One of the wonderful perqs of being on-the-road gypsies is our opportunity to stay in people’s homes.  The first year and second years we were out we stayed in hotels since we had a Chevy Astro van fully loaded with books.  We also didn’t know anyone.  When we hit the road with Mighty Whitey and carried our home with us (a mattress in the back of the van), we began accepting invitations to stay in the driveways of folks, use the shower, and get to know the families that were hosting us.  It’s been one of the most profoundly enriching and enjoyable things in our lives. 

We have been hosted by families who live in small homes and families who live in large homes.  We have been hosted by large families and by couples who are childless.  We have added name after name to our address book so we can send postcards along the way, letting the families know that we remember their gift of love and want to continue the relationship.

At first it was difficult to feel comfortable in the homes of others.  I did not grow up traveling and visiting in homes.  We rarely stayed overnight at someone’s home.  As parents we camped with our children but also did not take our family to visit other families who lived further than a day’s visit away.  So it was awkward for me.  What is guest etiquitte?  Where does one hang one’s wet towel?

Of course it was totally fine with Gary, Mr Boy Scout, Mr Sleep Anywhere, Eat Anything.  Is it a guy thing?!!!   Gary always rearranges furniture so he has a light next to the bed.  Is that okay?   He BELIEVES it when people say, “help yourself to the refrigerator!”  YIKES!!!

 We’ve discovered that those who welcome us into their homes really don’t care what we do as long as they can serve us.  It is very humbling to be served.  It makes ME want to serve like that when I am home. 

If you are thinking that you do not have what it takes to host someone in your home – for a meal, for a night’s sleep, for a shower – you probably have incorrect ideas about what it really takes.  It doesn’t take a beautiful home, an incredible meal, or superior entertainment.  It takes a servant’s heart, which is free for the asking! 

Consider practicing hospitality: with family members, those you meet at church, and those who are traveling through your area, like missionaries or homeschooling vendors.  Gathering around a table sharing a meal, playing games, talking and laughing, and oftentimes sharing and praying, is a oft-neglected art in our modern age.  But it is a precious gift – both for you and your family, and for those who receive it. 

We are SO thankful for all those who have opened their homes, their hearts, and their lives to us over the years.  We look forward to our return visits.  I, of course, wonder if people REALLY want us back or just are too timid to say “stay away”, but I am learning that MY way of thinking is NOT true!!!   I cannot imagine traveling and staying alone, just the two of us, and enjoying this season of life like we do.  Part of the joy we’ve experienced is the joy of making friends and visiting them again and again. 

I am writing this while sitting at a friend’s computer in her home that is always a bit frantic and messy.  Yet we know that whenever we are coming through we can call and stop and be loved. We are blessed!  We LOVE our job!!!