February 1, 2013
Hagerman Bed & Breakfast
Let's summarize: get serious about your relationship with God, seek out national friends, and spend recuperation time with others who speak your language.
We spent our first couple of years in Paraguay with very few friends who spoke our language, and of those we had, most lived far away. We had to be purposeful about getting in time with them.
One morning per month was dedicated to a ladies' gathering in the capital, even though it was two hours away from our home. Our family planned around that day, saving errands and shopping for that one time per month when I could sit in an air-conditioned living room full of other missionary women, singing, studying, and talking.
Oh, the things I learned! Those couple of hours per month were vital to our survival as a family here, I'm positive.
We also made friends from other mission organizations. Knowing we're technically independent, many of them invite us to various holiday functions and seminars, letting us benefit from their "riches." We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this time over the years.
Now that we live even farther away from the location of most missionaries in Paraguay, we find ourselves in a lovely position. We have had the opportunity to open our home to individuals and families coming our direction for work purposes, taking some much-needed family time, or just passing through as they travel to another country.
At times we get to visit with them for an hour or so, sometimes over a meal, other times an overnight stay, or, if we're lucky, they come for a few days. What a joy it is to share with these coworkers at what we're jokingly calling Hagerman Bed and Breakfast (mostly due to Ken's pancake cooking skills).
Opening our home is something we take very seriously, realizing how vital it is that our guests have time and space to recharge, to escape a bit, to heal and stretch and just breathe.
We've found that it doesn't matter how strong your accent is, how much you used to make in the U.S., which denomination you belong to, or even what your ministry focus or theory is here on the field. The shared bond of living this calling makes for easy conversations and a sense of understanding without much explanation. Folks who just "get it." Can I even begin to tell you what that's worth?
We have thoroughly enjoyed this leg of our ministry, which we call missions hospitality, not only because we can laugh about our language mishaps or lament the trouble we've had or even argue over which Krispy Kreme doughnut is the best.
As important as those times are, we also hear God speak through these folks who have been-there-done-that, and we hope God speaks through us to them. Encouragement, advice, acceptance, American coffee... these are all important parts of the time we spend with other missionaries in our home, times we wouldn't trade for anything.