The Heart of Hospitality

“Hospitality is a command we are given because we have been given a home. We welcome others because we have been welcomed. We build rooms in our lives for strangers, outcasts, and neighbors because we too were once strangers when the Son prepared us a room. Genuine hospitality is perhaps one of our most effective means of being salt and light. On multiple levels, the one who builds a room for a neighbor is preaching a sermon, and it may well be the only description of the good news those who behold the act will ever hear.”

This quote sent in the A2J weekly newsletter this morning got me thinking.  Our house back home is currently being rented to friends of ours from the community.  As LOML and I journeyed together these past few years we felt our home was needed as a place of community, hospitality and fellowship.  It is in an ideal location downtown.  It is certainly big enough, especially now that the big renovation made it even more of a house for community.  We welcomed foster kids, friends, family, co-workers, people seeking refuge into our house.  Into our lives.  Into our hearts.  It was hard to think about our house not being used for these purposes when we moved away.  It was hard to think about not being able to do those things; we lost the built-in community by moving half-way around the world.

The A2J newsletter called our house the Miller House Community.  Our ground-work is fully functioning and flourishing even though we are not physically there.  We left with 2 of the 4 bedrooms filled (and the nursery with Baby B., of course).  It made me smile immensely to hear a good friend JS is now moving into one of the 2 remaining empty bedrooms.  He’ll join the Ks, the L-fam and T-dub who is renting the casita in the back yard.  Thinking back on the feeling of our house when it is full of people talking, laughing, discussing, sharing, it makes me joyful.  Even though LOML and I can’t be there to live in it and do hospitality with the City back home, we are at peace knowing our home is being used for that purpose.

Our 80-year old house has kind of gone through a redemption.  It has a rather dark history, all in the past 30 years.  In the early 1980’s it was featured in our neighborhoods annual home tour.  This means the house was in pristine form and the neighborhood committee asked the owner at the time if she would like to be included on the tour.  And between that time, and the time we purchased the house in 2006, it had been under investigation and eventually raided by SWAT for drugs and a possible pornography studio.   A long-time neighbor said the police were only able to get the drug charges to stick.  Without going into detail, I will say we found evidence of more than just drugs in the basement when we purchased the home.

The owner during the time the house was on the home tour had passed away and her brother inherited the property.  It does not look like he cared who rented it, what purpose they were using the home for, if it needed any repairs or upkeep.  He just wanted the rent money.  So our now-once-again beautiful home was left to basically smolder and fall apart piece by piece.

The house was in such disrepair when we tried to buy it the bank was not willing to lend because the condition of the house was so poor.  It was not livable.  There were holes in the floor you could literally fall to the basement through.  There was no kitchen, aside from a handful of cabinets and a sink.  The basement was filled with rubble and the remains of lots of water damage.  The hardwood floors had lost all of their finish and were terribly damaged by water.  You would have never known there had been a dance studio in the basement in the 1940’s.  The owner we purchased it from–a middle-aged man who inherited it from his father–worked with us to get it up to livable so it could be purchased.

In 25 years it went from Home Tour

> drug house and rented to whomever

> our house

> place of community.

This house may not have been the wisest purchase on our part, if I’m going to be really honest here.  It has stretched our budget many times.  My 14 months of unemployment in 2008/2009 didn’t help matters.  It was a struggle to stay current on our bills during that time.  Repairs and renovations have been expensive, even though we’ve done some of the work ourselves.  That’s part of the reason I joke we have a 27 point plan to finish the house–and each point as A, B, C, D and sometimes E, F, and G subpoints.  We just completed 4D.  :)  There are so many things that have remained on the ‘wish list’ side of our plan because they simply could not be afforded at that time (maybe never, who knows).  But I believe God has provided for us all along.  He had a better story for our lives than we could have ever written.  He knew that LOML would have his heart grow to embrace community and fellowship and gave us a house where we could do that.

All that to say it makes my heart happy to know our house is being taken care of, that it’s being used for good things and that community continues to grow.

“In the end, God has turned this house, and my heart for his ministry, to further His work, which is awesome. ” – LOML

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2 thoughts on “The Heart of Hospitality

  1. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. I enjoyed helping you in a small way to put the home back together. I’m sure the people living there now will make it even better! Keep the posts coming!

  2. ryanmthurman says:

    Thanks for sharing this, I am glad you are doing this blog. It is a good way to stay connected with your great German Adventure

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