The Power of Walking Alongside
“Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.
Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”
Every day when I’m in my office, I see this quote from Henri Nouwen posted right in front of me. It resonates deeply with me and the journey my team and I have been on for the past six years as we’ve explored what hospitality means within the context of caring for survivors of human trafficking.
In the last two years, we have walked with seven women who have survived exploitation and abuse. Some have stayed for a few months, while three of the women have stayed for at least a year. In that time, we have seen transformation happen—not only in our residents, but also in each person involved with our residents. Shalom has not only been extended to our residents but received from them.
God’s vision of shalom is something we’re all called to participate in. Our staff and volunteers do this every day as we walk alongside our residents. But our honored guests living at Eden’s Glory actively seek shalom and extend compassion to others, too. Whether it’s mentoring at-risk youth, singing in the church choir, or visiting residents in the local nursing home, each woman gives back to the community in some way.
Last year, when our residents met a homeless family, they swiftly decided to host a bake sale to raise funds for the family’s security deposit for a place to live. Because of Christ’s work through Eden’s Glory, our residents know not only how powerful it is to have someone walk beside them as them as the hand of Christ, but to be the hands of Christ for someone else, too.
This is an excerpt from an article written by Ginger Coakley. Read the full blog here>>