Over the 25 years of our marriage, Scott and I have been involved in various aspects of hospitality. It runs the gamut from providing a home for single moms facing hardship to having friends over for dinner. We have found that it has been just as rewarding for us to provide as it has been for others to receive. We have striven to live out the verse that calls us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those imprisoned, etc… as best we can. This is not mentioned to puff ourselves up but to praise the One who has made such an impact on our lives that it has been a natural part of our marriage to try to be like Him. I think Scott would agree with me that it is easier for us to be on the giving end than the receiving. We have gone through a lot of turmoil over the last several years in regards to jobs, homes and just making ends meet, and we have been on the receiving end of the hospitality spectrum throughout this chapter of our lives. It has been humbling but I believe it gives us a better understanding of what other people are going through when difficult times swoop in and overshadow everything that they thought they understood about their life’s path. God allowed it to happen to us to give us an opportunity to trust Him more and to allow other people the blessing of stepping in to help. And this is a blessing. We have experienced it many times.
By early in 2016, our lives were on a more even keel and we started planning a special trip to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. We had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Israel in August of that year. Our original plan was to take a trip with a tour group but we were notified about a month before our scheduled leave time that it had been canceled. This was disappointing but, being determined to go, we decided we would travel there anyway and find our own way around.
About a week later, I was asking a group of friends what they would recommend seeing while we were there and it was at that point that our relationship with our new friend, Shoshana, would begin. After stating that I had not heard about her, one of the ladies I was meeting with explained that she had stayed in Israel an extra week to tour with her. She made sure to contact her with my number and Shoshana called as I was driving home from that meeting.
She offered to set up a tour based on the things we wanted to see, take us to and from the airport and even drive us out to Har Bracha to visit with some other friends that were in Israel at the time. Who does that??! Shoshana worked her schedule around to be able to shuttle us around and show us the country that she loves so much without any money in return. She even planned picnic lunches and less expensive ways to experience many of the national parks. We were completely stunned, blessed, and grateful!
We saw so much more of the land and got to experience Israel in a completely unique way. I was so glad that our tour didn’t happen the way we were planning it, but instead, it happened the way God wanted us to experience His Land. Not only did we travel to nearly every border and experience all the different topography that Israel has to offer but we made lifelong friends in the process. Talk about hospitality!
Shoshana and her family are so similar to my family in the way we do things, canning, gardening, recycling anything we come across to aid in various projects, to name a few. They welcomed us into their home, hardly knowing us, and gave us an incredible gift. Only God can cause these types of things to happen. We give Him all the credit!
One thing we’ve learned through this experience is to never underestimate what we can do for one another. Whether it’s inviting someone over, making a meal for someone in need, offering shelter to someone who needs it or taking two weeks out of a busy life to bless a couple of strangers, hospitality to others shows the heart of God to a world that desperately needs Him.