Seventy years ago, two ladies with a heart and vision for missionaries started a unique ministry.

Alma Doering had spent most of her life serving on the mission field in the Congo. Stella Dunkelberger worked for a mission agency outside Philadelphia and often opened her home to missionary families on furlough.

The two of them met in 1929 and realized they shared the same vision for building a place where missionary servants of the Lord could live and rest while on deputation, furlough, or in the first year of retirement after a lifetime of service overseas. Understanding all too well the sacrifices missionary families make and their need for mental and spiritual refreshment, Alma dreamed of a place in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida, where they could get just that.

It was in 1949, when Alma was 71 and Stella was 73, that they established D&D with a single 12-foot by 12-foot cabin. The ministry grew over the years and remained spiritually sound through financial ups and downs. In a typical year, 150 missionary families would call D&D home for a little while.

The original properties began to require upkeep and many times were unable to host the number of missionaries necessary to support all of the homes. D&D began also renting the homes to pastors and other individuals to fill the financial gap while also beginning a ministry to single mothers and their children.

But the leadership of D&D wanted to return to its original mission to provide rent-free respite housing to help missionaries on furlough and at other times. This led to the sale of the original properties in 2015.

Recently, IAGM has merged with D&D and provides mission-board services as well as audio-visual, marketing, and financial services tailored to how we help missionaries.

The original property that served so well for seven decades was sold in 2015, and D&D now has ten newly furnished and renovated residential dwellings in two states. There are two units in the South Carolina town of Sunset, near the Smoky Mountains, and two more in the central Florida town of Clermont. Six homes are in Largo, on the west coast of Florida only a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico.

Building on the foundation laid by these two dear ladies, the ministry has totally updated its operations to meet the needs facing today’s missionaries better than ever before. And by God’s grace, D&D is still a haven of rest and restoration.

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