We were a perfectly normal family, by typical standards. My husband and I were professionals, active in our church and community, and involved the lives of our daughters. Our girls were good students, cheerleaders, and competitive dancers. They attended church and youth group and had a healthy circle of friends. We got along well.
Our oldest began experimenting with drugs and alcohol in high school, suddenly thrusting us into an eight-year battle with addiction. Stress and heartache exploded as we went from functional to not, operating in anger, fear, and resentment. Our youngest watched everything spin into chaos and found her control in eating and exercise until she was 75 lbs and her health was in jeopardy. By the grace of God and the power of prayer, we found the right counseling for our daughters to overcome their addictions. I praise God that they are now healthy, productive, happy, and raising families of their own.
The summer of 2002, with these issues in the past, I heard the still small voice of God say, “I want you to use what you have learned, your time, talents, and resources to help families going through situations similar to yours.” My response? “Who me??” How do I do that?!” With the support of my friends Karen and Carla, we prayed and sought God’s will. He led us to the National House of Hope in Orlando, Florida. When we returned, we began the process of starting House of Hope Minnesota, which became Hope Harbor in the fall of 2015. This organization, under both names, has been a Christian home that is a refuge for teens who need healing and restoration since incorporation in December of 2003, received our 501 C (3) in 2004., and became licensed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services as a group residential home in 2005.
The ministry received the donation of a home for our use until we were able to purchase it a few years later. We hired and trained staff, and then waited for the Lord to send our residents. They arrived in November 2005, and since then the Lord has sent over 70 other teen girls to us to receive a message of hope, healing, and unconditional love through Jesus Christ. The years since that warm summer day in 2002 have been filled with the generosity of many, with faithful prayer warriors, with dedicated staff, with committed board members, and most of all with God’s tender mercies. We praise God for the blessings He has bestowed upon us and continues to give. We are most thankful for the work He is doing through us in the lives of the girls and families we serve.
Every family that comes through our door hears the gospel as the basis for their reconciliation, and there is no greater duty we can ask for. It is our blessing that God counts us worthy to love, serve, and help the families achieve functionality, parents become equipped, teens choose healing, and to see relationships restored. In the fall of 2015, after 10 years of providing residential service as House of Hope Minnesota, we made the transition to our new name, Hope Harbor. This transition has allowed us to continue to operate in the same capacity to which we've been called on a strictly local level. We look forward to 10 years and more as Hope Harbor!