Amish & Mennonite Hospitality by Lael Harrelson

As some of you who follow me on Facebook may know, I recently embarked on a west coast tour with my daughters for a few weeks. We set out on our camper van from Colorado and started on our way to the coast. We had no set destination, we just drove until we reached a place of interest, then camped for a few days and explored the area.

Before we left I posted on my author page that if anyone wanted to offer a parking spot for our camper on the trip in front of their house, we would love the chance to get to know them and it would save us some camping fees.

As an author I have many “friends” I haven’t had the chance to meet.We were offered spots in California, Texas, Oregon and Idaho. Thus, a few weeks ago I found myself on a beautiful deck in the redwoods near Lake Tahoe getting to know a new friend who moderates an Amish group and opened her friend to a complete stranger. Two strangers brought together by a common bond.

Hospitality is an outstanding virtue of the plain people. Growing up in the Mennonite church we stayed in each other’s home wherever we traveled. You went to church with each other, ate with each other, shared each others hospitality. Didn’t matter if you knew anyone at that church or not. Somebody from your home church would connect you with a friend of a friend or a third cousin. The same was true for Sunday mornings. If an outsider or a stranger showed up, they didn’t leave without an invitation to lunch and fellowship at someone’s home.

If someone was sick, had a death, or a baby meals would show up for weeks.  I have left off many aspects of my childhood but hospitality is something i cherish. Nothing makes me happier than a house full of people, my children’s friends over, a game night, visitors from out of town. If someone doesn’t care how my house looks, they are welcome. I think hospitality is disappearing in our current culture. We tend to isolate ourselves, retreating to our own private dwellings when we have free time. It can seem like so much work to open your home, pick up, cook  etc. I hope we will take a lesson from the plain people, put aside our fears, and throw open our doors. Your friends will be so grateful for the love and attention, they won’t have any time to judge you housekeeping or cooking.

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