Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Gift of Hospitality

“Pami, come drink tea with me,” my friend Samir texted me. It is an invitation I have received on a regular basis since last July when I first met the Abdo family.

From Damascus, Syria, the Abdos immigrated to America in January 2017. They brought with them a rich tradition of hospitality. Everyone who enters their home is welcomed like family.

Samir and Nesrin have four children ranging in age from 8-18. When you enter their home, you are kissed on both cheeks and ushered in with open arms and wide smiles. And you will never leave hungry—never!

At a recent picnic with the Abdos, another friend of the family and I were enjoying cold drinks while watching the children play ball. My husband and Samir were manning the grill and Nesrin had gone to the kitchen to bring out the hummus Samir and I had made earlier in the day.

“The Abdo’s are the most hospitable people I have ever met,” Shawn said.

“I know what you mean,” I said. “No matter when you stop by, they make you feel like it’s a wonderful gift for them to have you in their home. They are never too busy or too tired to visit with you. They live out Olive Garden’s old slogan, ‘When you’re here, you’re family.’”

And it’s true. This family makes you feel like you belong. No matter what they are doing—cooking, homework, studying for the PA driver’s license, learning ESL, decorating for Christmas, primping for a special occasion, etc.—you are invited to join in.

The Abdo’s hospitality is a gift from God to those who receive it. Many scriptures encourage us to open our homes and welcome others graciously—Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2, 1 Peter 4:9. 1 Timothy 3:2 lists hospitality as a requirement for being a leader in the church.

Shawn and I agree—the Abdo’s have shown us great examples of hospitality. We would love to be more like them in this area—to genuinely enjoy welcoming others to our homes and lavishing them with the gift of our full attention, as well as a cup of hot tea and a plate of snacks, be it baklava, cookies, nuts, fruit, tabbouleh, or pita with hummus or baba ganoush.

I think hospitality could be a very effective evangelism tool—everyone wants to feel they belong. Opening our homes and hearts to others can build a bridge to the open arms of Christ.

Thank you, Abdo’s for your generous gift of hospitality.

Be encouraged!

©2018 Pamela D. Williams