So far, this March has been a month to remember at Tuscarora. The nor'easter two weeks ago reminded us that those things that are out of our control (weather, and electricity or the lack thereof) are not out of God's control. Power was restored on Tuesday and we began welcoming guests as normal.
One of the great things about Tuscarora is that we are tied to tradition. We have many guests who choose to return to our grounds year after year. These guests become a part of the Tuscarora family. The staff often gets accustomed to seeing the same faces enjoying our ministry.
But every once in a while we have the opportunity to meet guests who might not have visited otherwise.
Last Saturday evening, when we were full with weekend guests, we received a call from Jersey Central Power & Light asking about room availability for the following week. About 200 lineman from around the United States were going to be in the area, working to restore power in Sussex, NJ and needed a place to stay. Having the availability and wanting to serve, but knowing there wasn’t staff scheduled, we took a leap of faith and said yes.
Nothing would be final until Sunday morning, but the evening was spent planning for the arrival of these new guests even though it might fall through. That night, we began reaching out to anyone that might be available. We would be short staffed, but members from all departments of the Tuscarora staff arrived to clean bathrooms, vacuum, and make beds. Even Brian Abrahamsen was making beds for six hours alongside managers, supervisors, volunteers, and one very enthusiastic four year old boy!
From parking attendants, all night office hours, and 6:00 AM breakfasts, the Tuscarora staff came together to make it happen. After a stressful few weeks one would never expect to hear laughter as so many unusual participants were found on the grounds Sunday afternoon doing the work that needed to be done.
While many guests to Tuscarora have mountaintop spiritual experiences, the work of performing the ministry runs the risk of feeling repetitive. But moments like these, we have the chance to step outside of the ordinary, to appreciate the people we work alongside, and truly understand the power of hospitality.
At the end of the day, when two hundred linemen checked in and the parking lot was filled with trucks, we had the opportunity to serve the community at large and help others receive electricity. During their stay, as they rested from weeks of hard work and public service, we pray they were able to become aware of the broader ministry of Tuscarora.
It is our mission to provide hospitality to groups in need of refreshment and we were able to provide that in a different way this past week!