For well over half a century Willie Jordan has been giving help and hope to lost, hurting, impoverished children, men, and women all over the world. She is internationally recognized for her experience and knowledge in the fields of poverty, hunger, homelessness, domestic violence and children’s issues. She has served the poor from the mean streets of Skid Row to war-torn Korea; from the jungles of Mexico to the congested cities of Asia, and from California’s migrant farm-laborers to Ghana and Liberia, Africa’s teeming millions.
As host of Fred Jordan Missions’ weekly television program since 1951, and the speaker on its daily two-minute radio program, she shares the needs of a hurting world, and challenges her listeners to follow the example of Jesus, who was “moved with compassion,” when He saw the needy multitudes. He gave Himself, the Bread of Life, to satisfy man’s deepest need; then Jesus fed the hungry and healed the sick, becoming the supreme model of what humanity is to be.
At the age of 13 Willie felt called of God to share His love with a hurting world, and at 15 she began speaking and teaching personal soul winning in churches around the Southland, and once out of high school, she traveled throughout the nation, challenging young people to give their lives to serve the Lord by serving others.
Her commitment to God and her passion for the lost soon took her to nations around the world. While in Korea shortly after the close of the war, she came upon a baby who had fallen into an open fire while his mother searched the nearby hillsides for roots to boil for his nourishment. Willie rushed the child to a makeshift hospital, but watched helplessly as the child died. The course of her life changed, as she realized that “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.”
She came back to the States, raised the funds, and returned to Korea seven months later to supervise the construction of an orphanage, keeping the commitment she had made to God, and to suffering Korean children in that makeshift hospital. More than half a century later, that orphanage has become one of the largest in Korea, caring for more than 500 mentally retarded and physically handicapped children.
When Willie met her future husband, Fred Jordan, it was their shared commitment to giving the Bread of Life to hungry hearts, and giving bread and other physical help to hungry bodies that drew them together. Through the years they shared God’s love from the streets of Skid Row, to the far corners of the world, building orphanages, schools, mission stations and churches in Japan, Liberia, Hong Kong, Argentina, Taiwan, Mexico, and Ghana.
With Fred’s death in 1988, Willie continued the work they had shared, becoming the only female president of a Skid Row-based Mission that is one of the most dynamic inner city ministries in the nation - - the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 1944 by her late husband, Fred, the Mission provides the “daily bread” for nearly 1000 poor and hungry children, mothers and men, serving hot meals in the Mission’s dining room and in Emergency Family Food bags. The Mission also provides new Back-to-School Clothing and supplies for thousands of children; baby diapers, formula, clothing and daily necessities; Summer Camps for children; Inner city Park Camps for children and families; Men’s Rehab and Discipleship programs; Daily Emergency blankets and clothing and Daily Bible studies and Chapel services.
The Mission's Holiday Celebrations in the Streets are legendary, serving up to 20,000 needy families in a single day, providing food, clothing, toys, hygiene products, blankets, and so much more. Some of the nation’s major corporations partner with the Mission to serve the poor – Foot Locker, Guess? Inc., In-N-Out Burger, Disney, Redken, the Federal Reserve Bank, Galpin Ford, MTA, Sears, Lucky Brand, Deloitte, Paul Mitchell, the Teamster’s Union, and dozens more. Schools, universities, and churches also join with the Mission in touching hurting souls, and each Celebration attracts well known politicians and renowned celebrities who want to be part of the good work the Mission is doing.
The Mission's Outreach events are carried around the world by every American television network, as well as by TV crews from Japan, Norway, the Netherlands and Taiwan. This past year more than 200 separate television segments showed to the world the good work - - God’s work - - being done by Fred Jordan Mission, in partnership with caring individuals, churches, schools and corporations. The media coverage is so frequent and so favorable that Willie and her children have become personal friends with many of the TV reporters and crews through the years. In fact, when the crews arrive on Skid Row to cover one of the Mission’s events, they often say, “You’re still here, still doing good!”
The mother of seven children, Willie couldn’t be more pleased that most of her children have chosen to serve God through serving others. “We took our children to Skid Row from the time they were 4-weeks-old, and it certainly didn’t hurt them. In fact, when our daughter, Mei Ling was eleven, she wrote a school essay titled, ‘I Grew up on Skid Row.’ Taking our children with us to Skid Row throughout their childhood brought the results Fred and I always prayed for – our children love God, and they have compassion for people in need.”
Willie’s greatest joy comes from the thanks she sees in the eyes of those who know she cares. “The future is unlimited,” she often exclaims. Then she adds with her irrepressible humor, “When you commit yourself without reservation to serving God by serving the poor, you have an enormous advantage - - virtually no competition!”