Grandma’s House

March 01, 2003 | Harley Miller

“Grandma’s House” is the home missionary outreach project of Stu and Joyce Neal, members of the Chehalis Church. It witnesses and offers practical instruction to mostly unchurched children ages 5 through 10 years of age. The Neal’s ultimate goal is to facilitate the establishment of a lifelong saving relationship between the children and Jesus Christ while developing a “bridge of love” between the community and the arms of Christ. They also help the children develop living skills which might not otherwise be available to them.

“Grandma’s House” is open Sabbath, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons. Generally 5 to 15 children come for Bible instruction and to learn sewing, cooking, baking, gardening, and responsible use of money. On Sabbath, varying numbers of the children attend church services with the Neals.

The Neals have been on mission trips which they greatly enjoyed and which caused them to hope for an ongoing mission project in their own community. They prayed about the matter and studied the book Welfare Ministry for guidance. There was one problem—financing the project, whatever it might be.

Then, at an unexpected moment, they received a call from their lawyer informing them there was a substantial amount of insurance money available to them due to their daughter Sharma’s death. Sharma, one of their five children, had been fatally injured in an automobile accident 10 years before, and now the other potential recipient of her estate declined any of the proceeds.

At this point the Neal’s decided to do a “Grandma’s House.” It would be an outreach project in their daughter’s memory. In addition to the insurance money they added considerable funds to purchase and furnish the house along with donations from other individuals.

The house is pleasantly furnished with quality appliances, furniture, books, stereo, and so on. While not ostentatious, it is a “step up” for most of the children who attend its functions. Other amenities of the house are those which a Christian family would have in their home, complete with food and Sabbath clothes for the children. The house is not lived in as such, but is reserved for the use of the children under the direction of the Neals and other church members who help with various projects and outings.

The newest addition to “Grandma’s House” is a 15-passenger van which is used to transport the children to and from church and other learning experiences. “We may need an additional van if the number of children who come keeps increasing as it has been,” said Stu who is retired from government service and will soon be celebrating his eleventh birthday as a Seventh day Adventist. •