I still remember the day when I was speaking with the pastor of our church, and he asked me the question. ‘Roz who pastors the pastors? Who picks up the pieces for us and cares for us?’ In that moment I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to care for the pastors. To provide a safe place for them to sit and remember the gospel, to be amply fed with great food, to know that someone was praying for them as they sat with God. To give them a place of rest.
I had always wanted to be a nurse but the door was never right to open and I wrestled with that for years but as I reflected on the question of who pastors the pastors I was reminded that God is the great physician and that in and through Joshua’s Tree there is room for me to serve as a nurse to souls that are weary.
That was just over 13 years ago. In October 2000 I journalled my longing to provide such a home that would be run not as a centre but as a family home. It was May 2002 that the name Joshua’s Tree took hold following a book study I took at Regent on Joshua. The book of Joshua begins and ends with words about the rest God has in store for His people. And a tree can provide both shelter and food. It is part of God’s creation.
I had often imagined that Joshua’s Tree would be in the countryside but in 2003 during a seminar course called Landscapes and Soulscapes my attention was drawn to George Mac Donald’s writings and in particular this quote. Throughout the course there was also the reminder that we are not returning to Eden but moving toward a city that embraces a garden.
‘ I said, Let me walk in the fields.
He said, No, walk in the town.
I said, There are no flowers there.
He said, No flowers but a crown.’
Where ever I have lived and since marriage where ever Mark and I have lived we have sought to live out Joshua’s Tree in little ways. There have been times when it feels like a distant dream, a passing thought but it has never gone and since we have been back in the UK it has been an ever present thought and pondering.
One quote from Lord of the Rings when Frodo arrives at Rivendell perhaps sums up the atmosphere we want Joshua’s Tree to have:
“Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all’. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”
For it to become the fuller reality that we hope and dream we need a home that can provide space and light and rest. A home which will provide room for our family to care for the saints who minister God’s word both in this country and overseas. Will you join us in praying for the right home for this seed to grow please?