In April 1974, just before I graduated from Liberty Baptist College, I started Fredericktowne Baptist Church (FBC) in Frederick, Maryland. I was 22 years old and stayed there for almost 18 years. Then I was gone from there for almost another 18 years. But when they were without a pastor in 2008, I started speaking for them on Sundays and spent almost 2 years with them again. During that time the church provided lots of things for the guys at Helping Up Mission, including hundreds of Bibles. They always supported our annual graduation banquet and there will be a table full of them in attendance again this year. After FBC found their new pastor a year ago, of whom I was (and still am) very supportive, my wife and I went on rejoin the church in which we have been involved in recent years.
Last Sunday, FBC’s pastor was sick and they asked if I would come and speak again. I went and it was a great time with good friends. After the service Tammy said had a bunch of men’s dress clothes for the guys. Then Suzie came up and said she had a $500 gift card to Barnes and Noble and wanted to know what kind of Bibles she could buy for us! It was just so meaningful to have these folks continue to remember and support the men of Helping Up Mission.
Three weeks ago, I spoke at Trinity Bible Church in Severna Park. The folks there have been providing Bible school training on our campus for the men of Helping Up Mission for some 5 years. The church covers the registration and textbook costs for each guy who wants to participate. In addition, every spring they bring our students to Severna Park for their graduation ceremonies.
My own church, Monocacy Valley Church, is where my wife and I started Recovery for a Lifetime, a 12 Step recovery group, 4 years ago. A couple dozen families from there donated to Helping Up Mission in support of Marilyn, as her charity of choice in a project (see my blog from 10/7/10). A table full of them will celebrating with us at this year’s graduation banquet.
Damon from Bank of America here in Baltimore has been coming to our facilities and doing resume building and mock interviews with our guys to prepare them to get ready to go job hunting. Last week he started a month-long drive to collect men’s dress clothes for the guys to dress appropriately for their real job interviews.
This morning, I spoke in chapel at Perry Hall Christian School. At the impetus of Meredith Lashley, the students there are going to collect hygiene and personal care items for the men of Helping Up Mission this spring. Many of them already helped with Meredith’s drive to collect Bibles for our guys (see my 10/5/10 blog).
It is incredibly rewarding for me to meet so many wonderfule people who also appreciate what we are doing here and offer so much support in so many ways. I can assure you that it is paying off in the lives of the men of Helping Up Mission. Thanks to you all for everything you have done.
The king will reply, “I tell you the truth whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director