More About Hospitality

In yesterday’s post, I described my first two homes away from home, here in Allendale County. Those folks who have taken me in have been God-sends, but we knew that our family would need a place of our own.

Not Your Typical Southern Grandma

The first time I met Camille Nairn, we were at someone’s house, and both of us wanted coffee. When I asked for cream in mine, she looked at me and said, “You are weak.” I knew right then that I would like her.

When one long-haired college guy was down here serving, she walked up behind him, and said, “Excuse me, ma’am.” And later when he told her that it was nice to meet her, she replied, “I wish I could say the same.”

Obviously, Camille is not your typical sweet, docile southern grandmother. She is active, opinionated, and passionate about change in this community. You can see her excitement in this Allendale video, and she has been coming to the after school program weekly to help 10-13 year olds with their homework.

She recently had a rental house in Allendale go vacant, and she graciously offered it to us, for free. It is a quaint, 3-bed, 1-bath place, right next to her house. We look forward to being in close proximity to her and her bazillion cats.

We are also thankful for the many folks from Grace Church (including a group of college students on their spring breaks) who have helped get some things done at the place before we moved in, like painting, new ceiling fans, and more. Our family is so grateful to be able to be together again.

What’s Next?

Our plan is to live at Camillie’s place for maybe a few months. Then, we hope to move to a place that has some more room. Part of this is just for our family, of course, but the bigger reason is so that we could have room to have guests stay with us. We want to be able to give people or families (such as from our “home church”) the opportunity to visit Allendale and experience what God is doing here.

In particular, we hope that this can be an avenue for families (even with young children) to be on a mission together, and makes a relatively easy opportunity for young moms to go on a mission trip. For example, in a family that has multiple young children, it is next to impossible for that mom to think about going to Nicaragua or Kenya for 8 days. However, a night or two in Allendale will be challenging but very doable. It will be a great opportunity for their own personal growth, to be a model for their kids, and to bring back personal stories to their own family.

What Is Hospitality?

The word that is translated as “hospitality” in the New Testament is philoxenia. Technically, this means “love of strangers.” We usually think of someone as hospitable if they always like to have friends over. But this misses the point. It is one thing to have friends over, but that is more like fellowship. To be hospitable is to love a stranger like you would love your family.

I am thankful for all the philoxenia that we have received in Allendale. We are outsiders that have been taken in. And we hope to do the same for others.

Consider how you can show brotherly love to strangers. Maybe it’s housing a summer intern. Maybe it’s inviting a new person at church over to lunch. Maybe it’s having a single person that you don’t know well over to dinner each week or month.

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6 responses to “More About Hospitality”

  1. Katie says :

    Joey, it makes sense that you guys would understand that it's difficult for a family with small children to go on a mission…particularly Mom. I just read this and got so excited. I'd like to go ahead and reserve a room whenever you get that extra room!

  2. Joey Espinosa says :

    You'll be tops on our list!

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