My heart. My home.

I love to travel. I love seeing new places, trying new food, and love experiencing new culture.

There is something that always strikes me when I go to a new place- hospitality. From Haiti to Honduras, Argentina to Uganda, I have seen it everywhere. And it challenges me.

I have so much, but often I am willing to give so little. Mwita loves inviting people over, but I often feel reluctant. Well wait until I get new dishes, until we have a bigger table (or in our current case, a table at all). In Lynchburg I would think, when I get a bigger house I’ll have people over more…well guess what, I moved to NoVa and now our home is smaller than ever and right now, we eat dinner on the couch! That one didn’t work out. But yet my excuses are unfounded.

Sitting in a small mud hut in a village of Tanzania, I was given a spread of chicken, chapati, rice, greens and chai. Many of these things they only have on special occasions. In Argentina, friends opened up their homes to us (a whole YWAM team of us) with a spread of grilled meat, bread, dulce de leche, and mate. They did this night after night. The same story in Uganda, Kenya, and Honduras. Arms wide open, they received me in.

Mwita and I decided a long time ago that we wanted our home not to be only a blessing for us, but for others. A place of ministry. A place where we can show friendship and kindness to those that need it most. A place of rest and peace and comfort. But when life gets busy, I forget our long ago goal.

But when I think about it, really stop and consider, I realize that people do not want to come in to see our new dishes and color coordinated scheme, they want to come to be in one another’s presence. To linger for a moment, to know and to be known. Not for a world renowned four course meal, but for a cup of coffee and deep conversation. Not because they want to see a handmade kitchen table, but because they need to open up their heart.

I want my home to be full of happy hearts. A place where laughter is welcome, joy is encouraged, and peace is a covering. A place of love and warmth and friendship. Where life is celebrated and memories are made. Where photos of Lake Victoria on the day I smiled the most sit beside soapstone carvings that make me long for East Africa. Where pictures of me and Mwita dressed in our best on the scorching hot July day almost four years ago are lined up beside precious china dishes from my Grandma. Where well-worn books from my favorite minds maintain space with stained recipes that brought comfort and nourishment. It’s home. It’s where my favorite things are and my heart resides.

This year is a year of freedom for me. Freedom from expectations of others and myself, and freedom to enjoy all that life has to offer. This is the year I open up myself and my home. My coffee might not be gourmet, my couch isn’t designer, but my heart is sincere and this is the place I call home.

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