Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hospitality is our Ministry not our Industry

On Wednesday Jonathan and I spoke with Anton from Alterna and they have graciously offered to welcome us on the days that we had planned (July 12 and 13). When we asked to make sure they would be willing to house us without any expected cost or donation (part of our trip is that we want to be entirely dependent on the hospitality of others) he said "hospitality is our ministry not our industry". This is the kind of places we're looking for! We had a wonderful conversation over the phone and were able to share a little about Bonhoeffer, the Epworth Project, and our summer trip with him and he shared a little bit about Alterna with us. From what I learned from that conversation and from reading about the community on their website I can tell that the Spirit is at work in full force there. They have many ministries but they all are working towards the purpose of "Christian missional living, welcoming the stranger and offering hospitality to Jesus who often visits (them) as an unauthorized immigrant from Latin America". I encourage you to check out their website and maybe even see how you might be able to help them and/or visit them.

Anton, his family, and the Alterna community practice radical hospitality and work towards rights for Latin immigrants. They do so through living in relation with immigrants, advocating for them in court cases, visiting those in prison, fighting to get those who are in prison out of prison, work towards changing unjust laws and passing just laws, training and teaching others, and much more but most importantly finding ways to do all of this in Christian Love. In any form of ministry it is important that you look at everyone as a brother and sister in Christ. Immigrants are not merely immigrants but they are humans and they our are brothers and sisters just as here at Bonhoeffer we make sure that "the homeless" are not merely "the homeless" but living breathing humans who are our brothers and sisters and it is out of privilege not obligation that we get to help them and in return they too help us.

Here is a video that shows a little about what they work towards.

We found out that the two days that Jonathan and I will be there are quite possibly the best 2 days that we could visit. It was not intentional but just seemed to work out. On the night we get there they will be having a community meal followed by a bible study and the next morning they will be having community prayer and scripture reading. Anton told us that Tuesday and Wednesday really are the 2 best days to see the community and the Spirit at work.

In addition to learning about their community and sharing about ours, Anton also put us in contact with  a few other places close to Alterna and close to Atlanta. One of the places we already plan on visiting, Mission Year, actually sends their married couples to Alterna as a joint project. Because of this, Anton gave us a few names to contact and now Jonathan and I have another phone conversation with Caz Tod on Tuesday Morning.

This trip is really falling into place and we are grateful for the hospitality each community is offering us. We can't wait to see what God has in store for this experience.



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