Palestine Magazine January 2019 - Page 29

HOPE STATION The ministry of Hope Station centers on “teaching a man to fish,” Greene said. That means helping people meet the many needs — and overcome the barriers — that surround homelessness. Those needs include transportation, job training and placement, child care, overcoming drug and alcohol abuse, financial education, and account- ability. Hope Station, Greene said, gives people ready to change their lives an opportunity to do so. “There’s a lot of cleanup that has to hap- pen,” Greene said. “They’re usually running from something. I tell them, ‘We’re going to have to face this thing, identify it, and then we’re going to kill it with you’. “Then individuals realize they’re not alone. Hope Station is there advocating for them. Hope begins to arise in their spirits. You can’t stop the Hope.” Hope Station’s THRIVE program, Greene said, is a plan for life transformation: Take Action, Hurdle Obstacles, Relinquish Con- trol, Initiate God’s Word, Value Self and Others, and Enjoy Life. Greene talked about his favorite testimo- nial from a Hope Station client. “A man was referred to us from the sher- iff’s office,” he said. “He and his family were living in a hotel. His wife was sick with liver failure. He had lost his job and house. They needed insurance. Their car was breaking down. “We went to them and advocated for them. About a year ago, the man sent a mes- sage, testifying where they are now. His wife made a full recovery. They’re buying a house and two working and legal cars. One son is in high school; the other in college. We were a part of that… and all we did was offer hope.” Greene said at least a dozen people around Palestine are homeless, and another 20 or 30 live in tents. An annual event Hope Station organizes is Cardboard City. This event is an awareness and reality check about homelessness that includes 20-25 volunteers, mostly youth. Volunteers stay the night in a cardboard box, relying on others to buy them meals for the day. “We’re cutting against the grain,” Greene said. “People would rather see a spoonful of malt of meal go into a kid’s mouth for the $50, rather than understanding the concept of breaking a generation of homelessness. “Giving to Hope Station is giving to the ones that need it and truly desire a lifestyle change. We don’t help a lot of people, but we help people a whole lot. It takes a lot to change their life.” Plans for Hope Station include building homes for clients. A long-term goal is to purchase property and have the potential to build up to 20 homes . “We don’t know if we’re going to go that big, but we’re going to start off with two,” Greene said. “If you’re spending $300 a month on rent for a (government) subsidized home, we want to provide a home for you for $300 a month (without imposing income caps) — and you can make as much money as you can. That way, you can save money, have a down payment for a home, become debt free… get out of the cycle of barely surviv- ing.” Greene said part of his passion stems from his early struggles with disease. “From age 3 to 5, I had childhood Leuke- mia,” he said. “I immediately relapsed into testicular cancer from ages 5 to 7. “I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Mother Francis and St. Jude’s. The only thing I can take out of that is to understand there is a reason. The Lord instilled in me a true perspective of this side of eternity. “From an early age I’ve always had this sense that life is fragile. We only have one, and we don’t know how long it’s going to be. On this side of eternity, I want to squeeze every drop I can out of it.” Hope Station is a blessing not only to cli- ents but also its staff. “I came to Hope Station at a very broken time in my life” said Hope Station staff member Tonie Hill. “Being here has opened my eyes to how God works within us and for us. “Brandon is a blessing. He has a unique love and compassion for people and a true understanding of God’s word. It is an honor to be a part of this ministry. I am excited for the future of Hope Station and Palestine.” Hope Station continues to bridge those wanting to minister and those who need ministering, Greene said. Mission proj- ects, monetary support, volunteering, and donations for the Magnolia St. Resale Store are just a few ways people can help and get involved. Visit the Hope Station website at hopes- tationpalestine.org, or in person at 919 S. Magnolia St. JANUARY 2019 29