This year has been one of receiving a lot of gracious hospitality. One of those "peak experiences" I wrote about in the last post included a trip to see Tim last January. Tim's host family welcomed us and made sure we were comfortable and our needs were met. They provided countless meals and much conversation over terere, and transportation when it didn't work for us to take the bus. They made Tim a part of their family for ten months, and are currently hosting another Radical Journey participant.
We learned from them a little bit of how to set our agenda aside for the purpose of connecting with people and making them welcome.
One of the other host families also set aside an evening to spend with us and the whole Radical Journey team. We enjoyed wonderful homemade pizza and pop as we got to know the team.
|Andrew's host family|
A former classmate of mine and his wife carved out some time on a Sunday filled with other commitments so that we could share our hearts and pray together.
|Paul and Hildi Amstutz|
So many relatives also changed their schedules and made space for us in their lives. There were wonderful meals and meaningful conversations with all of them.
David, Chuck's cousin, and his wife Judy are the founders of Alto Refugio, the Christian organization that offers hospitality and support and so much more to those touched by HIV/AIDS. Their schedules are unbelievable, and their phones are constantly ringing with more questions and needs, but they cleared an evening to spend with us.
|David and Judy Schmidt|
|Sammy and Wendy Avalos|
|Both doctors, Wes and Ester Schmidt squeezed us in between checking on sick patients, and urgent phone calls to help patients find resources to pay for their care, to show us the retreat they are building for the spiritual renewal of pastors.|
|Felipe and Claudia Schmidt put together a delicious asado on very little notice, making for a wonderful evening of getting reacquainted in their back yard.|
|taken near one of Faye's wildflower beds, and showing their beautiful view|
It turned out that this pastor would have been closely relating to Tim, had their team been able to go to Bolivia instead of Paraguay. As it was, he met them at the airport in Santa Cruz and took them home to meet his family during their long layover there. Tim already knew him! He was in town to visit sister churches, and to bring his daughter to a local college.
The more we talked, in our broken Spanish and his limited English and with help from our friend, Linda, and from Tim, the more we learned. Another student at Bethel, where Tim was living, had also lived with this pastor for 3 weeks. We decided to invite her to join us, the pastor, his daughter, Linda, and Tim and his roommate for a dinner together.
Since then there have been many more opportunities...just this week there were three meals with others in our home, and one coffee date in town.
It's exciting to see where this will lead.
I know already that I want to learn to be more prepared with some easy, tasty meals either frozen ahead or ready to prepare quickly.
I want to be able to be able to set aside my pride about whether the house is wonderful or not. Hopefully I will get better at keeping it at a level where a 15 minute pick up is enough to get by.
I'd also like to remember that a warm welcome and meaningful conversation is more important than gourmet food made from scratch, or a house that could come from the pages of an Ikea catalog.
There are days when I fall far short of that goal, but I'm having fun trying to get closer.