Robert W. (Bob) Pearson founded Horizon International in 2001. He is a man filled with hope who has a compassionate heart, one that beats on behalf of the Christian mission in the world, living out James 1:27 which tells us to care for the widows and orphans in distress. He has been referred to as a catalytic visionary and networker. He could see the needed future and find ways to gather people and funds and create the structures needed to get there.
After serving for many years as a pastor, state administrator, and national ministry director, Bob looked to the whole Christian community for the resources needed to address one of the greatest social tragedies of recent human history. He traveled to Africa and was given a vision by the Lord. It would have to be accomplished in spite of facing the corruption of several governments, dramatic inflation rates, food shortages, war, rampant disease, and the demanding need to change whole communities in order to protect, feed, and educate poverty-stricken children in desperate need.
Bob’s first trip to Africa came in the summer of 2001, the opening of a new millennium, century, and the eyes of a special servant of God. His mind went back to 1978 and his personal encounter with Mother Theresa and her Center for the Dying in Calcutta, India. If God still sat on the divine throne and truly loved “the least of these,” then there had to be hope somewhere on the horizon for the millions of helpless children in Africa. Bob decided to take responsibility to somehow fulfill this hope, at least in part.
God turned one man’s nerves into steel and enabled him to face impossible odds. He personally gathered a collection of outstanding African leaders in Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. He located thousands of compassionate American donors to support these leaders and the mass of children they would serve. He helped oversee the formation of local African organizations that would partner with Horizon while retaining significant local control. The different African cultures and leader dignities had to be understood and honored.
The amazing story of what followed in Horizon’s first dramatic years is detailed in the 2010 book Hope on the Horizon, written by Dr. Barry L. Callen, a lifelong friend of Horizon’s founder and the ministry’s corporate secretary from its beginning.