LIMA — The large, rambling farm house on State Road has sheltered many different people in its 100 years of existence. Starting this month, owners Brice and Lydia Brenneman will partner with Guiding Light Ministries to provide transitional housing for women who need to get back on their feet.
“I am excited to work with the Brennemans,” said Julianne Frankhouser, founder and director of Guiding Light Ministries. “They are open-minded people who have an awareness that there is a high need in the community for hurting people. They want to be part of closing the gap by using this home to help those in need.”
Guiding Light Ministries opened its first home Guiding Light Maternity Home in April 2013. In May 2015, the ministry’s second house, Resting Place-Life Coaching and Residential Center opened. Both houses serve as transitional housing for girls and women trying to get back on their feet for a variety of reasons. A third property became available this fall, and Frankhouser made the house into an affordable rental property for the women who have met their goals and are ready to move on to being more self-sufficient.
It was through an article in The Lima News and Frankhouser’s own words that Guiding Light Ministries and the Brennemans became connected.
“I saw this article about (Guiding Light Ministries’) new house few months ago,” said Brice Brenneman, “and when I read Julianne’s words about finding new houses, I knew I needed to get in contact with her.”
Brice Brenneman had bought the house on State Road about six years prior, with the goal of continuing his parents’ legacy of using the house to help others.
“My father grew up on the farm across the road,” said Brice Brenneman. “This was my uncle’s farm, but my dad bought it when my uncle died. My parents rented it for a few years, but then they started looking for a good cause to use it for.”
That good cause ended up being a group home for mentally challenged women which Brice Brenneman’s parents opened in 1980. For 30 years, seven to eight women lived in the home, then called the Brenneman Home, which was run by an outside agency for the last several years.
Unfortunately, regulations changed and made running the home difficult, and the home was closed. The Brennemans, who still owned the land, decided to buy back the house with the idea of also using it for a good cause.
Since that time, Brice and Lydia Brenneman have used the home to help a variety of people, including a group of refugees from Eritrea, Africa. “God kept bringing people to us,” said Lydia Brenneman. However, the Brennemans were looking for someone to partner with for the long term. They had their first meeting with Frankhouser in December, and since then, things have moved quickly.
“From the time we met, we’ve found house parents, Nick and Sherry Hale,” said Lydia Brenneman. “The home is almost fully furnished. It was practically empty before. The food bank has given us food. God has led the way for a lot of things to fall into place.”
The home, fittingly named The Light House, will offer transitional housing for up to six women. “One place we may be working with is the WORTH Center,” said Lydia Brenneman. “We can help women coming out of prison who do not have a place to live. We will also be working with Crime Victim Services and Coleman for women who need a place to heal and recover after suffering trauma.”
Like the other residential homes run by Guiding Light Ministries, the Light House is faith based, and residents are required to go through the life skills program which helps the women to set and meet goals to become self-sufficient.
“Our goal is to try to increase collaboration within the city so that multiple agencies can work together to help individuals,” said Frankhouser. “That’s what this house will do.”
While people have been very generous in donating needed items, the Brennemans said that finances continue to be a challenge for Guiding Light Ministries which is a non-profit that is primarily run through donations. Brice Brenneman said that the details of their partnership with Guiding Light Ministries are still being worked out, but the ministry will pay rent on the home.
Guiding Light Ministries is fueled by the faith if its founder Frankhouser. In partnering with the Brennemans, Frankhouser has found others who share her vision to help those in the community who are in need.
“This is just one more way,” said Frankhouser, “that people come together for the same cause and purpose. It takes more than one house to meet the needs in our community.”
Lydia Brenneman added, “This is God’s house. We are calling it the Light House because we want to shine God’s light on those in need.”
Rosanne Bowman is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Lima News. Share your stories with her at email@example.com.