Growing up, my mother practiced hospitality often. There is a plaque in our dining room that proudly declares, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2). My family had a steady stream of people in our house every week. It seemed natural, since we were already a large family, to add people into the mix.
When I moved into my apartment in Budapest, I was super excited by the space. It is large enough to host people and events. The apartment that I live in with two other ladies is the location for our prayer meetings, a space we can use for cook outs, and a place for team celebrations. Hospitality is something that I am still learning even though I was raised in a home that was always open.
I had the chance to really live out hospitality two times in the past couple months when I had family come to visit. My grandmother and great aunt came to Budapest in late August, after all the English camps were finished, and my mother came to visit me in September. I was nervous and excited to have them in my new home: What would they think of my apartment? What would they think of Hungary? Would they like the plans I made for them? Will they like going to a Hungarian church or would it be too weird?
I wanted their time here to be a blessing to them. I wanted to give the best first impression of Budapest. My roommates and I cleaned. I planned out our days. I worked extra in the time leading up so I would have some comp time to show my guests around.
But, I had other fears swirling around my head as I was preparing for them, too. My grandmother and great aunt are well-traveled. What would they think of my new city? Would it be exciting enough for them? My mother needed to get her first passport for this trip. Would she make it over the ocean? Would the people who are relying on her be okay with her gone for a week? I had never lived outside of my childhood home in a small town before I moved overseas. How would my family react to the way I live now in a big city?
Ultimately, those fears were washed away when I greeted my guests at the airport. When I tearfully said, “Hello,” I realized that this time that we had together was special. Hosting guests in a foreign country means more than giving them a place to stay. It means planning out routes with fewer stairs for my grandmother. It means speaking in Hungarian with shop owners when my great aunt has a question. It means factoring in time for my mother to meet and spend time with my team here.
Even though I sought to have their trips be blessings to them, my family visiting was a huge blessing to me! I was humbled to share what my life is like Budapest. I was blessed when my mother attended the first English club of the semester and met some of the kids I work with each week. I felt so much love when my grandmother and great aunt praised me for my ability to navigate the city and give a great tour. My grandmother gave up an afternoon of sightseeing so she could cut my hair and my roommates’ hair. For as much as I gave to host them, they gave back in blessings. It was a joy to share that time with them.
Through these visits, I am reminded and challenged to open my home and my heart in hospitality even more.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
– Hebrews 13:2
– By Sadie Sprankle, OMS Hungary Team Member