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Hospitality in the Past

Cynthia:

Hospitality has an incredible impact on people. In 1955, Francis and Edith Schaeffer opened
their home in Switzerland to people in Europe. They wanted to help people find the truth of
Scripture. At the time, liberal theology swept through Europe.

They call their ministry LaBrie, which means a shelter in French. They long to provide satisfying
answers to theological questions and demonstrate Christian concern and love. Edith Schaeffer
was extremely good at creating a homey environment and providing meals.

Sunday evenings, she served high tea and hosted 50 people or more. For a while there she
even recorded it because it was such an interesting conversation and so many lives were
changed

There’s something about having people in your home that is different than other places.

Modern Day

Today, I have Melissa Heiland, and she will talk about how she opened her home. Welcome,
Melissa.

Melissa:
Hi, I’m happy to be here.
Cynthia:
You told me as we started you have someone in your house from Germany. And someone from,
is it Africa?

Melissa:
Yes. I’m a missionary and we start pregnancy ministries all over the world.

We often welcome people to the United States. Some come for more training, to visit us, or to
get a break. My husband bought a house here in Daytona Beach about three years ago.

It’s a hundred years old and big. We have six kids, but we only have two in our home. One of
the reasons he bought this home was so that we could welcome people. They come from all over the world

This morning, I was picking up one of our pregnancy ministry directors from Tanzania. He’s
staying at our house. We also have a couple here from Germany. They are one of our ministry
partners here in the United States. Their aunt and uncle were coming in to visit for really for
several weeks.

Retreats

We’ve also hosted little retreats. We’re just giving our home for that.
We like to keep our home open. Our friends and ministry partners know we like to host people.
I had a friend this year who was struggling through some things. I invited her to come and stay
here for a couple of days.

Foster Care:

One of the things that we have done is foster care. We fostered over 40 children, not at one
time. Sometimes they needed a place to go for a few days.
Having someone in your home, especially children who do not know what a loving family looks
like is a ministry. Not that my family is perfect in any way. But we are an intact family.

Boundaries

Cynthia:
Do you have any way that you make people feel comfortable while giving them and yourself
some space? Because you hear a lot today about boundaries. What do you do with that?

Melissa:
That’s a good question. When you’re talking about children, no. They need help.

With adults, yes, I try to. When people want time away, they don’t necessarily want time with
you. We talk about that. We give them a space that is theirs. We’re not going to enter.

And then I explain, “We’re going home. My husband’s going to cook lunch for us. Then I must
do an interview. You can relax for a little while. Here’s your room. Here’s your bathroom. Make
yourself at home in the house. At two o’clock, we’ll get together and talk.”

Cynthia:

How comfortable are you with people doing things in your kitchen? My aunt had a sign in her
kitchen saying, ‘Please don’t touch it. If you want it, I’ll get it for you.’
Are you okay with people getting something out of the fridge?

Melissa:
Yeah, I’m pretty relaxed about that.
Nobody will come into my bedroom, but I’m comfortable with people in the kitchen or family
room. Our house has a lot of little patios. We even have one patio that’s set aside for guests.

Cynthia:
What impact have had by opening your home like this? What have you seen happen?
Melissa:

People have said it meant so much to have a getaway. Sometimes life is hard, and you just
need to escape and breathe. When I have people from outside of the United States, the impact
is big. They get to meet my husband and my kids.

It deepens the relationship that we have with each other. Now I’ve let them into my world. I’m
treating people like family. They sit at your dinner table and eat with you and your kids. They
know your family instead of just you. It is the family of God.

Cynthia:
Do you see barriers drop in a show of trust, too?

Melissa:
Yes. It’s showing trust. We are family. It’s a blessing.

Tips on Being Hospitable:

Cynthia:
What advice would you give to someone who would like to be more hospitable?

Melissa
I’m not a great cook, a great housekeeper, a great decorator.

My home is clean enough. Please don’t come around with white gloves. I’m not cooking these
fancy dinners. I think hospitality means being open to letting people come. It doesn’t necessarily
mean you have to be perfect.

You can still be generous with your home, with your time, and with what God has given you.

Cynthia:
I think that’s good advice. My house is not super neat, but the bathrooms and kitchen are clean.

Melissa:
Exactly.

Cynthia:

Thank you for your time. I really enjoyed chatting with you.

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