History of Harbor House
Testimony of God's Faithfulness
Karla Eberle, Founder and Director
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A NICE LITTLE HOME with an extra bedroom or
As the steering
committee came together and the ideas for a maternity
home were explored, we began to look for a location
that fit my vision. After meeting with the steering
committee and talking about the size of the home
we would need, it was decided that a single dwelling
home would not be large enough. We agreed that the
house family would need to have their own living
quarters and yet be able to be with the girls full-time.
The young ladies we expected to serve would probably
not come from strong, stable two-parent homes, and
we wanted to be able to model for them what God
intended a family to be. We were also aware that
many times maternity homes closed for lack of available
house parents, and in most cases these were single
house parent-type homes.
My friend Karla
Rieth and I looked and looked at houses, this time
looking for duplex-type homes. We found none-none
that we knew could be the building.
much searching Karla and I found a home on Sugar
Street that met our needs. We went through the building
more than once. It was out of the way but close
to downtown. It was divided up into two distinct
living quarters. And it had a yard. It seemed to
us, God had spoken-this was the house.
We had someone
start working on the plans to show the few changes
that would need to be made. Only a couple of days
went by before the realtor phoned and said someone
else had looked at the house, liked it, and had
signed an intent contract on it. When we had first
looked at the house the realtor had told us that
it was not being looked at by anyone else. It had
been empty for almost two years and no one was interested.
God had slammed
the door on us. As saddened and discouraged as we
were, we had peace in knowing that God knew the
perfect plan for his ministry and we would wait.
Randy, our realtor,
who was acting as a buyer's agent, would call every
so often with another possibility. Each time it
was something close but each time it wasn't right
in one way or another. Months had gone by since
we had started looking. Summer was now autumn.
Doug drove through
Celina every day for his job and early in our search
he had noticed an old hospital building for sale.
He mentioned it to me and I told him, "No,
I will not raise my children in downtown Celina
and most definitely not in a hospital building.
There's no yard and no where for them to play. This
is not the kind of building that I'm looking
Not long after
the disappointment of the Sugar Street home, an
article about Harbor House ran in the local newspaper.
That night a man who I didn't know phoned and asked
to meet with me. He told me that he knew where God
wanted the home to be located. So when Doug got
home from work we went over together to meet with
He told us that
he had been walking down Fayette Street and had
walked past the old Gibbons Hospital. When he did,
he felt an overwhelming urge to pray. After walking
around the building and up the steps, he got down
on his knees and said that at that moment he had
the impression God wanted the building to be used
in what he told us softened me to the possibility,
but I was far from sold on this man's "impressions."
I called John
Gibbons, the owner of the building, and asked to
see the inside. I explained to him what we were
thinking of doing and he let us in to look around.
There were many days of just coming in, praying,
and looking around at how God could use this building
which had set empty for almost 10 years. I was looking
at all the work that would need to be done and all
the people it would take to do this amount of work.
And still there was a peace that this might
be where God wanted this ministry. I decided that
we would take the steering committee through and
see what they had to say.
looked at each room. I visualized the floor plan
in my mind, thinking of the needs we had and if
they could be met in this building. After much discussion
we ended on the steps, prayed, and unanimously decided
that we should proceed with renting the building.
I phoned our
realtor to let him know that we would like to rent
the building with an option to do any renovation
work to meet our needs. But then God slammed shut
another door-John Gibbons had just agreed through
another realtor to lease the building to a local
community group of prominent citizens who were going
to make it a homeless shelter
no way that he'll rent it to us, I guess?"
"He still would
rather sell the building," Randy told me. "Let me
talk to him and find out what he says."
back to let me know the news-that the only way we
could have the building would be to come up with
a down payment for a purchase by the coming weekend-$20,000
total-and this was Wednesday.
Here again was
impossibility. We were just a group of folks, a
new ministry, and all we had was a name. We had
no money in the bank, no credit history and we needed
to have $20,000 in just a few days. I was down,
but God had shown me before that he was big enough
for obstacles that I considered impassable. I was
being made to rely on God again, to reinforce in
me who it was who was really doing the work.
called the members of the steering committee to
give them the bad news. When I called my friend
Karla, her husband Bill reassured me and encouraged
me. Since I've known Bill, as a good friend and
a pastor at our church, has always been the one
Pastor Bill called me to tell me that an anonymous
donor would be wiring $20,000 to us so that the
contract could be signed on Friday. Man, God works
donor did not remain anonymous forever. Her son
was able to coax her into revealing her identity.
Unfortunately for those who knew and loved her,
Elizabeth Rieth passed away in April. Our benefactor
turned out to be Pastor Bill's mother, and since
that first large donation she has given and given
again. We publicly acknowledged her generosity when
on December 3, 1995, when we named Elizabeth Pregnancy
Services for her. We will miss her.
1998 Karla Eberle/Harbor House Maternity Home, Inc.
All rights reserved.