We have been in Tonga for just over 2 weeks now and one thing is for sure, there are a lot of very generous people around here.
On our way up we stayed with Michael’s uncle and aunt for a few nights. Our car was fully packed with as much of the contents of our house as could fit. Instead of having to drive around Joburg with a full car or unpack our car, they let us use their car whenever we needed to. We were fed well, taken to the movies and given a relaxing few days break.
Last week Friday we were invited by one of the permanent staff members to make pizza at a local family farm. What I only realized when we got there was that it was actually a birthday party for 2 people who we’d never met. Here we were, a group of about 10 comserves, welcomed onto someone’s farm, celebrating the birthday of strangers. Within about 5 minutes of chatting to 2 different people we were offered ‘anything we needed’ and also invited to use internet on another farm if Michael needed a change of scenery while working.
This weekend we were in Nelspruit to go to a picnic and do some shopping. A good friend of ours (also attending the picnic) asked a family friend of hers for some ideas of a backpackers or guest houses and in response she (the family friend) offered us her house for the weekend. She was away and her husband went and stayed elsewhere so that we could use their house. Then on Friday evening, the front door of the house opened and Oom had come back to the house to bring us some milk and pudding because they’d forgotten to leave us some.
We went to church on Sunday morning, in Nelspruit. After church, while eating our yummy cake for being visitors, we were chatting to one of the church’s home group leaders. Within a few minutes of speaking to him he had offered us his spare room if ever we wanted to come in to Nelspruit. His wife later told Michael that if we want to go we don’t even need to give them notice, as long as we can entertain ourselves and no one else is using the room at the time. If their place was busy, he said he could find 10 other home group leaders to host us.
We are also so grateful for the fellow comserves and other staff members who we have made friends with here. Evenings and weekends are made much more interesting by having a group of people who are generous with their time, laptop screens, comfy-er couches and aircons.
All in all we are feeling amazingly impressed by the community, generosity and hospitality of the people here. We are feeling so challenged to learn and practice these skills. Without a doubt we have some generous and very hospitable friends in Cape Town, but the culture of hospitality that we have experienced here so far is something we’re not used to. It has had a profound impact on us and we would challenge you to join us in trying to be much more generous with our time/house/car/etc. What an effect it would have if an entire church/community practiced “radical” hospitality.