Lewis McClendon BCMN
Missionary apartments and homes are a huge blessing to missionaries. The following are a few of the comments I have received from missionaries regarding the mission apartments and homes churches have provided:
Missionary lodging provided by churches is a big money saver for the traveling missionary. Many of us live day- to-day on the road. Deputation necessitates that we launch out for extended tours to visit churches to raise the needed funds. Not having to pay for the basic necessity of lodging gets the missionary another step closer to their goal and makes for solid stewardship.
Mission apartments are always a special treat for us, as we get to have some privacy and relaxation, which is so rare during deputation. It is important for our marriage and stress levels.
Mission housing has been a great blessing to our family, especially when it has been a relaxing and inviting stay. The sacrifice churches make to love on us by allowing us to use their housing is so encouraging and refreshing. We have enjoyed many different types of apartments or housing in our three years of deputation. Some were uncomfortable to sleep in with the kids and some were inviting. It’s a rarity to find churches that still offer Mission Housing, and it’s even more rare to find those that are kept up.
I have deep gratitude for churches willing to provide houses and apartments to traveling missionaries. Hotel costs will eat you alive out on the road. As many churches are ceasing to provide this help to missionaries, those churches who do offer missionary housing are much appreciated.
I am sure if your church has a mission apartment or house you get a lot of requests from missionaries to stay in your mission housing. When I was pastoring we had a studio apartment and a two-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen. We had the privilege of hosting many missionaries. As a pastor, I wanted our mission apartments to be an uplifting experience for a missionary. I wanted their time with us to be a time when they could relax and thrive, and not a time they had to endure and find a way to survive. We made a lot of mistakes, and over the years we learned ways to improve a missionary’s stay with us.
Our first attempt to improve our missionary housing was by asking missionaries to critique our rooms. This kind of critique, however, did not always provide all the information we needed. Missionaries do not want to say anything negative about a supporting or potential supporting church. When I talked with the missionaries about our mission apartments, I let them know I was hoping to improve our apartments and would not be offended with anything they pointed out that needed improvement. The missionaries we talked to gave us some great ideas about improving their stay with us.
We also learned how to improve our mission housing when necessity required Karen and me to stay several nights in our mission apartment. We had to vacate our house for some repairs. We chose to stay at the church. We were there for several nights. When we moved back home, my wife had a list of things we needed to add to the apartments. Some improvements were small and some required some money. A few night’s stay in our apartment showed us our two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen complete with stove, refrigerator, sink, dishes, pots and pans lacked some simple things like a can opener. Walking through the missions apartments to look for any repairs or upgrades needed and staying in the apartment for several nights are two different things. Testing a chair for two minutes and sitting in a chair for two or three days, or sitting of the side of a bed for 30 seconds and sleeping in that bed for several nights, are two different things.
In blogs to come, we will talk about three areas to consider to improve a missionary’s stay in your missionary housing. We will talk about comfort, convenience and communication.