World Gospel Outreach was founded in January of 1984 by G. Allen and Dona Danforth.
An extraordinary man of God who exuded an encouraging and positive outlook regardless of the circumstances he faced, Danforth’s love for children and his unflagging belief that every child had incredible potential if nurtured in his or her faith and love for God, deeply marked the work of World Gospel Outreach.
In 1984, Mr. Danforth was a businessman who went on a mission trip bringing large amounts of food to starving people in Africa. As he was returning from this trip, Danforth felt God speaking to him about his responsibility to care for the problems he had witnessed firsthand.
Not long after that experience, a prominent figure in the Honduran government called him with a request to help the people in that country. After touring the most severely poverty-stricken areas, he agreed to help but with one condition—that he be given unrestricted ability to tell the people he served about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Amazingly, the government official agreed, leaving Danforth with huge questions about how he would now provide what he had promised.
He contacted those who had provided the food for his earlier African trip and was given a promise of rice. Thinking it was a few hundred pounds, he was surprised to learn that it was several boxcar loads of the grain! He now had to find warehouse space for that much food. At just the right time, Danforth was offered short-term space in an adequate storage facility, but a concern quickly developed over how he would fund more warehouse space and the shipping of the grain. In spite of the snowballing problems, he trusted God to provide for these needs.
Soon Danforth began having dreams about bananas. One night he awoke and finally understood the startling significance of his dreams. Some called Honduras the original Banana Republic because its only marketable product was bananas. Ships carried that fruit to the US every day, but because Honduras was so poor and purchased very little from the world, those ships returned to Honduras empty. He realized this was the means by which God intended him to get the rice to Honduras.
Danforth was concerned about making transportation arrangements before the warehouse housing the rice had to be emptied. After determining that the banana production company was the Standard Fruit & Steamship Company, which is now known as Dole Foods, he decided to call the company. Expecting to deal with several secretaries and receptionists before getting to the president, in faith, he placed the call. When the phone was answered he was surprised to learn he had reached the president of the company. A glitch in the PBX system routed his call directly to the president’s desk, bypassing all possible roadblocks.
He carefully explained the situation to the president, who said it was true that the ships returned from the US empty. He agreed to allow Danforth to ship his grain to the poor but said that it would have to be at no expense to the company.
This condition required a meeting with the shipping manager and his personnel to ensure that labor costs were covered. Allen traveled to the port to meet the manager who was very new to the company. When Danforth told the man what he needed, the manager began to weep. Between sobs he explained that he had just taken the job a few days earlier and had been praying and asking God how he could give thanks for his new job. He met with his stevedores and enlisted their help. The rice was successfully loaded—first on, and later, off the ship!
By carefully listening and faithfully following God’s leading in this extraordinary situation, Allen Danforth brought much needed food to the people of Honduras. His reputation with the Honduran people was cemented and his word became golden to them. World Gospel Outreach was the first non-profit organization to be granted tax exempt status by the Honduran Government —a situation that enabled him and Dona to invite others to join the ministry in Honduras. Soon the feeding program grew to medical help and more. Both the givers and the grateful recipients grew in their understanding of God’s love and grace as they worked together to meet needs.
In time, the ministry was given the name World Gospel Outreach and many more significant aspects were developed. God continued to work miraculously through the work and personnel of WGO, rescuing lives, transforming communities, saving young people from poverty, disease and hopelessness and surprising everyday people with the profound call to serve in a tiny Central American nation. Most report an incredible blessing of experiencing the very real presence and guidance of God as they watch Him do incredible things through WGO.