Great is thy faithfulness!

We made it through another winter!! This winter was mild but to this Florida girl that’s all relative. With spring’s arrival brought an exuberant group of college kids to do ministry in the neighborhood. The fact that they chose to spend their spring break here set my feet to dancing! The leader of the team was one of our former interns from our first summer here. Veronica is now married with three beautiful children and a professor! It’s hard to believe 16 years have passed since our arrival and so much life lived in between. We are blessed that another of our former interns is in our small group! You just never know how the seeds planted and watered will mature.

Veronica back in the day!

Veronica back in the day!

With the visiting groups we are asked to share lessons we have learned along the way. I enjoy retelling how incredible Jesus has been at caring for us. He has met every one of our needs and many of our heart’s desires. We have seen Him provide miraculously in times of great need.

Just to share a few; we have a dentist who cares for our teeth at no cost! I’m glad he didn’t know I was a clincher and would need four crowns and four root canals in a year! He did Zachary’s braces, but said Abigail’s were too complicated. That stuck fear in my mama heart! However, a beautiful orthodontist who attends our church did them for 10% of her usual fee! Surprised? This is our reality!! He also provided a pediatrician that has become like part of our family. He is so kind and when we couldn’t afford the prescriptions, he would fill them for us.

I could go on and on! Ok, I will! Each of you is part of our story of God’s faithfulness. The challenge is to not give doubt and unbelief a chance to creep in and whisper what if that’s it? God may be out of resources to pour into you! Jim was quoting Psalm 50:10, “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.”  How’s that going to help, you ask? Never doubt the scriptures, on the following Sunday one of the dairy farmers at our church said that he sold a cow and the Lord told him to give us the money. Sounds like I’m making this stuff up, right?

The grand finale is that we look at each other and marvel that people ring our doorbell every day in need of something because they know we are a resource. In this kingdom we dwell in there is always multiplication happening, not subtraction! I have nothing, Jesus gives to me, I give away, and then I receive twice as much as I gave away….It has been proven time and again in our experience.

The glory all goes to The Lord. He has done this great and marvelous act. We love to impart that faith into the next generation. The Lord encourages us to remember what He’s done and to rest in His capable hands. I know I’m preaching to the choir because you are all givers who know how the kingdom works. Thank you for your generosity, may you be mightily blessed!!

Tidings of Comfort and Joy!

December 2014Christmas Service

“God rest ye merry gentleman, let nothing you dismay! REMEMBER, CHRIST OUR SAVIOR was born on Christmas day!..O tidings of comfort and joy”

During the chaos of the holidays we may choose to accept the invitation to enter into His rest. The power of dismay could steal the joy of the Lord that is our strength! The strength we need to believe His promises, the strength to remember Him every moment of every trial, the strength to trust in the eternal glory that awaits us at the end of our pilgrimage! For our hearts that are heavy with suffering and loss, there is comfort in His presence.

We are mindful of several of you that have walked through “the valley of the shadow of death” this past year, and others as you read this are suffering physically, emotionally or spiritually.  We have prayed many prayers for you and share in your grief as we have walked through our own.

Take comfort and joy in our Savior’s gift to us, “What was intended to tear you apart—God intends to set you apart. What has torn you-God makes thin places to see glory. The places where you’re torn to pieces can be thin places where you touch ‘the peace of God.’ No matter what intends to harm you…God is never absent, never impotent, never distant. You can never be undone. No matter what intends to harm you? God’s arms have you.” Ann Voskamp

It’s in His kingdom that our hearts will testify we’re home! The death and suffering we face here is meant to remind us that this world is broken and temporal. His gift to us in coming was to show us the way. He shows us the way to walk through this life daily breathing Him in and exhaling a provision to others suffocating in darkness.

“Now to the Lord sing praises, All you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each now other embrace; This holy tide of Christmas all other doth deface. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.”

Our prayer is that you do feel our “true love and brotherhood” as we journey this life together. We would love to embrace each of you! Our hearts are full of appreciation for your faithfulness in giving as God’s arms have you. Even in your trials and need you continue to provide for the ministry so that God’s Kingdom may reach down and show the way home to our neighbors. We are filled with comfort and joy in all the good gifts God faithfully gives in believing.

Thank you for your care, prayer and gifts to Cast Your Cares throughout the year. We love being the hands that extend His love. Your generous hearts enable His tidings of comfort and joy to reach a hard and hurting place. The smiles of appreciation we get to experience daily are a gift we wish we could share. You are making a difference here in the lives we touch. We wish you a Merry Christmas filled with His presence and love!

2014 Battle Against Hunger … THANK YOU !!!

October 2014BAH

We are filled with grateful hearts and good tidings! The challenge battling hunger never ends but our 2014 Battle Against Hunger bike ride is safely behind us. Once again Stephanie Newton rode with us 50 miles or better each day and raised over $1,500 dollars! If you enjoy cycling or know someone that may be interested in joining us next year please get in touch. I don’t particularly enjoy cycling but I do love seeing a family pick up a full bag of groceries! The total funds Cast Your Cares raised are just over $13,000 and funds are still coming in! That will feed 35 of our 160 families for the whole year. Obviously, we have a way to go but it’s a great start.  You can see the current totals by going to battleagainsthunger.org and then click on “Sponsor A Rider”.

We currently have 40 families each Tuesday and Wednesday that come every other week. We also have a waiting list that we try to fit into the schedule as resources allow. The food bags consist of; canned meat, fruit, corn, green vegetable,  beans, soup, canned pasta, dry pasta, tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, cereal and various miscellaneous items.

To fill the bags we give away, we purchase food from Philabundance, our local food bank. However, they have been lacking several of the items due to availability; especially the canned meat, tomato sauce and cereal. When we have to pick those items up at the local grocery store they cost considerably more. We love the fall food drives!! If your office, Boy Scout group, church or family is interested in collecting the items mentioned we would put them to immediate good use!

We are so pleased that our Saturday outreach meals have continued each and every week. With the incredible support of dozens of volunteers over 300 meals are prepared and served to our hungry neighbors! Our neighbors know that they will be blessed coming to receive a hot meal, a listening ear, and a prayer of hope on their way out. Thank you for your involvement so that this generous act of hospitality comes together each week. Many of you don’t physically come down to serve but prepare food, shop for paper goods, pick up donated baked goods, etc. We value your contribution and appreciate you!!

We are thankful for the progress the Saturday morning construction team is making. We love the camaraderie this group has working together to get the job done. Rory Huff adds his construction expertise to teach and facilitate the team. Project by project the walls are being rebuilt!  Our building will one day, Lord willing, be a facility to host groups that would like to volunteer for a short term mission project, host the Saturday outreach indoors during the cooler winter months, and be Code Blue facility once the bunk rooms, and ground floor are completed. Code Blue refers to the temperature dropping to a life threatening low during winter months. We would be able to be a shelter during those extremes.

We are also rejoicing that through the rainy days of summer our new roof kept us completely dry. What a comforting peace to not panic at the weather forecast.  We have many of you to thank for taking our needs to heart and enabling us to get that done! With the roof keeping us dry we have been busy repairing room by room the decades of water damage done to our 100 year old house.

We are encouraged by your outpouring to spur us on to care for our marginalized neighbors. Would you prayerfully consider ways to increase your involvement? Perhaps you can become a monthly financial and/or prayer partner? Whatever you can do is greatly appreciated!

Build Your Kingdom Here!

June 2014Construction with Daniel

This is the cry of our hearts and we know by your faithful partnering yours too! We, like Paul to the people dear to his heart, “..Thank God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”(Phil. 1:3-5). You are remembered every prayer we pray for all God is doing here on Kensington Avenue as it is in Heaven. We are constantly aware that without the generous gifts you give and volunteer support provided we could do nothing! We are truly grateful for all that is given and done with agreement.

We are so incredibly thankful for all the repairs that have been done to our home after the roof was secured a couple of months ago. Our bedroom has been completely redone and I am enjoying a mold free beautifully decorated sanctuary! I even got a new closet in the bargain. The next project was Aaron’s room. He graduated high school this June and has outgrown his childhood bunk bed. The water damage done to his bedroom was minimal but none the less motivated us to renovate and redecorate to bless the graduate! He’s thrilled with the results but not so much by us calling it the “guest room”. He’s welcome to stay as long as he likes but must forfeit his room to visitors, any takers??

Our next project is under way and overwhelming!! The front room was hard hit by serious water damage. There was severe water damage that resulted from the leaking roof and plumbing from the upstairs bathroom. The ceiling had collapsed, the flooring was stained, and my favorite was the exposed plumbing to the upstairs bathroom and the familiar smell of mold lingering in the air. All that to say a necessity yes, easy no! We are nearing the end of this room before we tackle the living room and kitchen.

The projects have been going incredibly well and provided for generously.  In fact, it is leaving Jim puzzled with regards to God’s will next door. Understandably, it is a huge project with a large budget to complete but we have seen God provide and do not doubt he can, does he will it is the question. Jim is asking for prayers of agreement with regards to this project. What do we all agree on??  It will cost nearly 200,000 dollars to complete the commercial kitchen. This would make us legal to serve meals, allow folks to come into the building, and host short term teams down the road. Do we need to do this? Should we press into this vision or seek the Lord on an alternate direction?

We value your prayer covering and need you to respond with how you believe the Lord is guiding the building project next door. Jim is weary not being legal in regards to how we currently operate. We can’t imagine not having the outreaches every Saturday or not allowing folks to come in the building when it’s snowing or sit at the picnic tables to eat and fellowship. But not our will but His be done. Please join us in prayer seeking the will of the Father for this project. We know Jesus desires to build his kingdom here. Thank you for considering us in prayer and for all you do!

We are celebrating all the Lord had done!

March 2014:

March certainly came in like a lion; we had one of the harshest winters of our 15 years here! Our hearts were heavy each time the weight of the winter snow would land on our compromised leaky roof. We experienced new leaks in rooms the summer rains had not come through. Even though the Lord had provided through your generous hands the resources to fix the roof we still had the challenge of dry weather to get the job done.

In a series of God led events the Lord gave Jim a peace to use a Christian construction company in Lancaster. This was the only company that agreed with Jim that the old roof needed to be taken off completely. Jim feared the wood was damaged underneath and didn’t want to just cover over potential future problems. As Rory, Jim, Frank, and Bob were on the roof pulling up layers of disintegrating roof paper the wood was in fact rotten. Rory actually stepped through in a few places as the wood crumbled! Thankfully, no one was hurt and Rory was able to replace all of the rotten beams.

What joy filled our hearts when the new rubber roof was installed and all of the challenges of the old roof were resolved. During the next rain, Jim stood and watched the water roll off the new roof and rejoiced that it was doing its job perfectly.

With the new roof in place we took to the most damaged room, our bedroom. The process of pulling down water logged plaster and rotten wood was messy! We discovered the mold issue that appeared over the summer was not from the leaky roof but from the bathroom vent that had become disconnected and was blowing the humid air up the wall into our room. That was a much simpler fix than we had expected. Rory also installed a new closet system, put everything beautifully back together and Jim did an excellent painting job. We had paint, linens, and a rug donated that made the room really come together. We both love the results. When I open my eyes in the morning my soul sings, “Great is thy faithfulness…all I hath needed thy hand has provided, great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me!”

The next challenge we face is repairing the damage done downstairs. One of our supporters that helped to fund the bedroom restoration asked me, “Jen, how long are you going to live here?” I answered, “Forever, I guess…” to which she responded, “Then we need to make the repairs as soon as possible!”  We struggle with putting resources into our personal home. We look at all the patchwork holding the ceiling together and know this is a need but it is still challenging to “take away” from ministry funds. Please pray for the next phase of the renovations, for peace in the decision process, for the resources in the form of finances or donated materials, and for us to endure the process with our marriage and ministry intact!

2014 new roof

New Roof

We are celebrating all the Lord had done, all the ministry that has continued in the midst of a fierce winter, the next phase of construction next door and to our home! Great is thy faithfulness!! Thank you for being the hands he uses to provide for all of this. We are so thankful.

“Danny is in the fight of his life.”

November 2013

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Danny has always lived in Kensington and his hard life of alcohol abuse is taking its’ toll. When I pulled my van out early Wednesday morning Danny was retching by the el pole. The hand he used to balance himself against the pole had a hospital band on his wrist. He had been released a couple of days before after a visit due to a near overdose.

It will not take much for Danny to overdose. He has done so much physical damage to his body, his system is shutting down. He has had to stop drinking because his body can no longer process alcohol.

Unfortunately, he is using heroin to maintain a drug induced state of being. When he wakes up in the morning he needs to use heroin to not be physically sick. In some ways I “hope” he gets enough to allow his body to be at peace, but I know that is not an answer to what he really needs. What the enemy promises as a solution is slowly robbing Danny of life. The reality is Danny will not be on this earth much longer. Even if today he never does another drug he is an end stage addict. He has a pace maker in his heart, his kidneys are shutting down, his liver is severely damaged. You can see visible swelling when he sits on the sidewalk.

As hopeless as this all sounds there is a perfectly alive soul in Danny that may or may not spend eternity in heaven in a new restored body. He has heard the gospel many times, some of you have sat and shared with him. When he is sober he is kind, intelligent, articulate, and eager to hear the “good news”. The addiction grips his body, he chooses to follow his flesh nearing its’ end. I know the Lord would exchange Danny’s filthy garments for a clean robe of righteousness at any point.  My prayer is that he would make that decision and soon.

His physical state of being has opened my eyes to the desperate situation many of our neighbors are in; balancing on the edge of this world and eternal life. We believe we need even more prayer to see the lives that are gripped by the enemy released. Our neighbors hate the drugs they use, hate themselves for using, hate what they have to do to buy their drugs but they live in a state of hopelessness unaware of the freedom in Christ they can experience. Our prayers may open these prison doors. It is definitely a spiritual battle; Danny is in the fight of his life.

Living here every day I am made aware of how temporary this life is. I see the evidence in the eyes of those slowly killing themselves by the lifestyle they “live”. A new life in Christ is an incredible gift for us all. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. He makes himself available to all who call upon his name. Oh may Danny’s voice be singing in that heavenly choir…Holy, Holy, Holy…Please keep him in your prayers. We pray a miracle both physically and spiritually!

“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts”

The good news is The Battle Against Hunger bike ride and fundraiser did incredibly well. We raised over 14,000 dollars to supply the food cupboard. We are rejoicing at this abundant provision! Having another rider, Stephanie Newton, join our team gave us the opportunity to share Cast Your Cares with many new people. She was able to raise over 1,000 dollars! We are extremely thankful for all of your gifts and support.

We appreciate your prayers and phone calls regarding last month’s letter conveying our roofing issues. Jim has been diligently gathering estimates for the roof, mold removal, new insulation, HVAC work, and the cost of putting everything back together. He also received a phone call regarding having the supplies for a “rubber roof” donated. A rubber roof is the highest quality roofing material, but much more labor intensive. The cost will increase from his ten to twelve thousand dollar estimates even though the supplies are donated. It would require ripping off the 100 year old layered roof to install the new one. Please keep praying Jim will feel peace moving forward in this decision. He has had many occasions to share with all the men coming to give estimates our journey from Florida to Philly. One man said “That is just supernatural.” and Jim agreed. Pray hearts will be changed, touched and moved with compassion.

We are also facing an inspection on the ministry center building next door this month. We have a permit for construction that needs to be renewed so these periodic inspections are necessary. I am studying the book of Zechariah now and I am taken with the idea of just how important and difficult the rebuilding of God’s temple was. I am comforted that He knows the difficulty of gathering His people together for the common purpose of providing a place of worship and fellowship in a land surrounded by evil. I wouldn’t call our building a “temple” but it will diffidently be a house of the Lord. When people enter they will know it was built, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts” Zech 4:6. Our prayer is all who enter sense His love through the volunteers, be fed spiritually, physically; know how important they are to the heart of Jesus, and that Christ’s church loves one another.
We have big dreams! We are excited to see just how the Spirit will repair our house and finish the building. We surrender our will and have no might or power to do all of this ourselves. We ask for continued prayers of protection for our family. Please cover our health and safety, both spiritually and physically. We believe if this is to be done by His Spirit we must keep in prayer to heed His instruction and direction. Thank you for your care in all of these needs and for covering us. We recognize our need to be covered in prayer and would appreciate an increase in these days of decision. We will keep you informed as we move forward.

“hold to our gift of faith”

The apostle Paul reminds us that we do not war against flesh and blood but against principalities and spiritual forces of evil in this world. However, I am becoming more and more convinced that we DO war against brick and mortar! It seems living in a building that is over 100 years old is like fighting a never ending battle. Our home’s latest attack is in the form of a leaky roof. The living room pours forth a waterfall, the bathroom downstairs and most bedrooms have water stains and the attic has consequently commenced to growing mold!

While waiting for the resolution as to how we will fix this huge problem, the Lord has pressed upon my heart to hold to our gift of faith. We have begun the process of getting roofing estimates. It seems the estimate is around 10,000 dollars. We believe we must get a new roof then begin to repair the damage from the water. The mold issue faces challenges all on its own. We would like to get an expert in to determine if it is safe to continue living here while we fix the problems.

Would you please pray for us in our time of determining what can and needs to be done? We love our home. Its location is right in the heart of what the Lord has called us here to do. The avenue is where those in need wander. Many stop by here for food, fellowship and prayer. It is not a “beautiful” place to live but it has remained our blessing ground. Living in the atmosphere of Kensington where there is a lot of warring against the evil forces of this world is challenging enough. We would love to not question if our home is making our family sick. We exist here day to day because of your financial gifts but even more so because of your prayers.

Please pray for us to stand firm in our gift of faith that our Father will help us. We completely depend on His provision. Many of you faithfully give to us each month so we can continue to do what we truly feel blessed and called to do here. A significant part of our ministry is just being here. We have opportunities each time we come and go to reach out and love our neighbors. I never thought how much I would come to choose my home and be so thankful to live here18650_11.

We believe the circumstances we face that are impossible for us to fix are an opportunity for God to write another chapter of our story. Our story is filled with his miraculous provision. Once Jim was proclaiming that his heavenly Father owned the cattle on a thousand hills and the next week a dairy farmer from church gave him a check for 1,000 dollars and said he sold a cow and wanted to give Jim an offering! We do not want to slip into unbelief, fear and worry. We recognize something has to be done. We are asking you to pray with us for the answer.

We appreciate you so very much!
Thank You,
Jenifer Snider
August 2013

His Benefits

Recently a visiting Pastor from Cuba shared with our church a timeless message from Psalm 103. It blessed my soul to hear a man who came in faith to encourage an American congregation to count the benefits of the Lord. We all know how blessed we are to live in a land of plenty, but it doesn’t hurt to shake our finger at our soul and remind ourselves just how blessed we are by the Lord. His simple yet profound word to remember all the Lord has done and will do inspired me greatly. So much so that it has been several weeks and I still hear his voice commanding my soul to rejoice and take courage.

A David Psalm 103
O my soul, bless God.
From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name!
O my soul, bless God,
don’t forget a single blessing!
He forgives your sins—every one.
He heals your diseases—every one.
He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

When Jesus hung on the cross he pictured each of our faces as he forgave all our sin. Not until all of his creation was accounted for did he say, “It is finished”. He walks each of us through our diseases and heals our bodies of their infirmities. (As I type this Abigail has a temperature of 101 and Aaron had a biopsy yesterday for a suspicious mole, please pray in their healing!) In our eternal lives he redeems us from hell, what a benefit the Lord generously gives. Not only does he take the blame for our sin but he crowns us with love and mercy. They follow us all our days. When he looks at our faces or hears our names he sees goodness and beauty. In the Lord’s eyes we are always young.

Since the message came to me I speak back to fear and doubt with the word of the Lord. We needed braces for Abigail and the cost was too exorbitant for us to pay. We prayed to the Lord and he led us to an orthodontist in our church! The fee to get Abby’s braces from beginning to end was several thousand dollars, but we only had to pay 10% of that fee. Thank you, Grace and Mercy for following us and she was provided for!

I shake my finger at my worry and exchange it with meditation on his faithfulness, answers to prayers, miracles, abundant provision, love, eternal life, and health. Just to name a few; he provides for all of our financial needs every month, our pediatrician is a wonderful Christian man, our dentist recently has done several crowns for Jim and I and has not charged us for this extremely expensive procedure, and we have been safe for all these years living in a very dangerous place. We don’t want to take any of these benefits for granted. We are in constant appreciation for all of your gifts, also!

As we face today’s battles we arm ourselves with the powerful evidence of what God has done and build our faith to pray in the miracles we haven’t seen yet. In the words of Pastor Jose, “Shake your finger at your soul, and do not forget all his benefits!”

Jenifer Snider
June 2013

To Give or Keep

I struggle with this monthly if not weekly. I have this accounting man in me that wants’ to keep money in the bank for the future bills and this Christ man that sees the need and desires to meets it.  Just last week a man came and wanted to go to a recovery program, that I have been suggesting he go to and although I am thrilled for his desire (Christ) I am concerned (accountant) for how I will get the $130 for the bus trip.

Thank you for your financial and prayer support for this ministry. We would not even be here without you let alone be able to minister to all the poor and hurting here in Philly. I am always blessed when the mail comes and it has the funds needed to match the monthly needs. I heard a verse this weekend on giving and the Lord said this about giving the tithe and the offering “Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams.” Malachi   I pray this over you and your finances so that you can not only continue to bless us here at Cast Your Cares but many other as well.

I am still going through the process to get the gentleman into the program and I am sure the funds will be there when needed.  The Lord continues to meet the needs in this ministry and your generosity truly amazes me!

Blessings