A Pastor's Testimony:

Warren Family Mission

In 1994 a pastor named Rev. Lawrence called me on the phone. He had been running a mission called "Open Door" located on Rt. 169 in Howland Township near Warren, Ohio for over 30 years. He said he had run into ill health and was looking to sell the mission property. A friend of mine met with him. He showed us the property and told us the price was $100,000. I told him that I didn't have that kind of money and moved on.

Somehow I still felt hope for us obtaining that property. Since the day I accepted Christ in 1974 I was praying for a work to be started in Trumbull County. It broke my heart to see the poor going hungry and walking up and down through the streets.

In 1989 I was hired at a large inner city mission in another city. I worked there for seven years starting out as chaplain's assistant and working my way up to being the heads of the Men's Department. I felt God's nudge to move on. That particular stream had dried up. I took a job in the prison system as a teacher. It was a good paying job with benefits, but I still had a strong desire to do mission work in Trumball County.

1997 I was leafing through the paper and noticed that Rev. Lawrence and his wife had both passed away within a couple of weeks of each other.

I waited a few months then called up his sister-in-law who had inherited the property. She said that she would like to see the property stay a mission and said she would sell it for $50,000. I told her that it was more than my wife and I could afford. She continued to stay in touch. One day my wife and I and another couple went over to the property to pray. As we walked around my friend said, "let's pray specifically. Would you quit your job at the prison and step out on faith if God gave you this property for free? I said yes. So we prayed and left feeling peaceful.

The next day I came home for lunch and the phone rang. It was the property owner. She said, "Mr. Gilger, someone broke in last night as the property and stole a large amount of wood. I can't take the pressure of watching that place any longer. If I give it to you for free would you take it off my hands?" I just stood there with my mouth open. One month later we got the deed from her lawyer.

We stepped out on faith with no verifiable income. It was a big step because we have seven children to feed.

We were at that facility for three years and hundreds of people were helped and ministered to. In 2001 it became evident that we were going to have to add on to our facility or obtain another facility. We had so many people living there that there was no room to move. About a year prior to this the Lord showed me a school building in downtown Warren. I went over there a few times to pray. I felt a magnetic draw to the building. We had just had our board meeting in February of 2001 and the board stated that we needed to begin a search for a new facility. One week later I was sitting at my desk and the owner of the school on Elm Road came in and said that he was retiring and would like to give me his building and it's content for free. Praise the Lord, I can never look to myself and say look what I built. It was all God. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

Unless God builds the house, those that labor, labor in vain.

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