EXTENDING OCEANS AWAY
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
The year was 1981. I had been invited by the Northwest School of Mission to lecture to churches in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana on missions. During my travels there, I was privileged to be hosted by Jan and Terry Simonson. We quickly became friends –the type of friends who become family.
Their life story has become a blessing to me, and to HCM. Jan and Terry married in 1971, after marital struggles they turned their lives over to Jesus. They began attending Elgin Christian Church in Elgin Oregon in 1979. Real life started to glow, and God blessed them. They faithfully tithed, small at first, then more as they were able. God continued to bless them. From a small house they built a larger one. They added a shop and then acreage to their property. Blessings upon blessings. They were blessed with two sons. Jan and Terry were interested in the Child Sponsor Program and started to sponsor Lounette, a twelve year old girl. After about a year they made their first trip to Haiti to meet their sponsored daughter. This trip gave them a love for the Haitian people and inspired more trips. It also inspired others from their church to sponsor children and make trips to Haiti to work with HCM. Jan and Terry still remain in contact with Lounette. Today she is a wife and the mother of five children. She loves Jesus and serves in her church. Our friendship grew, and in 1984 Betty was invited to stay with them in their home to give birth to our youngest son Marcus Bentley.
Wanting to serve in other ways Jan and Terry joined hand in hand with Kent and Cheryl Hug to plant a church in nearby LaGrande. The Simonson’s remained for one year before returning to their home church in Elgin. This influenced others from The Elgin Christian Church and LaGrande Christian church to Plant a church and congregation in Imbler, still know today as the Imbler Christian Church. Imbler still faithfully supports HCM schools and churches, specifically a congregation in the mountain of Grand-Bois. More children are learning and Haitian people are saved, all due to Jan and Terry stepping out in faith and extending their ministry outreach.
In 2004 Jan and Terry moved to Kennewick Washington and placed their membership at Bethel Church. When the earthquake struck in 2010, Jan and Terry shared about HCM to the missions outreach committee. This inspired Bethel to send a 4 person team from Bethel to visit the campus at HCM two months after the earthquake. The team reported back to Bethel. They invited Edwens and me to come and share how we were serving the Haitian people during this time. Bethel chose to partner with us, giving $150,000 toward building homes for families who lost everything in the earthquake. Since that time Bethel Church has been standing with HCM in the gap. Pastors of Bethel Church , led by Pastor Dave Hillard, have come to the mission field twice a year to train our pastors and church workers. Bethel has also sent medical teams, workers, teachers, mechanics and other professionals to train our people to preach and teach. The work these fine Christians have been able to do is amazing.
The contact of one family brings the light of Christ to hundreds of families. When God saves one family from darkness, He sets the world ablaze at home and across the oceans with a message of love. This is what he has done through Jan and Terry. With the kingdom in mind, the best is yet to come.