Rusty arrived home (yay!) in time for lunch, and along with him, the entire group from the East Hill Church in York, NE, who are here on a short-term campaign. Eleven people in all, thirteen if you include Rusty and Josh, and we fed them all lunch. One of the things I like best about our home here in Quito is how conducive it is for hosting large groups for meals or parties. We have already done quite a bit of entertaining in the few months we’ve been here.
We really love having people into our home. It is something we have always done, since the early days of our marriage. I remember having friends over for dinner as newly-weds in Japan, usually just one or two at a time because that was all our tiny apartment could comfortably hold. When we lived in Mississippi, the youth group and the young families were frequent guests in our home, just across the street from the church. Our second home in Japan was a large and spacious house, which became a venue for Bible studies and church parties, and the temporary home of a couple of short-termers with Let’s Start Talking. While living in campus housing at the grad school, we hosted our share of team meetings, and this carried over to our time in Portugal, where, since we had the largest apartment of the group, we hosted Team Fellowship Nights every other week.
Hospitality really has become one of our core family values through the years, and we enjoy being able to use our home as a ministry tool. There have been a couple of times during our marriage when we couldn’t have people over because we were not in a place of our own, but living with family or friends, and we always found we really missed being able to share our lives in this way.
Hospitality is an art, one that I learned growing up from my mom, where our home in Nairobi had a constantly revolving door for guests. It is an art I am still learning as I now play the hostess in my own home. But probably the most important thing I have learned about hospitality through the years is that it doesn’t require a perfectly decorated home, fancy dishes, or elaborate food. It just requires a desire to make people feel welcomed and loved and comfortable. And you can do that in a tiny apartment with paper plates and pizza delivery just as easily as someone in a million-dollar home with expensive china and a catered meal.
In Africa, guests are considered a blessing from God. If that’s true, then we have already been incredibly blessed during our few months in Ecuador! I hope this is always how I perceive the people who come and go through our front (or back) door — as a blessing!