Monthly Archives: October 2017

October 2017 Hope House Update

written by Michael St. Louis, Hope House of Central Illinois Board President

update1I remember walking in the winter woods as a youth. The bright shining sun reflecting off of the snow covered boughs and ground, not a breath of air moving, all created a surreal atmosphere. One could say it was a “wonderland.” Time stood still; distance and direction seemed to float away. Your progress was only traceable by looking backwards to see the footprints in the snow. There may be a straight path or maybe meandering, but you know where you have been. Or maybe you tracked you child’s growth on a door or wall in your home. Either way, you are marking progress by looking back.

Much is the same with Hope House. We have been very focused on growing and now it is time to look back to see how far we have come.

As a completely new, unestablished non-profit, I believe we have made great progress in the past 6 months.

We have:

  • presented our vision to over 400 people
  • presented to 10 different community organizations
  • collected 80% of our down payment for land
  • received support from over 100 wonderful donors
  • received committed support for 2018 from 2 organizations
  • spoken with and comforted 3 families after their loss

So what is next? That is a great question I hope to answer. There is more to the wall or door to continue to mark growth, just as there is always more forest to explore.

We are presently:

  • forming a capital committee
  • negotiating the purchase price of land
  • applying for local grants
  • scheduling presentations to more area churches and organizations
  • working toward more long-term funding for sustainability

Of all the great things Hope House has already accomplished, it has only been possible by the generosity and support of so many private individuals and businesses. The hard work of everybody involved has led to extraordinary results. We are not there yet. However, I am confident that as we continue down this road, we will exceed our goals. The many families experiencing loss will be able to find refuge with us because of your support.

Thank you all,

Blessings,

Hope House of Central Illinois

Our Miracle

by Teresa St. Louis

We tried for 20 years to have our children. Finally, at the age of 40, we had the opportunity to do IVF. With much encouragement from dear friends and financial decisions that most financial advisers wouldn’t recommend, we moved forward. We, in hope, believed and on our second attempt with IVF, we became pregnant with our twins Samuel and Selah. The pregnancy was going smoothly even though I felt sick most of the time. Then suddenly at 23 1/2 weeks, my water broke in the middle of the night. Our babies were born the next day, January 23, 2013.

It was a painful three days of life for Samuel and eight days for Selah in the NICU. It was also painful for us to see that their brief life was filled with so much agony. And the guilt I felt because I failed to carry them and protect them like a mother does was heart-wrenching.

We and many others from around the country from what I heard were praying for them, praying for a miracle. To overcome all the obstacles of a micro preemie and grow up and live a full life. But we didn’t get our miracle…

Or so we thought.

The days passed after their death, after the visitation and funeral. Life settled back into our new normal of being a mother and a father but no evidence of it except the pile of baby gifts from our church family baby shower just three days before they were born.

God began to show me that we did get our miracle. He answers our many years of prayer for children. He gave us Samuel and Selah, brief as it was. Their lives were the miracle.

I read in Beth Moore’s Living Beyond Yourself Bible study: “If only we would release God from our preconceived notions of what a miracle should be. Our eyes would be opened to so much more! All it takes to behold a miracle is seeing God do something only He can do.”

Well, only God could allow this aged womb to carry two babies for 23 1/2 weeks and still give them life for three and eight days. To touch many lives in that brief time. And fill our hearts with love like we never knew before.

Thank you, God. That’s what I call a miracle.