I come from a town in Africa and I have a dream… I have always wanted to write that!!! Anyway God has placed wonderful and amazing christian women in my life, throughout my life and when I was a teen I used to hang out at the house of one of them. For no reason other than her door was always open and her freezer always had a tub of ice-cream. She didn’t listen to my teen troubles per se and she didn’t preach her beliefs to me. She just lived and I learned.
As I said, her door was always open, and so was her Bible in fact come to think of it there were a couple of Bibles open through out the house and people read them!!! They lived in a massive house and her kids were grown and in various stages of moving on… and her house was a perpetual maze of visitors. I think I may have learnt a lot of my hospitality skills right there. They always had missionaries visiting and resting in their home, they always had visitors from all corners of the earth popping in and she wrote endless letters and kept in touch with the people that passed through.
For all her visitors there were no airs and graces, her house wasn’t fancy by any means and her meals were regular family fare and every meal ended with ice-cream and custard. She was all about strategic seats next to a book case of enticing books and endless cups of tea and newspapers floating on the coffee table. Nothing was “show house”, nothing was pretentious and everything was perfect.
I knew that when I grew up I would like to have a home just like that – an ever open door and anybody and everybody welcome to pass through and rest. Particularly missionaries who are living in the heat of fire… I think they need a place to just be, where they aren’t on display and they can walk around in their socks and read a book and go for an amble on the beach and return to dinner on the table…
So here we are in a relatively small house with no spare room or even mattress in the very foreseeable future. We don’t have a lot of house guests trying to squeeze into our house!!! However, I have pretty much got the endless meals and the drop in anytime part of my hospitality vaguely under control and we do have a lot of hungry folk passing through our home every week… but it is hardly “the guest house for missionaries” that I had in mind… Nothing like it!!! In fact when missionary folk visit us I can’t imagine it is “that restful place” at all, because while we feed them, our curiosity overwhelms us and we ply them with questions about their work, their good times and their bad times…
Well, and this is where we got a bit ahead of ourselves, a few years ago… we went on holiday to the UK and we stayed on a farm with friends in Wales and we had this idea that this would be the spot to get our “guest house” started… rather than at the tip of Africa, which is pretty out of the way, from the rest of the world, at the best of times…
So we did some renovating and we got our house ready-for-sale and we put our house on the market and we new that in a couple of weeks our home would sell and the passports that we had stood for so many many many hours in the queue for, would finally be used. And I started a blog so that the grannies could keep in touch with what their kids were up to…
What did I learn:
- It is so easy to get rid of stuff you can’t be bothered to pack in a box and ship.
- It is so easy to keep your house spotlessly tidy at all times, in case a potential buyer comes knocking at the door.
- It is easy not to be too materialistic because you can’t take the stuff with you… so why buy it in the first place.
- It is easy to make deep and abiding friendships all over the world because home is where your friends are rather than at a fixed address anyway.
Basically God got the materialist totally out of me!!! And made me practice “People before things” on a very daily basis.
Now it is a couple of years down the line, I am back in the passport queues renewing passports that are about to expire, every single house on our block has sold at least once, if not twice and we have never ever even had an offer on ours!!! And I would be mad to think that going to Wales was on the cards for us anytime soon. And actually, since no one has ever even given us a vague offer on our house it is probably quite realistic to think that we are here for the duration!!! It is all quite alarming really and I would have to say perhaps God wants us here – let’s face it there is a lot to do here, we live in a part of the world where “high need” doesn’t begin to describe it!!!
And while it appears the God is saying a definite no to a “Guest House for Missionaries in Wales” he is saying a definite Yes to hanging out here and continuing to live as we do, inviting people over a couple of nights a week… writing a blog and sending good Christian books to the far corners of the earth… Believe me I am happy with that, in fact rather more than content with my lot. Especially when my lot is a house full of kids that I love and adore and a stream of visitors passing through. In fact when I prayed, “God let me serve, wherever you need me…” I got off really lightly!!!
I think what I have discovered is that when you pray that “God may send us wherever he needs us and use you in whichever way he can…” then he might just be asking you to stay where you are, and raise your kids to serve the Him with all their hearts. So while some might say God was saying no, it has taken a little time for me to realize that he isn’t saying no at all rather he is saying yes… carry on with the job at hand!!!