"Hello" from Tom and Claire Muller! We live near Cynthiana, Kentucky, and have had a passion for missions since becoming Christians in 1979- in our early 20's. Our lives soon revolved around having children, adoption, and foster care while Tom was a firefighter in Winchester for 20 years.
The concept of the Valley of Baca Missionary Retreat was born from that passion. Becoming servants to God's servants seems to be a niche that suits us. We reasoned that housing and transportation may be a big issue with missionaries when they were in the states, so we wrote to missionaries. Over and over their responses confirmed that need.
Jesus is our 'Lord of the Board' . He manages every aspect of the Valley of Baca. He works on overall scheduling, keeping the vehicles and missionaries configured in ways we would never have imagined. He manages to keep peace (in the valley!) as well as constantly offering more ideas to serve. He listens to each problem we've faced and comes up with solutions when the time is right. We try to always defer to his mindset.
Tom Muller is our 'President'. Sometimes that means he adds a signature here and there. But for the most part, his job involves less lofty work than the title implies. He plans with vision, puts his hand to the plow, is unafraid of hard work and keeps looking forward to the next project. His joy is in the Lord's purposes.
Claire Muller is our Secretary/Treasurer. Someone had to be. In a less-than-orthodox way, she keeps the books, assigns colors to the calendars and names to the vehicles. In spite of her comfort with chaos, we have yet to lose a missionary or one of our vehicles. The glory for that, again, goes to Jesus and his grace.
Laura Fitzmorris is our Vice President. That title does not convey the reality of endless hours of work on presentation of all our materials. From the least detail to the large design of our display boards and booth, she lends her architectural background and skills to it all. When we fumble about in the dark on how to accomplish difficult tasks, she often presents clear roads to solutions. If it seems a brave/crazy thing to ask what the Holy Spirit wants of you, then Laura is that kind of brave/crazy.
Leonard Stone, a 'Board Member' who works in Eastern KY and around the world with Mission Journeys, holds a unique spot on our board. While his ability to connect us with people is valuable, it is his constant inspiration, love of the Lord and trust in God's goodness that make every mountain a molehill. His exuberance always reminds us that not only are we citizens of the Kingdom, but how happy we are to be!
Ken Muller, another 'Board Member' who works with the Valley of Baca behind the scenes, is the Associate Minister at Sunbury Christian Church in Ohio. Ken is often our sounding board for written materials. When we struggle with words to express something, we send it to Ken for proof-reading. He writes in ways that make sense and always point to the Father. He has the right mix of humor and seriousness that we need to stay focused.
Laurie Muller is our latest elected 'Board Member', and what were we doing without her? Actually, she was already doing much of the work with her aforementioned husband, Ken. But now out of the shadows with her delightful creative sense! Her out-of-the-box word pairing, bolstering fun attitude, photo taking ideas and inspired planning do not mask her deep love of the Lord and her gentle, caring spirit.