Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2 (NIV)
As Women of Welcome, we are committed to living out Christ-like hospitality for all of God’s children, specifically for “the stranger.” We have been on a journey together to increase our proximity to immigrants and refugees in our local communities and now we want to take the next step and move from conversation to connection.
When we practice Christ-like hospitality, we are doing more than welcoming others into our homes and lives, we are offering community and meeting the basic human desires we all have to be seen, wanted, loved, and accepted. We want immigrants and refugees living in our neighborhoods to feel included, welcomed, and no longer like outsiders.
Here are a few ways we can engage and move closer in proximity:
- Host an immigrant family for dinner and listen to their story.
- Befriend a newly arrived refugee/asylee family and help them navigate life in America.
- Integrate an immigrant family into some of your existing social connections.
- Model invitations as a way of life for your American friends to learn from as you are learning.
Many women in our community are already taking these brave bold steps to practice Christ-like hospitality in their daily lives by joining our Monthly Move Challenges on social media.
Here are a few of their experiences:
I learned one of my neighbors is from Bosnia, so I decided to go to a local Bosnian market where I bought a pound of coffee and some delicious sweet coconut treats. I shared them with my neighbor and she taught me the correct way to make the coffee. Thanks for this suggestion!
God has opened up some doors to build relationships with several Afghan families that arrived in the Atlanta area last October. We have gone to their homes several times, brought furniture, shared meals, read stories with the kids, and listened to their heartbreaking journey of how they fled Afghanistan. Our church helped provide some other items they needed and we pray doors keep opening with them.
I was out on an evening walk with my family and we crossed the street to compliment my neighbor’s beautiful flowers all around their porch. She was out watering. I learned she is Honduran and has been in the U.S. for one year. We both have sons that were born just two weeks apart that will be turning two this month. Neither of the boys have any other little amigos, so we plan to get them together to play and work on practicing her English and my Spanish. Friendship is blooming!
Bri (Women of Welcome Director)
After a busy day, I was tired. I ran by the grocery store to grab groceries for an Afghan family new to our community. The grocery store closed and I was locked in at 11 pm. I literally enlisted the store night stocking crew to help me find all the items on my list so I could try and get out of the store. They unlocked the door to let me out and as soon as I left, the door was locked behind me. I share this because I know we’re all busy. You cannot do it all, especially you young moms. But just chip away where you can. Start somewhere so when an opportunity arises, you can grab it and be reminded of how small the world is, and how close to the nations you can actually be in your own city.
I had a really great conversation this morning with someone who came to hear me speak at church. She said, “I just don’t know where to fit it all in.” The truth is, you can’t. But…you can fight for the time to do what you can. If it makes you feel any better, I went through volunteer training with my local Lutheran Family Service office for helping refugee families. So, I’m part of a group that is emailed about the service opportunities that spring up for incoming families. It’s been a year. This is the first thing I’ve been able to do. Sometimes I’ve been out of town or my family has been sick.
There’s never really a “good time.” But when you do it anyway, it will change you. Because you’ll meet others who enter into this work daily, and they’ll invite you to meet people you’d never see, smile at, or hug if you hadn’t just gone to the grocery store at 11 pm while drinking a large number of Emergen-C as you blare music to stay awake on the drive home.
Let’s Practice Christ-like Welcome
Let’s join Nancy, Amy, Heather, and the many other women from our community practicing Christ-like hospitality by bravely extending invitations, being generous with our time and resources, and making people feel welcome.
For more ideas on how to increase your proximity to immigrants, sign up to download this incredible resource here.