The International House Baltimore grew from the seeds of a Bible study for international students that met weekly in the home of Karl and Debbie Dortzbach starting in 2005. It was led by Takashi Yoshioka, who at the time was on faculty at Johns Hopkins. Often the gathering met when Karl and Debbie were in some distant part of the world, but their home was always open. Several times there were those who needed housing for the time they were studying in Baltimore.
In 2013 a house adjacent to the Dortzbachs was offered for sale by neighbors who been friends and long-time residents. But the house seemed an impossible dream in a bad economy, a high reverse mortgage, and a short sale with a bank that was defunct. For nearly ten months Takashi pursued the property and at the end of 2013 succeeded in arranging for its purchase.
Extensive renovations were required, so another Dortzbach friend of many years who had just retired as a carpenter gave his time for nine months to help Karl in the gut-rehabilitation of the house. Many prayed for the potential for ministry and for future residents.
The first residents arrived in September 2014, and included Aubrey Bauck, our first “resident assistant” who grew up in the Philippines and felt called to help create a living community for internationals. An oversight committee for the ministry of the house was established by the end of 2014 and included all internationals who themselves had come to the US as students.
Multiple students moved through the International House. An operations and ministry committee was formed from interested internationals.