During the late 1970’s and 1980’s I traveled often behind the Iron Curtain into Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. We also ministered in Russia during the late 80’s and I had
Our goal was to strengthen young disciples and help them multiply their lives into a chain reaction of one helping another to help another to help another. Looking back from today’s perspective, it’s amazing how God used our little efforts to create big changes in some of these countries, the effects of which are still rippling out today.
Besides connecting deeply with Eastern European friends, one of the other benefits we experienced was the Biblical value of “Hospitality.” Whenever we were in the home of a disciple living under one of these oppressive governments, they treated us with the utmost respect and generosity. That was expressed with kindness, care, and food — often food they should not have prepared for us!
For example, once when we arrived at a friend’s home in Romania, he excused himself and went immediately to butcher one of his few chickens. Within two hours we were enjoying a wonderful chicken dinner with potatoes, vegetables, and a lovely cake his wife made for dessert while we were talking. Rationed coffee came along with our talks and our meals.
Another time in China, I met a wonderful new believer and his family living in a tiny apartment amidst a huge housing complex. With a big, satisfied smile on his face he offered me large bowl of rice with an egg on top and two chop sticks. I saw the smiles also on the faces of his wife and daughter. And then I noticed they had small bowls of rice and no egg! My smile of delight to be there and meet them, almost turned to tears. Who are the saints of this world?
Respect for guests, personal sacrifice, love and care expressed TOWARD us, and an overall atmosphere of generosity focused ON us, defined for me the biblical concept of “Hospitality.”
These homes were also places of rest and refreshment. During the late 1980’s I would be under surveillance from the secret police once they got a bead on my whereabouts after entering the country. Those were always tense times, trying to stay under the police radar. Quickly disembarking from a train. Weaving through hundreds of people in the train station. Heading out quickly on a dirt road into the suburbs. And then taking a careful look around to see who’s behind — who might be following. After ensuring the coast was clear, I walked at a normal pace to my friend’s home.
And then would CRASH. Relieved. Safe. Able to relax. Blessed to be there under their love and care.
All of this ESSENCE of hospitality to build me up — to strengthen me — took place in a specific home under the watchful care and oversight of a loving host and hostess. And that’s the ESSENCE we are offering in each of our hosted Oases. Those are places of hospitality, rest and refreshment where the Christian worker is strengthened, blessed, encouraged, and cared for.
Christian Leader, your ministry is often fruitful and exciting. But there are times when it becomes a wasteland as well. There is no fruit. Discouragement reigns through coworkers, your circumstances, government interference, or even from your own organization. Life Impact is creating an Oasis for you, in the midst of the ministry desert.