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Heaven-sent vision prompted ministry to deliver hope, healing
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Photo: Paul Colletti
Lynda Sargent is founder of Heart of Hope Ministries in the west end of Rock Island, where she grew up.
ROCK ISLAND -- Lynda Sargent is tenacious, passionate, determined, sincere and full of faith.

Such qualities helped her fulfill her dream of starting a nondenominational ministry to help heal her beloved community.

In 2009, Ms. Sargent founded Heart of Hope Ministries, a not-for-profit outreach ministry dedicated to delivering hope and healing to the community, one person and one prayer at a time. The ministry is a dream come true for Ms. Sargent, who labored for 20 years to bring it to life. It literally all started with a dream -- a vision.

"My dream is to see the restoration of West End neighborhoods of Rock Island where I grew up and played as a child," Ms. Sargent said recently while sitting on a bench in Denkmann Park at 6th Avenue and 5th Street.

That dream came quite vividly to Ms. Sargent about two decades ago in a vision she firmly believes was heaven sent. The vision included Denkmann Park, which is just blocks from where Ms. Sargent was raised.

"I believe the vision took place in this park. This is a park I grew up in. This park is where I believe God showed me over 20 years ago in a vision," she explained. "In that vision, I saw miracles taking place. I saw people that had been blind seeing. I saw people who had been lame walking. Young men, black and Hispanic particularly, who had been in gangs were coming in the hundreds.

"They were coming, and we were praying for them. I believe that means that people who had been blinded and lame in their faith were having it restored, and young men caught up in bad situations in life coming and meeting hope and people who care about them and love them."

Here is where Ms. Sargent's tenacity, determination and unwavering faith served her well. She kept that vision firmly in her heart for many years until she was able to start Heart of Hope Ministries.

"I feel that if it was left up to my comfort level, I would have abandoned the vision of Heart of Hope long ago. I'm not sure I would have even started," she said. "I so believe that the vision, or dream, came directly from the heart of God. It's way too big for me. It has never faded or diminished in any manner over all these years, at least 20 years now.

"It's my personal love for the Lord that keeps me moving forward in pursuing the fulfillment of the vision. If I did not love the Lord so much, I would have definitely given up long ago. I often look up and tell (God), 'I wouldn't do this if I didn't love you.' "

The ministry's goal is to provide healing and help for those who need it most. Heart of Hope does so by going out and interacting with the people in the community and spreading the gospel to whomever will lend a listening ear.

The biggest obstacle for Heart of Hope Ministries has been not having a permanent meeting place. However, their lack of physical walls has not been a deterrent. Armed with their message and a clear mission born from Ms. Sargent's vivid vision, Heart of Hope Ministries meets and goes where the people are -- in parks, like Denkmann, and even on neighborhood street corners.

"I would so love to see restoration in the West End communities with new housing and businesses on the many vacant lots; to see residents prospering through educational pursuits and job training opportunities; to see families whole and healthy with fathers and mothers together raising children; for the whole stigma of fear and failure removed from this section of the city and from Rock Island in general; to see hope and healing; and as the book of Isaiah 61 describes, "to see beauty instead of ashes," Ms. Sargent said.

Despite any and all obstacles, Heart of Hope Ministries -- Ms. Sargent's dream come true -- continues.

Living the dream

Who: Lynda Sargent, founder of Heart of Hope Ministries

Quote: "I so believe that the vision, or dream, came directly from the heart of God. It's way too big for me."

Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men.
1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.

(More History)