Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sharing Our Sanctuary

Our Monday was going to be an uneventful day until the phone rang and a young lady from church asked if it would be possible to bring out 'the Canadians' to our place and could they possibly come today, in about an hour's time? 'The Canadians' were a team of young people from Saskatchewan who are staying in our region at present and I had offered an invitation to visit but with their busy schedule (they are helping out people in our community during their stay) it seemed unlikely that this would eventuate but the opportunity to visit a property that has the possibility of being able to see koalas in the wild was too good to miss.





Once upon a time that sort of request would have sent me into a sheer panic but today I welcome any opportunity to open up our home to others and have become accustomed to 'last minute' hospitality. We dashed around the house checking bathrooms and picking up toys; homeschool books and papers were removed and a table was discovered! I whipped up a batch of banana choc chip muffins as the twins ran around proclaiming 'the Canadians are coming!' They just love it when people visit our home and are the most enthusiastic members of our welcoming committee!



I hope to be able to share some photos from our afternoon at some stage but let's just say it was the best geography lesson we have experienced for some time! And I can now pronounce Saskatchewan without hesitation! The children all acted as tour guides and they disappeared into the bush with their new Canadian friends, eyes straining upwards in the hope that one koala had stopped by to take a nap in one of our trees. That wasn't to be - if only this was September/October and springtime, the chances would have been far greater. They did get to meet some of our not so nice critters though - leeches which brought forth a few shrieks but the salt was ready and handed around. I needed it too!


Our not so perfect patio (those pavers await replacement!) but a beautiful spot for afternoon tea
Don't wait until all your renovations are done before you start inviting people home!

Afternoon tea on this Monday was a memorable affair and the muffins disappeared quickly as did the macadamia shortbread - store bought, not something I usually buy but on my last shopping trip to Aldi had popped a packet into the trolley thinking they would be nice to enjoy with our favourite macadamia coffee sometime. How grateful I was to have something 'Australian' to offer. That purchase was insightful!

You see, I think it's perfectly fine to offer guests store bought biscuits (preferably without artificial ingredients!) but in the past that was all I could offer the people who came to our home and I seriously envied those women who could 'whip up a batch of muffins' in next to no time and wondered how they managed to do this when we had given them such short notice of our intended visit. But I really had a heart for hospitality and just wanted to do it and give of my best.





Plain biscuits and a cup of tea were a starting place but as we kept on inviting people home my confidence grew as did my baking abilities. As I began to cultivate my homemaking skills and studied God's Word to gain an understanding of the true nature of Christian hospitality as opposed to 'entertaining' more and more opportunities to put it all into practice came our way. People were literally being sent to our doorstep! People from different countries, cultures and occasionally people who I would never have imagined inviting myself but I had said to the Lord 'Send us the people you want us to reach not just those I think are potential 'friend material'. If you pray this kind of prayer be prepared. That's all I'm going to say for the moment!

I have given some thought to how I might share from my heart about hospitality and encourage others who want to open up their homes to others. You've probably read books on the subject and you already know the Scriptures on hospitality, the Bible stories about entertaining strangers and understand that hospitality is not an optional extra or a calling just for the talented cooks in the church!




You've read the blog posts on gracious hospitality and how to set a table. You are not serving a fish course so the information on correct order of cutlery is actually not that useful! You don't need any more muffin recipes - your folder is already bulging (my advice - use the same basic recipe and add different flavours) but you are still intimidated by the prospect of cooking for others even when you have a week to prepare. It's worse when you know the wife visiting is a talented cook! Friends are fine but strangers - that's daunting. Just one family for lunch you can cope with but catering for a crowd is an entirely different matter but you would love to try sometime.




So many different situations - all calling for us to be hospitable and we are all affected by different circumstances and may be in different seasons. I would have dearly loved to have some of the young Canadian people stay with us but we are a bit short on spare rooms at present - unless they were prepared to sleep in a hammock outside! Before our family grew we had a designated guest room and billeted people but we can all offer hospitality in unique and different ways. Your home can also be a base of operations - you take the hospitality out of the home when you deliver a meal to a new mother or visit the neighbour and take her some cuttings from your garden. It's not all about gourmet cooking or even whipping up batches of muffins - that was just my means of saying welcome and feeding our guests when I had little time to prepare.

I'm going to share some stories about hospitality from a very personal perspective. Of giving and receiving hospitality. Each experience was a lesson in how to love and serve others. Watch out for my first hospitality story which I'm entitling 'Tea and Honey Sandwiches' which taught me that sometimes God expects us to give when we think we have nothing to give.

Until next time,

With Love and Joy,


7 comments:

simplelife said...

Thanks for this Anne, I've been eagerly awaiting your posts on this topic.

cheers Kate

Niki said...

You are such an inspiration in all things HOME, Ann & I absolutely adore your posts on such things.
Niki

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Sounds great Ann....You ae certainly calm as with a bay and all I think short notice palns would put many in a spin

Renata said...

What a beautiful post Ann! Thank you for being honest. I've prayed many times for the gift of hospitality - since I was quite young. It's funny, but since moving we have opened our house up to so many people & it isn't always convenient or easy, but it is getting easier.
Oh & my "quick recipe" is biscuits - I always have ingredients for a few different sorts (honey ones at the moment :) )& they only take 20 mins from start to eating!
Looking forward to your other posts!
Love
Renata:)
PS I would love to trade some honey for milk - wish we were neighbours too!

Suzanne said...

I didn't realize the bush was right outside your door--would love to spot a kaola in a tree! I have to worry about bears and beavers in my backyard...LOL! I heartily agree, hospitality needn't be fussy, people are there to visit with you not the food table. Although, a nice sweet is wonderful..LOL!

Sandra said...

"The Canadians are coming." How cute! This made me smile as I thought about the excitement of the children as they helped ready your home for company. I'm with you...all it takes to share hospitality is a willing heart, a warm smile and clean sheets. Everyone should have a sweets recipe they can bake up in a few minutes, ice tea or sweet water for beverage and a cool place to sit and chin wag.
Should I ever get to Australia, I hope your children will say, "The American is coming." I'll bring gifts too -smile-.
I think I'm visiting because of Jules in CA but now I can't remember. sigh. Memory is such a poor servant these days and it's not getting better.

Camille said...

What a wonderful opportunity for you and for "the Canadians" Ann! How precious that you open up your home to strangers...it is a blessing! LOL...Saskatchewan isn't hard to say, is it? ;-) I enjoyed reading your thoughts on hospitality...SO true...it is NOT entertainment!! Opening our home up not only blesses the guests, it blesses us!

Have a wonderful week!
In Him,
Camille

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