By Christi Dunagan, at age fourteen MOM: Christi, we have company over often, including many missionary families, and you are a tremendous help. From your perspective as my teenage daughter, and from a practical point of view, what does “missionary hospitality” mean to you?
CHRISTI: Well, it means I’ll have to do more dishes (without complaining), wash my sheets (making sure I’ve got matching pillowcases), clean my closet (usually two feet deep in clothes), get rid of all my little sister’s messes and all my junk in the bathroom . . . and it’s all got to be done really fast because usually our company’s coming any minute!
It means that after a “sit-down, nicer-than-normal” dinner, I’ll be in charge of keeping all the little kids quiet while the adults are visiting; and then, when it’s time for bed, I’ll “get” to sleep on the floor in my little brother’s room (with a smile)!
When people from Africa or India come over, they usually think my bedroom is like a royal guesthouse! It reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for and how much I usually take for granted.
Sometimes our visitors have never seen a dishwasher, or a grocery store. One time we all were laughing so hard with our Ugandan friend when he couldn’t figure out how a person could fit inside the little talking menu board at the Burger King drive-through! (Our national friend was laughing harder than any of us!) International guests have stood watching in amazement through an entire washing machine cycle— when the lid was up!
It can be interesting, and challenging, to hear exciting stories about how people have helped orphan children or about how missionaries have started Bible schools. It’s fun also to have special speakers from church stay at our house (like groups from Teen Mania or Master’s Commission). Many times these ministers have really encouraged me to want to do something more for God with my life.
When we welcome others into our home, especially other missionaries, it’s not just a lot of work, and an exercise in patience— it’s actually missionary training!