History: Pearl’s Story Is Acres’ Story
We moved to Bellevue in ’73, and I was called on to start a Women’s Aglow Fellowship chapter, which met monthly. After a speaker’s inspiring message we gave opportunity for women to come to the front and receive prayer. Often this “afterglow” was a long as the meeting. We saw many answers to prayer, some miraculous.
But as time went on I noticed some women came up over and over for prayer, and seemed not to get the help they needed. So I invited them to come to my home for further prayer. A sort of prayer-counseling service sprang up. I began to feel the need to get qualified as a real counselor.
Back to school I went, SPU, and got a Masters in counseling. I learned to use helpful testing materials, circular questioning, and family dynamics. So I hung out my shingle called “Creative Christian Counseling”. Prayer was always a part of each session and I found that even non-Christians wanted God’s help with their problems. Every day I prayed that God would send me only those He knew I could relate to.
A pastor sent a woman he said he could not help. She stayed a week and God saw fit to give her a new lease on life and her marriage. It appeared to me that four days of in-house counseling accomplished more for the client than six months of coming once a week for an hour.
The Chaplain at KC jail asked me to help with counseling the men. As a result my husband and I met with a man initiating a transitional home for men leaving jail. At our home we asked him questions about legally starting such a home, how to staff it, how to run it on a day to day basis, etc. etc..
He said, “Look, the very greatest need right now in King County is getting homeless women and their children a place to stay other than their cars, or the street, or short term shelters. They need help to change bad habit patterns, get jobs, learn to parent their children, get new friends, and enjoy success. Just think you could help two generations at once!”
My friend Joy and I visited all the transitional homes we could find in KC, Snohomish County, and Whatcom County. We were impressed with those using normal houses as homes for the homeless women. I was surprised that many were places to stay without much teaching, counseling, or direction for the women. And almost all of them did not include children.
Before too long, I started the paperwork to become a non-profit corporation. We decided on “Acres of Diamonds” as the name because we had all these precious women and children (“diamonds”) right in our very own back yard. How they would sparkle by God’s grace!
As to the program we’d offer, I suggested using the materials that seemed to produce the best results in my counseling practice. This included the presentation of eternal life as God’s gift to those who would receive forgiveness and freedom because of Jesus’ payment. I would never want to withhold such good news from anyone. Parenting skills were added as soon as we had a teacher. Thoughts lead to feelings which lead to deeds. How we think controls our lives. We wanted to help them think new, good thoughts.
With great faith we rented the house in Duvall, made and sent brochures to churches, shelters, police, and community services. And in the meantime we hustled to gather up beds, bedding, furniture, dishes, etc. , for surely before the month was over we’d have a full house! And from there, the rest is history. God continues to lead his dear children along in developing Acres of Diamonds.