Hospitality is a biblical gift, as well as an OM ministry. At Manna House in the Greater London Area, Andrew and Rachel Carter receive guests from all over the world. Their primary aim is to provide accommodation for those in full-time ministry with affordable and comfortable accommodation close to London, as a base and a place to rest. Individuals, families and groups are all welcome. Supporters of OM, workers in other organisations and Christians needing a short-term place to stay can all contact Manna House.
“We took up the reins of running Manna House toward the end of April 2016, and since then we have enjoyed learning the ropes," writes Andrew. "This has involved hosting people from many nations, hearing their stories of different mission fields, as well as providing a haven for individuals, groups and families passing through London.”
“People in full-time service often face unique challenges: living in a different culture from their own; working in a second or even third language; and sometimes living somewhere economically or politically unstable,” he continued. “A break from such challenges is often needed.”
Andrew (UK) and Rachel (Brazil) first met at an evangelism training programme in London 19 years ago. They and their two daughters, Hannah (13) and Joy (9), have remained in the Bromley area, where Manna House is located, throughout their married lives.
Toward the end of 2015, Andrew and Rachel asked the Lord for clear direction in knowing His will for their lives. They became aware of the need for new managers at Manna House, and although not immediately sure of its rightness, God confirmed to them in many ways that this was His plan for their future.
“Before we even heard of Manna House, Rachel had a dream of being in a kitchen which she knew was her own, but not the one we had at the time. As she opened the cupboards, bread fell out of each one – suggesting a House of Bread,” Andrew recalls. “Each possible hindrance to our taking up residence simply melted away; through our own prayers, and the advice of others, we felt great peace that this was where we should be.”
One week before their final interview to work at Manna House, Andrew was offered a job that paid more than he had ever earned before: “In one very special moment, God spoke to me, saying that I could choose this job, as my heart was to provide for my family, but that I should not forget how He had led us so far.”
The Carter family is enjoying the ministry of Manna House greatly. They provide others from many countries a home away from home with a warm welcome, a bed for the night, and a listening ear. In so doing, they underline OM Founder George Verwer’s belief that: “The bottom line in mission work is people work... loving them, serving them and helping them become strong disciples of Jesus.”
Manna House accommodates a maximum of 19 people spread between five guest rooms that accommodate from two to six people each. Larger groups can be accommodated using ‘put-up beds’ if necessary on a short-term basis. Located in a quiet residential area, Manna House is within walking distance of three local rail stations that give easy access to central London and offers an ideal place in which to come and rest for up to five nights at a time.
Comments in the guest book - a great source of encouragement! – include:
“It is a joy coming back after so many years. Thank you Andrew and Rachel – you shine for Jesus!” Alan and Dora*, Ecuador.
Mark and Esther* from Germany: “Thanks for such a warm welcome and pleasant stay – you’re doing a great job!”
Dave* from Kenya felt it was like “coming to an oasis in the desert”.
Susie and Tim* from Sweden were blessed by “a wonderful home and opportunity to see London.”
Ken and Laura* from Romania appreciated “a place of refuge, which helped make possible a very special family time.”
Andrew, when asked of current challenges, shared that finances and raising support have been difficult. Conversely, being close to home rather than joining a field far away in a distant land, enables the family to be part of the same home church, see the same friends, and keep their girls at their existing schools. These blessings, however, do make it more difficult for others to understand that they are in full-time missions and need as much financial support as those serving overseas.
Please pray for the hospitality ministry of Manna House, for strength and wisdom for the family running it; that God would provide for all their needs and that Manna House will continue as a haven of rest for many travellers. Please email Andrew & Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org (or phone them on +44-(0)208 464 8978) if you’d like to book your stay!
* Surname not included for security reasons