Welcoming Strangers

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by Marilyn Ehle

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” Hebrews 13:2 (New Living Translation)

When we lived in Germany, a call came from a friend living near the then-closed border of Eastern Europe. During the Communist era, our friend, along with others, had developed close bonds with Christians who longed to see their countries free from tyranny.

The request was simple. Our friend knew of a priest who was being allowed to travel from his home in Poland to Holland for a crucial meeting. Could my husband pick him up at the airport, drive him to the meeting only a few hours away, wait until the meeting was over and return him to our home for an overnight stay.

Our house was well suited to hosting guests and hospitality was a major element of our ministry to international men and women in both diplomatic and business circles. Our ready response to our friend’s request was automatic.

We all know that hospitality involves conversation as guests and hosts learn more about each other. In this instance, conversation was limited because this gentle, black-clad priest did not speak English, and we spoke no Polish. As we were still learning German and our guest had only limited use of that language, even that means of conversation was scarce. But to my surprise, I found that our times together over dinner and then breakfast were not only easy, but there was a special sense of God’s presence as we sat together.

Only years later did we discover the identity of our guest: a Catholic priest who was key to opening doors for evangelism and discipleship in all of Communist Poland. Because he was well respected in many circles, he became crucial to the development of religious freedom efforts as well as all other Kingdom activity.

Was our friend an angel as described in the book of Hebrews? He didn’t look particularly angelic, but his presence brought blessing that we recall to this very day. He became a lesson to never turn away the person who might be used of God as an instrument of peace and joy.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/09/21/me_welcoming-strangers/