CSC has benefited greatly from friends who have told others about our needs and opportunities for participating in the ministry. Several of the buildings that stand at CSC today are the result of this word of mouth promotion, and how God used that miraculously to make great things happen for our children.
Back in 1990, the staff was thinking about the need for better facilities for our children. We were operating out of two houses in different parts of the city. The houses were not well suited for us and we knew that if all our children could be in the same vicinity it would make our ministry more efficient. We dreamed of having our own compound.
About this time one of friends, Dr. Arvid Olson, who had been working with the Evangelical Free Church college in Cebu City, had returned to Canada after completing his assignment. Arvid was approached at the back of the church after a service by Harry Schmidt, a real estate developer and philanthropist, who was looking for a program for his family foundation to support. He asked Arvid if he knew any orphanages that needed help. Arvid shared with Harry about CSC, and our desire to build some new facilities in Cebu.
Within a couple of weeks we got a call from Arvid telling us that Harry and his wife, Marlene, would be going to Cebu and suggesting that we “roll out the red carpet,” as he might be a possible source of funds for our dream buildings. We don’t get many phone calls like that, so we said we would, and after a few more weeks the Schmidts were in Cebu. We showed them our children, introduced them to our programs and services, and showed them a piece of land that was for sale in Banawa. We talked about the ways our ministry could improve with new facilities.
On the day before Harry and Marlene were to return home to Canada, Harry asked for a meeting with Mitch, Ron Duterte (our Cebu Board President) and me. He asked us how we planned to proceed with our building dream. I mentioned that we had thought about doing it little by little, using volunteer work teams from the States. Harry shook his head and said, “I don’t think that is a very good idea.” I didn’t know what was on Harry’s mind, but I confess to having thoughts like, “What else are we supposed to do with no money available for this project?” Then Harry cleared his throat and said, “I will build your homes.” I almost fell off my chair. My voice failed me. I couldn’t believe that it was true. Over the years we had heard promises of help from many people that never materialized. But we knew that Harry was a person of integrity and that his family foundation had funded projects around the world for homeless children. We were shocked but extremely hopeful. We said goodbye to Harry and Marlene and fell back in our chairs, thanking God for this remarkable chain of events that we hoped would lead to beautiful new buildings for our children.
And Harry did come through! We were able to purchase a piece of land that met our needs, and a few months later we were breaking ground. Harry sent over the money in regular installments, and came over a few times to monitor the building progress. His company in Canada made the building plans, working with the staff’s ideas for the types of rooms needed and general layout. Soon our dream campus was under way, and after ten months we were dedicating the new facilities to the Lord. God had used the words of a friend at the back of the church to bring Harry into our lives, and the rest is history!