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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: WHEN HOSPITALITY MET HOSTILITY
By Brenda Libby
02/07/05


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"You're going to do what?" "You're letting those people come into your home?" "I hope we don't end up having the wrong element around here!"

Those were just a few of the comments we received when we let our friends, neighbors and family know what our intentions were. We had thought and prayed long and hard about opening this outreach ministry from our home. This neighborhood is not the upscale, "classy" part of town. On the contrary, it is known as "The White Ghetto" by most. The homeless and unemployed make up the majority of our residents. Drug use, crime and poor housing are the norm. To my way of thinking, all the more reason that this new ministry of ours was so badly needed here.

We devoted half of our home to the "office". Getting donations of clothes, food, household items and the like. We purchased food with our own income; never depending on outside funding, 501c3's or grant money from the government. We had no affiliation with other social service agencies. We had no income guidelines or requirements. There were no hoops that the recipients of our services had to jump through to receive help from us. The only requirement was that you have a need, which plenty in this area do.

Within the first month, we provided food boxes, furniture, clothes, baby items and miscellaneous services to over a hundred families! The needs were clearly far greater than we imagined. Many were single mothers, struggling with limited incomes. Some had just fallen on hard times, experiencing the temporary setbacks of a poor economy. Some were drug addicts, desperate for help in any form they could find. But all had one thing in common; they were hurting, lost and scared.

By reaching out to them and providing the basic needs to live; food, clothes and the like, not only were we showing them that there are people who care, but we were showing them the compassion of Jesus Christ. We helped them to see a little light at the end of the tunnel and see some glimmer of hope. Whenever a new "client" would come to our home, we would also offer them a Bible. We would let them know that it was only by the grace of God that we were even able to do this ministry. We were an inspiration and encouragement to them. We prayed with them and for them.

Although our outreach was not typical or traditional in it's methods, we accomplished much more than many other agencies could. Yes, often we were met with opposition to what we were doing. Many could not understand or even believe that we would let these people come into our home, let alone give things away for free to them. Many feared we were putting ourselves in harms way by showing hospitality and compassion to those that were deemed the "rejects" of society.

During our ministry, I was often reminded that Jesus Himself didn't always associate with the upper class people of His time. He could be found ministering to the dregs of society. The ones that others would cross the street to avoid. And they certainly wouldn't be welcome in their homes. Isn't this what was meant in the Scripture stories of being hospitable? To love the unlovely, to show kindness to strangers? To be an example of Jesus to those who may otherwise not know of Him? To be the light of Jesus that would shed the glimmer of hope on the darkness of this world?


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Member Comments
Member Date
Marcell Billinghurst02/15/05
Thank you for sharing your story and journey in learning the true meaning of Hospitality. We are currently studying this in our Church in a core program series called Friends for Life about reaching out to others in friendship to impact their lives for Christ. What you are doing is one of the many ways we can do this. God bless you in your ministry and writing. Well done. Good and faithdul servant.
Lynda Lee Schab 02/20/05
Wow! Going ahead with your ministry, despite protests from your friends must have taken courage and conviction. What a blessing you are to so many people. You truly ARE an inspiration!
Great writing. Thanks for sharing.
Blessings, Lynda