By Marta Castillo, Pastor at Nueva Vida Norristown New Life
“My mom just said that she can’t handle it! She is not willing to take care of the kids. She is afraid that it is going to be too much for her. What am I going to do? I have to go to rehab or I am going to lose my children. This is my last chance.”
God’s Spirit nudged me so hard I almost fell out of the chair I was sitting in. The words that came out of my mouth surprised me. “We will do it. We will form a team from people at the church and we will support your mother and take care of the children so you can go to get the care that you need. Don’t worry. That is what church is supposed to do. We will work it out.”
And amazingly, yes, we did. I sat down with my sister in Christ, the social worker, the boyfriend, and the grandmother and we worked out a schedule of care that included having me sleeping on the living room floor several nights a week so the children could stay in their own home overnight. The boyfriend covered the nights that he wasn’t working, and the grandmother covered afternoons and early evenings. We signed the children up for half day summer camp at the program where I worked. Church members planned special trips to the park, to their houses, and the zoo for the weekends and picked the children and their grandmother up for church on Sundays. There were offers to help buy groceries, prepare meals, and provide transportation. The whole team supported the core figure, the grandmother, as best as we could for three weeks.
Last Sunday, my sister in Christ told me that in June she will celebrate her one year anniversary of being drug-free. She faithfully attends Narcotics Anonymous meetings, has a job and a car, and has no fear that her children will be taken away. She is outspoken about the wonderful works God has done in her life and thankful to the team who made caring for herself possible. Challenges remain, but she knows that she is not alone, her mother is not alone, her family is not alone. She has company on the hard, long journey.
There are times when acts of hospitality make no logical sense in our culture and even in our church thinking. Being hospitable is inconvenient and stretches us beyond our comfort zones. We are not sure of the “how” but we are sure of the “why”. We must be hospitable to represent the hospitality of our Lord who welcomes all in the name of Jesus.