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Home, Hikers, & Hospitality by Rev. Douglas and Priscilla Douma (Jan/Feb 2021 Banner)

Recently, the PMU staff was able to ask some questions of Mrs. Priscilla Douma, wife of Rev. Doug Douma, mother to Maple, and co-founder of SOLA—Appalachian Retreat.  We hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her involvement in the ministry at SOLA as much as we did!

How do you balance life, children, the mission, and involvement in church?
I’ve been learning about the importance of margin time in my schedule and routines — leaving room in my day/week for things to come up, people to stop over, a need to arise.  Being flexible helps a great deal, as well as daily prayer.  Prioritizing my faith, my family and our home, before other commitments helps balance and say no to things I can’t commit to.  But I’m still learning!

How would you encourage other Christians to do more hospitality?
Start in your own circle.  Notice needs around you and think and pray about how you can meet them.  Does someone need a handwritten note, a meal, a phone call or encouraging text?  Then grow from there.  It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary.  Simple and handmade go a long way.  Inviting others into our home is my favorite, but yours might be bringing a meal or picking up groceries for someone.

What is your biggest challenge as hostess?
That there’s only one of me, haha!  But learning to plan ahead helps so much.  My mom taught me a lot about preparing things ahead of time, even in small ways, to ease the stress.  My own motherhood journey has helped me learn this too.

How did God prepare you for the role you play at Sola?

My parents modeled Christian hospitality well in our home growing up.  As a teen and young adult I was able to travel the world and spent time serving orphans overseas.  This exposure to various cultures, people, etc., have given me a love for people and an interest in the world.  I also feel that God has given me a natural joy in creating an environment for hospitality, inviting others in, hosting meals, and organizing details.  I thrive on hands-on work, rather than all mental work, which is fitting for all the tasks at Sola and in our home.

What is it like as a mother to have strangers stay in your home?
It honestly doesn’t really come to mind as a concern.  The hiking community is friendly and easy going.  We don’t leave our child alone with them, but Maple is certainly involved in interacting with hikers.  Because I grew up seeing my family regularly inviting others in -friends and strangers alike- it is fairly normal.  It helps too that our home is separated from the hiker ministry space.

How do you manage your days during hiking season? Does someone always need to be home when hikers come through?
Days during hiking season are certainly busier and filled with more unknowns than other months in the year.  Flexibility is key as hikers can reach out about staying at Sola hours ahead of time, or as they’re walking up the street. Sometimes we have no notice at all.  We do try to have one or both of us present when hikers are over.  Thankfully I’m home most days and Doug’s church work is flexible enough that it can bend around the hiking ministry needs as much as necessary.  The unknown is hard on me at times, but I’m learning to embrace it well knowing we have slow months in the winter.

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