Kennedy Molder, June 2009
The Gittens Get a New Start
This is the story about how Kennedy Molder, a 2007 graduating client of the Spiritual Transformation Program, began his his new life.
Keisha's Miracle-- "I remember having to make a decision whether I let the electricity be cut off and provide Christmas gifts for the children, or pay the electric bill..."
Vernon Lancaster came to the Mission looking for a new home and ended up saving his life, too.
"Suddenly, I really was homeless. I spent two days camping and praying on Theodore Roosevelt Island, asking God, "Help me. What should I do?"
Starting Over--"The Mission has been great to me. At one time, I couldn't even handle $5, but with the Mission's help, I have my own checking and savings accounts now and better know how to take care of the money I'm earning."
"God is teaching me to be obedient; it's not about me, it's God doing things through me."
A Career Serving God-- "I wasn't thinking about school at all, but Mr. Treadwell gave me the push I needed and helped me apply,"
What Following God is All About--"God turned my selfish spirit into that of one wanting to serve."
Discovering the Joy of Service (Volunteer) -- Kimberly's summer experience as a Counselor-in-Training at Camp Bennett was an important step on her lifelong path of service and outreach.
"I was a 'grate' man. My bottom was on a grate living outside. It was bitter cold. I had no gloves, and my blanket was wet from the steam and the rain."
"During my time here I have become a new creature as stated in 2 Cor. 5:17: 'If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!...'"
"This was a way for me to get in touch with God and myself. The Mission has been good to me, providing shelter, clothes and food as well as helping me toward getting my GED and Food Handlers license and starting job training."
"I just want to be a servant for the Mission for God. I have a desire to help others. Once I was in the driver's seat, but now I let God drive."
"Central Union Mission taught me to be part of the body of Christ, and now, I'm stepping out with Christ in me. I want to help others and change their lives just by my example."
I Did Not Come Here to Play! -- "The Mission Work Program kept me focused and disciplined on learning the Word of God and helping me prepare for work."
When we finally caught up with Betty Fluker, she was preparing to host a large Christian Valentine's Day party at her house. Betty is a great friend to the Mission since she lives "right down the street."
"Since I left Central Union Mission, I’ve been drug- and alcohol-free for 21 years. I have answered the call to preach, gotten married, become a dad to two beautiful children and own the house that we live in."
This Was the Place for Me -- " Funny how life became easier as I could see my blessings in front of me when I couldn't before! I saw God showing me favor"
A Second Chance and a Full-Time Job -- Back on the street, he realized he wanted to be able to help his 29-year-old daughter and two young grandsons, so he decided to try again.
After three years of homelessness, Epiphaney and Humberto Gittens are here to stay. Both Army veterans, they travelled all over the country searching for jobs and a home they could afford...
Central Union Mission is the oldest social service agency in the District of Columbia. It was founded in 1884 by the Reverend Latham Douglass, a young man filled with compassion for the thousands of homeless, neglected men who wandered Pennsylvania Avenue, many of whom were Civil War veterans. Strong church support led the steady growth into the 21st Century enabling the Mission to purchase and later build increasingly larger facilities.
The Mission has continuously operated an emergency shelter for homeless men and been a place for spiritual uplift and recovery. It has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, 24 presidential administrations, neighborhood transitions, and numerous relocations.
In 1915, John Bennett arrived as the Mission's first long-term superintendent. In 1917, under his wife Jean, the Children's Emergency Home ministry began. The Mission built large downtown facilities, and revenue and ministry grew even through The Great Depression.
Camp Bennett was opened in 1934 as a place for children to go during the summer and for farming by men out of work. During World War II, the Mission ministered to the thousands of lonely service men and women in the nation's capital.
After the war and deaths of John and Jean Bennett, Rev. and Mrs. Herbert Eberhardt were called to lead the Mission and Children's Home until 1962. The Eberhardts were leaders in the national rescue mission movement and oversaw increased ministry to men, women, children and families and broader use of tools such as the radio.
The tradition of service built by the Bennett's and Eberhardt's has been reinforced by their successors with changes in ministry to adapt to the needs of the day while maintaining the core values and services of our founders.