38 years ago, I learned there was a need in our community to open our hearts and homes to international, university, students without families in the area. The organization was seeking those willing to host at least once per month; inviting them into our lives to be “one of our family.” I was “in.” I needed only to discuss this with my then husband, Charles and our children. Would they be as willing as I?
After much discussion about how we didn’t travel, but I greatly desired for our children to learn about other people and their cultures, Charles approved. From that simple “yes” 38 years ago to the present, the hosting expanded to other organizations. I learned when one’s name is “on the list” to host, your name is shared with many other organizations. I’ve hosted dozens of individuals from numerous continents and countries. Several years ago, my daughter reminded me of the blessing she received from what I consider a ministry.
Opening one’s home to persons you have never met and knowing nothing about them, is a huge component of the person God created me to be; to give and do for others. Our guests have aged from young teens to seniors in their 80’s. I’ve hosted people from relatively close by to those around the world including; Japan, Korea, Hungry, England, Malaysia, the island of Truk, Australia and many other countries. I’ve also hosted singles and couples from all over the US.
When I hosted international students with the university, I had an open-door policy. “When I invite you to attend an event in our home, please know the door is also open to your friends that have no families.” One Easter we had 16 international guests around our table with our family of four. What a joy that was for me. God didn’t create us to be unto ourselves, but to reach out to others not only in need, but also in friendship.
Last evening, I sat in a church which opened its’ doors and hearts to host the African Children’s Choir. Words are inadequate to express the jubilant emotions I felt to see those two dozen, children ages, 9-11 singing and dancing for the Lord. Attending this beautiful service and hearing those children sing hymns in our English language with their charming African dialect brought tears to my eyes.
While they sang, the video of their homeland and school was displayed. As the pastor stated last night, living inside the borders of the US places us in the top 5% of world income. No matter what our financial status, compared to areas similar to where these children call home, makes us wealthy. Personally, wealth is not ones’ bank account, but what a person has in non-monetary riches. Matthew 25:35 NIV, “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in.”