In the book of Leviticus, God commanded the Israelites to show hospitality to strangers and travelers stating, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” – Leviticus 19:34.

What is “sacrificial hospitality”? Is this your first time hearing this term? To me, it’s a level of hospitality where one sacrifices their own personal comfort in order to accommodate someone else. How often have you been on the giving or receiving end of this level of hospitality?

Erick and Vickie Garcia, leaders of the church in Belize City.

Some of us have options for accommodating guests, such as large houses with spare rooms, a guest bedroom or even whole houses to offer our guests. In some cases, a nearby friend or AirBnb in the neighborhood are options when we’re unable to accommodate. And if our place is too small, we may opt for a nearby hotel, though for many this is considered a last resort.

Most of us would not consider putting ourselves out too much for a visitor. A few of us may offer our own room and the comfort of our bed to a guest. In the past, I was among the many that would have considered this type of hospitality an “inconvenience” rather than an option.

My husband has run these ideas by me in anticipation of close relatives visiting. I would often shut him down before he could appeal to me any further. Don’t get me wrong, I love hosting, and opening our home to visitors has always been a pleasure. A clean guest room and bath, fluffy pillows, and scented candles, isn’t this enough? Maybe serve a nice meal, play board games, generate good conversation and we’re good. Back then our guests left grateful, and we were happy with ourselves.

My husband and I have always wanted to serve on the mission field. We often dreamed of teaching and spreading God’s word in our home countries of Nigeria and Belize. Twelve years ago we connected with the small church in Belize City, and started taking short term mission trips to help in any way we could. Back then we were able to afford nice hotels and transportation for ourselves, as not to be a burden to anyone. In 2019, we had the desire to serve the church again in my home country of Belize, but we had very limited funds for accommodations. It was during this visit that we were introduced to the meaning of “sacrificial hospitality.”

We were graciously invited to stay with the evangelist and his wife, Erick and Vickie Garcia, in their home. We didn’t realize it at first, but this lovely couple had cleared out all their belongings in their bedroom and bathroom to prepare the space for our comfort. We felt humbled and blessed. They happily gave us their best. Their example of sacrifice was also evident in the hearts of the Belize disciples. They threw a lavish reception upon our arrival, and each day a brother or sister came by the house with an amazing meal or gift to welcome us. Many opened their homes to host lessons and fellowship times and they happily shuttled us around. We felt so loved and cared for by all the disciples in Belize. Our time in the Garcia’s home has since made a permanent impression on us.

Four years later when they came to visit the Houston church, it gave us the opportunity to return the favor and host them. We prepared the master suite for them and moved ourselves into the guest room. We dined at fun restaurants and they enjoyed a wonderful fellowship reception in their honor. I must say, even though we did our best to follow their gracious example, this level of serving truly comes from the heart.

I have learned that “sacrificial hospitality” is an upward call, and a fruit of the Spirit that I continue to strive toward. We are always so blessed when our brothers and sisters model the heart of Jesus for us. Thank you, Erick and Vickie, for being such a great example of God’s love and sacrifice to us.

If you have a heart for hospitality or you’re seeking ways to grow in service and generosity while making meaningful connections with other disciples, sign up to become a host on Come & Stay by clicking here.