Hospitality & Clean-Up

Way back in Candidate Orientation in 2007, we had to take a spiritual gifts test. Mine ranked highest in “hospitality,” which at the time I didn’t even realize was a spiritual gift! We were encouraged to make use of it, so while we were in Peru, we became one of the guest houses on the property. We had something like 15 people stay in our home during our first year. We loved having people in our home! It was a blast welcoming people to the country and making them feel at home with coffee and brownies.

We also came to see how much we enjoyed talking to people about missions and encouraging them into missions, whatever that looked like for them. Then, after being on the field for awhile, we saw the value in encouraging fellow missionaries. Some of the best encouragement we ever received was from others in ministry and we wanted to be able to pay it forward.

Here at MRF, we encounter missionaries and full-time ministry workers from all over the world, all walks of life, from all sorts of backgrounds and life experiences. Some arrive completely burnt-out and tired. Others are just starting out, energized and excited for what lies ahead. Some are needing a rest – time to be with family, in the quiet, to regroup, shop for supplies, go to the dentist, and head back to the field. Some want constant interaction; some desire to be left alone, in the quiet.

We make it a point to try to greet everyone who comes through and to get to know them as much as we’re able. With some families, it’s more conducive than with others. It’s easier for Brian to meet everyone since he’s out every single day and I’m home with three small children. But, as much as we both can, we make an effort to at least say hello and introduce ourselves. Sometimes we’re able to really make some good friends; other times, we stay barely acquaintances. We try to give people the space they need while being available if they would like that instead.

I have thrown a baby shower, taken women out to breakfast, had moms in my house with their children, counseled about support raising, listened to some crazy stories, and shared advice and encouragement as needed. Brian has done the same with the men – breakfast, encouragement, counseling, a listening ear. Now that I have one child in school and am no longer tied down with a newborn, my goal is to make sure I get to know all the women better and be more available to them.

Every resident who comes through has the responsibility of leaving the houses clean when they check out. We ask that beds be made, linens washed, dishes put away, and fridges cleaned out. However, there are times when families leave from here to other countries and we understand the rush of packing for a life overseas while trying to clean up a home here! It’s crazy stressful! We do our best to accommodate and help out as much as possible. We have basically not had to buy condiments for three years as many residents leave items with us (yellow mustard, anyone? I currently have four bottles and have never actually purchased it in 3 years!). If we know someone is leaving, say early in the morning, and they didn’t have time to do laundry, we’ll do laundry and make beds for them. We always enter the homes after residents check out and double-check that it really is clean (to our standards, which admittedly are pretty high) for the next resident.

Our desire is that no resident who stays here feels like they’re in a second-rate home. Everything is clean, as modern as possible, everything works, and most importantly – it feels like they’re the only ones who have ever stayed there. So, if a house hasn’t been rented for awhile, we enter the day before someone checks in and dust, check the WiFi and TV, turn on the fridge, hot water heater, and heat, and leave it unlocked so they can just go right in. While we both check homes, I am usually the one who does the cleaning and double-checking. Things like broken appliances and mice disposal (we do live in the woods!) fall under Brian’s jurisdiction.

Usually, we don’t need to do much deep-cleaning. It has happened! But thankfully it’s the exception and not the rule. *phew*

One thing I’m slowly working on (it was paused with BabyJ’s appearance!) is updating the homes. They really haven’t changed for a long time and are in need of some modernization. I’d like to put some new bedding in, new artwork, and new furniture and lamps. And by “new” I do mean “new-to-us”! It’s a slow process as sometimes I only have a week (or a day!) in between bookings to get into the houses and change things up. I have to wait until they’re open for a few weeks at least usually. But, as I’m able, I like to update. I’m currently looking for:

  • New bedding, particularly quilts/comforters for twin or queen beds. Plain colors OR fun quilts work best with coordinating (and all our walls are white).
  • Modern artwork. A lot of our pictures are quite old – sceneries that simply look dated (and not the “vintage” dated). I’d like to replace them with prettier, more modern artwork. Colorful, timeless, and a variety of sizes. Some go in children’s bedrooms, others are used in living room spaces.
  • Lamps! Oh, those are hard to come by! Even just lamp shades! A new lamp shade can go miles in updating a tired lamp.
  • We actually have an urgent need for a couple of sofas. They need to be smoke-free, preferably pet-free. Don’t need to be fancy, just comfy.
  • Outdoor toys and balls for kids. All the soccer, basketball, and baseballs are shot and could stand to be replaced. We have a small playground, but most of the little play houses are also at the end of their short lives! It’d be nice to get some new stuff for the kids if possible.

{This wraps up all the different ministries we’re involved in! I hope this helped you understand our life behind-the-scenes at MRF and with BCM. Now maybe you can pray for more specifically for us! If any of it resonates with you and you would like to be a part of our team, contact us! We’d love to chat with you about it if you need more info. Click here for part #1, part #2, part #3, and part #4.}


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Brian & Lisa

We are missionaries with Bible Centered Ministries International, living and serving in NEPA.

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