Dispatches

Walk Far: The Blessing of Hospitality

"If you want to walk fast, walk alone.
If you want to walk far, 
walk with others."
- African Proverb

In our culture, it is unusual for people to show up at our door unannounced, especially at meal times. We may find ourselves wondering whether what we had prepared could stretch to accommodate our visitors.  

April shares what she has with her unexpected guests.

The gift of hospitality is humbling, especially when it is so deeply engrained that it almost defines societies and their way of life. In many places around the world, visitors are considered blessings, unexpected visitors even more so. They bring blessings with them through the door, into the home and onto the family. It doesn’t make sense in such a culture to hope that a “blessing” leaves before the meal is shared or tea can be prepared. I have never been in an African home where something was not offered.

I had an experience with hospitality one afternoon when some unexpected visitors arrived at my home. It was nearing lunchtime when 10 of my neighbors came by. I felt so happy to see them, and then immediately began wondering what I would offer them to eat. I lived in a rural village with only one small market that provided necessities and I had no refrigerator. When I put together what I had on hand, it included one loaf of bread, a handful of tomatoes and a dozen eggs. Ten people were sitting around my table, anticipating something nice for lunch. Twenty minutes later, everyone had something on his or her plate. The conversation was lively. There was fellowship. My home and I were blessed.

A little bit does go a long way, when given with an open hand and a heart ready to receive.

As we learn from the miracle of the five loaves and two fish, what God blesses will always be more than enough.

APRIL FOSTER is director of Others - Trade for Hope. In this series she shares lessons learned from her 29 years in overseas ministry.

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