Hospitality: A Key to Success in Mission

Issue 50

In cross-cultural missions, both giving and receiving hospitality is vital. It’s the way relationships are built in many cultures. It needn’t be hard either.

EDITORIAL

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I always appreciate people who have the gift of hospitality. Those who, when you drop in, will invite you to stay for a meal even if you aren’t expected. People who welcome others warmly and can make them feel special and that nothing is too much trouble. People who open their homes to others in need even if they, as hosts, are inconvenienced.

In the West we don’t seem to do hospitality as well as people in other countries. Usually we invite someone for a meal on a particular day and time. Not so in other places, where hospitality is ingrained in the culture. Where I lived in Africa it was normal that water or a cool drink was offered when I arrived to visit someone. Sometime later a meal would appear. It could be mid-morning or mid-afternoon; it didn’t matter. Even if I’d only planned a short visit, it would have been rude to refuse to stop for the food. Often my hosts would kill a chicken, especially for the occasion, or order food from a nearby maquis (open air restaurant).

In cross-cultural missions, both giving and receiving hospitality is vital. It’s the way relationships are built in many cultures. It needn’t be hard either. You could be walking down the street and be invited to join others who are eating together. Or if you knock on a neighbour’s door you will most likely be invited in, and a friendship will start to develop. Then you can reciprocate at another time. Such relationships, built around visits and food, can lead to opportunities to talk about faith and share God’s love. No wonder the Bible says, “Always be eager to practise hospitality”.

Denise Rhodes, Editor

Issue #50 Articles

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One Cup of coffee - 40 years of memories

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Just Eat it, it's Tasty

“What actually is that meat?” I asked Tan, my Thai host, having not seen…

Offering Hospitality in Mission

The Oxford Dictionary defines hospitality as ‘the friendly, generous reception…