Mike Mains & The Branches Talks RYFO
By Cathy Hill
Michigan-based alternative band Mike Mains & the Branches has made good use of the RYFO network of host homes over the past few years. “I’d say that 95 percent of the places we stay on the road are RYFO homes,” says Shannon Briggs Mains. “We always know they will be welcoming and comfortable places.”
Mike likens RYFO to Starbucks: “I like going to Starbucks because it’s consistent. Each place has its own atmosphere but what you get there is reliable.” The band is glad to know that homes are pre-screened; “you never know what you might get when you accept a random offer to stay somewhere.”
But room and board are just the beginning of the benefits they cite when asked about the role of RYFO. There is so much more to the ministry.
Mike, Shannon and the band look forward to RYFO stays, both new and repeat. Shannon enjoys how the relationships with the hosts deepen with each stay. “The first time they are a RYFO home. The next time it’s the home in Naperville. Then it’s the Hill family. Each time we stay we feel a deeper level of relationship.”
Mike agrees. “Now we have a network of families around the country. The Shevlots and Lubs are our Indiana families. The Kazarians are our east coast family. The Wallaces are our Arkansas family. And as family, they not only welcome us, but challenge us and keep us accountable as well.”
One of the bands’ most memorable experiences came in the midst of a very trying time. Their van was stolen, along with not only their gear and merchandise, but also with birthday presents for Shannon. (And we all know how much we like birthday presents!) Yes, insurance and donations covered the gear, but Shannon was especially touched by the RYFO homes along the way that gave her birthday presents, and even surprised her with a homemade ice cream cake! “That’s what family does,” says Shannon.
As the band continues to travel as God leads, Mike Mains & the Branches look forward to meeting more of their ever-growing RYFO family.