- At the time I (Gordon Blossom) had no idea what would come of it. It was April 23, 1971 and twenty-four of us were on a missionary junket to Haiti. We were staying at the venerable old Hotel Es Splendid in the northern part of Port au Prince. What an exciting and stimulating change this was from my responsibilities as general director of Honey Creek Christian Homes, a program for delinquent boys near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
As I rolled out of bed on my knees early that April morning, I must admit to praying rather perfunctorily, starting with the family, then the
work, followed by pleas for our group’s safety in this strange country. All of a sudden it happened, God hit me with the idea of bringing bright underachieving teenagers to a foreign mission field for spiritual impact and Christian training.
Within days of arriving in the U.S., I found myself explaining the concept, culture-shock combined with education and service projects on a mission field, to several respected friends engaged in child care work. Without exception they agreed it was a great idea, if I could only “pull it off.”
With that encouragement I began to pray in earnest that the Lord would either open or close doors on the matter according to His will. Shortly thereafter amazing things began to happen. First, in late June 1971, a pleasant looking couple in their forties came to my door one evening, saying they felt led to serve God in a more definite way, and wondered if I needed house parents at Honey Creek. Being adequately staffed at the moment, I started to decline this rare offer, when inside me something seemed to say, “Hey, dummy, you need someone to help start this new project, and here’s a good couple!”
So I told them what had happened on my recent trip, and that Haiti was where we wanted to start. As I went on to describe the vision God had implanted in my mind and talked of the growing need for such a ministry, the man’s ruddy face began to turn ashen, and his chin started to twitch. He was obviously experiencing some strong emotion? After a few seconds, he said this might be God’s will for them, that they would pray about it and get back in touch with me soon. Three nights later the man called, and with a note of certainty in his voice, stated they felt the Lord wanted them to do it! He then related that he had been in the Green Berets serving in Korea, that
this wife loved kids, and that all of their children were raised except their ten-year old daughter, Dawn, who could go along without being any hindrance. Their names? Bill and Virginia Matthews.
Of course we had not students as yet, and little indication as to when we could start, so Bill said he would stay at his job managing the appliance and repair department at Ward’s until time to leave for Haiti. We agreed to keep in weekly contact and continue praying for God’s leading and blessing on the project.
At that time several important things needed to happen before we
could start. Most of all, we had to have suitable housing, a qualified teacher, and of course, some students. What happened next still give me goose-bumps to recount!
Within a very few days our office received a phone call from the Juvenile Court of Kalamazoo. My secretary said it was for me from Judge Ivan Wheeler, who had placed two boys with us at Honey Creek. “Good morning, Judge,” I answered, “What can I do for you today?” “Well, we want you to come and speak to our staff about
your Haiti project,” was his startling reply. Suddenly I had realized that I had mentioned the idea to one of his probation officers! I accepted
his invitation, and we set the date.
Some weeks later at the Kalamazoo Courthouse, Judge Wheeler heard me discuss the advantages of combining education in a foreign country with service to the poor. He was so impressed with the idea that he enrolled our first student, Mark Gates, in a school that didn’t even exist! He said they would make plans to keep Mark busy until we
could leave, and that we should pursue this thing with speed.
I had hardly returned home when Miss Gina Whitehead, a missionary teacher home from the African Central Republic, came to me seeking
employment. After recounting the Haiti matter, it soon became apparent to us both that God was calling her to be our first teacher!
Honey Creek to ask if I would drop by her convalescent home in Grand Rapids for a gift. The next day I located her very neat 34-bed
facility in a poor part of town and introduced myself. After handing me a generous check, Mary started the conversation by asking about my
mention of being in Haiti some weeks ago on my Saturday morning radio broadcast. She said she had been there herself several times, and was the national treasurer of a group called “Friends for Missions”, which has a significant interest in the people of that country. I then related the vision God had given me there, told her of the Matthews
and Gina Whitehead, and shared that we already had our first student. “But,” I said, “We don’t know how to find suitable housing with funds to get down there.”
Her face lit up immediately as she told how their work in Haiti was in dire need of medicines, money, etc. She then offered to pay my way
there if I would only take some things to their mission for her! What an answer to prayer-I was ecstatic! Three weeks later found me back in Port au Prince. I quickly delivered the parcels and money to the proper parties. Within four days I had located a nice little hotel with excellent facilities that would provide us room and board for $5.00 per day per person. I also found a fine, English-speaking doctor who would look after our staff and students in case of illness.
Upon arriving home we soon enrolled two more young people, and by mid-September had two more. With great joy and excitement the
Matthews and I decided to leave for Haiti soon. On October 8, 1971, we drove to Miami and boarded Pan Am Flight 431 bound for Port au
Prince and Hotel Pension Rocourt!
than fill a large and exciting book. In fact, such a volume has been prepared for distribution later this year, which records, among other things, seven major miracles. These amazing events and
Providences are indisputable, dramatic evidence of divine intervention and provision in behalf of this ministry. Gordon Blossom
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