It started with a letter in the Outreach Committee’s mailbox at church. A young man had written to Seeds of Faith about his organization, Bike and Build. Members from Bike and Build, a group of thirty to forty young people, would be bicycling from the East Coast to the West Coast this summer to raise money and awareness around the issue of affordable housing as well as participate in local building projects. The young man’s letter concluded by asking if we would consider letting them sleep in our church when they pass through Iowa? Would we be willing to perhaps feed them that evening? Oh, and was there a safe place they could store their bicycles?
Hmmm…thirty to forty young people and their bicycles… why not?! After sharing the letter with the Outreach Committee, they responded just as I did with a resounding, why not?! Finally, I approached the church council, who reminded me that the very weekend Bike and Build requested accommodations was the same weekend as our town’s Heritage Days. But, yet they also had the same response, why not?! I was so proud and happy at how eager our congregation was to open our doors and share hospitality with this group of young adults.
After brainstorming about the Bike and Build stay, the invitation of hospitality grew into an opportunity for our congregation to open our doors to the greater community and welcome them into our building.
I am reminded of how many times wonderful things happen in the Bible because someone was willing to be a good host to a stranger. I look forward to their arrival with joy and anticipation of good things, and I thank God for this opportunity, not only to be an ambassador for Christ to this group of bicyclists, but also to be able to open our doors wide open to the community and invite them to come.
Thus, on Friday, July 13th during all the wonderful activity and chaos of Heritage Days, Seeds of Faith Lutheran Church of Lisbon will be providing hospitality to all through a Community Potluck Dinner at the church at 6:00 PM, followed by a presentation and bike safety fair by the Bike and Build group at 7:00. A free will offering will be collected to support Bike and Build and Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity. What started as a simple letter request for a place to stay has given Seeds of Faith a new way to reflect Christ’s love towards strangers as well as those in our own community through hospitality.
Written by Deanna Mlynarcyk, member of Seeds of Faith Lutheran Church in Lisbon, IA
For more information, contact Seeds of Faith Lutheran Church, 319.455.2599.