Nine years ago, Brian and I were dating and I was living with my parents… at Missionary Retreat Fellowship. Actually, right next door to where we’re living now. They had moved rather quickly from Montreal and ended up living here at MRF while they looked for and fixed up a home here in PA. We loved it here. Brian proposed to me at the end of spring break that year after spending the week here at MRF with my parents and me. Brian really wanted an outdoor wedding and I just couldn’t do it. So, we compromised and decided to have the wedding indoors and the reception outdoors. My father suggested we hold the reception here, at the pavilion at MRF. It was awesome! We loved it. And who would ever guess that almost eight years later, we’d be actually working and living here on the property? I have a feeling that on our 8th anniversary next month we will be celebrating in the field where we held our reception.
During Candidate Orientation, we took the typical tests to figure out what our spiritual gifts were. Brian’s was, obviously, servant. I figured mine would be something to do with teaching, but I was wrong. It ended up being hospitality – which, at the time, I didn’t even know was a spiritual gift! We were encouraged to utilize our gifts while in Peru and I remember brainstorming with our leaders at CO about how we could make that happen.
One of the highlights of our time in Peru was being one of the guest houses on campus. We built our home with three bedrooms and two baths for the express purpose of having visitors stay with us. And we loved it!! Oh, we loved it. We loved having people in, feeding them, talking with them, getting to know them, and making them feel welcome.
Here at MRF, our primary responsibility is the hospitality of the homes here. We need to make sure that the homes are ready for our guests – clean, organized, welcoming. We get to decorate them, furnish them, and keep them stocked and up to date. We have guests who stay one night and guests who stay a full year (or longer!). We have singles and we have entire families frequent these homes. We have to make sure that the home feels like “home” every single time it’s used, for every single family that walks through those doors. There would be nothing worse than traveling hours and hours from a foreign country after years away from the States, only to walk into a home you’re renting and find it messy, stinky, out-dated, and worn out. Missionaries give their lives helping others and giving of all they have to everyone around them, 24/7. The very, very least we can do here is give them a quasi-home to come to while they’re in the States. We try to keep everything – the furniture, towels, bedding, pots and pans – looking as fresh and new as possible so that our missionaries who give so much to others can feel like they’re not getting only the “second best” while they’re here.
Brian has been working hard on fixing up the oldest house on the property. It badly needed a face-lift! He has ripped out the old carpet in the entire house. Fixed holes in the walls (he even pulled a giant mouse nest out from the wall! Yuck!!) and repainted the entire house. He has sanded the hardwood flooring underneath the carpet and now he’s working (very slowly, thanks to the humidity!) on staining the floors. It’s been a labor-intensive job, but if you know Brian, you know he’s loved almost every second of it. 🙂 The house looks almost brand new!
Currently, we have missionaries here from Romania and Niger, with another family moving to Mexico in July (and subsequently having baby #2 within the month they move there!). We have two families checking in this week with one more coming next week. Busy summer!
We look forward to sharing with you about the families, the needs, and our life here at MRF.