Experiencing True Hospitality

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This week in the Lessons in Hope series, I couldn’t wait to share the lesson I learned from the Kenyan people while travelling with the AWANA global team a few weeks back!

From the moment that the team arrived in Kenya, I noticed the graciousness of our host, the AWANA local missionary, Benard. Benard has a great smile and you can just tell that he loves his job of ministering to the local AWANA clubs. As he began to take us to schools, churches, and orphanages where God’s Word is reaching the hearts of children,  I noticed a common thread between the many different locations.

Each church pastor or principal kindly and warmly welcomed each of the team members individually. Each visit, there were chairs set up for our group, even when there weren’t enough chairs for all the people in the room to sit in. The nine of us introduced ourselves and each time, all eyes intentionally looked at the person speaking. Time after time, we were told how wonderful it was that we came to visit, how blessed they felt to have us visit, and how they could not wait to have us return.


Honestly, I was in tears several times over experiencing true hospitality from these dear brothers and sisters in Christ. One time in particular, that I could hardly control a threatening sob, was when the dear woman in charge of the poorest orphanage prayed and said these words:

Lord, we know it was difficult for our visitors to come here, but we are so thankful for them….

Difficult for us to come?

Yes, we experienced flight delays and yes, travelling can be hard at times. Yes, we had to jump through a few extra hoops, but what we encountered to arrive at her school that day to visit was far, far less difficult than what she does each day in feeding and educating a school of 200 children in the Kibera slums. In fact, I wouldn’t put the two in the same category.

What I experienced in Kenya through the words and deeds of Christians was true hospitality.

They had “nothing” to give and yet they were incredibly gracious.

When I spoke with one of the missionaries, I asked if he had visited America. And he had. So I asked him what he thought. He began to compliment the roads and means of communication. We discussed environment and culture for a few minutes and then he looked thoughtfully and said, “There was one thing I noticed. Americans seem to keep to themselves.”

Honestly, I believe that was a word for me. Essentially the Holy Spirit was whispering to me that hospitality is not about the food or how clean your house is or isn’t… it isn’t necessarily about giving gifts either. True hospitality is about how you make a person feel inside.

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Rom. 12:13 NIV

AWANA reaches more than 127,000 children with the gospel in Kenya. And one way that I found I could help them reach one more child or two or three is through the purchase of beautiful global bags handmade by the Kenyan women. Each handbag is made by women who in exchange for their labor, receive training to begin their own business and fair wages to feed their families and send their children to school.

Through purchasing global bags through AWANA, more children are reached with the gospel of Jesus.

After seeing all the incredible difference that the Word of God is making in Kenya, I could hardly wait to order a couple bags when I arrived back in the states!  Want a peek?

awana handbag small


This is the size small. I think my daughter has claimed it. We both loved the print!

large handbag


And this is the medium size. Bright and bold!

After being in Kenya and seeing the impact this purchase makes on so many levels, I am so excited to purchase more bags in the future to use as gifts. If you’d like to order one or for more information, click here.

You can find the entire Lessons in Hope: What I Learned in Kenya right HERE.

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Bloggers- thanks for being here and taking part in Whimsical Wednesday each week. Looking forward to checking out the links you bring to the Christian encouragement party this week!

Have a wonderful AND whimsical Wednesday!



  1. These words hit home to me,

    True hospitality is about how you make a person feel inside.

    I still struggle with this and it seems that I really have no excuse. I used to say it was because i grw up with very little orivate spce of my own but rally thinking about these poor children in Kenya it makes me feel ashamed and humbled and led to be more truly hospitable with the little I have.

    Thank you

  2. Rachel-The stories that God has put on your heart from your trip to Kenya are impactful. I love that you have taken God’s stories and so willingly claimed them and shared them with your readers. I can only imagine the depth of your whole experience in Kenya. I can’t wait to hear more. Happy Wednesday, my friend!

    1. I wish I could take you through all the pics from beginning to end. It would take a couple hours just to see them!! Thanks for listening- God is at work so strongly in Kenya. What a beautiful people and country.

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