Joy McClain had a vision. It took 20 years to realize that vision and create a real place where people can come and be restored. She says it’s been worth the wait.
“I’ve had this vision of creating a place where we can use the setting of agriculture to teach people and do ministry work,” McClain says. “To me, it’s only natural that agriculture, and spiritual rest and healing go together. It’s been a long journey, but we’re on our way. We have a peaceful place surrounded by a working farm where people can come and rest, relax, learn, share and be restored.”
It’s not agritourism — people who come are not charged. And it’s not farming — while the surrounding land, owned by McClain’s mother, is farmed, Rest and Restore is an oasis within a farm, with a pond, trees and open space. This one-of-a-kind location is a place McClain believes can help people who need to get away from everyday concerns.
“My husband, Mark, and I want this to be a place where couples come to learn and share together as a group and enrich their marriage, and for people with marital struggles to come, as well,” she adds. “It’s a place where a pastor can come who needs to get away and have time to him or herself. People with all kinds of needs can come here, and they have already come.
“We’ve had many come here who’ve led troubled lives to help work and improve the surroundings. They’re so grateful just to be where they can do something constructive. We hope they leave here each time recharged.”
Where the vision began
McClain grew up on the farm where Rest and Restore is located. She is one of five children and was always drawn to the farm. Her father, Joe, now deceased, took family, faith and farming seriously. McClain credits him with helping plant the seeds for her vision.
“He loved church, and even though he worked hard, he understood the importance of rest and family time,” she says. “He built the pond in the center of our property largely by himself, using a John Deere tractor and front-end loader. He also built the small shelter. He loved to invite people to come here and rest and enjoy the place with us. Those lessons stayed with me.”
McClain and her husband have been married 30 years and have four children. They’ve had plenty of their own struggles, with Mark suffering through two bouts of alcoholism. Some of their children and grandchildren have endured serious health issues, and their youngest son, Luke, still deals with severe emotional issues from the trauma he suffered during his early years in a Ukrainian orphanage.
McClain writes the Joy’s Reflections column for Indiana Prairie Farmer and has shared her family’s trials and triumphs. As her husband recovered from his first battle with alcoholism, she wrote the book “Waiting for his heart: Lessons from a wife who chose to stay,” which is still available on Amazon. She also helped form Bloom, a nonprofit ministry.
“As Mark recovered this [second] time, he began to share my vision for this place, and we formed Rest and Restore as a nonprofit organization, which is part of Bloom,” McClain explains.
Rest and Restore held its first open house in July 2017. McClain insists it’s more than a place; it’s a ministry. Visit restandrestore.org.