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Challenging Myself and My Hospitality

March 7, 2017

I write a lot about how hospitality is my thing.  I’ve only recently come to realize that it is truly my ministry here.  We host visitors, house MAF staff, host team events, parties, meetings, have dinner with a LOT of people…the list goes on.  We open our home often and, in that effort, try to give a relaxing, enjoyable time to whoever needs it.  And if you lived in Kinshasa, trust me, you would need it.

A friend recently asked on Facebook if, in showing hospitality, that included Congolese nationals as well.  I really had to think about it.  We rarely host Congolese in our home.  That is a fact, even if it is a sad one, but I realized I couldn’t answer that question when it was asked of me.  (This friend didn’t ask “why,” she merely asked “if,” but I wanted a “why,” if only for myself.)

So, why is it so rare?  The answer that would be satisfactory to everyone who reads this blog would be very very long, because living cross culturally is complicated and if you haven’t experienced a cross-cultural life, it is difficult to explain.  That is my challenge, though.  I like challenges.

In case you’re wondering the obvious, we like Congolese people.  I am constantly in awe of them as an ethnic group (made up of at least a bazillion tribal groups) – what this country has had to endure and still to have joy…it amazes me.  We know many Congolese people, we work with them daily.  I literally speak two languages daily, and hear three.  I could not still be here without my Kinois friends (Kinois is one from Kinshasa – pronounced KEEN-wah).  Matthew manages mostly national staff in his job, as we have twice as many Congolese employees at both the office and the hangar than missionaries.  In other words, interaction is frequent, all day, starting at 6:30am until long after dark.  It is mostly pleasant, minus a few bad apples that exist in every walk of life on every continent.  So, we aren’t deliberately avoiding anyone in our share of hospitality.

But, yes the inevitable But, living in a place not your home culture is wearing.  It pulls at your proverbial clothes, it drips on your metaphorical head, it strains and it is hard.  Anyone saying it isn’t is probably lying or new.  Ha!  So, for us, our particular strain of hospitality is on a bit of escape from the strains of living cross-culturally.  A good example of that is our recent murder mystery party.  It included people of several nationalities, here in country for many different reasons, all serving cross-culturally.  And it was an enjoyable night where we all felt like we could forget the difficulties of life here.

When we offer to have village missionaries stay with us, they always compliment our awesome shower, the fact that we keep our house “like an icebox” (our friends usually bring sweatshirts when they come over), and we aren’t apologizing for it.  It’s a WELCOME sense of “ahhhhhh, a bit of an escape.”  This is what we enjoy bringing to others.  We are affirmed in its value.

What I’m NOT saying, and please reassure yourself, is that we are trying to get away from our Congolese friends.  Right now, our particular focus is on offering a comfortable place to stay/eat/sing/fellowship and get a tiny break from a stressful week/month/year.  It is this positive thing, it is not avoiding or negative.

I have aspirations of having more margin in my life to have Congolese friends and coworkers over.  This NEEDS to be a priority for us.  But we aren’t there yet.  It is all a work in progress.  Less than a year ago, we had a newborn, a new house, and I had had major surgery.  By the time we were settled and I was recovered, we took a break out of the country.  I’m not trying to make excuses, but the reality is that having people over who are from a different cultural background, who speak a language different from your heart language, is hard.  It’s work.  It isn’t a carefree, easy affair, but it’s worth it.

So, pray for us in this.  Pray that we will work towards expanding our types of hospitality.  Pray that we will have the personal, emotional margin to do this more often.  Pray that we don’t make too many faux pas in the process.  Pray that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us, from Congo or not.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. ricetd permalink
    March 7, 2017 0829

    Thanks for this newsletter. Last night was the first time in…?? months that we hosted Congolese for dinner. We a couple of weeks ago shared sodas, beer banana bread and peanuts with the administrative staff from the hospital. But with that we sat outside and it started at 5:30 and ended by 6:30pm. Do able. Yet we would like to increase our connection with the Congolese workers

    So in the stress of like we give ourselves grace and say we do what we can and only what God gives us the strenght to do>

    and unfortunately the stress is my computer keyboard is going crazy and won”t type a period

    God bless tim

    On Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 7:52 PM, The Linds in DR Congo with MAF wrote:

    > Matthew & Lisa Lind posted: “I write a lot about how hospitality is my > thing. I’ve only recently come to realize that it is truly my ministry > here. We host visitors, house MAF staff, host team events, parties, > meetings, have dinner with a LOT of people…the list goes on. We open ” >

  2. Cassie Fish permalink
    March 9, 2017 0829

    I just love your transparency! Thanks for sharing! We’ve lived overseas and while it was NOT Africa, I totally get it!

  3. DEBORAH A ARNETT permalink
    March 13, 2017 0829

    What a refreshing post, Lisa. Over the years of reading what you write, I hope that you save everything you have written to include someday, in a book about your missionary adventures and challenges. I think it would be truly inspiring.

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