Iglesia Luterana Cristo Para Todos (Salem Lutheran Ministries)
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . (Hebrews 13:2 ESV)
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me . . .” (Matthew 25:35 ESV)
A few months ago, a church member noticed a group of Hispanic men walking down the sidewalk as he drove by. Out of interest and compassion, Orlando pulled over . . . and then offered them a ride and a meal in his home. He learned that these men had just arrived from Puerto Rico to work in a local factory, yet were disoriented and without transportation. A little later, I arrived at his house for our Bible study, only to be surprised by Orlando, “Pastor! I canceled our small group. These men need Bible study more! Give it to them.” The very next day, Orlando picked them all up and brought them to church – where three found a home. For one, this was his first time in church!
Even as they wait to bring their own families here from Puerto Rico, these three men have been embraced by our family of faith and incorporated into our ministry. The church continues to help them assimilate.
Sometimes the spontaneity of members like Orlando can drive a pastor crazy. Yet at the same time, he teaches me how my well-planned schedule may not leave room for the compassion and hospitality that God wants to display through us. I praise God for Orlando and the compassion he demonstrates as he welcomes strangers in the name of Christ.