As Christians, we have often thought about what it means to offer real hospitality – not the kind of hospitality when you have people over for the weekend or entertain, but sacrificial hospitality as described in the Bible.
This kind of hospitality focuses on the needs of your guests, and can happen in a messy home where the washing still needs doing, you haven’t hoovered for weeks, and the kids’ toys are all over the floor. It requires you discern the needs, cares and worries of the people you are serving. It requires compassion and humility. It needs kind words, thoughtful gifts, a listening ear, a nourishing meal, a warm room. The word hospitality has the word ‘hospital’ in it, and as Christians I think we are required to provide hospital care to others.
We are foster carers for two boys aged six and 10. The boys were initially placed with us on a short-term basis, and when we were considering whether to offer a long-term fostering placement, our social worker asked us to consider whether our home was the A&E department or the recuperation and recovery unit. Our answer was that it is both. Our children needed desperate, urgent care when they arrived. They now need a more long-term care plan, in the form of stability, opportunities, limitless love, time and compassion, friends, and a place to thrive. The boys have now been with us for over two years and have settled well. They look healthy, have made friends and are gradually catching up at school. They smile spontaneously.
Fostering isn’t easy, and neither is genuine hospitality. We have often struggled to adapt to having two traumatised children to look after, and the impact this had had our lives. But we believe that God has placed these young lives with us for a reason.
We became champions with Home for Good two years ago because we believe in their vision. We long for people everywhere to consider how to support children who need families. Some of us may become foster carers or adopters, and some may support foster and adoptive families, but we can all care for others and offer our homes as a hospital to those who need it.