A Fellowship to Remember!

Three months ago in Charlottesville, I met a man named Eldon Hochstetler. Though I’m typically bad with names, his has been stuck in my head and heart because he was one of the most gentle souls I’d ever met. When he asked me if I’d be willing to come and speak to his group of  young workers at one of their monthly meetings at a nursing home, I instantly said I would. Last night was that night! 

I pride myself on researching in advance the places I’m scheduled to speak, but due to all of our vacation planning and packing I never got around to it, and in all honesty I’m glad I didn’t. I put the address in my GPS and headed off to Mountain View Nursing Home in Aroda, VA. I had thought it was close to Culpeper but it turns out it was at least 25 miles from there off a very winding and uphill road. 

When I finally got to the to the nursing home, it felt as if I was already on vacation!! I was literally on top of a mountain with a stunning view! After having spent more than two hours in traffic getting there, I sat in my car for more than two hours just taking in the view and unwinding.

I began to see some of the young people that I’d be speaking to walking around the property. I believed they were Amish or more likely Mennonite. I text Kim to say “this is going to be cool!” And Cool it was!! Inside and out Mountain View Nursing Home was gorgeous and welcoming! At 6:30pm I went inside to get prepared for my 7pm presentation. 

Eldon, who is the nursing home’s Administrator, came out to greet me with a big hug. Then moments later, many others greeted me as well. It was like an episode of The Waltons! So warm and genuine! It turns out that the employees of the nursing home are Mennonites from around the U.S. who apply and then are selected to work there as part of their “service to God”. They were some of the happiest and most committed workers ever.

Almost 50 workers and 15 family members of residents packed into what appeared to be a family room right off the kitchen. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time. They were attentive, inquisitive, participatory and very appreciative! There were also about five women in the kitchen preparing something while listening to the presentation.

When the presentation was over as I was signing books for those who wanted them, Melanie Cogburn, a nurse with whom I’d been in email contact over the last few weeks announced that we’d all be sitting down for “fellowship” together. I had planned on being on that winding road by 8:15, but I wasn’t about to pass up the fellowship that had been prepared in my honor. 

We spent almost 45 minutes getting to know each other and eating and drinking everything they’d made from scratch, including my first ever Whoopie pie!! It was a time I’ll always treasure! Finally at 9pm I began my ninety minute trek home. I was sorry to leave, because the entire night was totally fulfilling and peaceful. I felt renewed though my actual vacation has yet to begin. I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of sleep last night due to the early hour I have to get up, but after an evening of genuine love, service and sharing with new friends, sleep is truly overrated. I’m so grateful to Eldon and his group for giving me a fellowship to remember! 



3 thoughts on “A Fellowship to Remember!

  1. Loretta, a wonderful experience for you and all and a wonderful recount from you for us. Thank you. I note in the accompanying photo the Mountain View folk, in their arrangement/pose spell “MV” – how cool is that?!

    • Paul, YES it’s truly cool that their pose spells MV! You’re soooooo observant! I actually thought of you last night knowing how much you love working with young people, and these “kids” were extraordinary!! They would have loved hearing you preach because some of them were already very eloquent. I told them about you and that you had written the forward to my book and they seemed excited!! In the amazing letter that Eldon wrote to me last night said that I was “real, encouraging and so down to earth” and that he knew that his “kids” would take my words as “inspiration to continue on”. Quite amazing!
      My thanks to you for you words!!

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