Sunday our lives changed drastically! As you know we moved to New Orleans and we moved here so God could open doors for relationships to be built and then as those relationships mature, we would be then able to see needs and meet them. And in so doing, we would have the opportunity to share the gospel with our new friends in a tangible and practical way. In our journey here, we met a friend named Lacey (names have been changed for privacy) and her two-year-old daughter Bethany, and last week we found out that she was being evicted from her apartment. She is going through a divorce and her husband was the main breadwinner, but he has not yet started paying child support. She has a job but it is not enough to cover her rent, so she is being evicted. She had nowhere to go and was days away from living in her car or under the bridge near the Superdome.
Well, we found out about her dilemma and our team of missionaries here got together and decided that we needed to help. We as Christians are called and commanded to show hospitality and so we as a community of believers decided to invite her to live among us here in this community. Both Jen and I are wired for and love showing hospitality and so we immediately offered our home and they moved in on Sunday.
Now you have to remember we share this house already with another family of four. We have one kitchen and one laundry area and two bedrooms upstairs and two bedrooms downstairs. We have only two bathrooms and a cute little nook area. Well, we now have one less nook area and one more bedroom area. J This new bedroom area is where Lacey and Bethany are living. We now have ten people living in our house and breakfast time is exciting as everyone dances through the kitchen and dining room getting ready for their days. This new adventure causes us to adjust our laundry schedule, our showering schedule, and limits even more our individual space to unwind and relax.
The cool thing in all this is that this is why we moved here! We followed God’s lead here and gave up our individual idea of having our “own space” so we could invite people into our lives so they could experience God’s love and His values on a daily basis. We are so excited about this new adventure and wanted you to know about what is happening so you can pray for Lacey and Bethany. Pray for us and our missionary team as well. Pray that we will have the patience and love that is needed to love Lacey and Bethany like Jesus would. Pray specifically for Jen as she has taken on the responsibility of not just sharing her home but mentoring Lacey in parenting, eating healthy, making wise choices with her time and finances, and ultimately just believing the truth and not being defeated by her past.
As I close, I want to share with you some words & Scripture that have challenged and motivated us in this mission. May they challenge you to look for ways in which you too can practice hospitality so that more people can experience Christ around the world. Jen and I are reading a book right now by Christine Pohl called Making Room. In the book the author makes a statement that we resonated with and thought it would be encouraging for you to hear. The statement is as follows, “Hospitality is not optional for Christians, nor is it limited to those who are specifically gifted for it. It is instead, a necessary practice in the community of faith.”
Also, as you pray for us we wanted to share some scriptures for you to meditate on with us.
Romans 12:9-13, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Hebrews 12:1-3, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”
1 Peter 4:7-10, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
3 John 1:5-8, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”