The Mission and Refuge House was dedicated on Sunday, August 6, 2006. Due to the dedicated work and giving of the Memorial Baptist Church membership this dream became a reality. Here is the article taken from the Baytown Sun on Dedication Day.
After year's renovation, mission house ready
By Jessica Robertson Baytown Sun Published August 7, 2006
Residents of North Whiting Street welcomed a new neighbor Sunday as Memorial Baptist Church opened the doors to its renovated mission house.
Pastor Brad Hoffmann led parishioners to the east side of the church campus to debut the house that has been a work-in-progress since a church real estate corporation purchased it in the mid-1970s.
A group of men in the church, Memorial Baptist Men Inc., purchased nine properties around the church and held two for rental, church member David Kadjar said. “It became available about two years ago when the last tenants moved out,” he said. “One of Brad’s visions was to have a mission house.” Kadjar spearheaded the renovation of the mission house, which took more than a year. Church members and local furniture stores donated gently used sofas, tables and chairs, he said.
Another church member, Debbie Fitzgerald, lent her expertise as an interior designer to coordinate colors in each room and purchase odds and ends for decoration. “Just like in any home, it’s never finished, but we’ll keep working on it in the months and years ahead,” Kadjar said. “We’re going to keep up the maintenance of it and make sure the yard and interior are in good condition.”
The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as a living room and family room. The church worked to preserve some of the original features of the house while making major changes during the renovation, Hoffmann said. “It was a complete renovation, literally from top to bottom,” he said. “We put in new windows and floors and painted. We didn’t knock down any of the walls, but we took out a fireplace and a closet area to make one of the bedrooms bigger.”
The home will be used for missionaries on stateside assignments and for ministers in transition, without a home church. Hoffmann said he expects the first tenants to be missionaries who will arrive in the next six to nine months. “But we could get someone next week,” he said. “We don’t know what could happen.”
The mission house is intended to serve as a place of repose for its residents, Kadjar said, who are welcome to stay as long as necessary. “We will accommodate them for whatever time they need to be here,” he said. “It’s our gift to them and the Lord’s work.”
The church has already housed several groups in the facility before it was completely furnished and renovated, Hoffmann said. The home was used last fall as a base of operations for the Texas Army National Guard and the American Red Cross after hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the gulf coast.
As part of an arrangement with a sister church in Metairie, La., a family displaced by the hurricanes also lived in the house for a short time, Hoffmann said. Their stay in the mission house is documented with a picture on the table and a book describing their experiences.
“In the future, we hope to have a picture of every family who stays here,” Hoffmann said. “Over the years, we could have a wall full of pictures of people who have been blessed.” The mission house has been a blessing to the church as well, he said. Church members came together to provide both furnishings and labor during the renovation. “If it wasn’t for the church, this wouldn’t be taking place,” Hoffmann said. “It’s just a vision that’s come into reality.”
Churchgoers scattered across the front lawn of the mission house after their morning service Sunday to celebrate the dedication. Several church members toured the house for the first time and made themselves at home. “It’s just beautiful,” Thelma Howell said as she eyed the living room. “It’s beautiful and finally finished.”
Chairman of deacons Terry McDaniel added a finishing touch to the renovated home — a plaque on the wall in the foyer that declared the house will serve as a “haven of rest” for weary missionaries and ministers. The Mission and Refuge House is available to missionary families on stateside assignment and to displaced ministers in transition.
To inquire about the use of this facility please contact Penny Robinson at email@example.com.