The Words of the Salonen Family
The other evening at Family prayer I realized I had been here in Washington a full year. Looking around the room at the beloved faces of brothers and sisters, I felt such a wave of deep gratitude to our Father. A year ago only a handful of people lived here, and we could all easily gather around the dinner table together with Miss Kim. As we began to grow, we set new places at the table; finally we added a second table to accommodate new Family. After we grew beyond twelve we had to begin serving meals buffet style. Even so, today we are bursting out of the dining room altogether.
As I looked that evening at each member, I saw how precious he was to our Father. No one came here except by a road of tears, either in his own life or in the lives of his ancestors, and the Father walked that same way with each one,
How wonderful to know those whom He loves so much! What a privilege to have been instruments through which they were led to Him! Each is like a different kind of jewel for which He has paid a high price to add to His great work. We can only be grateful to see what He has accomplished. Here in Washington His hard work is graphically revealed to us.
Thus, we feel in our hearts the great value of the Family to Father and at the same time the responsibility of providing for the needs of such a wonderfully large Family (now twenty-plus) -- in the best possible way with the least possible expenditure of time and money. Equally important, we must put all our resources of time, money and energy to the best possible advantage in our outward mission of expanding our Family. These two big problems began creeping upon us until they finally stared us in the face and demanded -- ORGANIZATION!
At Family meetings, usually held just before Saturday evening Family prayer, we began discussing everything from the management of our several cars to new ideas for reaching people.
In housekeeping, women naturally play the major roles, with brotherly assistance where required. Periodically, we have "Ladies Meetings," where problems in the kitchen, in cleaning, or in general housekeeping are discussed and, naturally, dispatched. We have a cooking schedule, arranged where two women are responsible for cooking each Family meal (dinner every night, Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Sunday lunch). These are rescheduled from time to time (usually when we have a new addition to the Family) so that each one will have the chancel to work with many of her sisters, learn from them, and get to know them. Among us are a number of women who have had experience cooking for large families or even whole communities.
There have also been those who knew next to, nothing about kitchen work. Through working closely together, we" share and extend our skills.
Menus are selected a week ahead, and Cindy Efaw does the weekly shopping accordingly. Dish washing is also scheduled, two men and a woman for each meal --one for washing, one for drying, and one for picking up, putting away and mopping.
Housecleaning is the province of Nora Martin. Men and women are responsible for cleaning various sections of the main house and the annex, and everyone, of course, takes care of his own room.
A lot of details! Yet we all know from experience that applying ourselves conscientiously to the small, physical tasks of everyday living can help to make us more disciplined and responsible people in our spiritual work. When we remember that we are preparing meals for the Father's Family, how can we withhold our whole hearts from our work? When we realize we are cleaning the house in which the Father hopes to meet His children, how can we be careless?
In our Washington Center there is a tremendous amount of work to be accomplished -- even an endless amount because we are continually undertaking new projects and adding new members. At the same time, of course, we have to acknowledge that there are only twenty-four hours to the day. Yet we find that the more we do, more we become able to do. The less we withhold from the Father's work -household, administrative, or teaching -- the more energy we receive, and the more beautiful our work becomes.
So we are only happy, however heavy the responsibility may sometimes seem, work and grow 'here in Washington, where we may give every moment eternal meaning.