The Rev. Andrew Pistone is following a family tradition set by his older brother David, who ran the Door of Hope Mission at 200 W. First St. for 32 years till Andrew took over on New Year’s Day 2015.
Now the younger executive director is helping the mission come out of the year-long pandemic and he is looking forward to gearing back up to the full measure of its potential. “We’re holding our own,” Pistone said.
“Thank God we didn’t have anybody here contract the disease, which is a blessing. Our thrift store at 1515 E. Eighth is doing well and people are coming to the outlet center at 1611 E. Eighth to buy clothes, housewares, toys, belts, purses, hats, slippers, boots and shoes for $1 a pound.”
Pistone reported in early April that the mission had 18 residents while it had had as many as 40 in past years. “We have been open for over 60 years,” he said.
“The food, clothing and shelter are free and some people have been here for as long as 18 years. We have church services at 10 a.m. Sunday and each morning Monday through Friday at 7:30. We let them know that through Jesus they can overcome their addictions to drugs and alcohol. Some come here from prison. They’ve tried all kinds of things in the past to clean themselves up, but they kept on falling back and revolving through the same addictions. There is always turnover here. Fifteen leave and another 15 come in.
“We have had a lot of success with hundreds and hundreds of people turning their lives over to Christ and allowing the Lord to free them,” Pistone said. “The mission is not an end. It’s a stepping stone to a brighter future.”
Asked if his work is sometimes disheartening, Pistone said, “It is a job, but it’s what the Lord called me to do and I’m happy to do it.
“When we have successes, and we have had many, all the glory goes to the Lord. It’s not of my making. When we have failures and people go back into their addictions, they’re just not ready to make that extra step to help themselves. You have to back away from it and not take it personally or it could affect you mentally and emotionally. It could hurt.”
Pistone said the mission’s annual budget is $220,000, funded by donations.
Door of Hope Mission Board President Ray Beaty said Pistone “is a very Godly man who believes in the work he does.
“Andrew is solid in his faith and he definitely puts the interest of the ones who come to the mission foremost, preaching the word and sharing the Gospel with them,” said Dr. Beaty, a chiropractor who has been on the board for 25 years. “He has been able to share God’s word with men and women who found themselves in desperate situations and to let them see that there was hope through the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Andrew is an unbelievable individual who preaches that there is opportunity for anyone who will help himself or herself. The mission gives that opportunity and Andrew believes in its work because the foundation is built on the Lord’s work.”
Other board members are Vice President Kelly Luxton, Gene Roberts, Mark Kratzer, Luke Gahr and Gary Vieth.