As the Hosea Thrift Store is getting ready to close and my time there comes to an end, I am reminded of what led me to Hosea Youth Services. Some could say that I was in the right place at the right time, others could say I just knew the right people and had the right skills, all of these are great answers but the truth is Divine Intervention.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”

God is always working and moving us around where we can better do his good works. Even though the way we choose to live and the decisions we make may end up changing his timeline, eventually it happens. This is so true in my case. When I was a teenager I was impacted by the street life and had a very chaotic home life. I remember thinking how do I get out of this life, adults don’t listen, no one understands. I spent the next 20 something years not doing anything positive in my life, so after coming to the Lord I realized I relate to adolescents and young adults better than people my age and asked myself if God would ever use me the way I see Him use other people.

Then in 2014 we moved to Eugene, found a church and a job that paid the bills. A year later I was approached by Dave Williams, our youth pastor and the Executive Director for Hosea Youth Services, and he asked if I’d come alongside them and run the thrift store. There I would have the ability to minister to the community and kids. I started to see God’s hand working in my life even more when I was given the responsibility of taking four of our youth twice a week to a job program at a company that is a great supporter of Hosea, Imagination International.

I have worked with, supported and bonded with so many of our youth. This has definitely been the best part my job. Hosea Youth Services is inspiring, that’s for sure. I am constantly amazed by the drive and desire that these kids have for bigger things, and i am blessed to be a part of it.

So did I enjoy the work I did at the thrift store? Yes! Will I miss the thrift store? Yes!

But as the thrift store closes, I have seen that my true place is working with Imagination International and with our kids! God has shown up in this calling and I now do not have to worry about work once the thrift store closes. Imagination International has offered me a full time warehouse position that allows me to continue this part of Hosea’s ministry to give our kids work experience!

I am so grateful for every person and opportunity that God has placed before me. The thrift store gave me experience I wouldn’t have had, and all the relationships that I’ve built with the community and all the amazing volunteers I’ve worked with will definitely be missed.

So to all of Hosea Youth Services’ supporters: thank you! This great work couldn’t get done without you. To the staff, volunteers and interns: keep up the good work, you all impress me with all you do! And a bittersweet goodbye to the Hosea Thrift Store. You were a great asset to the Whiteaker community! God bless!

~ Christina Alvarez, Thrift Store Manager

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