“It’s a privilege that God is allowing us to use this place to minister to others,” Joy McClain says. “And it’s so fitting that we’re able to do it where I grew up, and where my family came to rest and restore during those years. I’ve had this vision for a long time, and it’s coming true.”
Joy can hardly contain her passion as she and her husband, Mark, sit in the shelter her father built and Mark recently restored.
“We made more room for our needs when people come and meet here,” Mark explains. “And we installed used cabinets I fixed so we can serve food here as well.”
Joy is proud of what her husband, with the help of countless volunteers, has accomplished in remodeling the shelter and making other improvements on the property. But it’s the mission that really gets her excited.
“Our goal is to do God’s will, and do it in his time, not ours,” she says. “It’s exciting to see people come here who haven’t been exposed to agriculture and nature, get excited, do volunteer work, share and leave refreshed.”
Vision becomes reality
For years Joy wondered if her vision would be fulfilled. Things began to take shape as Mark recovered from alcoholism and developed a passion for the vision, as well. “We didn’t have any money to do this with, and we were renting a house,” Joy explains. At one point, they even lived in a basement.
“My mother decided to sell part of the farm. Originally, she was selling the field north of us, asking $74,000. Mark and I and others prayed that we could find the money to buy the land for the ministry. Privately, I prayed for $75,000, so we would have a little left to get started.”
It wasn’t long before friends who had worked with the McClains before, unaware of their immediate needs, told them they wanted to give $75,000 toward the Rest and Restore ministry. “We knew it was God’s hand at work,” Joy recalls.
Through a chain of circumstances, not only were they able to buy the land for $74,000, they were also able to buy the parcel with the pond, shelter and natural setting, tailor-made for the ministry, instead of the original parcel Joy’s mom intended to sell. Coincidence? Not likely, they believe.
“It’s been a lot of work mowing, planting trees and shrubs, and doing all kinds of things, but we’ve had great volunteer helpers,” Joy says. “And seeing people who need help come here and enjoy it has made it worth it.”
Is the vision complete? No, Joy says. “Our next big need is for a cabin so that people could stay all night and be here for longer enrichment sessions at one time,” she says.
If it is supposed to happen, Joy believes it will. “On God’s time table, not ours,” she concludes.
Learn more at restandrestore.org.