As Ryan already mentioned, our time in North Carolina has truly been wonderful. Several themes of the past couple months come to mind: rest, family, transition, preparation. But one which continues to surprise us is hospitality. Seriously, every time we experience it, hospitality takes us off guard in the best kind of way. And, as I’ll hopefully make clear, I don’t mean hospitality in the simple sense of entertaining guests, opening your house to strangers, conversations over tea, and the like, though this is included. I hope to convey to you our experiences with the kind of hospitality that is characteristic of God’s family.
We felt it literally as soon as we arrived at our new home. We barely had time to unload our packed Civic before my sister and my parents paraded into our house with hugs, loud and joyful welcomes, groceries, and a Christmas tree. And then there is this house, our temporary home for our time here, which was freely given to us by a family whom we had not even met, but who were more than willing to loan out this adorable little house in the woods. Every day we are reminded of their hospitality. Then, a couple weeks ago, we were invited to speak at a conference at a local church, who stood and clapped to welcome the guest missionaries, who cheerfully and humbly thanked us simply for coming to share about our work.
Other experiences have been sporadic and equally surprising. We have had family members, friends, and people we barely know doing whatever they can think of to move us along in this journey we’ve begun to serve the Bible-less.
Perhaps it is because we have transitioned to a kind of life that is unusually dependent on people’s kindness and generosity, and so are even more aware of God’s goodness in our lives, but we rejoice in the hospitality of His people. The people of God have opened up to us, made room for us, and blessed us with kindness and generosity. May we practice the kind of hospitality we have experienced, the kind that makes space for others to live and to be at peace, the kind that joyfully and generously welcomes the stranger, the kind that embraces those who are different from us and liberates fearful hearts.