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Bob (‘78) & Grace Prichard

It all Began with a Peach Pie

By Peggy Lee Manoogian

Assistant Director, Alumni Relations

Yes, they agree it all began with a peach pie. Bob (‘78)

and Grace Prichard, a former Ben Lippen School teacher,

had just returned from their honeymoon in June 1977.

Following the morning church service, they overheard

that a visiting missionary couple had no plans for lunch.

Having only a simple meal planned, but knowing that

Grace had baked a peach pie, the missionaries were

invited to the Prichard house for lunch. Hours later,

when last crumbs were licked from the plates, Bob and

Grace acknowledged the joy of playing host at their

little apartment. In the decades that followed, they grew

to love serving others through the gift of hospitality.

Always in the back of the Prichards’ minds, however,

was a constant reminder that although guests were

most appreciative of a meal with the family or use of an

extra bed, they really weren’t afforded much privacy.

Because the majority of the guests were missionaries,

Bob and Grace grew to understand their visitors’

specific needs to feel comforted, to have someone be a

listening ear, or to have a place of quiet solitude.

An idea was born in their heart: “Let’s build a place of

respite where many have the opportunity to reflect on

what God has done and is doing in their lives, and after

being renewed in spirit, to return to that which God has

called them.”

So, in 2009, Whispering Willows Bed and Breakfast

was completed. It’s located on 23 wooded acres near

Ridgeway, South Carolina, 30 minutes from downtown

Columbia. Over the next several years, guests were

able to come and go as their schedules allowed. Even

though Grace had limited time for each visitor, she said

it was a blessing to hear their comments such as: “It’s so

peaceful here. Thank you for listening to the prompting

of God and providing this place of rest for us. I’ve spent

time with the Lord; I feel renewed in spirit and ready to

return to what God has for me.”

By 2013, the Prichards formally opened Whispering

Willows B and B as a business ministry. While Bob

continues in his career as a microbiologist in Columbia,

he is also the fix-it man at Whispering Willows, and

Grace, retired from Ben Lippen, serves as manager and

hostess.

“I stay here in the quaint town of Ridgeway, and God

just brings the world to me,” says Grace. “What a joy to

meet believers in various ministries who have listened to

God’s call for their lives.”

The Prichards are still connected to Ben Lippen School

and CIU. Each of their children and their children’s

spouses are Ben Lippen alumni and their youngest also

graduated from CIU.

29

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