On Wednesday, the 30th, we left Pennsylvania, headed down to Dixie's sunny shores. Well, not to the shore, but to south of the Mason-Dixon where it is definitely a little warmer than the 15 degrees we left behind! We drove about 13 hours that day so it was a LONG day, but what awaited us at the end of the road was worth it!
Years ago God gave the owners a vision to provide a place of quiet and rest for weary souls. They had been in the pastorate and knew how tired missionaries can get, both on the field and while traveling around on home assignment. So they promised the Lord that He could use them to help take care of missionaries. So they give missionaries on home assignment and pastors two complimentary nights at their bed and breakfast, the Whitestone Inn in the middle-of-nowhere Tennessee. Here is the entrance....you drive through the barn and our suite was in the barn. But don't get the wrong impression! We didn't sleep on straw or share a stall with cattle. Definitely not! We basked beside the fire, relaxed in the hot tubs and in the spa shower (which I definitely liked better than the hot tub.....I wouldn't mind having a spa shower in my house!). After the bath or shower you could wear one of the specially provided robes and lounge around in comfort. Because we had five people in our group (Suzanne's friend, Tam, was with us) we got a large suite. We had a living area and kitchen, a bedroom, where John and I stayed, and large bathroom, and a loft with a king size bed, where Suzanne and Tam stayed) and another bathroom. Daniel slept on the pull-out couch by the fire.
A sumptious breakfast was served in the "Farmhouse" which in addition to a dining room houses a rec room, more guestrooms, and a library. Several times during the day we went out for walks. Unfortunately it was a grey, drizzly day, but it didn't keep us inside. I can see that the Whitestone Inn would be a great place in the spring, summer, or fall. There are horses in the pasture, a Victorian-style building, a chapel (a great place for weddings), a rose cottage, and a school house (guest registration and gift shop are housed there). Across the road there are Highlands Cattle and one can walk on trails through the woods. Everywhere are benches, hammocks, and swings and in warmer months you can go out on canoes and play croquet.
Every room is decorated according to the theme of song birds. Wherever you look there are little nooks decorated in the theme of the Inn. Our room was the Sparrow Suite. My favorite picture in the suite was this one near the front door. It is a picture of Jesus' hands holding some sparrows. Around the edge of the picture are written the words from Matthew 10:31: "So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Those words and that thought are not new to me, but they touched me deeply all over again (God's Word has a way of doing that!). What a great reminder. Why do I worry? Why do I fret? Why do I get annoyed? Think about it!!!! Jesus cares about the sparrows and He cares about me even more. He holds me in His hand. So why do I worry? One of the worries missionaries always face is getting their support. We had recently lost some support: mainly older people on reduced income or some people who are out of work. So it was a worry how we were going to make up that support. Then, while we were staying at Whitestone Inn, we got an e-mail from a church letting us know that they will be able to increase our support! Indeed, why do I worry?? This is the verse I want to keep in mind for 2010. "So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." God used Whitestone Inn, a place of peace, to remind me to be at peace and to not worry.