Monday, 9 December 2013

Angels Unaware


A couple weeks ago, John received an email from a friend saying that his friend would be passing through our city and wondered if she could stay with us.  Without batting an eye, John agreed to host said friend.  (Are you sticking with me on this?)

Then last week John casually mentions that the cyclist should be arriving on Wednesday.  Cyclist?  What cyclist?  John says, "Oh, you know the one that is coming through on her bike tour."

No.  I'm afraid I don't remember.  We bantered back and forth until he finally admitted that it may have just been a conversation in his head rather than in real life.  Then he tosses the verbal ball back in my court and says, "It is fine, isn't it?"

I paused for a second and shrugged.  "Sure.  Why not?"  I sprang into action and began preparing the guest room with clean sheets, welcome basket, local reading and a mint on her pillow.

We gave her directions to our house and she arrived looking a bit weary, but smiling.  We introduced ourselves and took her to her room.  Kim* parked her bike and dropped her bags.  I gave her some something to drink and asked if she'd like to rest.

She responded by saying that she had just met another traveling girl on the ferry from Sudan.  This girl was also passing through town and didn't have a place to stay.  Would it be possible for her to come here as well?

John and I looked at each other and said, "Of course! Where is she right now?"

She told us that she was at the bus station trying to figure out where to go next.  John called Sadik and the two of them went looking for her.  I started to ask Kim what she looked like, but John assured me that the foreigner probably wouldn't be hard to spot.  Oh, yeah.

About 30 minutes later, Ketvya* walked through the door.  She unloaded her large backpack and introduced herself.  We welcomed her with a glass of water and then all sat together in our living room.

Kim cycles across countries taking pictures and soaking up culture.  She had carefully saved prior to this and had her money and route planned out.  Ketvya had been backpacking for over 2 years through more countries than I could remember.  I looked at them both thinking about their stories and wondered what their parents thought about these 20-somethings trekking the world alone.

Both girls took turns showering while I began to prepare dinner.  They appeared refreshed and we sat down at the table, dining by the light of the Christmas tree.

Ketvya said, "I haven't seen a Christmas tree in a long time!" Ah, another Christmas deco lover!

We chatted about this and that, but I found myself growing more and more curious and more and more like a mother.

Why do you do this?
How do you live?
What does your mother think?
Isn't it unsafe to travel alone?
What does your mother think?
How do you decide where to go next?
What does your mother think?

However, we tried to be courteous and not too invasive.  Our local friend offered to take us sailing so we invited the girls to go with us.  What fun we had floating down the Nile, sharing lunch together and listening to Ketvya sing 60s songs with her ukulele.


As I laid my head down to sleep, I began to panic.  We don't know these girls.  They could be…crazy or thieves or spies or axe murderers!  Why did we agree to this?  No one is going to find our bodies.  Who will make sure our girls get my recipe box and bead collection?

I began to get myself worked up when I heard one of the girls laugh.  They sounded so much like our daughters.  Wouldn't I want someone to take our girls in if they needed shelter?  Wouldn't I want someone to show them kindness?  Yes, of course.

Even more, I remembered the verse in the Bible that I had been taught, "Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it!" (Hebrews 13:2).  

As a child I had always wondered what the angel on my doorstep would look like.  Would he have giant wings or maybe look like Roma Downey?  I wasn't sure.  

On this night as I drifted to sleep peacefully, I thanked Jesus for his love for me and also for these two beautiful souls He entrusted to us.

They each prepared a meal representative of their home culture, washed the dishes and made their beds.    Perfect houseguests.  We exchanged information and promised that we would stay in contact.

As I watched them leave and we stood waving goodbye, I prayed a silent prayer of blessing:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’



Angels unaware?  I'm not sure, but I do know that these amazing girls reminded me of how we're all recipients of God's kindness and grace wherever we may come from.  May we live with an open hand always accompanied by an open heart.

*Not their real names

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