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Using Hospitality to Share the Gospel

Hi! My name is Gloria Jacob and my husband and I have been married for almost 5 years and we absolutely love living our lives with the nations around our table. As we look at the growth of early church the home served as a center for evangelism and as we study scripture hospitality is a big part of God’s heart. If it matters to His heart it should matter to ours too. Let’s look at some scriptures on hospitality.

Roms 12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers and thereby some have entertained angels unaware.
1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

We are by no means experts in this field but I hope this video will encourage and challenge you to rethink missions and hospitality by opening your homes and lives to the nations that God has right where you are. It’s honestly not that complicated. It can be humbling, a little stretching as you allow others into your lives to see you live the gospel up close and personal. Often times it’s messy, we are not perfect and we live in a broken world with our own selfishness and brokenness but that when the gospel speaks the loudest. That’s when the beauty of Christ, love, grace and forgiveness are displayed. God can take the mundane, the chaos and the mess and turn it into holy ground moments.

Before I share some of our stories I would like to address some myths or barriers people have in opening their homes and inviting the stranger in. 3 biggies are divided into time, talent and resources

MYTH 1: I don’t have a nice home or the space to invite people to.

When I was single I lived in a one-bedroom apartment, and on Friday evenings it was filled with international ladies and American Christian girls. Each bringing a meal, or cooking together and we would spend the evening laughing, talking and sharing our lives.

When we first got married we lived in a two-bedroom townhouse and we always had someone stopping by for a meal or to spend the night or weekend with us. We didn’t plan big fancy dinner parties. We didn’t make fancy Pinterest worthy invites or table setting and décor. It was about a 1000 square feet. We just lived our lives and invited others to join us whether it was for a meal, a board game, a movie night things normal people do on a day-to-day basis. I wish I could tell you the number of people we hosted around our table in that tiny space. And often times it’s during the unstructured moments they would open up their hearts and lives and share their stories with us. This gave us an open door to share our own stories with them or how Jesus has been real to us in our moment of need, or how He came through in a particular situation. God is not limited to space you have. He can use your garden, your kitchen, your dorm room, your backyard, your car…. whatever you offer to Him He can take it and bless it.

MYTH 2: I don’t have the time

One of the hardest things in our western culture and fast paced life we live is to give of our time. And to this I would say you would have to eat your meals anyway at some point, so just set an extra plate and invite the stranger in. You don’t have to go out of your way to make something fancy. I think of the story of the two loaves and fish. If you give God the little time you have in your life for the stranger that He brings your way, I trust that He will multiply your time, your generosity and your energy.

MYTH 3: I don’t have the gift of hospitality

We are ALL called to be hospitable. The bible clearly exemplifies this. We serve a God who’s a bridge builder. He came from heaven to earth to reconcile us to the Father. Hospitality is also one of the criterias for a church elder. Hospitality in the Greek is philoxenia, which means the LOVE for STRANGER.
I would like us to watch a video of Roger and Lynn Brucker. They clearly live this out in their lives and Jerome and I have learnt best from watching them open their home and lives to the strangers in their midst.
Roger and Lynn’s favorite tagline is “You don’t see a hearse pulling a U-Haul truck” and thus this live their lives holding on to earthly possessions loosely and with open arms allowing the Lord to use their lives and their house for His Kingdom!

Jerome and I currently run a ministry house and we intentionally live with 3 international students. Our door is also open to our neighbors and students that stop on a regular basis or stay short term in between apartments.
We want them to see Jesus up close and personal in our lives and marriage. It can be a little intimidating and humbling all at the same time. They see our lives day in and day out. They see when we aren’t always patient, or when we are selfish and we act out in our flesh. But they also see grace richly given, forgiveness extended and received. Opening my home and life to internationals sanctifies me and my marriage. They see Jesus in our marriage as we ask forgiveness and repent and serve one another in love. They see what it means when God calls a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Many of our students come from cultures where the women are second-class citizens. Or wives fear that they would be replaced if they don’t have a child or give birth to a son. I don’t live in fear for my life or Jerome not loving me or being replaced. I must say one of the things that people asks us the most is what makes our marriage different especially when they see us live this out on a daily basis? We’ve learnt when we live our lives in authenticity and vulnerability God is most glorified both in our strengths and our weaknesses.

In using our home to reach internationals we have been intentional about our home décor. We have scriptures in different languages around the house so internationals know Jesus came for all people group. We have a space where people could write their prayer requests, we use our office to meet for prayer and counseling as and when needed, we have worship playing throughout the day and one of my favorite things that we had displayed in our home is our memorial box.

I would like to take some time to explain the memorial box. A Memorial Box is filled with very tangible symbols, trinkets or objects, each representing a time in our lives where God provided, protected and proved Himself strong. It’s like when God told the children of Israel in Joshua to collect memorial stones as a remembrance of all He has done. From the time we have been married we have had a memorial box with symbols of the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives.

Every item in the box has a God story attached. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had students and strangers ask me about the box. At the first glance it looks like a bunch of mixed matched items. But when they hear the idea behind it their curiosity is piqued. They then take out different items and ask me to tell the story of that item. We have a matchbox car to remind ourselves when God provided my first car. It had the right years, price and mileage that we prayed for. I have a flower from my wedding gown as a reminder of when God provided my wedding from complete stranger and it matched everything on my list of what I wanted in a gown. I have my graduation tassel to remind myself of how God provided every dollar and cent for my master’s degree.
I’ve had students ask me, “If God can do it for you, can He do the same for me?” We don’t promise how He would do it. But we would always offer to pray for their needs.

We also often have prayer times and worship at the house. Students know they are welcome to join us. And you would be surprise how many of them do whether or not they know Jesus would gladly join in. We have had situations where in between dinner prep a student will walk in with a crisis situation. We are quick to stop what we are doing and together we will pray and bring the need to God. Students who don’t know Jesus would also join us but they get an opportunity to see when Jesus comes through and answer those needs.

We also have our bibles open often and find scripture for truth and answers for our own lives and when students come to us with different situations. We allow them to read the scripture for themselves and ask them what they understand from it. That way they see we live our lives under the authority of Jesus and His word and we don’t speak just from our own wisdom.

We realize early on that we can’t save people and we can’t solve all their problems. But we can take the hands of a stranger and point them to the One who alone can meet all their needs and save them. I would like to share one of my favorite story of how God encountered an international student in our home.

Jerome and I have been meeting with a girl from India for bible study every week. One day she she showed up and something seemed off. She was going through a hard time on campus, she was mad at God and she wouldn’t even let us pray for her. There was so much anger. Coming from the country we come from and having seen different kinds of oppression we both felt the battle was more demonic oppression than just a bad day. I texted a few people to pray immediately. I’m so thankful for the community we have that was quick to storm heavens doors with us without knowing all the details. She calmed down enough for us to pray for her, we worshipped together, read scriptures over her and she finally was able to pray about the problem she’s having on campus. When were done she was so hungry and tired. We gave her something to eat and she went to sleep in our spare bedroom. Then at around 10pm, Jerome was having an online class and I was visiting with a dear friend Ginny that serves in the ministry with us and this girl woke up and came downstairs. She looked just AWFUL. Like something was so heavy on her and she was very robotic. Ginny and I tried talking to her, and I offered her some food but clearly something was very, very wrong. After awhile all she could tell us were, she had 3 very horrible nightmares. So we asked if we could pray for her and she nodded yes. Ginny and I prayed for her and when we finished I asked her if she wanted to pray. She nodded yes and gave me her hand. As I held her hands in mine, her hands were trembling. And for the longest time she tried to pray but she couldn’t get any words out. You could see that her vocal chords were moving, she was clearly struggling to speak but no words would come out of her. It was such a painful sight to watch. Ginny and I were praying this whole time for her. I then put my hand on her throat and prayed in Jesus name let her go. And all of a sudden it was almost like something broke. She started shaky at first praying a few lines and then the words just started flowing out of her. She asked Jesus to forgive her sins. And she asked him to give her courage and overcome her fears and she said, “I now believe you a 100%”. When she finished she looked at us and said, “I saw Jesus, He was standing there with His outstretched arms and red marks on His hands. He was on your stairs. He was a brown man in white clothes.” And she went on to say, “I always thought Jesus was a white man! But no, He’s brown like me!” Too funny! She simply couldn’t get over that Jesus was brown. I told her He’s Middle Eastern so I guess He is. We were overjoyed and kept asking her questions and she looked at us confused to ask us if we had ever seen Jesus and we said no. Almost instantly her demeanor changed. She went from looking so awful to laughing and smiling and then she went to the kitchen to serve us food. And she happily said, “Today I want to be a servant to God’s servants.” She also told us that she learnt that no matter what people say of her that she is useless or a failure she needs to remember what Jesus thinks of her. She said in her engineering mind, the whole thing seems crazy but she told us “just one look at Jesus changed my whole life today.” Jerome and I are still in touch with her till this day and every time we meet we talk about this special time.

Rosario Butterfield wrote a great book called the Gospel comes with a house key. She invites us into her home to show us how God can use this same radically ordinary hospitality to bring the gospel to our lost friends and neighbors. Such hospitality sees our homes as not our own but as God’s tools for the furtherance of His Kingdom as we welcome those who look, think, believe and act differently from us into our everyday and sometimes messy lives by helping them see what a true Christian faith really looks like.

Some practical steps that you can take

  1. Start small. Invite one or two internationals to your home.
  2. Be intentional. Hospitality don’t just happen. You have to decide to want to make space for it in your life.
  3. Don’t overcomplicate it. My hospitality is unfussy. We use our fine paper plates for easy clean up. Sometimes my sink is full or my floor needs cleaning. Those that walk the roles of guests and hosts are interchangeable. They in know they’re always welcome but their help is needed whether to do the dishes or set the table or to sweep my floor. We are not the ones always serving we don’t shy from asking and receiving help.

When we sit down to eat we always pray for food and the needs that are before us. A few weeks ago one of the student that used to live with us moved out and invited Jerome and I and about 15 other people to his new apartment. He’s from the Middle East and lived with us for about 1.5 years. Just before he ate, he thanked all of us for our hospitality towards him from the time he arrived. He expressed his appreciation to us and then he looked around the room and asked ‘Ok can someone please pray?’ That honestly touched my heart so much. I looked around the room and realized here was this student that didn’t believe in Jesus but he invited us to his home and now is giving us the opportunity to pray for the food he prepared. Of course we gladly did and prayed for his new place as well. You know when you live with people more is caught than taught.

We live in a world that’s often hostile to strangers. But Rosario Butterfield say’s our best weapon is an open door, an extra plate, a pot of coffee and a tissue. The Lord promises in Psalms 68:6 that He places the lonely in family and He can very well use your home!

Using Hospitality to Share the Gospel


Gloria loves to sit around her kitchen table surrounded by international students. In this lesson, she dispels some myths we might have regarding hospitality. Gloria believes that your table can and should be a center for evangelism. She offers practical steps on how you can open up your home so that the nations might encounter Jesus there.

Gloria loves to sit around her kitchen table surrounded by international students. In this lesson, she dispels some myths we might have regarding hospitality. Gloria believes that your table can and should be a center for evangelism. She offers practical steps on how you can open up your home so that the nations might encounter Jesus there.