STORIES OF HOPE

Hope Weaved Throughout Seven-Year Education Journey

Hope Weaved Throughout Seven-Year Education Journey

Nepali student graduates in top eight of her class and thanks BHITC tutor God has an amazing way of weaving people’s stories together, doesn’t He?! Take the stories of Ran Maya Basnet and Stephanie Labovitz. The two originally met in 2010 when Labovitz was a brand-new volunteer tutor with Building Hope in the City (BHITC) and Basnet’s family was newly resettled[Read more...]
Relocation Leads to Planting Renew Church Cleveland

Relocation Leads to Planting Renew Church Cleveland

Meet Pete Pinkowski, church planter Nearly four years ago, BHITC and a collaboration of urban pastors and ministry leaders launched the Transform216 (T216) initiative to provide training and mentoring for future pastors and ministry catalysts. Dynamic, Jesus-loving leaders, such as Pete Pinkowski, a church planter shown here with his family, are the men BHITC supports through this effort. He spent a[Read more...]
One Year to the No. 1 Spot in Town

One Year to the No. 1 Spot in Town

Cleveland agrees with BHITC’s unique approach to thrift Great deals on top of greater deals was the theme all weekend long to celebrate the one year anniversary of Common Threads! Throughout the weekend of June 23-25, shoppers enjoyed stacking coupons on top of daily deals on top of already low prices at BHITC’s first-ever thrift store and social enterprise, scoring the[Read more...]
Generous Donors Leave Legacies for Hope

Generous Donors Leave Legacies for Hope

On an unsuspecting day in December 2015, Executive Director Brian Upton received a phone call that Parma resident and lifelong Lutheran, Jean Gschwend, had left a generous estate gift to BHITC. No one in the organization had heard of Jean, let alone known her. BHITC was shocked and overwhelmed by the tremendous blessing that no one saw coming. Thanks to[Read more...]
Redeeming Work, Inspiring Excellence at Common Threads

Redeeming Work, Inspiring Excellence at Common Threads

Store employees experience work as a blessing with BHITC “Everyday, I walk into this store and I feel like God made this job just for me,” says Jeff Stredney, BHITC’s Director of Social Enterprise, describing the experience of launching Common Threads. The store, located in Fairview Park, opened in June of 2016 as the first business venture of HopeWorks, BHITC’s new ministry[Read more...]
THE HOPE CENTER: A Gateway to Employment and Much More

THE HOPE CENTER: A Gateway to Employment and Much More

Connecting people across the city and the globe Employment is always one of the biggest needs we hear from refugees of all ages. Whether it’s a father, highly educated and successful in his home country, seeking entry-level employment in America because his degree and experience are not recognized here or young adults who are too old for high school, but really do not have a solid education,[Read more...]
Life is Sweet for Refugee Family Thanks to Open Table

Life is Sweet for Refugee Family Thanks to Open Table

The power of relationships helps local Bhutanese family thrive Written by Ed & Carolyn Watkins, BHITC volunteers Refugees amaze their American friends, neighbors, co-workers and “Table” members every day with their drive to succeed and joyous outlook on life, regardless of what they’ve experienced. Many refugees have lived through the unimaginable – things most of the world will only ever catch glimpses of[Read more...]
Meet Matt Buehrle, Church Planter

Meet Matt Buehrle, Church Planter

New T216 member invites everyone to the table Matt and Naomi Buehrle and their family moved to Cleveland in 2008 to be part of a church planting effort.  Things didn’t go quite as expected, but the journey taught Matt plenty about the Kingdom and God’s providence in all situations.  After serving as an elder at Lighthouse Alliance Church in Rocky[Read more...]
Nothing Common About It!  Common Threads Thrift Now Open

Nothing Common About It! Common Threads Thrift Now Open

  Years in the Making, Social Enterprise Dream Becomes a Reality Rethinking thrift.  That’s what Building Hope in the City (BHITC), its partners, volunteers and the Cleveland area are doing now, thanks to the opening of Common Threads in Fairview Park in late June. The store – which has been a long-time dream of BHITC’s – opened its doors for business on Friday,[Read more...]
God Brings Local Refugees Together Through Common Language for Spiritual Growth

God Brings Local Refugees Together Through Common Language for Spiritual Growth

The Hope Center becomes ‘the land of opportunity’ What do you do when you’re a new Christian in a new country where no one speaks your language, but you want to grow in your walk with God?  Thankfully for Mohammed, God intervened and brought exactly the right person into his life. For the last six months, Mohammed, an Afghani man,[Read more...]
Congratulations, BHITC Staff on Becoming American Citizens!

Congratulations, BHITC Staff on Becoming American Citizens!

Since April, Francois Banyeretse and Kamila Burgess both celebrated US Citizenship after years of working toward their goals Proud to be Americans!  This couldn’t be more true for the refugees and immigrants BHITC supports each year on their journeys to become American citizens.  This year is a bit different, however, in that two BHITC staff members have now also completed their[Read more...]
Cleveland Native Returns Home for Church Planting

Cleveland Native Returns Home for Church Planting

                          Meet Nate Friedrichsen, church planter Three years ago, BHITC and a collaboration of urban pastors and ministry leaders launched the Transform216 (T216) initiative to provide training and mentoring for future pastors and ministry catalysts.  Dynamic, Jesus-loving leaders, such as Nate Friedrichsen, a church planter shown here with his family, are the men BHITC’s partners are supporting through this effort.  He spent[Read more...]
BIG Year - Literally - for CitySERVE 2016!

BIG Year - Literally - for CitySERVE 2016!

                          Building, mulching, cleaning, planting and painting…it’s all for God’s glory at CitySERVE When BHITC began planning this year’s CitySERVE day – the tenth consecutive year for the service event in partnership with Lutheran West High School – the organization encouraged everyone to “Think Big!”  Service sites were encouraged to think of “bigger” projects for volunteers, churches were challenged to bring the[Read more...]
BHITC Helps New Refugee-Owned Business Get Started

BHITC Helps New Refugee-Owned Business Get Started

When God connects people, he always has a purpose; when God blesses, he always does more than we can ask or imagine. Within BHITC, God is doing exactly that at The Hope Center – its satellite office for refugees and immigrants in West Park – which opened in February of 2015. At The Hope Center, which sees nearly 100 refugees in[Read more...]
Crossroads Comes Home!

Crossroads Comes Home!

In December, Crossroads Lutheran Church, which BHITC supports financially and through its Transform216 initiative, moved into its new facility on Brookpark Road. This blessing from God is already yielding fruit for Crossroads. Church planter, Dave Walters, who is also a skilled general contractor, says the move followed nearly two years of renovations to what was previously a series of restaurants.[Read more...]
Christmas Dreams Come True for Urban Families

Christmas Dreams Come True for Urban Families

Families shop till they drop at third annual Christmas Store of Hope The new toy on a list for Santa. Gazing at Christmas lights strung throughout the neighborhood. Houses filled with loved ones sharing a meal and remembering the birth of Jesus. These are what Christmas dreams are made of, but the Christmas season can also be a time of unmet[Read more...]
Forging Sharper Ideas and Insights for Mission

Forging Sharper Ideas and Insights for Mission

New for 2016, BHITC launches MissionSmith - A series of free, half-day gatherings designed to forge the thinking and practice of metropolitan church and ministry leaders for greater effectiveness and innovation in mission, church planting and Kingdom advancement.  The sessions will bring you and your team dynamic presentations from local, regional and national ministry leaders addressing a wide range of mission and[Read more...]
Hope Gets Thrifty!

Hope Gets Thrifty!

BHITC's first HopeWorks business, a retail thrift and vintage store, will be unveiled early next year. Partners, supporters - not to mention those who love a good bargain - can expect the store to open spring of 2016. A thrift retail business was selected as a first venture for several reasons, says Jeff Stredney, director of HopeWorks.  “Thrifting is exploding as a[Read more...]
A Family Reunited

A Family Reunited

Congolese refugee reunited with his four children thanks to BHITC volunteer and church partner When refugees flee their home countries and become resettled in the United States, for example, they leave a huge part of their lives behind – their careers, their homes, most of their belongings – and sometimes, their circumstances force them to even leave family members behind. More than[Read more...]
Summer Ministries Let the Son Shine in at Hope Alliance and MetroAlliance Churches 

Summer Ministries Let the Son Shine in at Hope Alliance and MetroAlliance Churches 

Did you know 71 percent of Christians in the U.S. are introduced to the faith before age 14?  As a result, the phrase ‘4/14 Window’ has gained popularity, referring to four to 14 year olds, which is the time when many people are most open and receptive to spiritual and developmental input. BHITC and its partner churches leverage this opportunity during[Read more...]