A new kind of hospitality...

Written by David Stetler, Associate Director

At some point early in the spring of 2010 I discovered a new meaning of the word hospitality.  I had just left my house and was walking to our neighborhood park. As I was going on my way I saw a Bhutanese man waving his hands in the distance. I realized he was waving at me and remembered that I had just recently met him at our English class the day before. At this point he was coming towards me and smiling with great enthusiasm. He took me by the hand and nearly dragged me into his home. Within a few minutes I found myself seated at the head of their table, surrounded by his family with an enormous plate of food in front of me. We ate together and laughed together. We drank tea and shared stories. It was one of the first times I had been invited into a Bhutanese home and it was an unforgettable moment.

As I was leaving I told him that it seemed like they had been waiting for me to come even though we had not planned this visit. He replied, “Oh...but we were waiting for you!”  These words and this experience began to reshape my understanding of hospitality. Someone I had just met invited me into their home, served me amazing food, and treated me like a close friend, without hesitation. This was unlike any hospitality I had ever experienced.

In the New Testament the word “hospitality” is actually two words crammed together - philo and xenos.  Philo means “love” in the sense of a deep friendship. Xenos means “stranger”. The idea of hospitality in the New Testament context had lost it’s meaning to me, but what I experienced from my Bhutanese friends was a new kind of hospitality. Hospitality isn’t just about having our friends over and serving them great food. Philoxenos literally means to love the stranger and to have a deep friendship with them.

At Mission Adelante biblical hospitality (philoxenos) is at the heart of what we want to do and who we want to be. We believe that God’s call to love our neighbor is at the center of all His commands and finds a special expression in the way we extend this hospitality and friendship to people from other places.


Important Dates:

  • Volunteer Orientation, May 21st: Learn more about great opportunities to serve a mission field in our own backyard!  Mission Adelante will hold an orientation for new volunteers on May 21, from 9:00am to 1:00pm.  For more information, email Rachel Pierce at rachelp@missionadelante.org.
  • Volunteer Huddle:  Monday May 23, 6:30-8:30 at Mission Adelante 22 S. 18th St. Kansas City, KS 66102.  This is a chance for our current and new volunteers to have dessert, worship together, hear about what God is doing at Mission Adelante, and meet together with their ministry program leaders to learn more about our upcoming summer trimester
  • Bhutanese Launch - Our Bhutanese Kids Club, Middle School Club, and Adult ESL classes begin on Tuesday May 31, 6:30-8:30 pm
  • Latino Launch - Our Latino Kids Adelante and Adult ESL classes begin on Thursday June 2, 6:30-8:30 pm