Reminders: Entertaining Strangers
by Ardith Hoff
One cold December evening, several years ago, while living in Calmar, Iowa, ten miles south of Decorah, my husband brought home three young people, a young man and two young women. He asked if I would fix something for them to eat. We had already eaten, and I have to admit, I was taken aback to have three unexpected guests show up at that late hour and being asked to provide a meal. But he explained that they were students at Wartburg College who had been visiting at Luther College for a musical performance.
He further explained that their borrowed car had broken down; they had no money and were stranded. The only place in town to get the car fixed was closed at that hour, and my husband could tell that they needed help. Being an old farm girl, I always kept a quart jar of home-canned beef on hand for unexpected guests. In just a few minutes I had a meal on the table, and we were enjoying visiting with our guests.
We learned that they were from Nairobi, Kenya, and knew very few people in this country. After the meal, my husband called the owner of the Ford garage. Even though the garage did not normally do any mechanic work on Saturdays, the owner agreed to take their car in the next morning. We provided sleeping arrangements, and gave our guests breakfast the next the morning.
That Saturday was our church’s annual Pizza-making project where we were to make dozens of pizzas to sell. We took our guests with us to church, which happens to be right across the street from the Ford garage. We put them to work helping make pizzas while their car was being repaired.
At noon we all sat down to a pizza lunch, made with the leftover ingredients, and the young male visitor, who was an accomplished pianist, entertained us. Soon their car was again road worthy. My husband paid the bill, and our guests were on their way. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in so doing some have entertained angels unaware.” Hebrews 13:2 Our visitors may not have been angels, but our joy at entertaining them was no less than if they were. I thank God for that blessed experience.