|Jeanne & Dave Swaisgood|
Wikipedia defines crash pad as “a location used by airline flight crews for temporary lodging.” I have often felt that my parents’ home and now my sister and brother-in-law’s home have been and are our crash pads.
We all know what a “Launch pad” is. When a rocket ship is launched, it has a launch pad.
NASA always had a landing in the ocean. The command module descended through the atmosphere and then sprouted a parachute and dropped into the ocean to be picked up by a special Navy frigate.
Soviet and current Russian rockets have a launch pad in Kazakhstan. However, Russian command modules don’t land in the sea. They land on land.
Throughout our missionary career, I have felt like we were repeatedly launched into space. My parents’ house was our launch pad.
We moved into my folks’ house when I did an internship at Bethany Baptist Church in McCandless Township, near Pittsburgh, PA. We lived with our new born daughter, Beth, in my parents’ home for a year and a half until we could take some salary from our account with Greater Europe Mission. We then lived on 8th St in Ambridge, PA near Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, where Linda was studying, before we left for Europe.
On August 14th, 1986 we were launched off to Vienna, Austria, where the Eastern European Bible Institute was located. EEBI was a ministry of GEM and was an undergraduate school for training pastors, evangelists and church workers for the then Yugoslavia.
We returned to the US in June of 1989 and landed at my parents’ house. Though we didn’t stay there all year during that furlough, it was a place we could count on returning to during our career. Many times after that I or we would return for a short fund raising trip. Dad also kept a second car running, so that we always had wheels.
Many years later when we sent Beth and then Steve off to Pennsylvania to college, Grandma and Grandpap Gottschalk’s home was a crash pad, a place to spend vacations and the summer, and later for Steve a place to live for a couple years while he was just out of college.
We will always be grateful to my parents for being the crash pad. We could come and go as we needed, but they didn’t just help us. My parents were on the mission board at North Way Christian Community and several younger couples from their Bible study went out as missionaries. Uncle Bob and Aunt Pat had a BNB before anyone knew what that was. Dad paid a former missionary to renovate the attic room (my old room), so that it was a comfortable place for missionaries to stop by or stay as they needed.
When Mom sold the house in 2011 and moved to a retirement community in north east Ohio, Jeanne and Dave Swaisgood’s house became our crash pad. Jeanne and Dave have many times picked me up from the Cleveland airport as I arrived or left. They have a “room for the prophet” upstairs on their second floor.
They have always been gracious and flexible with me (us), as we have bombed in and out (launched again and returned) from many deputation trips west to Chicago, or north to New Hampshire or south to South Carolina and back, and then returned to Europe.
Our lifestyle when on Home Ministry Assignment is hectic and erratic. It’s hardly comfortable to try to figure out where we are and when. However, Jeanne & Dave keep the light on and Jeanne keeps the food in stock. Our schedule which changes all the time when we are on deputation. We often don’t know from one day to the next what our schedule is. Still Jeanne and Dave are always ready with a warm welcome.
Aside from giving us a place to crash, Jeanne arranges many family gatherings. We have missed many family gatherings in past years, but Jeanne does her best to get us all together, and she succeeds.
Dave is a business man and he has patiently helped me (Phil) to figure out a variety of business issues from retirement options and savings to how loans work and how to pay them down faster. I often feel like a total putz in this regard, but Dave guides me along to a clearer understanding.
So, thanks Mum (& Dad) and Jeanne & Dave for having been and being our crash pad. Though our landing is on land, it’s still soft!