We were a part of a mission team helping to repair a church on the Navajo reservation just outside of Cuba, New Mexico. Our hotel room served as the base of operations for all the food prep during that trip. It’s not as bad as it sounds, since our room had a kitchenette designed for possibly a family but not a group of thirty! It is a good thing the four of us who worked in that tiny little kitchen liked each other! Thankfully the entire team exercised patience, kindness, understanding and a mission to practice hospitality!
The room next door to us was not occupied by a member of the mission team. As a rule, we had new neighbors almost every night. This presented a challenge. Breakfast came early most mornings, and dinner was usually served well after dark thirty! Trying to feed thirty hungry and tired folks is not quiet! In fact, it can be rather loud! Realizing our dilemma, we began to invite each set of new neighbors over for a free meal, coffee, and maybe even some banana bread. Oh, and an apology before the noise started!
A steady stream of newcomers graced our small kitchen that week. We meet so many interesting folks. A group of women hiking the nearby mountains seeking shelter from a thunderstorm that played havoc with their tent and other supplies. They arrived next door, wet, cold, and bruised by hail and in need of first aid and a little hospitality. The next group was a family with what seemed like a dozen small children running everywhere all at once. The mom and dad slipped away leaving the three kids with grandma. Sometimes a cup of coffee away from the family, is just what you need to make a family vacation bearable!
Then came the biker dudes! There were four of them. Retirement age, trying to look like Hell’s Angels but looking more like your grandpa dressed up for Halloween! After they got settled, Marshall offered them the opportunity to have a meal and a cup of coffee. One by one they came, they ate, and they shared stories of their adventures. We shared our commitment to help a Native American Church with much needed repairs. We invited them to sign the quilt, which they said it would be an honor. I always say, “Just your name and where we met”. One of them stopped writing., looking at me with a puzzled expression and asked, “You really don’t want me to write in a hotel room do you?” lol!
When we began asking folks to sign my quilt we had no idea what God would do with this prayer quilt. I hope it has blessed the ones who sign and freely share concerns. I know I say it often, but it really has and continues to give us so much more than we could have imagined, a purpose beyond ourselves, tears of compassion, joy when folks say we have made their day and then those times when you have four biker dudes in your hotel room!
Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 b HIT