A Candle in the Window Hospitality Network is a
growing network of Christian households delighting
in hospitality. Our hope is to multiply the blessings we
have experienced in our home through hospitality as
our members travel, share a meal and open up their
own homes to one another.
Our mission is to provide an ever expanding online
database to our members, and a secure communication
network through which to contact potential hosts
to set up a conversational dinner and/or an overnight
stay when traveling through or to their location.
With household budgets becoming more and more
strained, travel can be a challenge! A Candle in the
Window Hospitality Network provides a creative,
economical alternative. And while the thought of sav-
ing money in a struggling economy is extremely ap-
pealing, we strongly believe the greater blessing will
be in the fellowship and relationships established as
others "come through" our homes, sharing God's
faithfulness in their lives and we have the opportun-
ity to do the same.
And consider the multigenerational impact when
we simply obey God's command to practice hospitality
alongside our children. Elisabeth Elliot's father,
Philip Howard writes:
The presence of Christian friends or even strangers--unless they are eccentric, self-centered, or thoughtless--should brighten the home and enlarge its outlook, as they tell how the Lord has led them through the trials of life and of work they are doing for Him. It is a good thing for a family to be jolted out of its routine, and to look beyond the four walls of its own business, school and church.
Elisabeth Elliot, herself, continues, writing that her parents "knew how important it was for their children to meet Christian men and women from all walks of life, and hear firsthand their stories of the faithfulness of God, and to enjoy the privilege of asking them questions... When we had guests, which was often, my father was keenly interested in them and always tried to draw out as much as possible about their lives and work. The impressions these stories made on us was deep and lasting" (Elliot, The Shaping of the Christian Family)
Our family, too, can testify to the great blessings of an open home. From our very own table, we have heard "heroic stories of the conflict". We have learned of God's concern for the harrowing lives of the street boys in Peru and the ruthless cruelty of the terrorists in South America; how God brought several families together to pioneer a small radio outreach to Ecuador that was eventually heard around the world; of growing up as a shepherd boy in Africa and becoming one of the first of one's tribe to come to Christ; how a young man's life was spared when he missed boarding a ship that was destroyed by German mines and how he later returned to post-war Germany to start a Bible School; of disassembling a power plant in Washington state (!), shipping it to Ecuador and reassembling it there; of welcoming to Shell Mera and befriending those infamous young missionaries who would be martyred by the Auca Indians; of having a believing grandmother and witnessing the fall of the Soviet Empire while attending state school in Moscow; of trusting God to the siren's blare when the bombs began to fall in the Balkans; of God's sovereignty when a missionary just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time during an assassination attempt on a foreign president; of being held hostage by Communist rebels and having one's co-laborers fall, martyred for Christ.
These are the stories we wanted our children to hear... and these are the stories your children will hear when you intentionally invite godly men and women into your home and ask them to share their stories.
There are also those whose lives have been marred by the shattering pain of poverty, divorce, and dysfunction. Our homes can offer a taste of God's healing touch as we express love, acceptance and hope. Just by living out our family roles--albeit imperfectly--others can "see the difference Christ makes in our lives and in our families" (Vonette Bright) and begin to gain a vision for what Christ can do in their own lives.
More often, there will be visits with family and friends, mundane times of struggling and growing together with conversations centering around God, marriage, the events of our day and our generation, and our hopes and prayers for one another, our children and our children's children.
You see, memories such as these have very little to do with "entertaining". There is little recollection of what was served or on what plate. Our preparations are merely a tangible means of expressing, "I want this to be special because you are special! You are precious to God and you matter to me!" In the end, however, it is not the preparations, nor the lack thereof, that we remember. It is the touch of God... not always, but often. Because of an open heart, an open home, a plateful of something, a candle's glow or a quiet word, God somehow chooses to draw us closer to Himself and to one another...
That is biblical hospitality.