God’s Call to Open Our Home
In the 19 years that Yvonne and I have been ministering to the military in our home, one of the most enjoyable moments is when a young serviceman or woman comes through our front door, smiles and says, “Wow! It’s been so long since I’ve been in a real home!”
In Matthew 25:35, Jesus said,
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.
Jesus was talking about ministering to the needs of others through hospitality.
In June of 2000, the Lord called Yvonne and me to a new season of ministry, and brought us to Virginia Beach to reach young single servicemen and women for Jesus Christ. We originally thought we would pattern our ministry after The Port O’ Call in California, the servicemen’s center where Yvonne and I met, and where I invited Jesus Christ into my life. They had a building, hosts and hostesses, and a ministry large enough to reach many of the thousands of servicemen and women stationed in the San Francisco area.
But one day while I was praying about where to look for a building, God spoke to my heart and said, “I don’t want you to look for a building; I want you to minister in your home.”
I was surprised and asked, “Why, Lord? We could get so many more people into a different building. We can only fit about 20 people, at the most, into our home!”
He said: “I know, but the young people in the military today are different than you were 30 years ago. When you were 18, you came from an intact family, you had a church background, and you believed in God and the Bible. Most of the young people in the military today, that you will be ministering to, will come from broken or dysfunctional families, little (if any) church background and little or no belief in God or the Bible. Servicemen and women today need a loving family environment where they can see Christ’s love lived out in front of them. They need to be loved into the kingdom.”
I knew from that moment we would open our home and invite them in. And that is what Yvonne and I have been doing every weekend for 19 years.
For Yvonne and me, hospitality becomes real and practical as we open our home and provide 18- to 25-year-old sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen a safe and comfortable home and family environment where they can relax and get away from the pressures of military life for a few hours each week. Providing this environment helps us develop personal relationships with them, and opens the door for us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
Yvonne and I love hearing them say, “I feel like I’m part of a real family again.”
But not only is it important for them, Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40 come flooding back to my mind:
Lord, when did we see you a stranger and invite you in? The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, YOU DID FOR ME.
While ministering in Colorado, over a three year period, we had 200 young high school students come through our home. Not long after moving to Virginia, I was praying and reading through the book of Haggai. In Haggai 2, verses 7 and 9, the Lord said,
I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord Almighty….The glory of the present house will be greater than the glory of the former house, says the Lord Almighty. And in this place I will grant peace, declares the Lord Almighty.
God knew what we had done in our home in Colorado, ministering to the high school students. In this verse, He was telling us that our ministry with young military men and women in our home in Virginia, would be greater than what we had done in Colorado. So far, we’ve ministered to over 565 soldiers, sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen, and their families, from 46 different states, and 7 foreign countries.
He promised to grant peace to those who would came into our home in Virginia Beach, just as He had granted peace to the teens who came into our home in Grand Junction.