About Us

History of God's Helping Hands, Inc.

In 1972, Bob and Shirley Friedl prayed the verse found in Colossian 4:3, “…that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ.” The first door was opened when Bob started doing chalk programs while Kent Wray did storytelling for Rural Bible Ministries(RBM). Soon after that Shirley began traveling with Bob to be the storyteller. The second door was opened when RBM Ministries asked Bob to design a serpent puppet for the Creation series they were writing. Everything fell into place when Bob and Shirley and their children were confined to the house for 11 days because of a blizzard. Every night as a family they would watch the “Muppets” on TV for ideas. Then Bob sketched and designed the serpent puppet as well as many others. god's helping hand puppet

god's helping hands bus

"...a school bus was donated,
-- the “pickle”..."

By adding puppets to the already established chalk ministry, Bob and Shirley’s schedule was quickly filled. Many hands are needed for puppets; so their children, Bob Jr., Brian, and Renee, were also a part of the first puppet team. It wasn’t too long before their schedule became so busy that it was interfering with Bob’s work at RBM Ministries. After much prayer, they recognized that their next step of faith was to resign from RBM Ministries. In 1980, Bob and Shirley stepped out in faith and began the full-time ministry of God’s Helping Hands.

In the very early days of traveling, a tent provided their home away from home. Next came a pop-up camper! In order to have a better way to haul equipment and still have a place to eat and sleep, a school bus was donated -- the “pickle,” as it was lovingly named. In 1985 God provide a 1957 GMC. Since then, God has added a 1966 Motor coach, a 1995 motor home and a 1985 Eagle.

In the beginning, the office and workshop of GHH were located in the Friedl’s home. As the ministry grew, it continued to consume more and more of their home until it took over the basement, living room, dining room and kitchen. They received a little relief when they moved part of the ministry into a site office trailer and brought in two semi-trailers to be used as storage and a workshop in front of their home. In 1997 the ministry moved into our current location that is able to house our offices, workshop and bus garage. This project began in 1991 and was completed under Jeff’s direction with the help of many volunteers. It was by God’s grace that needed funds continued to come in until the building was completed. Praise the Lord! We moved into our new office building with no mortgage hanging over our heads. god's helping hands puppets

god's helping hands puppet show

Over the years, GHH has added missionaries to its staff to help keep up with the needs of the ministry. The current staff includes Jeff and Robin Awe, who in 1986 became the second traveling team and went from “just helping Mom and Dad to full-time status." In October of 2006 Nicole Bielawski, Juliana Carlson and Chris and Amber Knobloch became missionary appointees and began to raise their support.

We have also had employees who have come and gone that have meant so much to the ministry. They include Jeff Lilge, Kathy Henson, Mike and Kathy Frodahl, Eric and Angie Smith, Steve and Rhonda McPeck, and Norma Bales.

Another area of our ministry is the follow-up program. In the early years of GHH, Audrey McCormick began our follow-up ministry. Then Shirley Brown took over and remained a faithful servant for 17 years. Her retirement came just as Bob and Shirley’s travels began slowing down. It is now Shirley Friedl’s privilege to handle the follow-up lessons and to enjoy the personal contact with the kids.
Sometimes it is hard to believe the thousands and thousands of miles our vehicles have managed to take us. We have done programming in churches both large and small, camps, nursing homes, Christian Schools and open air events. God has given us many different opportunities to share the love of Jesus from Kid’s Crusades in California to Family Crusades in Maine; from VBS in the inner-city of Chicago to an orphanage in Mexico. Since the inception of GHH, the teams have traveled to a total of 31 states, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela and have done programs in English as well as Spanish. Young and old alike have enjoyed the spiritual lessons taught through the puppets, music and chalk programs. Consequently, GHH is referred to as a ministry to “children of all ages.” We marvel as we see lives changed as a result of individuals accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. All of us at GHH have been blessed by individuals like you who have become our friends and prayer warriors. Please pray with us that the “door of utterance” would remain open so we can continue to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost.