A Haven of Hope

2014-11-25 09.20.03Excerpts from By Chance or By Design by Andy Horner

What is hope? It’s the confident expectation that life will not end in tears, but in laughter. It is one of the priceless fundamental gifts that Jesus’ resurrection gives to us, along with faith and love. We talk a lot about hope at Premier Designs. Back in the early growth years of our company, Joan and Andy Horner dreamed about having a place where Premier Designs people could go for a restful break and a dose of hope.

This was just an idea in their heads; there was no way that it could become a reality. There were no resources to purchase a training and retreat center; they simply had to put the dream aside.

A Beautiful Property for Sale

On Hilltop Road in Argyle, Texas, Ruth Carter Stapleton owned a piece of property. Her vision was to create a healing center to minister to people both physically and spiritually. 2014-09-16 12.00.27She made plans to develop the property; however, she died of cancer before her plans came to fruition.  An evangelical ministry purchased the property and named it Sonridge and used it as their headquarters.

Andy served on the board of this ministry and attended many meetings there. He would walk through the trees and be refreshed. It was the perfect place to refill his sails.

When the property came up for sale in the early 1990’s, Andy and Joan’s dream immediately resurfaced.  Andy visited the property which had been vacant for some time and was overgrown with weeds and the buildings (one large house and one smaller house at the time) were beginning to deteriorate. After a short talk with the realtor and finding out the asking price, Andy knew it was time to forget the whole idea.

Andy thought to himself, what could it hurt to call the owner directly? So he did. After explaining what he and Joan were looking for – 2014-11-25 09.20.25a place to take people and train them, but more importantly, to give them a dose of hope – the owner said he would think about it. Humanly speaking, there was no way Premier could afford to purchase the property at the time. But Andy had a feeling that God had a plan.

The Impossible Purchase

Two full weeks went by without a word before the owner’s attorney called. “My client wants Premier Designs to have the property. We are willing to sell it to you for what is owed ($250,000 less than asking price) and we will take care of the realtor’s commission.” He went on to explain that he wanted us simply to pay as we could over the next five years. Amazing!

In January of 1992, the papers were signed. Immediately, the Horners named it “Haven of Hope.” It was the place that they had dreamed about – a peaceful country setting with no television or other distractions, a quiet place where Premier people could rest, get valuable training2014-11-25 09.19.19, and where they could learn and internalize our Premier Designs values.

Haven means “a place of shelter, safety and harmony.” It is a place of beauty separated from the busy activities of the world. It is a place of peace and quiet, where you can see God’s beautiful creation and feel the presence of His peace.

Hope is a basic need for the present and the future. It determines whether we live a life of fear or peace. Hope is something that abides with love and faith. It relates to what we believe and in Whom we trust. At Premier, Hope means “Helping Other People Excel.” With these things in mind we drafted a purpose statement for this new place:

Our mission and purpose for Haven of Hope is that all who pass this way will be renewed spiritually and physically. We pray they will be touched by God’s beauty, 2014-11-25 09.20.48and that they will leave renewed – with hope in their hearts knowing that God loves them, and with a desire to reach out to serve others.

Take a moment and share your personal memory below of a visit to Haven of Hope and use #hohretreat to share with us socially.

Photo Credits: Shay Greenwood, Tina Rhea, Natalie Benitez-Richardson, Joni Brummel, Kathy Allen, Michelle West, Lacy Basford, Julio Fernandez, Theresa Comeaux Touchet, Lacie Garringer, David Re, Maggie Quimby, Mendy Cronan, Kris Helms

Thank You from the DSA

Premier Designs, Inc. is a proud member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) since 1993.  We are thankful to the DSA for their ongoing efforts to “protect, police and promote” direct selling in America.

In September of this year, 69 Senior Leaders sacrificed their time to attend and represent Premier Designs at DSA’s second annual Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill. We greatly appreciate our Senior Leaders for attending and are proud of how they represented Premier Designs and the DSA by sharing their personal stories and business experiences with their member of Congress.

Joe Mariano, President of the Direct Selling Association, also expressed his appreciation for Premier’s participation in this short video.

 Here what some of your Senior Leaders wrote about this year’s Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill here:

http://premierdesignsblog.com/2014/09/18/representing-premier-in-washington-d-c/

April 23, 1951, was a pivotal day in the spiritual lives of Andy and Joan Horner. Read their personal stories of that day and how it changed their lives forever.

Joan and I began to get established in Dallas. We found a good preschool for Andrea and Joan got a job with the Reserve Life Insurance Company downtown. Some of the women she worked with became good friends, especially Marie Hunter.1956 First Car (2)

After moving to Dallas in 1950, I got a job at Reserve Life Insurance, Co. in downtown Dallas. God had me at Reserve Life for a real purpose. I worked in Marie Hunter’s department and at break time I would see her reading her Bible. That was different. I’d never seen anybody do that. What was so interesting in the Bible that kept her reading it like a book? Years later I found out she was praying for me.

Because Joan was a religious person, she was in the habit of going to church on Good Friday and Easter. She knew better than to ask me, so instead she went with her friend Marie to the noon service on Good Friday, led by Dr. W.A. Criswell at the Majestic Theater. The service touched Joan deeply, and she cried during most of it.

Dr. Criswell talked about what happened on Good Friday. I started crying, hearing about what the Lord Jesus suffered. I remember my intense feelings. It was the first time I realized Jesus died for me, but I did not know why. That was at the end of March, 1951.

Of course the real reason I resisted was that I didn’t like the voice that kept speaking to me deep inside. I had been able to stay away from anything having to do with God. The only time I brought Him into the picture was when Joan and I had a fight. I would tell her that I was going to heaven and she was going to hell because she wasn’t saved. You can imagine the effect of this kind of witness.

In spite of my objections, Joan liked these ladies and wanted to visit their church. So where do you think we went? I found the biggest Bible I could find and tucked it under my arm. Surely no one would bother me if I carried the family Bible. We found the church and got settled in the pew without incident. But then the pastor got up to welcome the visitors from Canada, “Brother Horner, would you please come up here and lead the prayer?” I couldn’t believe it. I gave Joan an elbow and an angry look before I went up front and prayed.

Andy had not been in fellowship with the Lord for a long time. He was so upset, very embarrassed. He did it but he told me clearly, we were NEVER going back to church.

FBC exteriorAbout a month later, in late April, we got a Monday night visit from another of Joan’s coworkers, Mrs. Richey, a member of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

When Mrs. Richey visited us, she kept talking on and on about the wonderful things at church for us and for little Andrea. To get rid of her, Andy said, “Okay, we’ll go.” He had no intention of going; he just wanted her to leave. Well, I intended to go. If we said we were going, we were going.

Saturday night we were out partying with friends, and Sunday morning it rained. We had not had rain for a long time, so it was so nice to wake up and hear the rain, a good morning to sleep in. The phone rang.

The telephone woke us up at 7:00 a.m. The call was from Mrs. Richey, who was just checking to make sure we were coming to church. “Joan, make up an excuse, anything, because we are absolutely not going.” Mrs. Richey, unaware of my frantic objections, offered to come and pick us up. “No, we don’t need a ride. We have a car.” When Joan hung up, the war began.

We argued all the way downtown to church.

We arrived downtown and walked into the First Baptist Church. The place was huge, the largest church I had ever seen. The first thing they did was put Andrea in the nursery. Then they took us into the 2,700-seat sanctuary. Both of us were a little nervous. They whisked Joan away to the women’s class on one side of the auditorium, while I went to the men’s class on the other. Here we were, separated in this gigantic church, and then Dr. Criswell stood to speak.

I 2014-11-18 10.43.20thought it was peculiar that I couldn’t sit with Andy and I couldn’t see him. There were probably 2,500 people there that day, but surprisingly, I wasn’t frightened or irritated. Dr. Criswell got up and spoke for ten minutes on John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son …” It was a pure simple presentation of the gospel, which I had never heard before. But I was primed and ready because I had been under conviction.

He quoted John 3:16 and preached an evangelistic message that morning. He spoke for just ten minutes. It could qualify as his shortest sermon ever. But in those moments he made the Gospel simple and understandable. Dr. Criswell revealed God’s love and what it meant to simply trust Jesus, what He did on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and what it meant that He had risen from the dead. When the invitation started, hundreds began to go down to the front. I was struggling. I knew I had to get right with God, but I kept fighting it. I didn’t know where Joan was or what she was thinking about all this, but I started praying, “God, please save Joan. It will be too hard to live for You if she isn’t a Christian. If you will just save Joan, then I will submit to You.” I stood there praying for Joan, but I knew that I needed to get right with God myself.

Dr. Criswell began to give an invitation, something I’d never seen before. People starting walking to the front and I didn’t know what they were doing. Then Dr. Criswell stopped and said, “Now I want everyone to get down on your knees.” That grabbed my attention. Oh, boy, this man knows how to pray. As the pastor was praying, I realized my sins separated me from God. I felt filthy. I didn’t feel bad or guilty. I just felt dirty. So when Dr. Criswell said that Jesus came to cleanse us from our sins, I thought, that’s it. That’s what I need. That’s when I knew I needed Christ.

2014-11-18 09.24.30I had no idea what Joan was doing, but I couldn’t hold out any longer. I knew I had to rededicate my life to the Lord, with our without Joan. I moved out into the aisle and began making my way to the front.

I didn’t know I was going to do anything, but the Holy Spirit moved me out into the aisle. What I was going to say or do down at front, I didn’t know.

I came down the right side and the instant I arrived, I saw Joan coming from the left. I walked toward her and we met in the middle.

When I got down to the front, there was Andy. We both started crying.

Our lives have been united with Christ since that moment. We were both totally changed.

Today is a very special day! 29 years ago, on November 5th, 1985, Premier Designs was incorporated. It was a wonderful day; I remember it well!Picture1 One that Joan and I had prayed about for a long time. It is absolutely amazing what God has done and is doing through this company dedicated to serving others and honoring Him.

As we start our 30th year – WOW – I want to give you a BIG CONGRATULATIONS and thank each of you for being a part of the Premier Family. You are so special and have contributed to the success of Premier these 29 years.

As in any venture, there have been ups and downs, heartaches and happiness. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been most worthwhile. Even through the painful times, there has been an inner peace that can only come from God.

One of the keys to our endurance is our total belief that God is in this business. We have relied on His Word and still do, seeking God’s will and direction. He gave Joan and me many verses of promise. These promises were written down and prayed about daily before founding Premier. These promises helped us to acquire a confidence that gave us hope, strength and assurance to carry on, and on, and on.

Promises – God’s promises – mean a lot to me. Since I was a little boy, my mother taught me that every promise in the Book was mine. Here are a couple of the many …

Picture2“Being confident of one thing, that God who began a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’” says the Lord. “’They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11

I am amazed at what God is doing. Our basic establishments of Premier have not changed – our Philosophy, our Purpose, our Plan. We are built on the Biblical Principles of giving, loving and serving others. Premier is a company that is permeated with service.

There is not another company on earth that has been blessed with people who care, share and who have the vision of Premier. There are still many, many people who need encouragement, who need to be reaffirmed of their worth, who need fellowship, who need financial security. Our Purpose to enrich every life we touch can never be fulfilled. Yes, Premier can be the answer! We must remember, it’s in the enriching of others that we, the Premier Family, are enriched. May I remind you that the road to future success is called SERVICE. In building Premier, we must stay on this road to fulfill its purpose and bless all who are involved.

Pray for us as we seek God’s wisdom and direction, and we will give God the glory as the miracles continue. We are thankful for the past, rejoicing in the present and hopeful for the future.

To God be the glory,

Andy

Picture3

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,586 other followers