The Children's Shelter of Cebu came into existence in 1979 (known as Corpus Christi Foundation) because of God’s clear leading—there is simply no other explanation.
In 1978, Marlys (Danielson) Healy visited the Philippines on a mission trip to Asia with her father, Cliff, who had just completed 24 years as pastor of Constance Free Church. She was astonished by the plight of the street children she saw in Cebu City. She began to share with pastors and missionaries she met there about her desire to do something to help those children.
She returned to Minnesota and told her friend Kathy about her sensed call to return to the Philippines. Kathy was excited, and willing to pay for a return trip. Marlys hadn’t even unpacked from the first one when she and Kathy traveled to Cebu with a friend, Paul Healy. Paul didn’t have a passport, so they stopped in San Francisco on the way to get him one! Paul and Kathy both shared the passion for a new ministry as well, and shortly after their return Marlys drove to Camp Shamineau in Motley, MN to tell what she’d experienced to her friend Sandy Swanson. Sandy caught the vision, and was in Cebu before the first year was over.
The priority upon returning to the US was raising the funds necessary to start the work in Cebu. They tried lots of things to raise money: selling doughnuts at a mall, singing together in a presentation and hosting a large-scale fundraising concert (that ended up losing money). While a relationship developed between Paul and Marlys in the months that followed, and led to their marriage, not a lot of other things seemed to be going right.
This group of young people began to wonder if this whole thing was a crazy idea that wasn’t going to work out. Then Paul was invited to speak to a group of students at Bethel College (now Bethel University). As Marlys puts it:
We all knew that you don't do fundraising with college students, but they could surely pray. There happened to be a young man there that evening who was touched deeply while Paul was sharing and he gave us half of a trust fund, which was $40,000. To this day it is still thrilling to tell that story, and I still get tears in my eyes when I think of how God touched that young student, and how he shared so generously.
We took that as the sign we had prayed for and sold our winter clothes and a few pieces of furniture and we packed our bags and were off to the Philippines in May of '79. The money was used to buy our first house and a piece of land where we thought we might build some day. Later on we sold that land and we were able to use that money as a down payment on the land where the homes are presently. The Lord surely led in that also. If we had that extra money in the bank we would have surely spent it as we had many needs and many sick kids through the years.
And so began the Children's Shelter of Cebu.