The Campaign Resumes!

94340027-stock-vector-let-s-do-this-motivational-saying-for-posters-and-cards-positive-slogan-for-office-and-gym-black-hanLast month, we announced the Hope House of Central Illinois capital campaign was suspended due to the tornado relief efforts in Taylorville, where Hope House will be built. We had already received some preliminary commitments and had just mailed hundreds of brochures and letters when the tornado ripped through our community. We knew we needed to pause what we were doing to focus on the more immediate needs.

We are now excited to let you know our campaign has resumed! If you received a mailing in late November, you can anticipate a call from one of our campaign team members to chat about how you can get involved. We currently have commitments of nearly $135,000 of the $350,250 needed to begin the building process.

We need your help! Can you sacrificially give and help us break ground soon? The sooner we break ground and begin building, the sooner we are able to invite families grieving the loss of a child to come to Hope House and find refuge with hope as they heal.

You can give through this website via Pay Pal or contact us anytime with questions.

Thank you.

Hope House of Central Illinois Suspends Campaign

Update-Image-Adobe-Stock-e1474233379776The leadership of Hope House of Central Illinois recently kicked off our Come Together capital campaign with a goal of $350,250 and hopes of breaking ground in 2019. However, in light of the relief efforts following the December 1st tornado that hit Taylorville, we have decided to temporarily suspend the campaign. We believe our community needs to focus efforts and resources on residents in immediate need of support.

We are so thankful no lives were lost during the tornado, but we know many lives were impacted, and the recovery process will be a long one. Our passion continues to be to help people through the grieving process and to give them hope, and we will resume the campaign as soon as we feel it is appropriate. We still hope to build in 2019, but we will take those steps and continue to meet challenges as they come.

We are thankful to have already received campaign commitments of over $115,000. We had just mailed hundreds of packets and planned to follow up with phone calls to potential supporters this week. If you received a packet, please know we will follow up with you at a later date. If you did not receive a packet or would like more information about Hope House of Central Illinois, please visit hopehouseofcentralillinois.org or connect with us on Facebook. We will continue to accept commitments as people are compelled to give.

Whether it is because of a tornado, loss of a child, or other trauma, this time of the year can be challenging for those who are grieving and healing. Let’s continue to share hope with one another. If you have any questions as you reach out to people who are grieving the loss of a child, or you are struggling with your personal loss of a child, please reach out to us.

The Long Journey

photo-1534330207526-8e81f10ec6fcThe journey of Hope House has been a long one, and we are still in the early stages.

We have experienced deep loss. We have sat in pits of disorienting darkness. We have felt the joy of being surrounded of friends and have been annoyed by their presence at times. We’ve seen sunrises and butterflies that remind us of life and hope. We’ve wrestled with doubts, anger, and faith. We’ve prayed, we’ve cursed, we’ve laughed, we’ve cried.

We’ve felt horribly alone, even when people have been around. We’ve pushed away people we love. We’ve blamed ourselves. And we’ve glimpsed beauty among ashes.

And we’ve dreamed. We’ve dreamed of a place where parents like us can step away from their everyday lives and retreat to a beautiful setting to relax and heal. They can’t step away from their grief; we know it is always present. But we can provide a brief respite as parents and families struggle into a new normal.

We invite you to partner with us. It is a long journey, but could you walk a few steps with us? We hope to break ground in 2019. To find out more and get involved, visit our campaign page.

Thank you.

Every Dollar Helps

Our campaign goal seems huge. Unimaginable. Unattainable.

But when you’ve struggled through the grief of a child’s death, when a dark day is right behind or in front of you, when you’ve walked through unimaginable pain and considered unattainable hope, facing a large fundraising goal doesn’t seem as daunting.

It might feel like a big dream, but when reaching out to help people who are going through some of the same pain you’ve experienced, wanting to help them and walk beside them, any pursuit, even if it seems challenging, seems worthwhile.

That’s where we are as Hope House founders, board members, campaign team members, and friends and family. We lean into the future, knowing many people are hurting and have a need for refuge, a getaway with family as they heal.

Hope House of Central Illinois will hopefully become a reality in 2019. We have the land and many volunteers. We want to break ground soon. Please help us.

Every dollar helps.

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Walking the Circle of Grief

photo-1484973768669-7fb6b5451095I have walked the circle of grief around many friends.

It’s not a journey I’d ever wish for them or myself, yet I was honored every time I have walked it.

Walking the circle is being close by, accessible, while giving space to my friends. Being available but not hovering.

Walking the circle is being close enough to feel the scorching heat of the pain. It is unimaginable. It is sharing a burden. It is seeing friends gasp for air. It’s inviting moments of laughter, knowing tears will often be close behind.

Walking the circle is doing difficult stuff. Making phone calls, picking up funeral clothes, sitting in uncomfortable positions beside a bed or chair for hours, holding hands, wiping snot, going through clothes and toys that will never be used (or used again).

Walking the circle now includes the opportunity to serve Hope House of Central Illinois. My friends founded this organization, and I do what things I can do to help them. It is a continuance of walking the circle.

You have likely walked the circle, too. You might still be walking it.

There are many of us. And now we get to come together.

We all walk the circle around parents and families who are grieving the death of a child. Hope House is on the verge of being built and welcoming those families. For more information on how to get involved, click on the campaign tab of our website.

Thank you.

A Good Place

photo-1521993067561-ce35b1ce9a91Whatever your preference and habits with faith and worship with a church family, we wanted to share a glimpse into one Hope House founder’s heart through something he recently shared at his church. Randy shared the following during a communion meditation. The habit at his church is to take communion every time the church family gets together for worship per Jesus’ instructions to share communion in remembrance of him. The weekly routine is intended to remember what Jesus has done for each of us as well as invite us to take inventory of our lives and consistently invite him to correct and encourage us. It is a reality check of sorts. And recently, Randy shared a glimpse into his own reality of grief and hope.

A few weeks ago, I went on a farm call.  It was a lovely spring day and I was thankful to get out of the office that afternoon. The farm is a pleasant place located on a hilltop. I knew well my way to this place because it was the home of my first and best friend after moving to Taylorville 32 years ago. It is a place that I’ve visited many times and I have only the fondest memories of being there. In my mind it is a happy place. But my friend moved and now I don’t go there so often. My friend’s son lives there now, and I will admit that I like him, too, and will gladly claim him as a friend. But our relationship is different and I just don’t visit as often as I probably should. While there, I looked at a few sheep and a couple dogs. Then I had a conversation.

We talked about our jobs, families, and all the interesting things going on in our lives. Then I told my young friend about a visit I had made the week prior to another place, very different place; Anderson Cemetery. I had gone to see my son. It is my son’s final resting place, and I don’t like going there.  I don’t visit often, and when I do go, I don’t stay long. I did not start that day planning to go. I have no idea why I went but I did, and for the first time, it wasn’t so awful. Maybe the sting of death is not as sharp now. I not only visited Dan’s grave but I also looked around. I saw Eddie there. He was my first neighbor in Taylorville. Eddie was a good neighbor. He used to watch my daughter, and she took her first steps in his house. Lyle is also there. He was funny and used to love repeating a story of when his mule bit me in the rear. I saw lots of names that I recognized and many whom I never knew. I saw headstones for young people, old people, and even people born in the 1700’s and Anderson Cemetery is said to be the final resting place of every last one of them.

Then I told my young friend that I had visited the grave of his daughter, and we talked about that for quite a while. Then he said something that really stuck in my head. He said that his life is in a good place now, and that he is content. Upon reflection, I feel that I, too, am in a good place now. But this good place will not be my final place. Nor is Anderson Cemetery the final resting place of our loved ones. There will be another place after my final resting place.  In John 14, Jesus has a conversation with his disciples and talks to them about his final resting place.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus came from heaven to earth to give us a glimpse of our Father and to lead us to a very special place called Heaven. Jesus has gone before us and prepared a place for each of us. Today at this communion, celebrate what Jesus has done.

Do More Than Check Out

photo-1422190441165-ec2956dc9eccI know the desire to curl up in a ball and pull the covers over my head and retreat from the world. It’s okay for a moment, but at some point, it’s time to go for a walk, reach out to a friend, spend time with people who love you. Do something. Do more than check out from the reality of the world that is so hurtful, because it is so much more than that.

The Hope of Hope House

On a beautiful Spring afternoon, Teresa and I drove to the land Hope House will be built upon one day. It is a soothing drive on a country road, leading to a winding road through the trees, then opening into the clearing. The drive itself reminds me of hope. There is a bit of uncertainty and doubt, wondering what’s coming next, but there are glimpses of beauty along the way. There’s a winding road with arching trees overhead, obscuring the view of what’s ahead yet beautiful and protective in and of themselves. Then there is a clearing.

I sighed in hope: hope of the present and hope of the future.

Teresa and I walked across the field and into the woods that will one day be the backyard of Hope House. Those who want to stay within the walls of Hope House can find peace and healing there. Those who seek some solace in nature will have easy access to it.

Spring seems to be a bit late this year,  so the green just now seems to be bursting on the scene – another reminder that hope brings growth and beauty in its own time.

We explored and found trails, a stream, oddly-shaped vines, a fallen tree, and dappled sunlight. Hope is like each of these things.

  • Hope is like the stream, cutting it’s way into the earth, a bit uncontrollable yet also sustaining and cleansing and serene.
  • Hope is like the twisted vines, contorting around trees in ways that seem impossible, evidence of persistence over time.
  • Hope is like the fallen tree, providing a place for people to rest or critters to live even when it doesn’t seem to be in the place or position we expect.
  • Hope is like dappled sunlight, piercing through the overhead trees, lighting the path ahead and making beauty with the contrast of light and darkness.

Hope is like the trails, forging the way ahead even through our uncertainty.

Please continue to pray as we journey with hope.

In the meantime, enjoy some snapshots of what God has provided for Hope House.

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©2018 Hope House of Central Illinois

 

The Dream of Hope

IMG_1754What began as a discussion among 3 grieving couples about how great it would be to have a cabin they could share as a place to “get away” has quickly turned into so much more.  These couples knew first-hand how overwhelming is was to deal with the loss of a child, and realized the peace and solace a private retreat location could provide.  It didn’t take long for those couples to realize that what they wanted for themselves, could minister to countless couples and families in Central Illinois.  

A little over a year ago, with initial plans in place, a larger group was brought together to provide feedback as to the feasibility of this dream.  The idea was well received, and the group embarked on a mission to share the dream and spread word throughout the area.

The dream of having a cabin, set in a tranquil, rural setting, that families could use as a retreat from everyday life, was the goal.  To establish this retreat location, that would be provided to grieving families at no cost, would take a great deal of work, but as the vision is spread, the dream is quickly becoming reality.  Choosing the right building site is key to the success of such an endeavor.  Finding a site that is easily accessible, but provides the needed tranquility, was not an easy task.  Through months of careful searching and prayerful consideration, just a location came available.  

In the late fall of 2017 an official offer was placed on a beautiful 7-acre tract of land that provides not only the perfect balance of level ground for the construction of an easily accessible home, but also pristine, wooded ground that will provide for a place for calm reflection.  The offer was accepted, financing secured, and in January of 2018, the papers were signed for the official home of Hope House.  

To date, no formal fundraising efforts have taken place, but thanks to others who believe in the mission of Hope House, adequate funds have been gathered for the down payment on the land.  The next step is the formation of a committee to plan the capital campaign to raise the funds for construction and operation of Hope House.  Thanks to a generous, local grant from the Duncan-Kendrick Ministry Fund, funds are in place for the construction of the foundation of the house.  During the fundraising drive, plans for construction will be finalized and the potential to break ground in the spring of 2019 is the goal.  

The Hope House committee, volunteers, and supporters are excited to be able to provide such a significant ministry here in Christian County, and to be able to serve families throughout Central Illinois.  For more information, and to follow our progress, please visit hopehouseofcentralillinois.org.

We Have Land!

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Special thanks to all the private donors, churches, community organizations, and businesses who have sponsored Hope House of Central Illinois and made it possible for us to purchase the land where Hope House will be built! We have officially purchased seven acres of land south of Taylorville (two miles west of Lakeshore Golf Course). We especially thank the sellers who helped us find the perfect place to help grieving families for many years to come.

We look forward to continuing to make plans and break ground in God’s timing. We’ll kick off our capital campaign soon. Stay connected with us here and on Facebook. We continue to appreciate your prayers.