Lewis McClendon BCMN
Three keys for great missionary housing.
1. Keep it simple
When you check into a motel room, your most pressing need is where are we going to put
everything? You want a place for all the things you bring into the room. Then you want a comfortable chair to sit in and a comfortable bed to sleep on. A room with too much furniture or decoration hinders those goals. The decoration on the dresser or desk looks good, but shelf space can be more appreciated than decoration. Think through how many people can stay in the housing you provide for missionaries, and then bring all the necessary items that a missionary would bring in to that room. How many suitcases will fit in the room; is there a counter or folding luggage rack to put them on? Is there enough space on the desks and dressers to hold the computer bag, hand luggage and the other items missionaries bring into the room? Is there adequate room to hang up clothes, and are there coat hangers and skirt hangers? Is there enough counter space for toiletries in the bathroom?
Also, guard your mission housing from becoming the church storage room. Many times the housing has adequate space, but when the room becomes the go-to storage area for the church, a missionary finds all the drawers, closets and counter tops are full and unavailable for them.
2. Keep it sanitized
I can remember when I was growing up that there was no such thing as Expedia to make reservations in advance or chain motels you could trust. When we traveled, we drove all day, and when it was time to stop for the night, my parents had to stop at a motel that looked like it was in their price range, go to the office and get a key to check out the room before making a decision to stay at that motel. If the room did not look clean and smell clean, or the plumbing leaked, we did not stay at that motel. Missionaries do not have that option with the housing churches provide. They stay whether it looks and smells clean or not. When a missionary walks into your missionary housing, above all else they are hoping the room is clean and inviting: no spider webs or mouse droppings, fresh bedding and towels, and clean floors and counter tops. If you provide food, is it in unopened packages and within the use-by date?
3. Keep it sterilized
COVID-19 has definitely changed our world. The decorating and cleaning we used to do is not enough anymore. True sterilizing includes both what goes in the room and the depth of the cleaning done. Everything that goes on a bed needs to be sterilized. In the past, the sheets and the pillowcases would be washed, but nothing was done with the blankets, bedspread, and decorative pillows. Now everything that goes on a bed needs to be sterilized, including washable mattress and pillow protectors. That may mean less decoration on the bed and everywhere else in the room. It may also mean changing the current blankets and bedspreads to ones that can be washed often.
Missionaries really do appreciate any church that provides housing for them. When we go the extra mile and make the improvements these three keys address, we will give our missionaries a nice surprise that will cause them to appreciate staying at your church even more.
The next blog will address the issue of communication regarding your missionary housing.