Issue 1
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Bienvenida          Bienvenue          ترحيب          欢迎          Welcome          vítejte          velkommen
International Guest House
Celebrating 50 years of Hospitality!
IGH is turning 50 in 2017, and we are planning a year of inviting past volunteers, board members, supporters of IGH, and guests to visit the house. We have set May 6-7 for a weekend celebration at IGH and at Hyattsville Mennonite Church (HMC). But it is the stories of experiences that bring to life our mission of Christian Hospitality. This newsletter is an avenue for those stories, and we invite past volunteers, those who have shown interest in IGH, and past guests to send us their stories. Those we have already received communicate our Mission in moving ways. These stories present not only an opportunity for reflection of our past, but also for setting a course for our future!
Annabelle Kratz
41 years of service
Annabelle Kratz has given her time and support for the establishment and fulfillment of the hospitality mission of the International Guest House.  Her dedication over the years has laid the foundation for the operations and stability of IGH and left a legacy of encouragement for present and future volunteers and board members at IGH. 
Our deepest gratitude to Annabelle
For forty-one years of dedicated and joyful service
To the mission of Christian hospitality at the
Including thirty-three years as
Chair of the Administrative Board
1973 – 2014
Future issues of this newsletter will include stories of Annabelle’s adventures at IGH.
Congratulations for 50 years from Freida Myers
First Volunteer at IGH!
I went to IGH in March 1967 as a VSer with the Mennonite Mission Board. Maude Swartzendruber and I were the first hostesses and worked with Kamlaker Dandeker. Other volunteers followed; I stayed until September 1970 when I went to Eastern Mennonite College. Congratulations on continuing to share God's love to all.  In the early days, we served breakfast and dinner but we did not have as many guest rooms either.  I hope your volunteers continue to enjoy interacting with guests from around the world.  God's blessing to you all.

Frieda Myers
VSer 1967
Judy Nord's Reflections on IGH
Fifty years of operation is a significant milestone. When you plug in the added detail, “...with staffing consisting entirely of volunteers....” well, in my opinion, you are coming mighty close to the stuff of miracles. And, Indeed, IGH is a place of small daily miracles, where the hard work of hospitality goes hand in hand with listening, love and grace. Sometimes, in the midst of this radical hospitality, deep chasms are bridged with understanding and acceptance.

Being a small part of this special place for the past few years has taught me several lessons:
  • Listening is important. The gift of being heard is valuable.
  • God’s love transcends boundaries—often without our words.
  • Peace is very real in the atmosphere here at IGH. It is not utopia, but a kind of petri dish where a deep sense of God’s presence within and among us produces an outliving of peace in our otherwise broken world.
May these special blessings continue to flourish at IGH in the next half-century.

Judy Nord
IGH Board Member 2014-2017
Call for Volunteers
Volunteer staff needed at The International Guest House in Washington, D.C. with flexibility of three months to a full year for the ministry of Christian hospitality.  The Guest House (a ministry of Allegheny Conference) serves international and U.S. travelers. Volunteers are provided full room and board in the Guest House and a monthly stipend of $140.  Health insurance is paid for full year volunteers if needed.  Rotating hospitality duties include cleaning, laundry, maintenance, baking, gardening, some office duties, and hosting breakfast & the evening tea. The service emphasis is on hospitality to guests and being a community to one another. The house is located in an established neighborhood with access to buses for exploring this historic city.

For inquiries and /or an application contact: Sara Fretz-Goering ( or current staff at the International Guest House ( (202) 726-5808
Clayton Steiner-co-host with Ruth Steiner
Hosts 7/5/06 – 9/21/07; 10/31/08 - 5/1/09

12/5/16--Today, while attending my home church in Kidron Ohio, I just happened to sit next to 91-year-old Duane Amstutz. He knew I had just returned from IGH.  Immediately after the service he opened his little red New Testament to show me the inside cover. Low and behold, there was the actual signature of Roger and Rachel Wyse who were host and hostess at IGH from 1986-1987.  They had given the New Testament to him while visiting his daughter, Linda Amstutz, who was working at IGH at the time.

Duane began to tell me all about IGH and how he fondly remembers his stay. He said his daughter had an exceptional positive experience working at IGH. He told me he clearly remembers Roger and Rachel. He said he often wonders what has happened to them and whether they are still living in Wayland, Iowa.

Wow, what a testimony for IGH's long term influence.  He is still carrying that New Testament 30 years later, remembering where it came from, who gave it and why. He was eager to show it and tell me about its history.

Clayton Steiner, 2006-07 and 2008-09 (We are grateful to Clayton who returns periodically to IGH to help fill staffing gaps and for special projects.)

IGH Reflections from Andy and Anita Stoner
Hosts 2011-12

When Andy retired from his ministry position in Ohio in 2011, we came to IGH for a change of pace and place.  What a rewarding experience it turned out to be, both challenging and enriching our lives with an exposure to the larger world, the greater DC area, and being a time for us to learn new lessons about working together!

Our first major discovery was the value of ‘living’ hospitality in the name of Christ being a valued spiritual ministry.  As the two disciples recognized Jesus in the act of sharing a meal, (Luke 24:30-31), so we experienced the presence of God in everyone coming thru the IGH doors, seeking to make them comfortable, and eating together.  Each one taught us something new, and indeed we could see God’s presence in everyone, some more easily than others!

We also saw each guest as an opportunity to whom we could extend God’s grace by accepting them respectfully.  What an awesome opportunity, to make friends and learn much!  Initially we feared language barriers might make quality connecting a huge challenge.  But we soon realized that showing God’s grace via hospitality transcends words/language/culture differences!

Finally, we appreciated the many friendships made with staff members, both short and long term, and were enriched by the diverse ‘Mennonite world’ within the DC area with which we mingled!  We applaud the vision of ministry and outreach birthed by Hyattsville Congregation and Allegheny Conference fifty years ago!  With gratitude we stand upon the shoulders of many dedicated board members, workers and participants over the years.  Thanks to all, and most notably, Annabelle!

We had a wonderful year at IGH, and treasure it highly.  We celebrate the multitude of persons touched by God’s love at IGH!  We  pray its ministry continues for years to come!

Andy and Anita Stoner, 2011-2012

Meet the Hosts

Welcome to Sharon and Lawrence Ressler who are at the International Guest House from August, 2016 to July 2017. They are the 50th hosts to serve at IGH in its 50 years of operation.

Lawrence and Sharon are both Mennonites who grew up in Ohio. They met at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and began their life of service after graduation with a year of voluntary service in the inner city of Philadelphia. Since then, Lawrence has worked as a professor and administrator in seven different American Christian colleges and universities and taught short-term in two international schools. He has both a master's degree and PhD in social work. Sharon has an MSW and has worked as an individual and marriage counselor.

They feel quite at home at IGH with many international experiences and a very multicultural family including in-laws in their extended family who are from Africa, China, Mexico, France, and the US. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Contact us here to let us know what you thought about the newsletter, or to make a reservation or get more information on the Guest House!
Copyright © 2017 International Guest House, All rights reserved.

The International Guest House is a non-profit house owned and maintained by the Allegheny Conference of Mennonite Church USA. We are run by an all-volunteer staff eager to show the love of Christ through the ministry of hospitality to guests from all over the world. 
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International Guest House | (202) 726-5808
1441 Kennedy Street NW Washington, D.C. 20011

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