Excerpts 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. She 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 – a 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 training, 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, and 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