Tucked away in a residential neighborhood in northeast Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a ministry that has served an important role in the lives of hundreds of missionaries, Christian workers, and other believers for nearly eighty years. Rest Haven Homes is a unique, faith-based Home for the Aged that provides its residents a safe, engaging, and Christ-centered living environment that can adapt to their changing needs.
It was October 1941 when Rest Haven Homes began to care for their first resident. Times were hard, and with no one to care for her, a single, invalid saint was facing a move to a poor farm. Aware of this great need, several men from various local assemblies were stirred to find a home and caretakers to provide twenty-four-hour care. The ministry was incorporated in 1943 and recognized by the IRS as a non-profit, charitable organization, overseen by a Board of Directors of men and women from various assemblies who have a heart to serve. Rest Haven Homes is a private-pay facility, does not receive any funding from federal or state programs, and relies solely on the Lord to meet its financial needs.
The assembly ministry started in a rural dwelling north of Grand Rapids, Michigan but was only able to care for two residents. As the need grew, the ministry purchased a stately home on the west side of Grand Rapids and relocated the ministry. The “Fourth Street” location became home to many women over the following twenty years. Growth happened again in June 1944 when the ministry purchased a home in Spring Lake, Michigan with an agreement to care for the previous owner. The “Spring Lake” residence became home to men and women who enjoyed the lakefront property.
With health department and fire regulations increasing, it became overly burdensome to maintain the two residential homes. A new home was built in the heart of Grand Rapids, opening its doors in October 1963, and welcoming nearly twenty residents from the other homes. With six acres, the ministry had room to grow and over the years new additions, renovations and forty-eight independent-living apartments were added. Residents come from across the country and from the foreign field to live in the home. Residents receive varying levels of care which can be adapted as their needs change.
Rest Haven Homes is a licensed Home for the Aged, providing both low and high care services that include secure memory care. Our services include assistance with medication management, meals, housekeeping, laundry, attendance with baths or showers, and a full complement of supportive needs for any activity of daily living. We currently are licensed for eighty-six beds and employ approximately eighty-five staff members. Rest Haven Homes has a ratio of approximately one staff member to one resident to provide the highest quality of service for the daily physical, mental and spiritual needs of the residents.
Meals are served family-style in two dining rooms and alternate menu items are always available. Each week there are Bible studies, hymn sings, a Breaking of Bread service, and a variety of activities to keep minds and bodies active. Residents’ artwork decorates the walls of the facility and there are several cozy sitting areas where residents, staff and loved ones can interact with others to play games, do puzzles, or enjoy fellowship. The home hosts regular family-oriented events throughout the year to ensure that loved ones are integrated into the residents’ enrichment activities. In addition, there are many beautiful gardens on the grounds which provide peaceful areas for the residents and their families to enjoy God’s creation.
The longest residing resident is nearing twenty-eight years and several staff have served twenty-five years or more. Rest Haven Homes is also blessed to have many volunteers helping with our services. Volunteers help with enrichment activities, meals, entertainment, and gardening. These generous people serve out of a love for the residents and a love for the home and its mission: “by love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). The home’s outstanding reputation is founded on conservative Christian faith and great individualized care for each resident.
After almost sixty years, Love Wing, where the highest level of physical and cognitive needs is met, had significant and antiquated design, structural and mechanical issues. Renovation and repairs were no longer a viable option and after much prayer and consideration, the Board of Directors approved construction of a new high-care wing. Ground was broken in early summer 2020 and construction is well under way. In Phase 1, which should be complete in Fall 2021, a new Love Wing is being built next to the existing wing with new independent apartments on the second floor. After the current Love Wing residents are safely moved to their new environment, Phase 2 will raze most of the existing Love Wing and a new assisted living wing will be built with additional independent apartments on the second floor.
When the project is completed, the new facility will include new and expanded dining rooms, private rooms, a well-equipped nursing station, a separate activity room in Love Wing, additional courtyards, a large laundry room and additional places to visit with family and friends. The new Love Wing will have advanced systems to protect the residents who enjoy walking for exercise and a sophisticated communication system which will allow the nursing staff to quickly meet the needs of the residents.
The completed building will be able to house a growing senior population, with rising acuity needs in a more efficient and comfortable manner. It will also allow expanded ability to serve residents with memory care needs. Much has changed throughout the history of Rest Haven Homes, but some things remain the same. The home is committed to providing high-quality care in a Christ-centered environment. The most important priority in the ministry is the residents who find a caring home in an environment that seeks to honor the Lord and a team of staff willing to serve from a heart of love. The overall desire is to help each resident finish their life journey well. “To the extent that you did it for the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me” (Matt. 25:34-40).
To learn more about Rest Haven Homes and how you can get involved, visit our website at https://resthavenhomes.com. To find out about what’s currently happening at the Home, visit us on Facebook!