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New center wants to be a “Hand of Hope” for those in need

By BECKY CRISSMAN
becky.crissman@cordele
dispatch.com

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40 NIV

CORDELE — It began with a vision… A vision that Donna Stripling says came directly from God. A vision that was a year in making has finally come to fruition with the grand opening of the “Hand of Hope, Inc. Multi-purpose Center.”
Owner of Carter Burgers in Cordele, Stripling says the journey began in a trailer in back of the restaurant. It was there that she began using to hold time prayer time and teaching of God’s word. She also used the building to feed traveling ministers who come through Cordele to teach the Gospel at area churches.
“The Bible teaches us that we are supposed to take care of those who bring the word,” she said. “I began to think about it and pray about it. I asked God to bring us a building for such a purpose. To be used to glorify Him and share His gospel with the people.”
It was October 14, 2014 when Stripling took her request to her knees seeking the guidance of God in her quest.
“I went home that same day and during my usual study time I was in 3 John. The theme for the chapter I was reading from was that hospitality was needed then and is still needed today. I knew at that precise moment that a building had to come.”
Stripling said she asked God to give her a sign. Coming back from church with her husband, Hobby Stripling Jr. one evening that stopped by the restaurant and something caught her eye. There, directly above the trailer in back, was a red cloud. As the cloud moved, Stripling said she was in awe at the sight. For in the clouds, was the face of Jesus. The face turned, breathing three times before vanishing into the evening sky. She said all she could do was go to her knees, right there in the parking lot.
Once used a place for area citizens to go seeking employment, the old Department of Labor Office will now be a place where citizens can seek something even more precious, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
On the exact day of her first vision, Stripling cut the ribbon on the House of Hope, Inc. Multi-purpose center and she is excited to be given an opportunity to serve the Lord.
“This is not about me,” she said. “This is a Jesus thing. It is all about the Lord and I give Him all the praise and glory. I feel truly blessed that He has entrusted me with such a special and wonderful opportunity to share His gospel with the people.”
Stripling said the location couldn’t be better. Being on Seventh Street it is not really east side or west side.
“This is a place of neutrality,” she said. “Just as everyone is welcomed by the father, everyone is welcomed here. This will be a building of love. People can come here, meet the Lord, talk to the Lord. We have had some things going on in our community and it is time we fight them with the Power of Prayer.”
In addition to having daily prayer and devotional time from 12 p.m until 1 p.m. Monday – Friday, Hand of Hope also has a thrift store where those in need can pick up clothing and other items. The money from the thrift store will be utilized to help sustain the building.
“I know this will work because God said to do it,” she said. “I know He will provide a way.”
Stripling is humbly and graciously acception donations, monetary and/or supply. She asked that clothes donated should be new or gently used.
Stripling is already setting some long-term goals for the facility. She says with the space inside and the grounds outside there is a potential for so many activities.
Some of her long-term goals include;
• Bi-weekly Bible Teachings.
• Prayer Services
• Pastor’s luncheons
• Civility and Sensitivity Leadership Training for Pastors
• Gospel Aerobics
• Employability Skills workshops
• Pastoral and business exchanges
Mentoring and Service Learning Programs.
• After School programs for area students
• Summer-long character education programs.
• Juvenile redirect program
• Emergency food and clothing services
• Immediate shelter to provide safe haven for indigent and battered populations.
Stripling says the building can seat approximately 150 people. It will also be available for rent for clubs and civic organizations family reunions, etc.
“I am looking forward to see what God has in store for Hand of Hope,” said Stripling. “I just want to help. I want to give back to the community that I love. “I want to be the hands, feet and eyes of Jesus. Most of all I want to be the heart of Jesus.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer at the Hand of Hope is encouraged to see Striping.