On a typical workday, Missy is working at her office where other women and their babies live. She stops to rock a fussing baby. She prepares a presentation she is to give at a local non-profit. She meets with a mom during their weekly check-in and talks about her goals. She researches possible childcare alternatives for one of the babies. She greets a volunteer at the door and participates in the devotional for the day. She arranges a United Way agency to visit and talk with the moms about financial management.
Missy accepted the executive director position to start Martha’s House of Hope, a new maternity house in Ames, in the spring 2019. “It was meant to be,” said Missy.
Missy had worked at a daycare facility for 20 years where she began as a teacher and worked up to director. Missy and a colleague of hers were both looking for new job opportunities. Missy’s colleague received a job posting that her aunt had sent her about the executive director position at Martha’s House of Hope, and she passed it along to Missy. With a couple hours to spare before the position closed, Missy sent in her application materials.
She eventually received a call from a member of the board who Missy had worked with in the past. The familiar voice was comforting, and they set up an interview. During the interview, Missy learned more about Martha’s House of Hope, which offers help and support to mothers and their babies. Missy learned about the mission and values and how they aligned with the values of her faith. Missy was interested in the position and prayed a lot about it. The opportunity brought to mind her beloved stepdad who had passed away seven years earlier. Her stepdad was very faithful in his Catholic faith and influenced their entire family. Because of him, Missy attended Catholic school and she grew in her love of God. Missy remembered how her stepdad prayed every morning and he always prayed for pregnant mothers. She also thought back towards her training at the daycare. She was responsible for training teachers how to care for infants. She traveled across the country to provide infant training.
“It just hit me. With my dad’s prayers and his influence in my faith along with my job experience – this was what I had been training for,” said Missy. “Everything just lined up so easily.”
Since accepting the position, Missy has seen many blessings from God.
Missy explained how it took awhile before they welcomed their first resident. During that time, she worked hard to meet with providers and other community organizations to share information about Martha’s House of Hope.
“The board was always so supportive and reassuring me. They kept saying, ‘Don’t worry. We just have to wait. God will provide.’ It was definitely a good lesson in trust and faithfulness in God,” said Missy.
God did provide. Missy welcomed the first mom at Martha’s House of Hope in February 2020. Shortly after that, COVID hit. It was a challenging time and Missy was at the house each day to keep her company.
“During our time together, we built a connection. I was honored when she chose me to be her support person during the birth of her baby. For her to trust me like that, that meant a lot.”
Missy said the experience was incredible. She herself had two cesarean sections so it was a new experience for Missy to be a part of the birth. “Even the ultrasounds are so much better than when I had my children. You could see so much more, even all her hair! It was such a gift to be a part of the whole experience.”
Missy sees Christ in all of the volunteers. There are two women who come each week to do devotions with the moms. Missy said it has been difficult to find volunteers to help during the night hours especially during COVID. There is one individual who is sometimes at the house four nights a week to help pitch in. There are volunteers to help with childcare when needed. She said there are so many people dropping off supplies and other items.
“There have been many times when I’ll start stressing about something and then God just handles it. Just the other day, I was worried because we needed more towels. Then, someone dropped off some donations which included 20 brand new towels,” said Missy.
“It’s been humbling to witness such the outpouring of love and generosity from so many who want to support these women and their babies.”
Missy said its been rewarding to see the growth in the women who are staying at the house. “Each week I meet with them one-on-one to check in with them and go through their goals. One of the moms recognizes the progress she’s making while living at the house because she’s in a positive environment and surrounded by those who care. She very much wants to be self-sufficient and is working everyday towards those things,” said Missy. “It’s neat to see how the moms learn from each other and have positive friendships.”
During devotions, they read and discuss a Scripture passage. “I’ve definitely seen a lot of divine intervention,” said Missy. “Multiple times one of the moms has shared with me a struggle and it’s interesting how a little while later, it comes up during devotions. One of the moms will say, ‘Oh my gosh! This is what I needed.’”
“I definitely feel like this job was meant to be. I’m blessed to be supported by an amazing, faith-filled board who will do anything to help. While there are certainly challenges and a lot of hard work, the gifts I’ve received and witnessed have been amazing,” said Missy.
To learn more about Martha’s House of Hope and volunteer opportunities, visit their website.
1. How do you feel like you can serve God through your vocation?
2. When you look back, can you identify times or situations where things just fell easily into place? Can you see God’s presence during those times/situations?