|credit: Wycliffe Associates|
Which leads me to the point of this post. Did you know that you and your family could be involved in this kind of hospitality ministry? Missionaries who are home on furlough or traveling for ministry purposes are often on a very tight budget. Staying in a home saves motel and restaurant expenses for them, and gives them a chance to build new friendships and share about their work. It’s a fantastic opportunity to serve the Lord right from your home, enriching your own lives in the process. It’s also a wonderful chance for your children to learn about the world and God’s work around the world. (Homeschoolers: it’s like a field trip at home! Teach your kids about hospitality!)
This ministry is through Wycliffe Associates, a partner organization for Wycliffe Bible Translators. Their sole purpose is to support Bible translation in practical ways—building airstrips in remote jungles, construction of houses and classrooms for missionary work, maintenance of airplanes, fund-raising for translation projects, etc. And it’s all volunteer run. You can offer a couple weeks or several months of your time to help work on a project somewhere in the world.
Over the years we’ve made some wonderful friends through the hospitality ministry, friendships that continue to today. We’re partners in one of the most important works of the Kingdom…and I’d encourage you to consider it, too!
How does it work?First, go to the Wycliffe Associates website Hospitality Roster page here. When you click on the sign-up page, you’ll find you’re given choices of how many people you can put up, if you want only adults, if you have pets, how many nights they could stay, etc. You’re then put in the Roster database that Wycliffe missionaries can contact when they’re making their travel plans. They’ll call you ahead of time to see if you’re available; if not, no problem, they’ll call someone else on the list. You work with them directly to make all your arrangements.
Practical tipsI’ve learned a few helpful tips from our experiences:
- Find out if they have any dietary restrictions or requirements, and if there are any foods they don’t like. This is a huge help if you’ll be serving any meals.
- Ask if they’re traveling with a pet. It happened to us one time.
- Keep it simple. They are loving your home atmosphere and are not expecting a banquet or fancy service.
- Give them space. They’re often exhausted from days of travel and lots of talking—they might need to sleep in or take naps.
- Let them know if you can provide internet service. They’re most likely staying in touch with their busy itinerary via computer and that is a huge help.
- Offer your washer and dryer—saves them a trip to the laundromat.
- If you’re so inclined, offer them a lunch to take on the road when they leave.
- Other ways to help…change their car oil and check their tires, help them with shopping or child care while they run errands…you get the idea.
- Be flexible. Their schedule can change at the last minute and if they need to stay longer or have new needs, you’re God’s opportunity to bless them and ease the stress. (We had one family get snowed in with us for four days! Another had to stay an extra day in the area and we had to adjust our schedule.)
- Pray for them!
I hope you’ll prayerfully consider this ministry. I like to think of it in terms of Jesus’ words about doing unto others as you would have them do to you…if you were in their shoes, think how much it would mean to end a tiring day of travel in a ‘home away from home’!