Living Life with the Door Wide Open
Kelby and Michelle Friesen are short-term missionaries serving in Tanzania. The following is an excerpt from their blog (https://kelbytriestoblog.wordpress.com/)
Michelle and I have learned a lot about living life with our door wide open here in Tanzania, quite literally. Here in the village it is expected that your door is always open, literally, during the day. This shows that you are welcoming and when someone comes to the door you let them in. This means we must be ready for interruptions at almost anytime of day (people don’t really walk around in the dark, so usually after the sun is down our house is quiet). This has certainly been a learning curve for us, and sometimes, if we are in the middle of doing something it can be a little frustrating, yet we know that it will be one of the things we really miss when we return to Canada.
Having the door open is a wonderfully simple way of creating relationship. Here we are always available if someone wants to come in and sit and chat. This is a bit different from Canada, if you want to go over to someone’s house, you best call or text first! Or arrange a few days in advance. If you don’t do this the people you go to see may feel like you are invading on their privacy. Not so here, your life must have an open door.
Is there any way of balancing the two? Is there a way Michelle and I will be able to have an open door to our lives more in Canada? We hope so, we hope that we can create a home that people feel welcome to. Granted, we will also need times when we are able to relax and have our privacy, I feel that is a need in North America, even if it is not a global need. As I hope to move into full-time ministry I need to recognize the need for self-care, and part of that is being able to carve out time for solitude with God (I was just emphasizing the need for this to my class this morning). I have found this difficult to do living with an open door so constantly here. I want to find a balance between an open door and personal privacy. This will be something to work on upon our return I suppose.
Michelle and I have always aimed to use our home to welcome people and spend time with people. We love to host, cook, and play games. And yet I feel that this time in TZ has brought this to an all new level. I think it has brought about an entirely new motivation for having people in our home, spending time with them, encouraging them, and praying with them (in TZ every visit ends with a short prayer, I mean why haven’t we ever done that in Canada?).
We are not entirely sure how we will live with a more open door in Canada, I mean we can’t always have the literal door open, Canada is wayyyy too cold for that. But I think it will mean we will be sending out many more invitations for supper, or games, or a movie. Really whatever as long as we can make people feel welcome and cared for. And really, who doesn’t like getting a home cooked meal at a friend’s house? If you want a challenge, keep reading, if not consider this the end.
Before Michelle and I left Canada we were having someone over about once a week. We opened our door to friends, and sometimes people who became our friends over supper once a week. Do you feel like you want to live life with your door a little more open? Try this challenge out, even for a month. That’s 4 weeks, 4 invitations, 4 opportunities to make someone feel cared for and welcomed.