We recently had something minor happen that offered a major illustration of God at work even when we don’t see what He is doing; even when it might not feel good. The old wooden sign that has hung on the post in front of our property simply says, “EVANGEL HOME 137.” It was splintered and weather beaten, but it still identified us and welcomed people here; something it has done for decades. Then several weeks ago it disappeared.
I had no idea what happened, and was suddenly and profoundly saddened by the empty space — not just the absence of the sign, but the fear of what would happen in the absence of our ministry. The old wooden sign is in a way a symbol of what women and children can find in this place. You give life to that symbol by being the hands, feet, and heart of Christ.
I thought about the disappearing ministry because of last year’s disappointing finances. Evangel Home has a financial need, and I am asking for your help to meet it. Year-end giving was not as significant as it usually is. In fact we experienced the fourth lowest December giving in 15 years — coming at the end of a year that was already down. Now, we have very little in reserve.
Here are the basics — excluding large designated gifts for projects such as the kitchen:
– Total giving was down 14% from $702,000 in 2012 to $603,000 in 2013
– December fell by 17% from $173,000 to $143,000
– Individual giving was down 11% from $396,000 to $354,000 — Churches followed the same pattern and fell 14% from $93,000 to $80,000
We were able to reduce expenses from $732,000 to $717,000 in 2013 and relied on the 2012 financial cushion to get us through last year. That cushion is now threadbare. Many of our donors have remained steadfast and committed during these unsettled economic times, but some have had to reduce the amount of giving. Compounding this is the loss of several large and long-time annual gifts. We lost $30,000 in this area.
Back to the sign for a minute. I soon learned it had not been stolen, and even though it has now been returned, it is not perfect. A friend named Rod had taken it to freshen it up, and he planned to make it better than ever. However, as he sanded, puttied, painted, and varnished, he suddenly envisioned the sign as an example of what God does as He welcomes women and children to this place. So Rod left some splintered wood and unfilled cracks; some dull paint and rough spots to remind us of the women who still need to come to Evangel Home and let God put them together.
Just as our friend had a surprise plan for the sign, we believe that God’s plan for Evangel Home is a similar story. We do not always know what He is doing, but we do know that He is always faithful. We will never be perfect, but we pray that Evangel Home will continue to welcome women and children, in His name, for decades to come.
Many women have said they find Christ in this “place of love and restoration.” Please consider helping us through this rough financial time and ensure that such discovery is possible for those women and children yet to come.
Serving Him Together,
Other Ways to Give
Cash or check
One time gifts and monthly, quarterly or annual gifts are gladly accepted. Please make checks payable to Evangel Home and mail to 137 N. Yosemite Ave., Fresno, CA 93701.
Cash gifts of $250 or more are automatically issued a receipt.
Gifts in Memory or Honor
Giving in memory of a loved one or in honor of an anniversary or special event is a wonderful way to recognize loved ones while at the same time helping others.
Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust
Allows you to retain income from your property or investment for as long as you specify. When the Trust ends, the reminder is given to the charity of your choice.
Your legacy will help ensure our future. Since our founding in 1955, gifts left to us in wills and trusts have provided the majority of our growth income. We have been able to remain debt-free and to expand our services to homeless women and children largely due to people who believe in this ministry and want it carried on. (Download the form now)
Invest in the future of Evangel Home
Evangel Home has investment advisors who are available to discuss deferred giving plans with you. Please contact Evangel Home at (559) 264-4714 and ask for either our Executive or Business office. Visit Mennonite Brethren Foundation for expert advice in this area, should you need additional information.
Charitable Remainder Trust
Provides for a gift that returns an income. Each year a percentage of the value of the Trust is paid to you or to others you designate. We are so thankful for your prayers and financial generosity. We are grateful, too, for our long history of helping women and children escape lives saturated in crisis. We look forward to partnering with you as together we reach more generations with our Lord’s gospel. Together we are changing lives for eternity. God bless you!