I love the story of the Shunamite woman in II Kings 4:8-10 because this is where the idea of the “Prophet’s Chamber” came from. This woman wanted to take care of the man of God (Elisha) and so she and her husband made a little room off the side of their house and the Bible gives us in detail what the room was like: a bed, a table, a candlestick, a little stool. She wanted to be a blessing and because of her example, missionaries are still reaping from her kindness thousands of years later. Isn’t that pretty awesome?
Here’s the story directly from the Bible —
II Kings 4:8-10 And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.
Our family has stayed in countless “Prophet’s Chambers” throughout the years and they have been a very welcome respite from the hours of traveling on the road cooped up in a van with restless children, leftover fast food debris and other grimy details we won’t go into. I know it’s been a blessing to many missionaries who are traveling the “deputation road” raising support to get to their field of service. It helped us save up for our set-up fund once we got to the field as well, not needing to pay for hotels all over the place.
A pastor’s wife recently asked me for some ideas that they can do in their prophet’s chamber to make it a relaxing haven for their missionaries. Now, I understand that not every church has the finances to do a total renovation and to be quite honest, we as missionaries are VERY grateful for the free place to stay as it can get quite expensive traveling the 2 – 3 years that it takes to raise support.
I surveyed a number of missionary wives to get their thoughts on what they appreciate in a “Prophet’s Chamber”. By no means do these have to be a MUST but they are an extra blessing to the missionaries as they travel. Here is what they said:
- Full length mirror
- Separate room for the kids
- Basic toiletry items
- Iron and ironing board
- Basic kitchen appliances like a fridge (a mini fridge is sufficient!) coffee maker, mirowave, and toaster.
- Basic kitchen supplies are fun if feasible! (Dishes, cups, mugs, silverware, pot, skillet, pizza pan or cookie sheet, casserole dish)
- Some pantry items – sugar, salt and pepper, tea, coffee, oatmeal packets, cereal or snacks
- Crib (or portable pack n play) and a high chair
- Hamper for dirty clothes
- A bath mat in the bathroom
- Washer and dryer, laundry detergent
- A few toys and books for the children to play with during the stay
- A visitors guide with the wifi password, what to do with the trash, where to leave the key, how to get ahold of someone in case of an emergency, expectations of leaving. (Do they want the linens washed beforehand? ) Directions to the nearest grocery store or anything fun in the area to do with the family (parks, lakes to picnic by, fun things that only the locals know about)
So this was just a fun post and I would love to hear your comments below, ways that your church has made missionaries feel welcome or from missionaries who want to share any ideas they have seen along the way. Here is another post about prophet’s chambers written by Teri Snode for the missionaries who use them!