission field right in your own backyard.
                         Please take a moment to read through these opportunities.
                     Then put your faith in action when you:
                             Get your church, school, civic group or workplace involved
                             Become a VIP volunteer                                           Hearts for Hope
                                                                                              Women’s Tea
                         •   Donate an item from our needs lists
                         •   Call to schedule a tour or speaker
                         •   Check our Web site at or call
                             (515) 265-7272 to learn more!
                                                                                                  Saturday,	May	5,	2007
                                                                                                   Do you have a
                                                                                              heart for homeless

                             Souper Bowl Sunday
                                 Make Super Bowl Sunday a Souper Bowl
                                                                                              women and their
                                                                                              children? Then mark
                                                                                              your calendars now
                             Sunday and collect canned or packaged soup                       and plan to attend our
                             for Hope Family Center. Ask your church to allow you             Fourth Annual Hearts
                             to collect cans of soup from folks as they leave the service     for Hope Women’s
                             Sunday, February 4. Or, set up a box for your collection         Tea, Saturday, May 5.
                             in your church lobby. Let us know your church is                      Community State
                             participating so we can arrange to have volunteers pick up       Bank of Des Moines         Emcee Caitlin Coyner,
                             your collection. Thanks!                                         is underwriting this       morning anchor for KCCI TV8.
                                                                                              elegant event for
                                                                                              women only at the West Des Moines Marriott
                                                                                              and tickets are free. Each attendee will have an
                                                                                              opportunity to give generously during the tea and
                                                                                              100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Hope
                                                                                              Family Center!
                                                                                                   “The Hearts for Hope Women’s Tea is our
                                                                                              annual fundraiser for Hope Family Center,” notes
                                                                                              David Burrier, chief development officer at Hope
                                                                                              Ministries. “Attendees will hear from homeless
                                                                                                                         women who have gone
                                                                                                                         from brokenness to

                          Purpose-driven Work Day
                                                                                                                         blessing through Hope
                                                                                                                         Family Center’s recovery
                              Hope Bargain Center’s sign says it all! It’s a great
Cut out and share!

                                                                                                                              To learn more,
                          place for anyone to find a bargain, plus it provides crucial                                   watch your mail for a
                          household goods and clothing for families living on the                                        personal invitation to the
                          edge of poverty.                                                                               2007 Hearts for Hope
                              Hope Ministries sponsors Purpose-driven Work Days                                          Women’s Tea or visit
                          each Saturday at Hope Bargain Center, located at                                      To
                          4950 Old E. University Avenue in Pleasant Hill. You or                                         host a table, call (515)
                          your group can volunteer to sort, box and display clothing                                     265-7272 today!
                          and other donated items from 9 a.m.-noon or noon-3 p.m.
                          —or both! Call (515) 265-7272 to schedule.

The Great Commission
                                                                                           Therefore go and make
                                                                                           disciples of all nations,
                                                                                           baptizing them in the name of

Is Our Greatest Ambition                                                                   the Father and of the Son and
                                                                                           of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19

                                                                                                            Lea Hansen,
                                                                                                            Chris Adair and
                                                                                                            Kelly Northway
                                                                                                            of Lutheran
                                                                                                            Church of the
                                                                                                            Cross are buried
                                                                                                            in their church’s
         In 2006, Hope Ministries                                                                           donations to
    initiated the King’s Closet program,                                                                    Hope Ministries!

                                            Hope Ambassador Program
    operated from our Bargain Center,
    to provide for the material needs of
    impoverished and homeless men,
    women and children. Knowing                  Ambassadors are diplomats sent out by one country to another as an official
    we could reach more needy people        representative, says the dictionary. Hope Ministries’ Church Ambassadors are
    through collaborations, we invited      “voices of Hope” representing the mission field right in your backyard to churches
    churches and other social service       throughout metropolitan Des Moines.
    organizations to become authorized           “We currently have 23 Church Ambassadors representing 14 churches and a
    King’s Closet agencies.                 variety of denominations,” enthuses Erin Dobraska, church relations coordinator
         Today, free clothing vouchers      for Hope Ministries.

                                                                                                                                 Cut out and share!
    can be obtained through 14                   Church Ambassadors meet quarterly to exchange ideas and improve the
    agencies, including Lutheran            program. “Ambassadors also receive regular e-mails or letters giving them updates
    Church of the Cross, Park Avenue        on urgent needs, events, prayer requests and praise reports,” Erin says. “Our goal
    Christian Church, Westkirk              is to have 50 ambassadors by July 2007!”
    Presbyterian Church, Indianola               Would you like to be a “voice of Hope” for your church? Contact us at
    Heights Evangelical Free Church,        (515) 265-7272 or We look forward to linking our mission

    Beacon of Life, Young Women’s           field to your church!
    Resource Center, Generations

                                             Holidays of Hope
    Inc., Iowa Homeless Youth Shelter,
    Children and Families Urban
    Ministries, Freedom for Youth,
    Christian Community Food Pantry               So many wonderful people came together to make Thanksgiving and Christmas
    of Altoona, Spectrum, Inc. and           a blessing for the hungry and homeless! Here’s just a sample of our holiday fun.
    Ruth Harbor.
         Each church serving as a
                                                                                                  Friends from the street
    King’s Closet authorized agency
                                                                                                  gather for the Great
    must be represented by a Hope
                                                                                                  Thanksgiving Banquet.
    Ambassador (see article on this
    page) and must agree to hold an
    annual clothing drive.
         We appreciate these
    partnerships and anticipate
    broadening our scope even
    further in the future. To learn more
    about becoming an authorized
    King’s Closet agency or church,        The cheerful and enthusiastic faces
    contact us at (515) 265-7272 or         of volunteers made holiday meals                             even more festive and fun!

G           UNDERSON                                                                        valentino
“For People Like Me”                                                                             At the recent wake for
                                                                                             Valentino, a once-homeless
      “Sig was a small man with a Goliath personality,” says                                 man who often depended
Fred Lehman, a longtime counselor at Hope Ministries’ Bethel                                 on Hope Ministries
Mission. “He backed many a staff member into the corner with his
                                                                                             for support, there was
instructive finger, warning us to always love the men God sent us.”
      Sig Gundersen’s life was ordered by the years he spent in the                          standing room only.
military. But in his mid-20s, he started drinking and, as a result,                          “Much of his life was made
says Fred, “He’d often sober up and realize he’d met and married a                           up of bad choices and
woman during an alcoholic blackout.”
                                                                                             hard knocks,” says David
      When Sig’s military career ended, he continued to drink and
wandered aimlessly around the United States, until he finally landed                         Burrier, chief development
at Bethel Mission. Here, Christ welcomed, saved and changed him.                             officer at Hope Ministries.
      Sig never really left the Mission after that, Fred muses. “He                          “But he spent the last
served on our staff as a canteen clerk then as head of the laundry for
15 years. When his health forced him into retirement, he moved                               three years of his life
into a small room at a local hotel but continued to walk the long                            evangelizing; he
hill from downtown Des Moines to eat and fellowship with the staff                           loved Jesus.”
and guests at Bethel Mission.
      Sig’s life continued to reflect his military background. “He                               Nate Vaill, a Hope
was extremely organized in his life, attire and possessions. He                              Ministries supporter, wrote
would give away his older furniture, replacing them with carefully                           recently, “To be in Val’s
chosen items that fit spaces precisely,” Fred recalls. On the walls
hung photos of several overseas orphans Sig supported. A telegraph                           presence was to sense His
operator in the Army, he continued to communicate through                                    presence. He had not been
a telegraph pad with friends he’d made over shortwave radio                                  a Christian very long but
throughout the years.
                                                                                             it was genuine and fervent,
      Sig Gundersen quietly moved on to his real home in heaven
November 2006, leaving his entire estate to Hope Ministries—a                                though in a quiet way.
significant inheritance he’d received from his mother’s estate a few                         Even in his last two days,
years earlier. A year before his death, Sig told Chief Development
                                                                                             he still hoped God would
Officer David Burrier, “I want to give my entire inheritance to
Hope Ministries so that after I die, people like me have a place to                          allow him to reach others
eat, too.                                                                                    coming out of prison
      The staff, volunteers and homeless guests who knew and loved                           with the message of
Sig Gundersen will miss his droll smile, his wit and wisdom and
his presence. We praise God for the time we shared with this                                 the Gospel.”
“small Goliath.”

   Often we believe the blessing goes only one way, but as you can see from the two lives described here, we
have much to learn and many blessings to receive from ministering to the homeless. Please contact David
Burrier, (515) 265-7272, if you’d like to build a partnership with Hope Ministries and the people we serve.

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