KEYWORDS: hotel, reception, national, missionaries, city


David Berg

—The 7-Purpose National Centers!DFO 1115Feb. 1982

1. IT HAS BEEN OUR DREAM TO HAVE ESTABLISHED MISSIONARY RECEPTION CENTRES in each of the major national capital cities of our major missionary target countries such as the principal countries of South America & the Golden Triangle of the East, from India to Japan, large Homes which could receive incoming Families for a day or two or even a few days until they were transferred on into the interior cities of the country.

2. THESE WOULD ACT THEN AS PERSONNEL PLACEMENT CENTRES where the newcomers could stop over a few days & be assessed by supervisory Shepherds there as to their qualifications & financial capabilities & type of ministry, & a decision then be made by these Supervisors as to where they would best fit in what city or what part of the country & then help them find their way there & attempt to get them located there if possible & help them get started in the field with encouragement from the local Shepherds, VSs, NASs‚ etc., as well as the local Homes of the target city.

3. IT WAS ALSO OUR HOPE THAT A FAIRLY LARGE HOME COULD BE FOUND in each of these cities which we have already named in a previous Letter about "Reception Centres" & that the Supervisory Personnel or management of the Home could be in either the hands of or under the supervision of the VSs of the country working with the NASs of the country &, if necessary‚ a Reception Centre Shepherd who would actually operate the Home.

4. WE WERE HOPING THAT WE COULD COMBINE THIS SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL into the one large Home to both operate it & base out of it, as well as combine their financial resources to finance it & make it possible. The VSs already have some support from World Services & we were hoping to be able to help the NASs, who should have a big enough job in supervising Fellowships of an entire country, or even combining the job of VS & NAS into one couple, that we would be able to help them some financially also in order to help finance these Reception Centres.

5. WE HOPED TO HAVE COMBINED THE OFFICES OF VSs & NASs either into one couple or two couples working together, so that their combined income, including the income of gifts for temporary room & board of the missionaries passing through, would help to finance the local Reception Centre. However, some of these countries are not yet completely organised to the NAS level & have not yet chosen NASs, & some of the VSs of course already have their own Homes & are perhaps slow to give up their own housing, so it seems to have somewhat slowed down our progress along this line of establishing Reception Centres & we're a bit disappointed in this.

6. WE HAD HOPED ALSO TO COMBINE THE NVL, THE NATIONAL VIDEO LIBRARY IN EACH COUNTRY, WITH THIS SAME RECEPTION CENTRE OPERATION under this Supervisory Personnel for the distribution of videos & perhaps even printing & distribution of GP lit & a number of cooperative endeavours which are best done together & in cooperation rather than individually by individual Homes & individual cities, at least sometimes so. Well, that's still my dream although it seems to be difficult in fulfillment, but perhaps when we hear from you VSs & NASs & also the various Homes that have the burden but need financial help, if you could possibly get together under the supervision of the World Service VSs & discuss the problems & the plan & the solution, perhaps you could hit on something which would be the answer!

7. MAYBE WE'RE BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, MAYBE WE'RE LOOKING FOR THE WRONG KIND OF HOUSING. Maybe you've just been looking for large homes, large villas which are usually the old mansion-type, large estate-type or something which was designed for one large wealthy family originally but may have become a little old & rundown & now for rent, preferably furnished but unfurnished if necessary—sometimes you can even rent furniture or buy it cheap second hand or provision it. But these homes were actually not designed for multiple families or multiple guests! And the average large home usually does not have more than four or five bedrooms. If it has six or seven it's the exception & rare, yet that's what you actually need or even more! So I'm wondering if you have been looking for the wrong kind of housing.

8. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR A SMALL HOSTELRY, PENSION OR SMALL HOTEL of the third, fourth‚ fifth rate class, something even such as the hippies used to stay in, youth hostels or something like that or even a very small low-class hotel for guests. We once rented one like this with 33 rooms on Miami Beach for six months of the summer for only $ 100 a month! Most families don't want to live in a hotel so they are looking for a house with their own private quarters & private garden & they are not looking for any kind of a large ugly-looking hotel-type building. They want a house for their family even if they have a big family. So the estate agents would not even think of suggesting such a thing! (Or a campground near the capital or international airport!)

9. SO PERHAPS YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING UNDER THE WRONG CATEGORY IN THE NEWSPAPER OR INQUIRING ALONG THE WRONG LINE WITH THE AGENTS. We've even in one country in its capital recently heard of a small seven-bedroom hotel with a fairly large dining room enough to accommodate that many guests, & most of the bedrooms having their own private baths & toilets‚ a very nice old small hotel with a lovely garden & only a few steps from the beach, being rented for only a thousand dollars a month, which today is about the same as a hundred dollars a month was in the days we rented the hotel on Miami Beach! It also came fully equipped, furnished, & even with an expert cook & housemaid for only an extra hundred dollars a month! So these things are possible!

10. SO I THINK MAYBE YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR THE WRONG KIND OF HOUSING. YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING UNDER HOUSES FOR RENT OR LEASE RATHER THAN SMALL HOTELS, PENSIONS OR ROOMING HOUSES. We once found the kind of place we were looking for in Miami, Florida in the heart of the city, a huge old mansion with beautiful grounds & nine bedrooms‚ but it was not listed under homes or houses for rent but was listed under "Rooming Houses" & it already had a license to operate as a rooming house. It was fully furnished as a rooming house & it was being rented for a phenomenally low monthly rental, except that the man who was giving it up wanted $2,000 for his furniture. So I think we finally settled the deal on something about $1,000 for his ratty old well-used furniture & we got this place for a bargain for only about $150 a month plus the $1,000 for all of his furniture, & as he called it "a business", we were buying his "business" along with the furniture.

11. YOU MAY FIND THESE LISTED UNDER "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES" in the newspapers or with the estate agents. They, thinking you're looking just for a home for yourself or your large family & never dreaming that you would even be interested in a small hotel or pension or hostelry‚ would not even think of suggesting such a place or you might be insulted! They probably think you're a rich American family & you just want to live in a big luxurious mansion, so he shows you all these fancy estates‚ & of course you can't afford them as they're too fancy & too nicely furnished for the type of operation that we need.

12. THE CHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE, ONCE WHEN THEY FOUND THEY NEEDED SUCH A PLACE IN NEW YORK CITY FOR INCOMING & OUTGOING MISSIONARIES, FOUND AN OLD HOTEL, an old third or fourth–rate hotel downtown in the heart of the city within walking distance of Broadway & 42nd Street in Manhattan, a small three-story hotel very cheap & they bought it & it was extremely useful, always packed full of incoming & outgoing missionaries. You had to send in your reservation in advance to try to even get a room, as usually they were booked up for weeks in advance & seldom had a vacancy unless you had made your reservation a month or two in advance, & they kept it busy.

13. YOU PAID A SMALL FEE, A VERY LOW RENTAL FOR YOUR ROOM‚ & YOU COULD ALSO GET BOARD THERE AS WELL in the dining hall, simple meals, all the same family-style meal, no selection or anything fancy, just the way we run our Homes. You could get room & board if you wished & you could get bed-&-breakfast or half-board or full–board, depending on what you could afford & needed at a very low rate, the cheapest thing you could possibly have found anywhere in New York City, & of course only open to missionaries or Christian workers of the denomination itself, because that's all they could handle at a rate that they could afford, & they operated profitably & in the black & did very well, as well as performing a service for the missionaries. It also provided offices & a Home Base there for the denomination.

14. SO I THINK PERHAPS WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION FOR THE WRONG TYPE OF HOUSING & PERHAPS YOU NEED TO LOOK UNDER "BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES", SMALL HOTELS, ROOMING HOUSES, PENSIONS, HOSTELRIES, they go under several different names in various parts of the World. Because we have found them in our experience in past years to be extremely reasonable, very cheap‚ much cheaper to rent than a large old richly-furnished mansion or estate. They very often have nice grounds, but sometimes none, being right in the city with nothing to step out on but the sidewalk, but nevertheless adequate & sufficient with all that is necessary for passing missionaries who only need a place to land for a few days & then go on, but don't have to live there.

15. NO ONE REALLY HAS TO LIVE THERE EXCEPT THOSE WHO OPERATE IT, & if they're busy for the Lord taking care of missionaries they won't be worrying too much about gardens & grounds & luxury nor swimming pools or beaches or whatever, although some of these can be found in very delightful locations such as our hotel in Miami Beach which we kept full of both guests & students of our school‚ & most of them were paying guests which helped a great deal.

16. WE OPERATED OUR DINING HALL, OF COURSE, ALL THE TIME, & allowed the guests kitchen privileges for breakfast, since people eat breakfast at all different times & different kinds of breakfasts, so they could go in & use the kitchen to prepare their own breakfast, do their own dishes & keep their food there in jars & canisters labeled with their name on it in the fridge, etc., & take turns at the stove, etc., much the way we do in our Homes. Then we served the two meals a day to anyone who wanted to eat with us & our students as a family—lunch & dinner—& it worked very well, very satisfactorily:—

17. IN FACT‚ WE ALMOST BOUGHT IT! We had a very wealthy millionairess woman who loved us, the prophet Avak's mentor or angel or patron saint whose husband owned several hotels in Miami Beach, & the old Polish lady who owned our hotel wanted to sell it at a very reasonable price, only $10,000! Of course, that was a lot of money then & she wanted it all cash, but our dear wealthy sister, Avak's sponsor & our friend, didn't want to put out that much in actual cash all at once, so was dickering with the woman on some type of down payment with monthly payments to negotiate a deal on time terms.

18. WE WOULD HAVE GONE THROUGH IT if we hadn't at the last minute, thanks to the Lord‚ discovered that the old lady who was selling the hotel had already been socked with condemnation proceedings for having inadequate fire facilities, not enough fire escapes, fire hoses, extinguishers, fire doors & all kinds of ridiculous things that the city was trying to clamp down on her with, deliberately knowing she couldn't afford it so she'd have to dump it & sell it to some rich guy who was trying to buy it to build a nice high-rise apartment on the same property.

19. IT WAS ONLY A LITTLE OLD-FASHIONED TWO-STORY WOOD–&-STUCCO HOTEL, as old as the Miami Hurricane & had been through several of them at that, which showed it was quite strong however. But it was kind of old & ratty & had the simplest, cheapest kind of furniture. In fact it had originally been a whorehouse! A brothel! Each room had a nice double bed & at least a sink with running water & I think one chair & one little table, & that was it. There was an absolute minimum of furniture & the baths were down the hall, ladies' & mens'‚ on both first & second floors.

20. SO IT WASN'T VERY MUCH BUT IT WAS ALL WE NEEDED, BUT ANYBODY LOOKING FOR A HOME WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THAT KIND OF A PLACE! Anybody looking for that kind of place wouldn't be looking under "Houses for Rent", & anybody looking for that kind of place wouldn't have been inquiring of agents for homes for rent, they would have said what they wanted—small hotel, hostelry, family pension, something very humble, even very old & with old broken–down second-hand furniture & whatnot, but sufficient for the needs of missionaries who should be accustomed to putting up with almost anything! Like the missionary said to his wealthy American visiting guest, "Just let us know what you need & we'll explain to you how to do without it!" So we don't need anything fancy‚ we don't need fancy furniture, we don't need a big estate, a mansion with acres of gardens & grounds & swimming pool! (But maybe a campground?)

21. ALL YOU NEED IS A VERY SMALL HOTEL with a lot of individual rooms to pack in families & their children. A whole family of four to six, a couple with two or three or four or half a dozen children can even scream—I started to say cram & squeeze & I got'm mixed up & said scream—into one room for a few days! Well, they might be screaming before they left‚ but it is possible that you could put a whole small family in one room with a double bed for the mother & father & a few unfolding cots or sleeping bags on the floor for the children. Just for two or three days you can put up with almost anything until you get them on their way, & the quicker you get them on their way the better, before they spend all their money, so they can get to their target city & can find a house, a nice Heavenly Home for themselves from which to operate.

22. AND THIS IS WHY WE TRIED TO GET THE VOLSTATS FOR YOU, & they should have already been in one of these issues or possibly they are in this issue, of the principal target fields of South America, India & its surrounding countries, Indonesia & the Golden Triangle, so you'll know what the average rentals are in each of these cities & countries & know what you can afford & what you're apt to find, & what the ministries are there for your particular family. So, perhaps we've been looking for the wrong kind of housing for these Reception Centres. (Maybe campgrounds or an old motel?)

23. MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE SAID RECEPTION HOTELS! Because that's really what they'll amount to‚ each family only spending just a few days until you can ship them out to their chosen or recommended city. Perhaps while they're there with you, you could have the families in their proposed eventual destination city of the interior looking for housing for them even before they arrive so they can look at the places they have located when they get there, or hopefully a Home in that city would have sufficient room there to house them for a few days until they do locate a place.

24. A NUMBER OF HOMES HAVE WRITTEN IN THE VOLSTATS THAT THEY DO HAVE ROOMS AVAILABLE for a few people either overnight or two or three days or even a week or so, until you are able to find your own housing. And this was a system which we had hoped would work out & we are still hoping, but it's been a bit slow & families are moving fast & so it has had its difficulties. A number of families have written in & offered their Homes for Reception Centres or at least offered rooms for a few days, some even with room & board at very nominal costs or give what you can, etc.

25. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARRIVE‚ AT LEAST $1500 TO $2,000, TO PAY FOR SUCH TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATIONS & FURNISH YOUR OWN TRANSPORTATION TO THE CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION & TO RENT YOURSELF A HOUSE THERE & TO LIVE FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS ON THOSE LANDING FUNDS UNTIL YOU START RECEIVING YOUR MAIL MINISTRY SUPPORT IN PLEDGES from the Home Bases of the richer countries of the North or wherever. So that is still a dream I'm hoping will be fulfilled & come true! I'm just suggesting now that perhaps you VSs & NASs & would–be Reception Centre operators have been looking for the wrong kind of housing. Instead of a large old home that you hope to convert into a hotel, which most rich people with nice furniture don't want you to do of course, & they're almost always too expensive anyway‚ perhaps you should start looking for a small hotel, hostelry, rooming house or pension. Usually they have mostly small rooms, some single, some double, with washstands or washbasins, & the bathrooms & toilets are down the hall. (Or campground or old motel?)

26. WE HAVE STAYED IN MANY HOTELS LIKE THIS throughout our years of Family experience & have found them quite convenient, & though humble & nothing fancy, they were sufficient. In my 15 years on the road for Radio & Television, I almost always would shop around for the second or third-rate hotels, not the big first-class hotels, the five-star hotels, the best hotels in town—I didn't even try them‚ but I would go to the smaller hotels.

27. EVEN THERE I WOULD ASK FOR A ROOM WITHOUT BATH which nearly always had a washbasin at least which you could use in an emergency, & sometimes a toilet, but you'd have to go down the hall to the bath. Well, this was no great inconvenience to me because I didn't take that many baths, but it was very handy & much cheaper than rooms with baths, usually about half the price of a room with bath! So those small hotels normally do not have rooms with bath but the bath is down the hall, sometimes two or three baths, at least one for women & one for the men‚ with toilets & bathtubs or showers, whatever, so that by these combined facilities they have actually more sleeping rooms than a normal home because they are designed or remodeled for more housing for more guests.

28. SO WHY DON'T YOU TRY TO LOOK FOR THAT TYPE OF HOTEL, MOTEL OR CAMP FOR YOUR RECEPTION CENTRES? If you don't start looking pretty quick though‚ it's going to be too late, our emigrants are all going to be out of the States & Europe & no more coming, & the need will be almost passé except as a Headquarters for the families of the VSs & NASs, the Supervisory Personnel & the National Video Library, etc., & their children, which could still be very accommodating & useful even for that type of combined National Headquarters or National Base from which the VSs can operate & where the NASs can conduct their Fellowship services for the Homes of the country.

29. BUT IF YOU DON'T FIND THEM PRETTY QUICK THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE MUCH USE FOR INCOMING MISSIONARIES when there will be no more coming because their countries are gone! Just as the Border Bases which we first recommended 10 years ago when we were first pioneering Europe & South America—we recommended Border Bases like New York for jumping off to Europe, & Los Angeles, El Paso & Miami, etc.‚ for jumping off into Latin America.

30. BUT YOU FOLKS WHO ARE STILL LOOKING FOR BORDER BASES in places like Los Angeles & some of the places which are going to be the first to be hit in the first strike within a few months, I'm sorry, but it seems to me that you're a bit late—about ten years too late! You're a little behind the times now, it's too late. I did mention those Border Bases in that last Reception Letter but that was a number of months ago, & I was indicating that most of those Border Bases have already been established for a long time in the past & not recommending that you necessarily open any more‚ & certainly not in vulnerable places like Los Angeles or any major city that is going to be subject to atomic attack! You might get away with it clear down at Laredo or Brownsville, Texas, but LA & San Diego are prime Naval & Military targets, & Tijuana is not even far enough away, & Miami is going to be a prime target. So frankly I don't think there's going to be much more need for any more Border Bases in the United States very much longer unless they're already established & operating! I think you're barking up the wrong tree to start thinking at this late date, 10 years late, about establishing Border Bases in some of those highly vulnerable prime-target atomic-attack areas of the United States or Europe!

31. WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW IS RECEPTION CENTRES, & WE NEED'M YESTERDAY!—And if you don't hurry up & get them going it's going to be too late for them too! Because once their own Home countries are destroyed, all those who are leaving will have left, & those who didn't will not be leaving‚ it'll be too late! There will no longer be any need for Reception Centres except as housing for local families already on the Mission Field, such as Headquarters for the Supervisory Personnel there like the VSs, NASs & National Video Libraries, National CROs & their secretarial personnel, etc., as the National Headquarters for your country.

32. SO YOU'D BETTER HURRY UP! IT'S ALREADY TOO LATE FOR BORDER BASES, & IT'S ALMOST TOO LATE FOR RECEPTION CENTRES, so if you want to have one in your country, you'd better do it now! Because it'll probably only be in operation for the next few months before the War, for Northern refugees‚ but after that it won't be needed for any more Northern missionaries, unless they come from other Southern countries, which is possible. There may be some exchange of missionaries back & forth still from other Southern fields, those who have not yet quite found their place or gotten settled & are changing fields & looking for something that is more suitable & fitting for their particular type of ministry & finances.

33. BUT RECEPTION CENTRES COULD STILL BE VERY USEFUL FOR SOUTHERN TRAVELLING PERSONNEL‚ visiting personnel such as visiting leaders or missionaries changing fields‚ & National Supervisory Personnel & their families. So I would not say they're not needed or will not be needed, but they will not be as needed as desperately as they are today for the incoming missionaries of the countries & the continents that are about to be destroyed! So if you want them to be useful for migrating missionaries from the North, you'd better hurry up & get them established in a hurry!—And I would say that even after the War they will still be useful for local National Headquarter's Supervisory Personnel, visitors & moving missionaries, Video Libraries, NAFs, Schools, Refuges, etc.

34. SO DO IT NOW! WE NEED'M YESTERDAY! GBY! But I believe they will still be useful tomorrow! Of course, if you, as Maria just pointed out, want to operate such a Combo Centre separate from your National Headquarters of the VSs & the NASs, it would probably be better security. The operating or National personnel of the Reception Centres could still be trained to assess the quality & talents & finances of the incoming missionaries & help in their placement in locations where best suited & needed.

35. SO AN OLD HOTEL OR CAMPGROUND IS WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR, & God help you to find it if it's His will. You could even use it then for your National Area Fellowships if it has enough rooms & you don't have too many people living in it already. If it is commodious enough you might be able to house at least some of your visiting families for your yearly National Area Fellowships, especially if it has a large enough dining room to feed'm all & have your meetings in, etc., & so it could serve another very useful purpose. Perhaps even some of the Greater Area Fellowships could think about that too. Amen?

36. GBY! THANKS A LOT!—AND I DO HOPE YOU FIND WHATEVER IS NEEDED FOR YOUR COUNTRY FOR YOUR RECEPTION CENTER!—Amen? GBAKY & help you to find it for His use for His dear weary workers! GBY! ILY! Start a Combo in your capital TODAY!—Tomorrow will be too late!—& we'll try to help you if you'll hurry!—First come, first served! Amen?—Thanks! PTL!—He never fails! Just seek, knock & ask, & He'll help you find, open & get!—Amen? Amen! GBY! Let's GO COMBO!

37. CAMPGROUNDS WITH CABINS OR COTTAGES & PARKING FOR MOBILES & TENT SITES‚ TOILETS & FEEDING FACILITIES COULD BE IDEAL TOO!—With more room for kids & recreation & Fellowships & lower costs!—& outside the dirty noisy cities near the airport if possible, in God's fresh clean beautiful countryside creation! So look for one that's maybe not doing so good commercially but you could rent or buy cheap on terms for your COMBO!—Or just rent the cabins &/or spaces as needed from the owner. That's what MCV did!—They got a recreation center with swimming pool, toilets, kitchen & dining pavilion & lotsa room to park trailers, campers, tents, etc. You could do it too!

38. THERE'S NO END OF POSSIBILITIES & USES FOR A COMBO CENTER! Try it! You'll love it! GBY & help you find one TODAY!—Amen?—A campground could also serve as a refuge in time of trouble, as well as the other uses & thereby make it worth maintaining for constant use, not just some hole in the mountains for some rainy day only & no other use or witness! It could also be a good vacation spot for an R, R & RC (Rest‚ Recuperation & Recreation Center!) for God's willing but weary workers! When did you last have a rest or vacation? Wouldn't you be willing to give a bit for its maintenance & your room & board on your holiday?—Amen?—I would!—& we will, DV, if you'll find & start one! Come on! Let's have COMBOS!—for continual multi-use!—Amen? OK! Go to it! ILY!

39. I'M THRILLED WITH THIS NEW IDEA OF COMBO CENTERS!—A Hotel or Campground you can use for many purposes in or near each Capital City of your Southern countries!—Are you?

40. A 7-PURPOSE MULTI-USE COMBO CENTER (for short!) COULD BE THE ANSWER TO A LOTA PROBLEMS & NEEDS for all these uses, & thereby worthy of constant use & maintenance & operational staff in or near your Capital City & International Airport of the safer Southern countries of the South!—Not some remote hole-in-the-mountains for final Refuge only!—But good for that too when needed!


  1. A National HQ for your VSs, NASs & staffs!
  2. Your National Video Library!
  3. Your National Reception Center for visitors & moving missionaries!
  4. Your NAF Conventions or Camp Meetings!
  5. Your National Childcare Center & School!
  6. Your National Rest, Recuperation, Recreation & Holiday Playground!
  7. —And finally a Refuge in Time of Trouble!—Amen?

42. I BELIEVE SUCH CONSTANTLY–NEEDED & MULTI-USEFUL COMBOS WOULD BE WORTHY OF CONSTANT SUPPORT & MAINTENANCE & STAFF in most major Southern countries, don't you? By sharing the same facilities‚ funds & staff for all these uses, Combos could be very economical & worth the time, trouble & investment!—Not just in hopes of a someday-need for a Refuge only!—How about it!—Are you with me? Let's GO COMBO!—TODAY!—Amen? GBY! ILY!