When we are given to hospitality, we can become missionaries without leaving our homes by inviting international students to live with us. We can become social workers without the frustration of bureaucracy. We can help to break racial barriers—especially if both sides chip and chip and chip away so that one day all walls will fall—by marching in demonstration through our front doors. We can become way-stations for workers wearied by ministry.
My own spiritual life was radicalized by one missionary who stayed with us for several days. This person’s brand of faith was unlike any I had ever encountered. A witness to the reality of God in our lives was given that influences me to this day.
Another missionary couple and their two children lived with us for a month and demonstrated a style of marriage important for David and me to observe at that particular time. Due to their responsibilities on the field, they had developed a natural and delightful shared-role type of relationship. Child-rearing and homemaking were divided equally between husband and wife.
I recall thinking how well-adjusted their young children seemed to be when they had every reason to be upset or insecure. The family had been traveling from spot to spot for over a year, unable to root in any one place, meeting new people, saying good-bye to those they had come to love, moving on. Yet the children were well behaved, cooperative, and excellently disciplined, as well as obviously developing distinctive and delightful personalities.
Able to observe them firsthand, I concluded that much of this well being was due to the even amounts of attention they received from each parent. A relaxed mother not overwrought from the exhaustion of too much childcare, or the wearing day-in-and-day-outness of menial responsibilities had to contribute greatly to her children’s own happiness.
Karen Mains has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.