I know that Liz and I have written about this topic before, but it is still something I am trying to learn from and it is still something that on occasion blows my mind. On Monday of this week our headmaster, Marwa Lucas invited us to his house. We have never been there before and he and his wife have never hosted us. In his words, he wanted us to come for a dinner or celebration to see his home for the first time, not to only come when there is a problem to discuss. The understanding here is that to have visitors at your house means that your house is blessed. It is an amazing understanding of having company that the harried, hurried hosts I “occasionally” see in American can learn from. The understanding that having company means there are people that care about you and that having an unexpected guest show up is something to fix with an extra chair, not exclamations. It is a breath easy approach to things that I hope to learn from and keep with me the rest of my life.
The night went exceptionally well, the food was good, there was plenty of soda, and the group spoke an interesting mixture of English, Swahili, and Kuria (the tribal language), a mix that made the long, weaving discussion on religion all that more interesting. Unfortunately for our host, the part of the evening that most stands out in my mind was not planned and did not happen at his house. We called a taxi to get to Lucas’ house because of the rain, and because none of us were exactly sure where his house was. On the way there we had our taxi driver call Lucas to get directions. We pulled up to the house and were warmly greeted by the lady of the house. We spent a little time haggling with our taxi driver over the price (always an interesting conversation these days thanks to gas prices) and then entered the house. Our host offered us seats and warm tea, freshly prepared. It appeared as if we were the first ones to show up, only slightly odd considering we were late. We then started looking around the house as our host went to get the family to make introductions. It was while she was gone that we started looking at the family pictures on the wall. When she returned we asked her, out of growing curiosity, who owned the house. It is not an easy name to pronounce, but more importantly it was not our headmaster.
You would think that she would have asked why these strangers had randomly shown up at her house when we pulled up. Surely she would not have welcomed random strangers into the house, offered them tea, and then introduced them to her family, but that is what she did. Surely she would have asked us to leave, or allowed us to leave when we learned of our mistake, but she did not. She wanted us to stay, finish our tea, and then her husband drove us to our headmaster’s house (the guy that was actually expecting us). She knew that we were not supposed to be there, but (as she explained) our job as Christians is to host those that come seeking hospitality, it is up to God to figure out why they are there. Amen.