by Harold Naylor, Executive Director
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) As I received the call to join Good Neighbors Home Repair Ministry these words from scripture came to mind.
I have known and been a friend of Good Neighbors for over 8 years. In my role as a strategic consultant, I worked with Jay Malthaner and his team to strengthen the organization, and develop sustainable fundraising process on which the next Executive Director could build. Rob Ellis brought the right organizational skills, procedures, processes, and passion and under his leadership, Good Neighbors has flourished and grown, touching many lives throughout Southern Chester County. In 2015 alone, over one hundred homes were repaired and over 200 volunteers were mobilized.
There are many more impressive statistics. The ones we do not know (yet!) are the lives that were touched with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the One who gives true and lasting hope. These conversations occur when a grateful homeowner walks out in his or her yard and sees a team of volunteers sharing their time and talent to bless another. "How and why do you do these things?" is often the question. This question gives us permission to talk about the Reason for our hope.
After six very productive years Rob leaves behind a bigger, stronger, and focused Good Neighbors that is poised for a strategic expansion into neighboring New Castle County, Delaware. It is our board's hope and plan to leverage the structure and experience to move just over the state line to continue the work of "Repairing Homes and Restoring Hope". You will be hearing more about this in the months to come.
We have a new Board Chair, Bud Swenson. Please pray for our team as we listen to the Lord and submit our will to Him and His plans for Good Neighbors. Lastly, please call or write with any ideas or suggestions to make us more effective and impactful. I am confident that there is much more Kingdom impact ahead of us!
Plans are firming up for the 17th Annual Good Neighbors Youth Camp to be held July 17-22, 2016. Avondale Presbyterian Church (APC) will again be our host. Nearly 50 senior-high youth and their leaders will spend the week working with skilled Good Neighbors staff and volunteers to "Repair Homes and Restore Hope" for multiple low-income families in southern Chester County. Youth camp is always our busiest week of the year, and 2016 will be no exception. At the end of each workday, the teams will shower at the Kennett or Jennersville YMCA and return to APC for dinner. Each evening, our youth volunteers will gather for sharing of fun, fellowship and discipleship. We are excited to welcome back Rev. Joshua Knott as the evening program leader. In addition to being Good Neighbors' Chaplain, Josh serves as associate pastor at Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Newark, DE. Please pray for a safe, productive and enriching week.
By Rev.Joshua Knott, Chaplain (Associate Pastor of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Newark, DE)
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Humility is unnatural. A quick glance at the world or at our hearts proves it. This is why the apostle Paul exhorts us to humility and a few verses later points to Jesus as the ultimate example. Jesus, he tells us, laid aside the privileges of deity to take on humanity in order to be crucified for sinners; those who by nature and choice did not feel like they needed a Savior and did not want a Lord. This kind of humility is not only unnatural, it is supernatural. This is how the Philippians are called to relate to those around them. Whatever their title, whatever their position, their privilege is to lay their privileges aside. Whatever their vocational calling their spiritual calling is to consider those around them, or 'beneath' them, as 'above' them. This is why we do what we do at Good Neighbors. This is why we give to Good Neighbors, because we count our low-income neighbors as more significant than ourselves. And in humility is how we strive to do it, following Jesus' example.
Last Thursday evening, October 9th, almost 300 people gathered at Willowdale Chapel in Kennett Square to listen in to some amazing global and local speakers at Q Commons.
The evening featured Pastor Tim Keller, from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC and Ann Voskamp, author of 1000 Gifts, via simulcast and then turned it turned our attention to local organizations with a panel of speakers that included Joshua Knott, Chaplain of Good Neighbors.
In his role as Chaplain to the board of Good Neighbors, Joshua Knott spoke at Q Commons Kennett Square on a panel entitled, “Local Organizations and Collaboration.” Kate Uhler, case manager at Kennett Area Community Service and volunteer leader with Family Promise, and Linda Mercner, director of YoungMoms, also spoke on the panel, which was moderated by Molly Henry.
Q Commons is a semiannual event with Q Ideas (qideas.org/), a nonprofit organization based in Nashville whose aim is to mobilize Christians to advance the common good in society. Q Commons Kennett Square was hosted by the Constellation Network (theconstellationnetwork.com), a new multi-church, multi-organization movement in southern Chester County that seeks to collaborate, accelerate, and incubate ventures for the common good.
Photo Credit: Kairos Photography by Jessica Zubrod
The note below was shared with us by Carrie Freeman of the United Way of Southern Chester County.
Unionville High School launched a new club in 2013/14 started by United Way of Southern Chester County – the UHS Philanthropy Club. Headed by seniors Andrew Nichols and Steven Daniels, the club first raised money through a car wash and bake sales. They then learned about area non-profits and decided on where they wished to donate their funds. United Way agreed to match the funds the high schoolers raised. Good Neighbors was chosen as one of the recipients of the new club.
You will actually get a check next week for $825, not $725. UHS Student Council added another $50 to the mix for you and we will also match that!
Recently a group of Lowe's employees from the Avondale, PA store got together with Good Neighbors to help out the mother of one of their employees who had recently lost her husband to cancer.
The home, located just down the street from the store, was in desperate need of a new roof when a crew took on the job with help from folks over at the New London Christian Life Center. When it was discovered that the Good Neighbors client was the mother of a Lowe's employee, Marc Bevis, GN Board Member and fellow Lowe's associate, rallied a team of co-workers to help out. A group from CLC took off the roof and the Lowe's gang put on the new shingles.
amazonsmile that is! Good Neighbors has recently joined a number of other non-profits in making it easier than ever to support us. Here's a brief description of how you can do something as simple as shop and we get a donation from Amazon:
What is AmazonSmile?
Click on the image above or the amazonsmile link in the first paragraph and that will take you to our landing page where you can start shopping for a good cause! You'll be shopping on the exact same Amazon site that you rely on for all your regular shopping needs except this time Amazon will give Good Neighbors back .5% of eligible purchases back to Good Neighbors. So shop on friends! (Oh, and feel free to share the link with your friends on Facebook!)
With the help of a crew of dedicated volunteers from Willowdale Chapel Good Neighbors installed a ramp for Mr. and Mrs. B in the West Grove area. She is wheel chair bound and has not been out of the house for over six months! We were contacted by her visiting nurse who told us of their situation and asked if we could help with a ramp. We were all set to get this project done earlier but the snow put a damper on our plans until this past weekend when we were blessed with a lovely spring day. Our plans are to also have stone installed for the driveway.
When we at Good Neighbors learn of a low-income neighbor requesting our help, we typically call and then visit the family to scope out the needed repairs.. Frequently homeowners tell us that they’ve tried every possible resource, and no one seems willing or able to help. Glimmers of hope start to reappear, however, once homeowners learn more about GN and the work we do in Southern Chester County. In fact, they often describe us as “a real answer to prayer”...sometimes a very specific prayer.
Such was the case with "Mrs.C". Her home needed significant repairs: roof, kitchen, attic, basement, windows, electrical, etc. Sadly, due to her disability and limited income, she could neither attempt the work herself nor afford a contractor.
Mrs. C could pray, however, and pray she did! One night, in tears and total desperation, she’d gotten down on her knees, and prayed that God would somehow provide a way for her home to receive the repairs it so desperately needed. The very next morning, (unaware that her application had just been approved) Mrs. C received a call from a GN project manager who wanted to set up a work schedule and begin the requested repairs!
Of course our project timing isn’t always so dramatic – sometimes folks have to wait. However, “coincidences” like this remind us that God still hears and answers prayer. Now that’s a compelling reason for all of us – homeowners, donors and volunteers alike – to seek a deeper relationship with the God who love us, and hears us, and answers us. Have you spoken to God recently? He's still listening.