An Atheist, An Agnostic and A Catholic
This may sound like the beginning of a great joke, but in reality this has been our life since July when Lorene and I opened our home to three young ladies from Eastern Europe. During their summer break from the university, they have been working with a company called Southwestern Educational Distributers here in Southern California. The company employs young entrepreneurial students from all over the world to sell their products, door-to-door, during the summer time.
This has been grueling and arduous work for them. They get up at 5:59am every day and return home around 10:00pm every evening. They carry this grossly over-weight backpack full of book samples around on their bicycles riding through the neighborhoods in 100+ degree heat. Their work week is 6 days long, and Sunday is the day they get together for team meetings and debriefing. That is the only day of the week they get to sleep-in…until 7:00am! This is really not a day off, because there are reports to file, managers to meet, and next week assignments to be distributed.
Needless to say, these are some hardy girls!
Renata is from Poland and from a Catholic family. Even after 70 years of communism and almost 20 years of degrading religious interest in her country, her grandmother represents a faith remnant for the family. Renata expresses an interest in spiritual things and has been asking us many questions about our church and our beliefs. She is a very sweet young lady and is the conscientious one of the group. She gets up first to make coffee, prepares many of the lunches and leaves the house last, making sure that all the dishes are clean and counters are clear.
Katka is from Czech Republic and was very quick to let me know that she did not want to be converted. She said “I am an Atheist and I am tired of people trying to convert me when I knock on their door!” Over the last couple of weeks, she has become more warm and inquisitive about our personal lives at home. She mentioned to me that “You don’t look like a pastor, and I never knew that pastors rode motorcycles.” There have been a few other things that have broken stereotypes of ‘what Christians are like’, so we keep living our lives in front of her for the sake of the gospel. Recently, when Katka said that she did not believe in God, I mentioned that I did not believe in Atheists. Just because we say something does not exist, does not make it true. In my experience, I have found that most Atheists are either angry at God, or they have not made much of an intellectual attempt to determine their beliefs for themselves. They have merely just taken someone else’s word for their own. I could see her wheels starting to turn…
Eva is also from Czech Republic and she has lots of well developed questions about God, the bible, suffering in the world, eternity and even the validity of other faiths. Lorene and I can tell that she is giving real thought to her life and her faith but is not ready to settle on any single religion. They all seem valid to her. She has read much of the bible and is especially interested in Job since it has to do with suffering. The part of the book which she cannot accept is when God allows Job’s children to die. She knows the ending of the book when his family is restored but why did they have to suffer and die, just so that God could teach Job a lesson? She is even willing to accept that Job may just be a story and not an historical account, but still what about the children?
Well, as you can see, we are having some significant encounters with these girls this summer. Lorene and I count it an extreme privilege to host people from all over the world in our home . Many of you have been to our home and it is very plain to see that we have more house than we require. However, we had good reasons when we decided to buy such a large home. First, we knew that we wanted to host large groups for mission leadership gatherings and for missionary receptions (you can take us out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of us – Southern Hospitality is who we are!) Secondly, and most importantly, we have always committed our home to the Lord to be used for His purposes. Truthfully, it all belongs to Him anyway, we are just the caretakers for a brief time. That means if someone needs a place to stay, we have extra rooms for them.
So far, since we have been married, we have only had a few months when our home has been empty. We treasure those times alone, but we feel completely fulfilled when the Wilson B&B is occupied. Though we love to host our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are especially thankful for the opportunity to share our home with non-believers and even strangers. For us, it is an opportunity to grow in grace and kindness and practice genuine hospitality. It’s also a joy to share our hope in Christ with those who might not hear it anywhere else. We’re so grateful to the Lord for each unique experience He has given us!
“Contribute to the needs of God’s people, and welcome strangers into your home.” Romans 12:13
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