Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 29, 2011

Five Course Hospitality

In March 2009, I posted a blog on the theme of hospitality after a visit to Tel Arad in Israel’s Negev Desert. While standing in the ruins of an ancient home, my friends and I discussed the importance of hospitality. In ancient times, hospitality often meant life and refreshment to those traveling through the Negev, a hostile desert region. As a cold wind blew across the ruins, I wondered how many guests might have been entertained in that particular home and the other homes that now lie buried beneath Tel Arad. Our team had an opportunity to experience the hospitality of a Bedouin family later that day when we hiked to a nearby village. The family had few modern conveniences but gladly received us into their modest home and prepared tea and a delicious flat-bread for us.

The Greek word for hospitality is “philoxenos” — from the words “philo” (love) and “xenos” (stranger or guest). This word means “lover of strangers or guests” and conveys the idea of enjoying being a host. Our English word hospitality is from the Latin word “hostis” which means “enemy or stranger.” The Latin word “hospitem” can refer to a host or guest. Hospitals were originally hostels or hospices, places where pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land found a friendly reception. One of the things I have enjoyed most throughout my years of traveling is being the beneficiary of the hospitality of others. No matter where I have ventured on the planet, God has always led me to hospitable people who opened their hearts and their homes to me and my companions.

Holly and Dacques Nini

While in El Salvador earlier this year, a young man named Dacques Nini joined our team. Dacques, a Christ-follower who attends another church in Houston, joined our Kingsland team to help us drill a water well in a rural village in El Salvador. It didn’t take long for us to form a friendship. Dacques is one of those guys who makes you feel at ease and who enjoys conversation. He is a former restaurateur who has all of the enviable qualities of the consummate Southern gentleman. We had a great time serving together in El Salvador and have stayed in touch in the months since the trip. A few days ago, Dacques and his wife Holly, an attorney for an oil company, invited Cheryl and me to their lovely home for dinner. Dacques and Holly unquestionably have the gift of hospitality and hope to one day operate their own Bed and Breakfast.

Cheryl and I had been looking forward to our time with Dacques and Holly but had no idea what was in store for us when we joined them for dinner. Dacques, a bona-fide foodie, prepared a remarkable five-course meal. All I can say is that I felt like one of those judges on Iron Chef who get to taste remarkable and beautifully plated dishes. If I knew more about cuisine I could describe each dish, but suffice it to say that everything was delicious. Dacques and Holly enjoy fine waters from around the world and provided a different water for each course. But, as great as the food was, it was even better having the opportunity to spend time with our new friends. They blessed us with their kindness and the extensive and impressive preparation of the meal and they encouraged us with their conversation. Cheryl and I left their home on Cloud Nine and talked all the way home about what a special and memorable evening we were privileged to enjoy. God reminded us through Dacques and Holly of the power of hospitality to strengthen friendships and to refresh spirits. Thank you Dacques and Holly for your friendship, for an unforgettable evening, and for blessing us with your gift of hospitality.


Responses

  1. Omar,
    I have been the recipient of some of the finest hospitality within the village huts of some of the poorest people in Oaxaca, Mexico. They taught me a basic rule of hospitality: Make the guest welcome and comfortable in your home, be it large or small, ornate or rustically simple.

    Tammy


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