Saturday, August 17, 2013

processing africa: lessons on hospitality.

this video is from our trip to bethlehem. a remote village about 4 hours north {i think?} of kampala. this day blessed me more than any other day on our trip. have you watched the video? now you know why.

these precious children, and adults really, welcomed us with open arms.

no judgement for the muzungus. no predispositions. no half hearted smiles when we arrived. only pure hospitality. i believe, the kind of hospitality that the bible speaks of over and over.

after the welcome that we received {they're saying YOU ARE WELCOME, OUR VEESTORS!} it is my opinion that they had been preparing for months for our arrival. that really might not be the case, seeing as they do have other veestors {that's ugandan for vis-i-tors}. but they made us feel like rock stars. and why? because we are there to sing a song or two and love on them? to us it's no big deal. something a lot of us do once a year and then go back to our comfortable homes. we just want to check that off our list, but for them.... for them, it's important. it's special. something they look forward to. anticipate. celebrate.

after their precious song, they took us on a 'tour' of their school and church. their school consists of three huts. they are actually nicer than i thought they might be. the kids learn in english. and they're really smart and they listen intently to their teachers. it's precious. but they latched onto us as we walked. and it melted me. they gave us flowers that they made and little banana leaf dolls. and opened our hands until we couldn't accept any more. 

they loved on us

it was reverse of how i thought it was supposed to be. they blessed us. 

they taught us about hospitality. how to welcome people with open arms. to anticipate their visit. 

it made me wonder what life would look like if i did that in my home. if my home was always open and felt welcome to all. without judgement or reservation. without the half-hearted smile and "i hope you don't stay too long so i can go back to watching real housewives" conversation.

what would that look like?

i think it would do a lot of good for the world if we, as believers, treated others like these precious ugandans treated us. 

it would leave a mark on people's souls. 

if we truly, genuinely, invested in our neighbors. our school teachers. my goodness - if we invested in our friends & family this much, we would change the world. 

we are a distracted nation. distracted and busy with life. it's hard to be fully present in our world. with calendars, church events & scheduled activities. we're hardly ever there. we're already on to the next thing on our to do list for the day - or scheduling the next thing - or talking about scheduling the next thing. 

we are very rarely focused on the here & now. or, at least that's how i feel i am.

j and i were at dinner a few months ago and saw a group of teenage girls at a table and they were all on their iPhones. it broke my heart.

not because i don't love my iPhone,  because i do. but because it made me think back to some of those dinners i had in high school. either with our church friends or my group of girlfriends {the fine nine! holla!} and how i have silly stories that i can still tell. i remember, often, laughing till i was crying. calling into the radio to get songs dedicated {ahem - katy wallis}, dancing and crying. we were fully present. all there. right there. 

and i want that for my kids. 

but not only for my kids, y'all. but for myself.

my roomate, katie, and i were talking one night about this and decompressing from the day. she put it in another perspective. 

what if we treated the visitors in our church this way? 

it would change our church. if we were visitors focused in our classrooms on sunday morning. if we sought out those people who look a little "lost" or uncomfortable and made it our mission to make them feel welcomed and loved. that is what the church is for, people. 

it is a place for everyone.

no matter what they look like. no matter where they come from. no matter what they've done. church is the place for them. and let me tell you, Jesus hung out with the worst of the worst. he welcomed them into His arms. so why can't we be accepting - without hesitation - of these dear people in our own church? 


i'm praying that i have the courage to live this out on sunday mornings. welcoming people that i know into my own house is way easier for me than talking to strangers and striking up conversations. 

i get nervous. and my palms sweat. and i feel like i look like an idiot trying to talk about the weather and such. 

but that is what He has laid on my heart right now. i'm thankful to have traveled with people who challenge me in my faith. i love that He speaks differently to each of us... and then uses us to challenge each other. isn't He a great God?

i hope that you are blessed today. and that you have a wonderful weekend with your family & friends. let's try to change the world with this ugandan hospitality. welcoming each other with no reservations. no preconceived judgements. just pure, godly, love toward one another. 

"dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. " 1 john 4:7, 8

1 comment:

  1. Becky-love your insight into your trip. I'm sure it has filled your heart. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Love your blog. Very representative of you!



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