Meet Steven Hill.
When he first came to UGM, Steven was stuck in a “gang mentality,” believing that the rest of his years would be an endless round of doing drugs and doing time. While going through the New Life Fellowship Program, Steven was able to challenge his false beliefs. “It turns your world upside down, but for good! I was an addict and a gang member, but I’m not defined by that anymore. God had another plan for me.”
Since then, Steven graduated from the New Life Fellowship Program (2016), was an M.C. for the Harvest Dessert, enrolled in college to become a counselor, and became a Hope Dealer for Be Bold street ministry.
“Everyone who’s involved in our ministry [Hope Dealers] was once involved in that lifestyle. Some of us were in gangs, some of us were drug dealers, all of us were criminals at one point, but God rescued us out of all of that.” Steven adds that barriers break down when people discover that these guys used to be where they are. “It speaks mountains.”
“We’re there to…let them know there is no lost cause in the Kingdom of God.” The Be Bold ministry goes out to the community, giving “water, clothing, beanies or socks.” They’ve done birthday parties for kids whose parents are incarcerated or addicted to drugs, picnics at the park and other events. Steven emphasizes that it’s more than giving stuff away, it’s about building relationships. “When we’re downtown, we’re not just down there to say hi once, give them a shirt, or give them water one time. It’s a continual thing to show up in someone’s life, to show them that they matter.”
Steven thinks back to how his life changed so radically in the last few years. “God’s given me another way. Without having first been at UGM, I wouldn’t have ever met Matt [Founder of Be Bold ministry], I wouldn’t have ever met Christ, I wouldn’t have been able to look at life the way I do now. The NLF program has developed me and gotten me ready to be able to do ministry. It’s given me a different heart.”
“Dope is a cheap imitation of hope. It’s manmade, and with everything manmade it’s going to run out. With hope, it’s from God our Father and it’s eternal and never runs out – I’d rather deal hope!”
To read more about Steven’s story, read here: God Had Another Plan
To learn how you can be part of the Be Bold street ministry, visit their website at BeBoldStreetMinistries.org Current needs include: bottled water, socks, coats beanies, hand warmers, scarves and prayers.
1 thought on “Alumni Update: Dealing Hope on the Streets of Salem”
I am pursuing a PhD in economics at UMass Amherst, a program well known for exploring human solutions to social and economic problems. My dissertation concerns the link between gentrification and homelessness, and I am interested in learning more. Steven Hill, I understand, is a member of Salem’s Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force. I am wondering if he might have time to discuss initiatives the task force is pursuing, as well as those that might be added. Thank you very much.