OB Alum Elise Rospert & Host Mom Claire Mehan
Here in the Operation Barnabas home office, we sometimes are asked the question, “When students travel on an OB team, where do they stay each night? Do they sleep on the bus? Do you stay in motels?”
This is a great question. There are two ways that OB provides for the team members to get their nightly rest. Sometimes, the OB team and leaders will stay at a church and sleep on the floor. Each team member is asked to bring sleeping bags and pillows for that purpose. This type of arrangement happens about 50% of the time on tour. The other half of the time, OB students are housed in groups of at least two with a host family from the current ministry location and get to enjoy sleeping at a home, in a bed!
The OB teams love the opportunity to meet and be with host families; often, those relationships continue long after the summer, with students and their hosts staying in touch.
Elise Rospert shared with us about a chance she had recently to reconnect with one of her OB host families. Elise was on the 2014 NorthEast OB team, and is currently a sophomore nursing major at Anderson University in South Carolina.
“When I was on Operation Barnabas, the first church on our tour was CenterPoint Community in Weatherfield, Connecticut, and we stayed in host homes. Joe and Claire Mehan were my first host parents and were so encouraging. They shared their testimonies with us and told us how God worked in and through every portion of their lives. One night (I believe we stayed with them for 3) they had another couple over for dinner. Their names were Marie and Roger. Marie passed way about 8 months ago, but they also shared their wisdom with us and encouraged us quite a bit. It was definitely one of those times where you are expecting to be the encourager but you end up leaving most encouraged.
“Now, two years later, I came back to Connecticut during my fall break with a ministry team from Anderson University to help out a church plant called The River Church. Last night was the church plant’s first service. After the final song and prayer, I turned around and my host parents, Joe and Claire, were sitting behind me!! It was totally unexpected but it was a wonderful reunion. I was never in a million years expecting to see them again. (I found out later that the CenterPoint Community Church is one of the supporters of the church plant!)The Lord works in amazing ways!!!”
The host family experience is just one of the many highlights that our OB alumni share about their time on Operation Barnabas. An emphasis on character development, leadership training, personal discipleship, and serving others with a team of like-minded peers all add up to one memorable ministry tour! Who do you know that you should encourage to apply for Operation Barnabas? Information and applications are available at operationbarnabas.net.