In the course of three months, my family will have stayed in SIXTEEN different places. Sixteen!
Two of these were hotels. One was a conference center. The rest were people’s homes.
We stayed some places for just one night. Some were for weeks at a time. Some of our hosts were family members or dear friends. Others were complete strangers until they opened their homes to us.
We’re missionaries on furlough. I’ve shared in a previous post about the chaos and stress of furlough. One of the challenges (and privileges) of being on “home assignment” is moving around. A lot. Like sixteen times in three months. And all that with a four and one year old.
I’ve heard horror stories from other missionaries about staying in nasty, dirty hotels or being promised a place to crash, only to be left on their own in an unfamiliar city. Our family has been exceedingly blessed by amazing hosts throughout our time in the U.S.
This post is to say thank you to each of our hosts. Thank you to each incredible person, couple and family who have given of their time and invited us into their lives.
Thank you for making us feel at home. You’ve told us to raid the refrigerator, help ourselves to the laundry room, and come in without knocking on the front door. You’ve treated us to home cooked meals and relaxing evenings of conversation in your living rooms.
Thank you for giving us a home base – a place where we could invite our friends and loved ones to visit when we don’t have our own home to open to them. Thank you for letting us hold birthday parties and family reunions in your back yards.
Thank you for spoiling us. You’ve taken us site-seeing and to your favorite restaurants. You’ve given us moments of vacation during a season that is anything BUT vacation for our family. You’ve taught me to receive in grace, to simply say, “thank you” instead of arguing about “who’s gonna pay.”
Thank you for loving on our children. You’ve thought of gift bags full of toys, books and crafts to keep our little ones entertained. Thank you for baby-proofing your house to keep our oh-so-curious 16-month old safe! Thank you for understanding that missionary kids have their meltdowns and tantrums like any others.
Thank you for making us sit and rest. This workaholic, Type A mom needs someone to MAKE her stop sometimes. Thank you for pushing me away from the dirty dishes so that I could enjoy my husband and children.
Thank you for driving us to the airport and picking us up at ungodly hours. Thank you for understanding when our kids woke up and cried in the middle of the night.
Thank you for arranging for us to have a car, a Pac N Play, car seats, a high chair. Thank you for asking us what kinds of foods we miss or love so that your kitchen was stocked with special treats.
Thank you for being an example to us of hospitality. Whether it comes naturally or is a challenge for you, you’ve beautifully demonstrated that gift.
Each one of you has been the epitome of a gracious host. You’ve thought of the tiniest details that speak volumes about your hearts.
Each one of you has been entirely unique. Your personalities, your relationships, your styles of living and the ways you express your faith. And through each of you, we have taken away lessons about creating a home, about loving each other, and about living for Christ.
Most of all, thank you for inviting us to be a part of your lives. For sharing your families and your hearts. You have impacted our family. You have changed us. We feel indescribably blessed, knowing that we’ve gained loved ones all over this country.
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other…When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:10 & 13