Monthly Archives: January 2016

Loving the Youth of Englewood

Prior to Christmas the LORD put it on Brian Anderson’s heart to focus and love on HIS children of this Englewood community.  We have always LOVED them, but the LORD wants it to be our main focus for 2016 and beyond.  The LORD wants to show HIS LOVE to the youth and teens of this community.  By talking to the people we serve and through the research of others we are finding out that the youth and teens in this community don’t eat on a regular basis and the food that they eat at home and in school is very nutrient deficient.  The LORD has placed on the hearts of our Shepherd’s HOPE staff and the board of directors to start an afterschool program feeding hot meals to the youth and teens of Englewood on 3 days a week.  This would take place at the Family Feeding Center from 4-6 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  We have tentatively worked out the arrangements to get the food donated, but just like the feeding programs we operate from 12:00-2:00 pm for 2 days a week, we have to pay for the plates, cups, napkins, forks, aluminum pans, foil, seasonings, head cook, building rental etc.  To operate a feeding program for 300 youth and teens 3 days a week will cost us $24,000 per year.  $0.53 per meal is a small price to pay to make sure the young people of this community get at least 3 nutritional meals a week and most of all it gives us the opportunity to develop relationships and trust needed to share the saving grace of JESUS and really LOVE these kids and young adults the way GOD designed it.  This will call for a team effort again.  We will be trusting in GOD again to supply the food and volunteers.  Our goal as the Shepherd’s HOPE team will be to supply the oversight, transportation, guidance and leadership, the extra finances and most of all the LOVE of JESUS that the youth and teens of this community so badly need.

Our prayer is that GOD would bless this endeavor and have it operational by the beginning of August, 2016.  It is all in GOD’s hands.  HE will give us the discernment;  HE will supply the food and volunteers; HE will tap the team members on the shoulder who HE wants to provide the financial resources needed to make this program a reality.  Like GOD said to me on the corner of 57th and Lowe when I was praying to HIM about even joining HIM on this journey, “All you have to do is be obedient to my will and I will take care of all the rest.”  After watching all that HE has accomplished in the last 6 years, my faith and trust in HIM is so much greater today than it was back then.  I hope all of you who have been blessed to be on this journey with me feel the same way.

What a great opportunity to LOVE this community like never before and be the catalyst that starts the next generation on their journey with our LORD and Savior JESUS CHRIST.  I don’t know about you, but the thought of that gives me goose bumps!









Journey of Obedience

In 2007 Brian Anderson encountered the same homeless man each day at an expressway exit on his way to work. One morning as he was preparing his lunch, the Lord prompted him and he decided to prepare a lunch for the homeless person too. On the second day of giving him a lunch, he greeted him with “Good Morning,” and in return  the man thanked him for the lunch. He then proceeded to rave about the tomatoes included in the lunch stating that they were the best he had ever eaten and concluded by saying, “tomorrow could you put a little more mayo on my tuna sandwich?” At that point they began to talk every morning.  As the  weather got colder Brian would take him out and buy him a cup of coffee and they would talk about his life. Brian asked him how he dealt with the cold winters. He said that on really cold days he would panhandle for enough money to ride the “L” day and night. He felt he had made a new friend, but one day about one and a half months later the man wasn’t in his usual spot. For the next few weeks Brian would get off at different exits looking for him, but he was never able to find him. In his quest to find him, he began to notice how many homeless people there were on the streets. He felt such a burden that he prayed to God for a plan. A month later the Lord asked him about a 1000 square foot bungalow he and his wife owned and rented in Englewood. The building stood vacant, having been wrecked by the previous renters. The Lord prompted him to rehabilitate the bungalow converting it into a food pantry. Shepherds HOPE Chicago opened in March, 2009 and served supplemental food to 60 families its first day.

When the doors to Shepherds HOPE opened in 2009, there were 3 drug houses on the street and violence was almost a daily occurrence; that is no longer the case. From the beginning Brian realized it was not just about the food, but about establishing relationships and trust that lead to personal and community transformation. The guests are treated with respect and dignity. Typically they will be greeted as they wait in line by one of our leaders whose primary goal is to hear their stories, build relationships, and share the hope Christ can bring to their lives. Over time incredible relationships have been built and people return not just for the food but to find help for the struggles they face every day. The pantry has become a safe haven and children regularly stop in after school to show homework, get a treat and simply feel loved. Shepherd’s HOPE has only two paid staff people. (Many of those volunteers were among the troublemakers when the pantry first opened.)  An attitude of mutual respect and positive behavior is encouraged and now  the volunteers and guests even monitor those qualities among themselves when someone forgets or a new person arrives. A specific example of change occurred on November 22, 2011 when the bags of  food for Thanksgiving Dinner were distributed. People began to arrive at the pantry at 6:30 am and waited patiently in a line  during a 40 degree rain storm.  The line extended all the way to 57th  street (about ¾ of a city block – more than 350 people) by the time the food distribution began at 9:00 am. Brian walked the line and greeted each neighbor with a Happy Thanksgiving, a hug and a blessing from God. Each person returned the hug with their own gratitude and blessing. This was an unbelievable transformation from previous years. Moreover, the servant hearts of the community volunteers who also warmly greeted their neighbors throughout the day in the challenging weather were an inspiration to all. Today the neighborhood around Shepherds HOPE is a safe and more compassionate community!

Brian and his wife Laura have made huge personal sacrifices to make Shepherd’s HOPE become a reality. When Brian first proposed the idea of creating a food pantry in the bungalow they owned, Laura wondered if Brian had lost his mind and pointed out that this was one of the poorest and most dangerous areas in the country!  Brian’s response: “That is what makes it so appealing to the Lord.” After months of conversation and prayer, they decided to launch their ministry to feed people and rebuild lives. As the journey has progressed, Laura also has been amazed by the transformation that has occurred in the community. Brian and Laura’s dedication and hard work have resulted in a leadership team of volunteers who help guide the organization. They have inspired many individuals to come alongside and support the ministry financially.  Perhaps the best testament to Brian’s character is that he (a white man from Inverness) has been accepted by the people of Englewood as someone they trust.  A man of God who trusts God totally and  puts his faith in action.

With grass roots support of family and friends, small businesses and church groups, Shepherd’s HOPE has been able to provide groceries to thousands of families.  The food pantry is the catalyst and Step 1 of the 5-step program that will allow them to make the Lord’s vision of transforming lives, rebuilding communities, and creating HOPE through Christ a reality.

In March of 2016, Shepherd’s HOPE will have completed 6 years of serving their neighbors in Englewood.  We will have gone from serving one homeless man a homemade lunch to touching the lives of over 8,000 people a month (providing them with over 1.4 million pounds of food annually) all out of that 1000 square foot bungalow.  God gets the glory!

In 2010, we started a Saturday morning men’s bible study that is still going today.

In 2011, the Lord prompted Shepherd’s HOPE to create a collaborative of like-minded ministries and call it “The Way.”

“The Way” started church services in 2011 in a rented church and today “The Way” has 2 church services a week along with 3 bible studies.  This was all done to make step 2 of the 5-step program – combating lack of spiritual awareness in this community – a reality.

For more information on the 10 collaborative partners in “The Way” ministry click here.

Story Behind the Journey

On April 6, 1949 the story begins.  Brian Kris Anderson was born to Marie and Norman Anderson on the northwest side of Chicago.  Brian was the first of three children brought into this world by Marie and Norman and the only son.

I was raised by a school teacher and full time housewife in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.  We lived in an apartment building which was owned by my grandparents.  So besides my parents, my grandparents were a major influence in my life.  I was an average student.  My interests were in math and science.  I loved playing baseball and football and also speed skated in national competition.  My love and ability to play the game of baseball got me a scholarship to Northeastern Illinois State University.  It was the only way I would have been able to afford college.  My life was one blessing after another by getting to play baseball at a very high level and at a young age getting to know Jesus as my Savior.

That relationship with Jesus continued all the way until my senior year in college.  In my sophomore year I met a beautiful young lady.  This relationship with this beautiful lady changed my life forever….(Click to read more)

On December 26 Brian was interviewed by Robert Lambert on WYLL’s Faith Marketplace program.  Click here to listen to his 12 minute interview.

You can also listen to the full program and other faith stories on the WYLL website.