Henry and Edith Plumer founded the Mission in 1938. Its history has been lined with the faithful prayers, donations and service of God’s people, and has resulted in changed lives for many who have walked through our doors. In the 1930s, Henry Plumer became a new creation in Christ, and as he sought to share his newfound faith, he often found himself on skid row in Sioux City, proclaiming the Good News to those who shared a love for alcohol as he once did. His love for these people led to the founding of The Gospel Mission in 1938, and for 23 years, he and his wife Edith ministered faithfully to those whose lives were empty and downtrodden. Their dedication to their Lord and Savior, and the Lord’s grace to turn the downtrodden's love for alcohol to a love for God, was the perfect start to the ministry originally known as the Sioux City Gospel Mission.
HAAKY FOLLOWS HENRY’S EXAMPLE
In 1961, Haakon Hoklin, best known as Haaky (pronounced “hockey,” as in the ice game), and his wife Esther were called to fill the shoes of their retiring predecessors. Haaky had come to faith at the Mission just five years before and had served as the assistant superintendent. The mentoring which had transpired in the previous five years was now sufficient enough to produce fruit with the Lord’s help. And for another 23 years, the Lord’s grace was abundant. And when called home to be with the Lord, Esther ably stepped in to steer this ark for salvation, ensuring the continued proclamation of the Good News within its doors through to her retirement in 1987.
THE MISSION EXTENDS ITS REACH
With the relocation of the Mission from Lower 4th Street to West 8th Street, Harry and Darlene Walker answered the call to guide this lifesaving ship. The Gospel call now expanded to radio, with the broadcast of the Saturday night service along with a morning show called Breakfast Gems. The outreach expanded in the food pantry and clothing room. Meals were provided to those who came through the doors, not just those who were residents. And the seed of the Gospel continued to find soil upon which fruit would be yielded. Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross, redeemed the lives of many who sought shelter, but found a Savior.
WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S SHELTER COMES TO FRUITION
When God called Harry and Darlene back to the pulpit ministry in 1995, James and Patsy Scallions came to fill the void. All of their forerunners had a deep love for the Savior and the guests that they served, and this essential trait was integral to the lives of the Scallions. Expansion of the ministry to include a women and children’s shelter finally came to fruition in 1999. And a thrift store opened just a few years later. The Gospel declaration now fell upon the ears of more than just the adult male guests, and opportunity for prayer occurred regularly in all three ministry facilities. But best of all, the Lord continued to change the lives of all who had ears to hear.
In 2006, with a city edict to move the Mission to a new location, Harold Youtzy Jr. was called to continue the ministry of the Mission. Having served for over a decade as the board president, he was well acquainted with the ministry and, having been mentored by Harry Walker for this very position, he was humbled to accept the call. The move, in 2009, from West 8th Street to Bluff Street, brought a change to its name, taken from the sign affixed to the building while on Lower 4th Street, The Gospel Mission. The location now provides a campus environment, with all facilities within a block and a half. We know that change is constant, except for our God who changest not! The Word of God, which was central to this ministry at its founding, remains at its very core, for this is The Gospel Mission.
Pastor Paul Mahaffie first became active at the Mission over 20 years ago as a guest preacher. Feeling called to serve the Mission further, he joined the Board of Directors in 2014 and became a member of the Executive Board in 2016. When Harold was ready to take his next journey in life, Paul stepped in to become the Executive Director in 2018. With a strong foundation of faith and a background of business knowledge, Paul didn’t miss a beat as he oversaw the reopening of the Women and Children's Shelter, new Thrift Store locations in Morningside and South Sioux City, and the opening of The Gospel Mission Donation Center. He hopes to continue to expand the reach of the Mission and the services offered. We know God will continue to guide the Mission to carry out His will, for His glory, to save His children.