What is hospitality? For Roddy and Katie Dinsmore and their family, hospitality is to have people in their home – often, for periods (sometimes long) of time, as part of the family.
Early in their marriage hospitality was something for Roddy and Katie to grapple with. Roddy came from a Brazilian culture where having people over was an ‘open-door’ policy all the time. Katie, not from Brazil, grew up in a home where entertaining may have been the culture more than hospitality. What’s the difference? Entertaining is getting your house ‘guest-ready’ when you want to have someone come into your home. Hospitality is allowing people and welcoming people into your home just because … regardless of your degree of ‘readiness’.
God was at work in Roddy and Katie in those early days of their marriage to accomplish a beautiful thing in their home. Even before marriage, God was already at work in Katie’s heart to give her a vision of fostering and having people other than family be in her home. God gave both of them a joint conviction that to be ‘pro-life’ meant not only caring about the life of an unborn child, but also caring about a flourishing life for the mother regardless of how she came to be in a difficult situation. And God gave them eyes to see that they could have a part in aiding the flourishing of human life on a greater scale.
So what has hospitality come to look like for Roddy and Katie and their family today? It means:
- Welcoming neighbors and friends
- Overnight stays for friends
- Fostering and adopting
- Providing a place for a young woman who had no home through circumstances not of her own doing
- Providing an appropriate place until a marriage could happen
- Welcoming family and friends from around the world
Foster-parenting was a huge turning point for the Dinsmore family. In January of 2015. God prompted them that there were children in need for whom the Dinsmores had something to offer. Roddy and Katie knew that they would not be perfect parents; they also knew that through God’s strength, they could provide a place for a child to flourish. They discussed the possibility of fostering as a family and came to a decision as a family that this was something they were called to do. Then, six year old Elijah promptly went to clean out his closet in their small home to help make room for the person who would be coming into their home to live with them.
What are some of the challenges that the Dinsmores deal with as they practice ‘live-in’ hospitality?
- Space. They intentionally purchased a five bedroom home so that they could share their home with others.
- Time demands. When someone comes to live with the Dinsmores, they are part of the family and are treated as such. When they have a need, they are assisted in finding how to meet that need. This is a busy household with lots of responsibilities. Everyone who comes to live there learns to participate in the life of this family.
- Personality differences. Roddy is an extrovert; he can linger long into the evening happily visiting with friends. Katie is a social introvert; she needs time to be alone to recharge. She has come to know that running or excusing herself for an earlier bedtime are welcoming and acceptable ways of caring for herself well.
God has been gracious and kind to the Dinsmore family. He has been at work in their lives and hearts to help them respond to others. God works in them and He works through them to accomplish His purposes in His Family.
How has God prompted you to use your family’s resources?