Our life group met last night. Part of our mealtime conversation was about how Thanksgiving had gone for each of us. As we shared around the table, one couple indicated that they had had about fourteen people, but had planned for about twenty. Their family – their 3 children, their grandchildren – were with them. They had invited others, some people who had no specific Thanksgiving plans, and some of them were able to come. Others were not. As they recounted their Thanksgiving Day experience, I thought back to some other times when I knew that this couple had opened their home to others.
I was curious about Jay and Patti Bouder. We’ve been in life group with them for a couple of years now. They had frequently hosted the members of our life group for dinner. I knew that they teach Sunday School for kids on Sunday mornings. I knew also that they regularly provided childcare during The Well on Tuesday mornings. We had met their daughter, Michelle, and her husband, Travis, with their grandchildren on several occasions, and we knew that Michelle and Travis frequently hosted their own life group in their home. Jay and Patti care for their grandchildren here when they’re needed when Michelle and Travis are working. They also travel to Pennsylvania and to South Carolina to assist their children there when necessary.
As everyone else was leaving our life group gathering, I asked Jay and Patti if I could interview them. They readily agreed. Here’s what I found out about them:
- They both believe that it is important for them to care for those who have needs.
- Patti has a gift of serving others; Jay has the gift of administration and teaching. They work really well together as a team.
- Patti grew up watching her mom serving others on a regular basis.
- Jay did not experience hospitality in his childhood home. He joined the military and attended college after completing his military service. He, along with Patti, came to understand more about hospitality through participation in the Navigators during college.
- Both Jay and Patti have come to view the church as their family since their marriage. They did not live near their birth families so turned to their church family for community.
Jay and Patti are continuing in their retirement years the work they began early in their marriage. They had wanted to expose their kids to people from different cultures. They had a friend who was a missionary pilot and flew missionaries into Botswana. As these missionaries returned home on furlough, they would often stay with the Bouder family and talk about how life was changing in their mission assignments when they came home on furlough. The Bouders became aware of the need for re-adjustment to cope with changes during the inherent passage of time for missionaries and for the people groups they were discipling.
Jay and Patti themselves traveled to different countries on short-term missionary trips and so did their children. Their hearts were bent toward sharing the gospel around the world and at home. They discipled their own kids, the children of others, equipped those whom they discipled to go out and disciple others. They have been consumed with sharing the gospel through words and deeds.
Let the spoken word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind – permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16
Do you have strong opinions or beliefs about hospitality?