LIMA — Julianne Frankhouser is no stranger to walking by faith. In 2009, she felt God directing her to open a home for teenage girls using the 100-year old family home she had recently inherited. In April 2013, she opened Guiding Light Maternity Home, which is a residential home that serves teenagers and young women with children, both pregnant and not pregnant.
However, Frankhouser’s journey of faith was not over.
“I had been praying,” she said, “and I felt God saying to multiply.”
A second house became available earlier this year, and Frankhouser opened a transitional home, Resting Place-Life Coaching and Residential Center on May 25. This home is open to a general population of women and serves anywhere from abandoned teenagers to those in recovery. Now, she is getting ready to open a third house.
“We started to pursue the third house shortly after we got the second house,” she said. “We will continue to pursue steps to get additional houses as they come into our sights as potential opportunities open up.”
The third house will be different than the previous two homes, both of which offer shelter and require residents to agree to follow a program which gives them the opportunity to get on their feet, learn to be self-sufficient and meet the goals which they set for themselves.
“The third house is actually a rental property,” explained Frankhouser. “It will support the moms and women who have met their goals and are ready to be self-sufficient. It’s a step up from Resting Place because they have to pay rent.”
The new house has a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor and a two-bedroom apartment on the ground floor. Frankhouser hopes to be able to accept renters by the end of this month, as some unexpected plumbing problems has put her behind schedule. All the remodeling is being done by volunteers with donations.
According to Amy Odum, community development director for the city of Lima, the city was happy to work with Frankhouser in procuring the house which had sat empty for several years.
Odum said they made the house available to Frankhouser because she was a known community developer.
“She already had two other buildings,” Odum said, “and she had done good work with community development in the area.”
Odum emphasized they are selective on who they work with.
“When you have a proven quality housing developer who brings great value to the neighborhood, we are happy to work with them,” she said. “This is a distinction I want to make. We don’t make these available to just anyone. We look closely at the person’s ability to do what they say they are going to do.”
Frankhouser has actually done more than she originally set out to do. Guiding Light Maternity Home was not open very long before she found that that there was a bigger need in the community.
“We realized the population that needed help was more than pregnant teens,” she explained. “So we opened it up to helping young women and young moms.”
While the main focus has been on young women, Frankhouser said that Resting Place is also open to older women.
“We don’t want to turn anyone away, if we can help them,” Frankhouser said.
The homes provide women a place, not just to get back on their feet, but also the structure that has often been missing in their lives.
“They never have been taught the skills to manage a home,” she explained. “We give them that home structure and teach them skills and encourage them. “
The third house is a culmination of the skills taught, allowing residents to move on to the next phase of being self-sufficient.
Through it all, Frankhouser has had to rely heavily on God and her faith for each new step.
“I don’t know where the money will come from or where the next house is,” she said, “but I can walk in faith and multiply without fear or strain.”
Frankhouser said that faith comes from an intimate knowledge of God, not just an understanding of Biblical principles.
“When you really know Him and know the delight of hearing from Him,” she said, “you can know your purpose. So many people don’t know their purpose because they don’t know Him. There’s an excitement because you never know what He is up to.”
This faith is passed on to the residents of the houses during morning devotions.
“There are such transformations,” she said. “It’s not just meeting goals, but as their needs become God’s weight, it’s not just on their shoulders.”
Frankhouser wants people to know that Guiding Light Maternity Home, Resting Place and the new rental property are not just a social service or a nice thing to do.
“This is not just another nice ministry that does nice things for people,” she said. “It’s a walk in faith and trusting God. I pursue it because I love, honor and respect God. My passion to pursue this is God-driven, and I have no idea what the next step is until He tells me.”
For details about the new rental units, call 419-236-7935.
Rosanne Bowman is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Lima News. Share your story ideas with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.