A young man who comes from a broken family regularly spends time at our house. He helps out with various house projects from time to time, occasionally he volunteers to mow the lawn (which is mostly weeds), but he can almost always be found in the living room playing the guitar and engaging with our children. Our youngest child likes to show him her new “tricks” like running or jumping, and the older two enjoy telling him stories about lizards they have found, books they read or movies they’ve watched recently. Emily feeds him breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on the time of day he’s here at our house. He has an open invitation to stay in our guest room anytime he needs to, or even wants to. We laugh hysterically together over silly YouTube videos. We sing worship songs together. We study the Bible together. We’ve spoken hard truths to him in love. It’s nothing glamorous, but healing happens through the ordinary work of hospitality.
You see, he didn’t grow up in a home that had a mom and dad who were committed to each other or to Jesus Christ. He never saw kingdom values being played out in the home and like so many in today’s society never experienced family devotions, but he gets to see it here. In our imperfect home he gets to see us struggle to figure out proper discipline for our kids, he shares family meals around the table, he helps do the dishes, and gets to sit in on family devotions. He gets to see us in our most natural environment which means he sees us sin and sees us “with our sweat pants on” – stressed and struggling, busy with the messiness of life. This is also healing. So often in vocational ministry there is pressure to keep up appearances, or the idea that the best ministry is big and flashy with lots of numbers. But today when Emily made a turkey and cheese sandwich and served up a meal for our friend right alongside our own children, beautiful Gospel work was happening. This young man loves the Lord, in spite of many hurts and hangups and we delight in the opportunity to walk through life with him and disciple him in the Lord.
Because of the prayers and financial support we receive, we get to walk closely with this young man through the ups and downs of life. We have watched him grow tremendously in the time that we have known him.