The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

January 9, 2011

Pastor’s paradise: Tour of Life provides retreat for those in ministry

JOPLIN, Mo. — Angelia Crane has taken Pastor Appreciation Day one step further. How about Pastor Appreciation Week?

Crane is the founder and director of Tour of Life, a week-long spiritual retreat to encourage and restore Christian pastors, missionaries, evangelists and full-time pastoral staff.

The non-profit mission, which is located on the former Precious Moments wedding island near Carthage, provides a place of rest and renewal for those in the ministry.

“The retreats last Sunday through Thursday,” Crane said. “We bring them in on Sunday night and on Monday morning we make them a nice meal. Then we go over with them what to expect. On Tuesday and Wednesday we ask that they just take those two days and journal, unwind and reload, not connecting with computers or TV but just trying to disconnect to connect. We have prayer and walks and we have a chapel for praying.”

Crane’s husband, Anthony, helps out with Tour of Life while serving as pastor of Oak Street Assembly of God in Carthage. He said they worked out a lease agreement with Precious Moments.

“They have been gracious enough to allow us a kind of bartering system,” she said. “When we came on this property, it had been abandoned with a tremendous amount of work needed. It used to be for weddings but when we got there the grass was high and there was a lot of debris. So they said if we fixed everything up, we could have the value in it.”

Thanks to a lot of volunteers, the site was restored, with the roof being painted and the grounds renovated, just to name a few of the efforts that took place.

“We started with little money,” Crane said. “Just donations we could get and volunteer help.”

Although the Cranes have been in the ministry for more than 20 years, covering 40 states in their full-time missions and evangelistic work, it was not until five years ago that they decided to reach out to pastors.

“We started giving them baskets and taking them out to dinner and when we knew pastors were going through something, we would be the first ones there to pray with them,” said Crane, who attended Carthage High School her senior year before moving to Lebanon, where she graduated. “Tour of Life comes from our touring-life ministry.”

The real push to start a retreat came when Anthony Crane’s father was diagnosed with cancer.

“That sent him into, what we did not know at the time, depression,” said his wife. “As pastors ourselves, we tried to reach out for help. We tried to get a retreat ourselves to help us but the cost was too much, especially for a rural pastor, costing anywhere from $2,500 to $4,500. We tried to reach out for help but we could not find any. So we took a sabbatical from the ministry and it was during that time that a professional counselor explained everything to him and really helped him, and that was a blessing. Tour of Life was born out of that.”

On the TOL website, www.touroflife.org, the retreat is listed as normally costing $1,500. However, through donations from individuals and churches, the cost has been reduced to $375 per couple at each of the two upper suites or cottage. The daily cost is $125 but anyone staying all five days gets two days free with the $375 price.

In addition, donations can be further applied to help more needy pastors. Professional counseling may also be arranged for an additional fee.

All stays must be scheduled three weeks ahead of time.  The Cranes ask that you call them at 417-288-8589 or contact them through e-mail at craneministry@yahoo.com with registration forms available on the TOL website.

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