Since my last annual report the Children’s Mission Home has moved its location; we are now located at No. 120 West Cumberland St. [in Knoxville, TN].For seventeen long years we were located at 918 State St. in the house which is now known as the Old Mission Home. Twenty-five dollars per month I paid for many years out of the scanty income the Mission Home ever had.
In the year 1903 I took the Home and the church grounds on a lease for ten years and from then I paid only twenty dollars rent per month for the Home, and some more money on the grounds on which we had built the church. It was hard work for me to find money enough for provisions, clothes and shoes for twenßty-five to thirty-five inmates, and then to find also twenty dollars per month to pay rent.
But we did succeed in doing this for nineteen years in all without faltering and the Mission Home had no debts at no time and to nobody than to live and to do good to our neighbors. But the load we had to carry was keenly felt as the years passed on and on.
One day in February 1909 the unexpected news came to us that the owner of the house had suddenly died. This meant for us that the lease might become void and that the Old Mission Home might be sold at any time, and that we had to move. As soon as we heard the news, I said, “Praise the Lord I am now done paying rent. If this work is worth anything, it will be worth a free house.”
Friends came to sympathize, enemies to sneer. They said to me, “You’re in a bad fix now; what are you going to do?”
I told them I was going to do nothing, but to trust in the Lord, and the Lord would provide. They went away sneering. But we people of the Mission went together to the Lord in prayers, and told him to give a home to his orphan children, a home where we would have to pay rent no more.
I was well acquainted with one philanthropist of Knoxville, Mr. Rush B. Strong, who had been one of our supporters from the very beginning of this work. I knew he had a large and well built brick house in a very good location of the city, which he had designated for charitable purposes. It was just now empty. I earnestly prayed to the Lord while on the way to see Mr. Strong about that very house. As soon as I had told him what I wanted he said with the greatest friendliness, “Why sure, Mr. Lauritzen, why did you not come to ask for it long ago? As far as I am concerned you shall have the use of the house but for the repairs, free of charge.”
And now, we want you to rejoice with us, dear reader, and give praise and thanks to the Lord, who has enabled us to carry on this blessed work for twenty years of the past.
Most sincerely yours,
REV. & Mrs. J.R. Lauritzen, superintendants
20th Annual Report of the Work of the Children’s Mission Home
at Knoxville, TN