Tuesday Topic: Unexpected Guests

From Melissa in North Africa: As a new mom living in the Muslim world, I would love to hear about juggling a young baby and the responsibilities of that, all while honoring guests when they spontaneously drop by for a visit. I personally am a planner and prefer notice about when friends are going to drop by, however that isn’t always possible in the event oriented culture that I live in. In North Africa, it’s common for people to stop by unexpectedly, and culturally I should receive them well by serving the appropriate local treats (tea or coffee along with cookies and other local snacks). I find the spontaneity of the culture challenging while trying to juggle a routine / schedule with a baby.

Do you have any thoughts on this issue? If you live in a similar culture, what has helped you?

(If you would like to pose a “Tuesday Topic” question, please email it to formissionarymoms@gmail.com . Provide your blog address if you would like to be linked to, and specify also if you would like to remain anonymous. Thanks!)


3 Responses to “Tuesday Topic: Unexpected Guests”

  1. 1 Ashley L November 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Hi Melissa! I don’t live in a culture where this is as common as where you live, but I’ve been dealing with something slightly similar. I hope others share because I’d love to hear some good advice! (Though I am still not sure how many people this is actually reaching who use reader apps… Sorry!)

    Like you, I really prefer to plan in advance, but lately it seems like things just work out a lot better spur of the moment. Often we’ll be at church and my husband will discretely ask me if we can invite one of the students in our ministry over for lunch or dinner (difficult for my pride when the house is a mess from flying out the door and when I don’t have the best grocery options at home!). The past couple of months I’ve been trying to plan for the unexpected by having an extra meal frozen in the freezer and some cookies or something for tea always in my cupboards. They often aren’t that exciting, but I figure it is better to be open with my home even if I don’t have the most gourmet options and even if things are messier than I’d like. Also, I’ve started thinking each Sunday “What would I make if someone came over unexpectedly today?” to sort of mentally prepare myself. =)

    It is hard with baby schedules for sure! One thing that has helped me is to just give myself the freedom to flex and not worry about the schedule at those times. But, all babies handle changes in routine very differently. Our youngest (#3) is our easiest by far and flexes much easier than our other 2 did.

    We also say no sometimes. Sometimes our family just needs to have a quiet evening even when it would be more acceptable to have someone over. I am guessing that this is a lot easier in my culture than yours though…

  2. 2 richelle November 9, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Melissa! I live in W. Africa – some of our friends who are used to crazy western habits have learned to call and give at least 15-20 minutes notice, but we still have unexpected dinner guests at the most inopportune times. The other day, I was running around in my jammies and a pastor stopped by, and called in the door. I answered and was just about to say I’d be right out… when he opened the door and walked in. Needless to say, he quickly backed back out and I scurried to put more covering clothing on.

    I don’t really have an answer to your question – just the thought that the Lord’s been impressing on my heart regarding His command to practice hospitality…

    I think it is the practice of hospitality (letting go of my expectations, setting aside my comfort and preferences to work at serving and making another person comfortable and at home in my home) in my daily world that God often uses to let me practice the “hospitality” I need spiritually – preparing my heart to be hospitable to Him and the work He wants to do as He changes me and my heart.

    When I think about hospitality in that way, I find the practice of regular hospitality a little less frustrating when it isn’t done the way I’d wish.

  3. 3 Shilo November 10, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    hard things…the nitty gritty of changing our lives to serve others…incarnational ministry is challenging, especially when it involves feeding schedules and sleeping schedules of our little treasures. the one thing that i do want to encourage you is that, at least from my experience, your sweet baby is probably one of the easiest ways to make friendships with people and to endear them to yourself. even though baby might get out of his/her schedule when these visits occur, letting baby take part probably will take a lot of pressure off of you and draw you closer to the people. i don’t want to minimize the difficulties of your situation certainly and it doesn’t mean baby won’t struggle with getting back on schedule or that God removes all challenges there, but…His grace will be sufficient in that moment too. don’t give up, mama! you’re doing a wonderful job!

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