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Biblical Hospitality

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Trainer finds it often takes a village to help families in crisis.

Morgan (Meyers) Trainer (WC ’09) remembers her first dealing with a family in crisis. As a 19-year-old student at Indiana Wesleyan University, Trainer volunteered to mentor a trio of middle school girls through the YMCA.

When she came to pick one of the girls up, Trainer asked the girl’s mother if she needed any information from her.

“The mother said, ‘You can take her as long as you like. I don’t want her in my house,’” she said. “I was shocked by that.”

However, through her work at My Village Ministries, Trainer has developed empathy for people like that mother.

“It’s easy to vilify someone like that. You think, ‘How could you say something like that?’” said Trainer, who lives in Gahanna with her husband Joel, the lead pastor of Three Creeks Church, and their four children, Cooper (7), Judah (5), Willow (4), and Moses, an infant who the family adopted in April.

“I’m one decision away from being in a crisis like so many of these families we serve. These moms are teaching me about having grit, resilience, and a childlike faith.”

Trainer is a community coach supervisor for My Village Ministries, an organization that seeks to come alongside families in crisis and provide a community, resources, and support. Sometimes, this involves placing children with host families for a short period of time and providing coaching and training for parents. The average hosting period is 4-6 weeks but can range anywhere from a day to a year.

The non-profit organization is based on the principles of Christian hospitality. One of the major tasks of the ministry is to help those who feel isolated in Columbus find support in a Christ-centered community.

Currently, 23 churches in central Ohio have become involved in the program.

“We serve families through many different avenues,” said Trainer, who started out as a volunteer when Three Creeks Church partnered with My Village Ministries. “They could be experiencing something medically related, job loss, homelessness, drug addiction. I always ask, ‘What kind of help can we provide you and your family to help you get to the other side of this crisis?’

“Our goal is to reduce trauma and unnecessary foster care placements, but it’s also about sharing the Gospel.”

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is not just something that fits nicely on a bumper sticker. Many of the people My Village Ministries serves to feel like they have no one to turn to.

Trainer remembers how she relied on others when she was pregnant.

“I had community,” she said. “I had people willing to watch my daughter Cooper when I went into the hospital, people who brought us meals, friends who could come over and hold a baby so I could fold my laundry.

“So many people in our city don’t have that when facing a crisis. Biblical hospitality is not laying out your finest dishware. It’s opening your home to strangers, quite literally.”

One of the first families the Trainers worked with was “Carla,” who came to Columbus from the South to receive treatment at a rehabilitation center. Carla had no one to watch her eight-year-old daughter while she recovered.

“She was not in a healthy place and she decided for the sake of herself and her daughter to get on a bus and go all the way up to Columbus,” Trainer said. “Carla completed a drug rehab program and has been clean ever since. We’ve become good friends.”

Trainer said her time at Worthington Christian helped expand her biblical foundation and worldview.

“I’m thankful for the education I received at Worthington Christian,” she said. “I think back on my Bible classes, specifically the ones with Tom Burns, Al Iten, and Dr. Buzz (Inboden).

“I loved Mr. Burns’ worldview class. I remember being stretched to consider things I had not previously thought about, to problem solve, and to think critically about why I believe what I believe.”

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