A Story of Hope and Inspiration
In 2014, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati was blessed by the service of a special, wonderful young woman. Her name was Victoria Stoltz. She loved to serve on Thursdays, at The Bridge Ministry, which is a Prince of Peace ministry to serve the homeless. Kathy McGill, another volunteer at The Bridge Ministry, first brought Victoria to us wishing to simply serve others. Victoria would faithfully come to Prince of Peace and volunteer every Thursday cooking and serving food. But, Victoria was much more than a volunteer. Victoria had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. Unfortunately, the doctors that diagnosed the tumor were unable to remove it. What made Victoria so special was what made her happy, and that was to serve others. Even in the midst of her own troubles, she thought of others. She was a witness of unselfish servanthood. She gave of herself so unselfishly. She was and still is, a joy and an inspiration.
Victoria was a wonderful reflection of God's love. Her final desire was to serve others. How many people would choose to serve others if in the same situation as Victoria? Not many. The Make-a-Wish Foundation came to Victoria and her parents asking what wish that they may grant. Victoria and her parents responded that there was no other wish that they had not already received. However, after discussions with Pastor John from Prince of Peace, Victoria and her parents told the Make-a-Wish Foundation that there was a wish they could grant. Victoria’s Wish was to continue to serve the homeless and working poor in Cincinnati. In particular, Victoria’s Wish was to remodel a newly acquired apartment building in the West End that is part of The Welcome Home Collaborative program. It is a 2-unit apartment building that will house the working poor and/or homeless in Cincinnati. Welcome Home is transitional housing program for the homeless and working poor. Victoria's Wish was an incredible blessing us by allowing us to very rapidly remodel this apartment building in the West End. This building houses two families headed up by single women. It is a program of transformation. Further, this program provides housing by empowering people and not just enabling them. There are several requirements to participate in the program. It is a place of transformation. It is a place of hope. And Victoria's wish allowed this hope to be a reality. That is why the building is remained to, "Victoria's House of Hope." There is a large (+20 foot) mosaic on the side of Victoria's House of Hope that serves to honor Victoria and her wish. This mosaic is a beautiful. It is a testimony to the hope that lasts eternal through Jesus Christ our savior. Above (center) is a photo of the mosaic. Below is a segment of the mosaic that contains a rendering of what Victoria looked like. The mosaic was created by the artist Rachel Ziegler from Omaha, NE. She did a wonderful job of putting together this mosaic. But the beautiful aspect of a mosaic is that it is a conglomeration of various segments that are put together by different individuals. Rachel is the artist, and she orchestrated or put together the final, finished whole piece of art. It is the nature of a mosaic to gather in many people in the creation of the total peace. In the case of this mosaic, there were portions of the mosaic put together by Victoria's school mates, members of her church, members of Prince of Peace, homeless that attend The Bridge Ministry, and more. Please come to Victoria's House of Hope in the West End of Cincinnati, and see this beautiful piece of artwork in person! Victoria passed away just before Christmas, in December of 2015. We continue to be humbled and honored by Victoria and her wish. And through Victoria’s Wish, her witness of Love, Courage, Gratitude, and Joy will continue on serving the homeless and working poor in Cincinnati.