They Showed Remarkable Hospitality — Without Us Ever Entering Their Home.

Jessica Swanda
10 min readSep 6, 2019

When my husband Kaleb and I were new to Maryland, a kind lady in the church we were visiting took us under her wing. She made us feel welcome, learned our stories and shared her own, and connected us with the opportunities we were looking for. What’s amazing is that she did all this without ever needing to clean her home, cook a big meal, and have us over.

This lady was the first of many to show us that hospitality isn’t confined to the four walls of a home.

Kaleb and I particularly appreciate the power of this idea, because we don’t currently own a home. Or even an apartment. Right now, we live in a single hotel room, which doesn’t easily lend itself to hosting.

This, plus a bathroom, makes up our entire room

But through both our extended travels (where we have been on the receiving end of warm hospitality) and our attempts to befriend others (without having a place to invite them to), we have discovered one thing over and over again. Hospitality is not about your home; it’s about your heart for others.

It’s not about how clean your home is. It’s about how sensitive you are to the comfort and discomfort of your guests. It’s not about how much space you have. It’s about having the courage to reach out to someone you don’t know. It’s not about how well you can cook. It’s about how intentionally you care. It’s not about being good at small talk. It’s about being willing to leave your comfort zone to make someone else more comfortable.

We spent last Thanksgiving in a home filled with kids and toys and people we we were meeting for the very first time — and it was one of our all-time favorite Thanksgivings. We couldn’t have cared less about stepping over building blocks and moving out of the way of children racing through the halls — we were just thankful to be spending the holiday in a house filled with people who genuinely welcomed us and filled the space with joy and laughter, instead of spending it alone in a hotel room.

Only one couple there knew us, and we hadn’t even seen them in years. But they realized that we were new to the area and didn’t have anyone else. So they extended the invitation, and we came. That’s the heart of hospitality — seeing a need and filling it, regardless of how perfectly or imperfectly.



Jessica Swanda

Freelance writer. Travels the USA full time with her husband. Writes about travel, faith, books, and business. More about me: