This past week we had the privilege of hosting two international workers (the terminology our denomination uses to refer to missionaries). It’s something I personally really enjoy doing, and I wanted to give you a few reasons to do it if the opportunity comes across your path!
- International workers are real people! Sometimes we carry around an unrealistic version of what an international worker really is: a super-christian who never sleeps and is always talking about Jesus, they miraculously live on pennies a day and never need to buy new clothes. Right? Actually, they’re just like you and I, only they are living out the call of Jesus on their lives in a different country. They take care of their spouses and kids, they work hard, they like a fun games night now and then, they have bills to pay, they want to help the people around them know Jesus, and some of them really like going shopping! They miss things like certain foods that are only available here at home, and they enjoy a good laugh like the rest of us! When you have an international worker stay in your home, you get a unique opportunity to get to know them as a whole person. Don’t pass that chance up!
- International workers are pretty cool. In the almost-7 years since we’ve lived in Albany, we have had the chance to host several international workers either as guests in our home or for a meal. One of them was a pastor from Chile who didn’t speak much English at all. Josh, at that time, didn’t exactly sprechen zie English either (this was pre-speech therapy). Those two got along like a house on fire. We have heard hilarious stories from the field and stories that would break your heart. We have met people who were really stoked up and people who just really needed a rest. I’ve acquired some yummy recipes (just ask me about Bosnian Apple Pie… that requires a whole separate post with pictures!). And some IW’s, not naming any names here, like eating pizza for breakfast!
- Your kids will have their horizons expanded. Partly as a result of hosting so many people who work around the world, our son has gained a global perspective pretty early on. On his birthday, he was given birthday greetings in Bosnian, and got a phone call from a missionary in the Phillipines! When he realized that the IW’s who were staying with us this week were leaving, he was disappointed because he had only gotten one chance to play Uno with Kathy. (turns out they will be in our general neck of the woods for quite awhile so hopefully more games are in the future!) Incorporating Josh’s love of maps with the fact that he has met so many people who live all over the world has been a lot of fun!
- In extending hospitality, you will be blessed. Yes, it’s sometimes inconvenient and hard work to have people staying in your home. Since I started working full time, it has definitely been a challenge. However, part of being a believer is being hospitable. That takes on many different forms, but having people stay in your home is part of it. Make it a point to extend the blessing of hospitality to others. You will reap blessings in return – the opportunity to hear about life in other parts of the world, the opportunity to pray for people who are telling others about Jesus in unique and beautiful ways, gaining a different perspective on life and ministry… I count all of those as blessings in my life.