In 1970, U.S. missionaries Arthur and Inge Haring, along with their 4 daughters, came to Paraná with some teenagers from the boys’ orphanage, which had already been established by the Apostolic Christian Church (Nazarean) in Nepomuceno, Minas Gerais. Their purpose was to found an orphanage in Entre Rios on a farm that had been donated by Jakob Lay. This farm originally belonged to the Piotto Family and in an exchange of land, ended up in Jakob’s possession. He donated it indicating that he requested it be used for work with children or senior citizens.
Permission was requested of the government of the State of Paraná to found a children's home on the land, but the authorization was denied, stating that any new orphanage should not include children from another state, since Paraná already had a very large number of children and teenagers whose families could not care for them.
The teenage boys returned to Minas Gerais with Arthur and his family, and permission was once again requested to open an orphanage on the land donated by Jakob Lay; this time permission was granted. Canaan Land Ministries was founded on December 7, 1973. In 1974, the American couple Ken and Hope Pflederer took over the leadership of the home. They had two children born in Brazil.
Canaan Land Ministries became an important reference in caring for children and teenagers without family in the Guarapuava area. The first child received at CLM was Bernadette, a teenage girl who arrived through the District Juvenile Judge. CLM was founded as a girls-only orphanage.
In 1981, Mary Evelyn Gibson, a single U.S. missionary, came to minister along with Ken and Hope, working together until 1983, when the couple returned to the United States. With their departure, Timothy and Francine Brower came from the U.S. to take over as directors. They had already been in Brazil ministering in the orphanage in Nepomuceno for a year, where they had adopted 2 children, Priscila and Josiah. Tim and Fran remained in the leadership until 1996, when they returned to the United States.
Photo of the CLM Home in the early 1980s
During Tim and Fran’s time at CLM, the institution identified the problem of separating siblings, since CLM was accepting only girls. Therefore, the institution decided to open its doors to boys as well, and in March 1990, the first boy arrived at CLM (Antoninho Barbosa). Within the same week, two more boys arrived, all sent by the judge in the city of Pinhão, Paraná. With the arrival of the three boys and others who arrived in the following months, remodeling of the house was begun.
Two hallways were built, one for the girls and one for the boys, with a caregiver living in each corridor. The hallways were separated by the dining hall. The remodeling was done in stages.
In 1996, with Tim and Fran’s return to the United States, Mary Gibson assumed the presidency of the Institution, and remained in that position for the next 15 years.
During the next few years, the CLM staff identified a need to help the older teens become independent and find their place in life after completing high school, or when they left CLM. In order to help them with this transition, the CLM Plus program was developed. CLM Plus aims to help those who are leaving CLM during their transition years so that they can slowly become more independent outside the Institution, studying and working with support, encouragement, and financial support as needed. Thanks to this program, young people from CLM have graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Administration, Social Work, Elementary Education, and Administrative Assistant, as well as vocational degrees in areas such as hospitality, nurses’ assistant, massage, and cosmetology.
In 2000, a second renovation of the main building was completed, including the construction of a second floor with living room (family room) and areas for study, music, and crafts.
In 2004, Mr. Paulo Naiverth donated a piece of land in Turvo, Paraná. He donated it to CLM for the purpose of starting another children’s home similar to the one already functioning in Entre Rios. This project was requested by the City of Turvo because of the great need that the city had with the children and teens of their community. Construction was completed in 2006, and the home began to welcome children and teens from Turvo and surrounding towns.
In 2011, the leadership of the Institution passed to Kevin and Elaine King, who at the beginning of their time at CLM had just two children. During their 5 years in Brazil, they adopted three children, all of them siblings. During this period, Kevin initiated a change in the care system of the Institution, which until then was an orphanage-style system with up to 35 children at a time living in two hallways. After studying international tendencies toward smaller-group care models, he instituted a system that he called family groups, that is, the children lived in the homes of the caregivers, with each couple of caregivers responsible for a maximum of 8 children, similar to a group home with house parents that reside in it. Parts of the main house were adapted to serve as apartments for these groups.
In 2015, with the return of the King Family to the United States, a Brazilian Executive Board was formed, currently under the leadership of President Anderson Kasnocha.
Since then, the institution has undergone several changes, fine-tuning the system of family groups (group homes with resident caregivers) to provide the CLM children with a welcoming environment as similar as possible to a two-parent family. This included remodeling 4 of the homes around the main building during 2017 in order to adequately accommodate the CLM children and resident caregivers in single-family homes.
The institution's focus continues to prepare each child for a successful future and help them make their dreams come true. This includes opportunities to participate in the youth work program in Entre Rios or Guarapuava and to take vocational courses, as well as day-to-day activities accompanied by caregivers dedicated to the well-being of the children/teens.