BYRON has had an amazing and busy year! Last August, as we prayed and asked about the upcoming season, a very clear word came: “It’s Building Season and it will be a high learning curve year! If you choose not to embrace this, you will have a longer season of maintenance than you’ll be comfortable with.” When you’re out mowing and praying in the zone, you blurt out things like “YES! We’re in!” Over time, as that learning curve aspect comes more into the picture you start to feel overwhelmed! HA! But it’s so amazing that God gave us the heads-up months before, so we know that He will see it all through. And there are building plans.
Let’s have a look at what’s been going on in the past year… The stats tell the story: In 2018 we hosted 45 guests from 5 nations including 26 missionaries from YWAM and 3 interns! Of those 45 guests, many were from our homeland of Switzerland, some from the USA. Wow! It’s everything from friends who come and spend time with us while touring the larger New York/Philadelphia area, to someone who needs one night in the Manger (room in the Barn) to pray and be with the Lord, to who knows what!? We had 7 Evensong & Feast’s, 18 Sunday Gatherings, 27 Home Group Meetings, 8 Gent Events, 5 Faith Art & Culture Events (including our annual Harvest Fest and our 1st Art Gallery) where we draw people from our local community and from farther afield. BYRON has definitely become known as a ministry of hospitality! It was wonderful to have everyone here and we have many touching and very fun memories of 2018.
Interns – We had the privilege of simultaneously hosting an Intern from Germany, and one from Switzerland plus a non-live-in Intern from Princeton Seminary (whose wife is Swiss. No joke). It was amazing to see these precious folks jump out, take risks, grow, and leave with a medal of sorts. It’s always an honor to journey with someone and get your hands dirty together in practical and spiritual ways. Aside from their personal journeys, they are submerged into this pool of community and visitors and cooking and hard work and hospitality. It’s a very special time and we see clearly that this area of Interns will and should continue.
YWAM – We had the pleasure of hosting a team of Circuit Riders twice and getting to know Brad and Tory La Chapelle who lead these teams through the college campuses of the North East. We are so excited and grateful for what they deposit in this territory and we love their hearts! It was lovely to share time with them alone in April and hear the glory stories.
Gent Events – These nights have become a standard here at BYRON and a real place for guys to meet up and be together. Tom always encourages the guys to get involved with a “passion.” They don’t just try to find stuff to do, but rather they do cool stuff lead by a guy who is already up to his ears in that particular thing and he passes on his love and skill to the others. There’s been archery, beer brewing (which lasted 3 months – Mix, brew and drink) and other great stuff.
Guests – We continue to have guests from Switzerland and Germany as well as other places in the USA. We just had some old friends from Switzerland come and visit who we’ve been close with since the ICF days, as well as Corinne’s family from Geneva. At the moment we are hosting a friend whose family is moving up to the area in order to be part of the BYRON Fellowship and ministry! They are from Pennsylvania and we are all so excited to have these friends closer and be a full part of what’s going on at BYRON.
Legacy Creative Events – Last Summer a cool thing happened; we hosted a wedding reception! Corinne and Thomas were talking about the next season coming up; come September, all the kids would be in school for a full day and Corinne was praying about a good job – a job that could be done while the kids were in school, that could make use of her odd set of skills, and wouldn’t conflict with BYRON but would, maybe even, bless the ministry as well as the family. This is happening! Corinne has started a business called Legacy Creative Events to host special events in the Barn. Weddings, special Birthday parties, Mitzvah’s, graduation… as well as creative workshops like Flow Painting, wreath making, beer bread, and more! While the large functions take place in their own right, the smaller workshops can fill in the gaps. We’ve already had a huge 50th birthday party with a band flown out from CA, two weddings booked and two Barn tours in July. Corinne has been busy bringing the details of the business together in the Barn and also on paper/website. Check out her FB page Legacy Creative Events!
The South – God has opened up friendships in the South with other creatives in ministry and we are so blessed. Some old friends of Corinne’s family have become friends of ours and we are so blessed that John and Mary Ann Heiss continually come to visit, call us up, open their home to us, and invite us into crazy fun stuff! We are taking opportunities to partner with our friend, Stephen Roach (pod-caster of Makers and Mystics, head honcho of The Breath and The Clay) for various events in the North East and who knows where else? The Breath and The Clay has been a true source of encouragement and relationship-opener for us. We are planning a time with Kamran and Suzy Yaraei soon and look forward popping open some of heavens doors with them!
Flood – In February, while Tom was in Israel, we had what we now refer to as The Great Flood! It was a three-story flood, starting in an attic, streaming down the walls in the Great Room and running down every crack in the floor into the cellar and even out the side of the barn into the grass!!!! It was truly amazing and awesome. You know when you encounter something so big and out of your control, you just have to be in awe? That was it. The adrenaline kicked in and Corinne was running furiously to get paintings off the wall (still up from the exhibit), figure out which valve turned off the water and stave the water in the cellar from going too far into the other rooms. Didn’t work entirely but wow! What a morning! Miraculously, a plumber was able to come out within 20 minutes of the call, a drying company was out in the afternoon, no paintings or pottery were damaged, a building company was referred to us and the insurance company was wonderful! Part of the floor in the Great Room had to be ripped up because it was so saturated, as well as 3 bathrooms, one wall in the Great Room, one wall in the Kitchen, and two rooms in the nursery got new flooring. Oh, and the Great Room got a whole paint job. Wow!
Nursery School – We have hosted It Takes a Village Christian Nursery for 5 years now! Before that, Marion Key was in the Barn doing the same thing, but under a different name. Gospel Fellowship had started a nursery school and Marion came in as a teacher’s helper and then took over in time. She made it her own after we came, and she and the kids have been such a part of landscape here. As of September, there will be no more school! Both she and us felt like a shift was at hand and we are all taking the plunge into the unknown. We want to say how much we admire Marion for all that she has poured into the local preschool aged children here and sowed the Gospel into the homes of people who don’t know Jesus. We bless and release her with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other!