About a week ago, Emma Grace brought home this piece of artwork.
Instructed to draw her family, this is what she came up with. This might have confused her teacher as there’s actually only 4 of us in this family. But in her mind, there was no confusion. With a friend living with us (he moved out this past week) and my brother-in-law staying with us for a few weeks (he left today), this was our family. Isn’t that great? Hospitality at its finest! She really does have a gift!
Like I said in Friday’s post, I did some teaching last week in the DTS. Orientation week is set aside for us to get to know the students, but also so they can get to know us. We talk about our core values and philosophy of ministry so they can better understand these crazy people they are spending the next 5 months with!
One afternoon I taught on hospitality, this being a HUGE core value to us personally and to our ministry. Did you know the Greek word for hospitality, philoxenia, literally means “love of strangers?” Here are some points I hit on during my teaching on why we should be hospitable and the scriptures I used to back it up:
- God commands it. (Romans 12:9-13, Hebrews 13:2)
- It’s a quality of the saints. (1 Tim. 3:2, 1 Tim. 5:9-10, Titus 1:7-9)
- It’s an act of discipleship to others. (Matthew 25:34-40)
- Because people are valuable. (John 3:16-17)
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible is found in Luke 7:44-47 where Jesus was greeted by a woman who kissed his feet, anointed His head with oil, and poured perfume on Him. It’s easy to provide the practical…food, housing, water. But I think what Jesus was blessed by was her heart to welcome Him. And it came through in her actions.
That’s our goal for us personally as a family and as a ministry. That when new people come in, they would feel welcome. That they wouldn’t feel a burden or unwanted but that they would feel a spirit of hospitality.
The other day we had some of our short-termers over. One of them said, “This place is so hospitable!” We asked her why she said that. “Because you invite us into your homes, have us over for dinner.” I guess all of our staff have invited them over…just because they wanted to. That blessed our hearts so much!
I encourage you to go here and read about the famous hotel, The Waldorf Astoria. Although it’s highly likely that some of the facts have been embellished over time, it’s still a great story of hospitality from the heart.
We have been working nonstop the past few weeks trying to get some rooms at University Village ready to house some short-term teams and also so one of our staff couples could move in. It’s been awesome to see change take place! As I’ve worked out there painting and cleaning and painting and cleaning some more, I get excited knowing that soon the place will be filled with students getting discipled and trained in construction skills, computers, hospitality, and so on.
I’ve also had the privilege of decorating the rooms. I love finding good, cool stuff on a cheap budget! I decided to go with the animal/earth tone theme since we are so close to Kruger Park. It’s turned out nicely. I so enjoy making a place feel like a home and practicing hospitality. My goal is always, when someone walks into a house or a room, they would sense a warm, cozy, peaceful feeling. We still have lots more work and decorating to do but I think we’re off to a good start. TJ, one of our staff member’s teenage son, walked into the house the other day and said, “This place looks like a hotel!” Thanks, TJ!
Our Hospitality Rooms
Some Other Parts Of The House
Cooking has become a fun event in our house. It’s been a season of trying new recipes – not just on our family but our friends, too! One of our friends, David Song, works with us here in South Africa. He returned to Africa in May and stayed at our house until this week. (He is now house sitting across the street.) To help chip in and carry the load, he decided he would cook one night a week. He’s also tried out some new recipes on us. Like last night…the menu was Ratatouille (no, it’s not just a movie!)
Hospitality and community are such a huge part of who we are so it’s been fun to be creative with the dinner palate. One of the local restaurants here has this quote in their menu.
“Make yourself at home, unwind and settle down since, if the Creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.” Fernand Point
Is that great?! I think that about sums it up. As we invite people into our home, whether it be for an evening or a month, our desire is that they would be able to truly feel at home.