I wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for this place!
Holmsted Manor is a place south of London that is run by Youth With A Mission (YWAM), a non-profit service organization that teaches young adults about Jesus and how to love and serve people the way Jesus did. My mom and dad met there 20 years ago, even though my dad is from Hawaii and my mom is from the Seattle area. Holmsted Manor recently celebrated its 40th anniversary as a YWAM base and we were there to experience it.
We were at Holmsted with the staff, this year’s Discipleship Training School (DTS), and some other families who had traveled there for the 40th anniversary. The staff also used the celebration as fundraising for general repairs of the Manor. These repairs included remodeling a bathroom, fixing special rooms, and removing the ivy that’s invading the house.
In preperation for the event, everybody pitched in to help clean up the place. My family helped clean up the dining room by clearing and wiping down the tables and sweeping the floor. Other teams mopped, did dishes, or vacuumed. Designated guides practiced their lines for the tours which were being conducted for guests.
Once people started arriving, we decided to roam the grounds and admire the scenery. Sadly, the cool stream that used to flow around the Manor needs to be fixed and dredged, but they don’t have the funds to do so. There were also really cool trees in the garden. One was even shaped like a chair!
Once we had gone all the way around the gardens, my family and I went to take a house tour around the Manor. As we walked around, my father and mother told my sister and I just as much about the place that the guide did. The funniest part of the tour was seeing how small the boys’ prayer room is. It might have a total of 8 square feet of floor space. We also saw where Mom and Dad’s dormitories were!
At the end of the tour, our guide showed us that we were actually able to buy a tree out of the 40 different trees that were going to be planted around the grounds to celebrate the 40th anniversary. Our family decided to buy tree number 17, which is near a swing set that my parents used to hang out near, and the tree number is also part of the date of their anniversary, August 17.
Once we finished the tour, my parents saw some old friends and started chatting with them. Us kids just stood there for 10-20 minutes, we started playing tag! After a while, it was time for the gathering to start. I must admit that I paid little attention to the actual talk, but did participate in the worship and prayer.
Then our families walked around the gardens together. Once we had finished circling the grounds, they had to leave, so we said goodbye, but we just couldn’t quite say goodbye yet, so we all went to a restaurant for dinner together.
This is an important day for my entire family. For my parents, it meant seeing the place where they met, and seeing old friends. For us kids, it meant seeing a place that is important to our parents, and meeting new people. Overall, we all enjoyed the experience that helped us understand the world a bit more.