SMRM has been blessed by God through our houseparents for 30 years. The lineage of these Christian servants is one marked by deep care, generous giving, practical parenting, creative fun, good food, and serious praying. The staffs of SMRM have been fed, guided, disciplined, encouraged, and loved by our houseparents.
God has gifted us with the best of his people on mission through the years (I know better than to start a list because there are too many to name:

When you think of Betty Mears and Mason and Anita Shively, you think of fun and energy. James and Eudora Phillips were Southern cooks who loved with country goodness. Eloise Ogburn made us sit up straight and mind our manners. Patti Hall, her daughter, throws staff dinners and parties with flair and extravagance. Both represent the Christian hope of SMRM. Robin Wilcox Green took her three summers of staff experience in the late 1980’s and now comes to cook and go out on in ministry programs “Telling people about Jesus is why I am here”, she says. Joyce and Bill Schofill served food that made all of us be at the table on time with its wonderful flavors. Dorothy, Josephine, and Jeannette love us as grandmothers and teach us how to be family. Tracy and Jay Hartman have managed everything from student crises to broken septic systems –and solved all the needs while cooking and teaching on ministry.

For fifteen years we have enjoyed Jerrie and John Wayne McCrary and Carolyn Shelton. Their two weeks in the middle of the summer have always brought laughter and tables of food and gentle love. Their recent stay was their last as houseparents. The following blessing was shared with them at their closing commissioning. It is a blend of the informational letter we send to each houseparent and some of our responses to their love:

Bill Black: March, 1994 to July, 2009
Scott Capshaw: Jerrie and John Wayne McCrary
Pulaski, TN 38478
Carolyn Shelton
Pulaski, TN 38478
Jennifer Capshaw: Dear Jerrie and John Wayne,Dear Carolyn,

Staff Member: “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Staff Member: And Juice, and Hassie Sue (Jerrie), And Sammie Faye (Carolyn) said “Here am I.” “We will go.”

Bill: Thank you for your commitment to work as a houseparent for SMRM this summer. We are excited to have our staff dorm and kitchen as a vital part of this ministry. Your presence and your work will make a great difference in our missions efforts. Your skills in the kitchen and in creating a healthy family setting for our volunteers are much needed and appreciated. We are looking forward to having you here the dates of June 28 – July 12. We will look for your arrival on the afternoon of June 28. We will have a meal prepared that afternoon that we may ask you to serve in the evening. You would be free to leave after lunch on July 12.

Staff Member: “Commitment” —A word used so lightly. “Commitment” —A word that speaks of you and your relationship to God and your call to mission. “Commitment” —A style of life that you have shown to us in service, care, fun, and family.

Scott: Our houseparents have an important role in this ministry. Your responsibilities include planning and preparing meals for our staff, some grocery shopping (we provide the money), supervising the cleaning of the kitchen and dorm, supervising relationships among the staff, and creating a positive home atmosphere for the volunteers that invites their trust and openness to you.

Staff Member: For fifteen years you have parented here. Your responsibilities have covered all aspects of life. You have done well and you have us as your children all over the world: As Scripture says, “parents are the pride of their children.” (Prov. 17: 6)

Jennifer: The meals are scheduled as follows: Breakfast is done individually by the staff with an emphasis on cereal, poptarts, fruit, and juices. Lunch is generally for 10-12 people and consists of a lighter meal: stuffed baked potato, taco salad, small pizzas, soup and sandwich, etc. Supper is a full meal with a balance of meat and vegetables. A late evening snack is always appreciated also. Sunday lunch is also a large meal with guests. There is also a need to help those who cannot be home at mealtime prepare sack meals or save plates for them for later.

Staff Member: The food you have served has enabled us to live as family. The holiness of the serving has enabled us to understand God’s love. The generosity of your giving has enabled us to be strong.

Staff Member: Through you, we have experienced the truth said of the early Church in Acts 2:46 “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”

Bill: We anticipate having about 16 volunteers in the dorm this summer. Several of our local staff may sign up for meals in advance also. There will be sign up sheets done for each week to help you prepare but please remain flexible as plans and needs change. There is also a sign up sheet for chores that will help you monitor that situation.

Staff Member: We have two distinct ministry teams living in the dorm this summer. SMRM and A Christian Ministry In The National Parks are similar programs with great students. We will be supervising and housing both teams. Life in the dorm will be under the same standards for all. I have enclosed a staff list so that you will better know how to pray for our staff.

Staff Member: You have cared for approximately 300 staff through your years! You have guided, loved, challenged, encouraged, and celebrated. As this year’s staff, we say thank you for all of us.

Staff Member: Thank you for being who you are as God’s servants and as part of SMRM.

Bill, Cindy, Scott, Jennifer: We love you,

Scott and Jennifer Capshaw,Bill and Cindy Black
All: Thanks be to God. Amen.