As some of you know, I’m an avid sports fan. I’ve spoken of my love for the Atlanta Falcons on a number of occasions. Well, we now have a new professional soccer team in Atlanta named Atlanta United. Soccer is my first love. I’ve played, coached, and watched the game for 30 years now.

Recently I was tailgating with some friends before an Atlanta United game. The burgers and hot dogs were on the grill, people were kicking around the soccer ball, and adults had adult beverages in their hand. At one point a homeless man came up and asked me for a beer. I responded to him the same way I respond to homeless men when I tailgate at Falcons games. I said I’m so sorry but we don’t give out beer, but if you’re hungry we have plenty of food and are welcome to eat something. He responded like many people have in the past by saying, no thank you. But then he said something that blew my mind. He said I just appreciate you looking at me and talking to me and then he walked off. Now, I didn’t do anything that deserves praise or applause. I just simply responded to the man’s request and didn’t even give him what he wanted. But to him the simple fact that I engaged him meant a lot.

It reminded me of the verse in Hebrews 13:2 that says, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” As I said, I didn’t do anything commendable. I was actually giving him a programmed response, but to him it was a sign of hospitality and respect.

This experience made me think about our missionaries in Bolivia. They will most certainly be doing some work with their hands, but a lot of what they will be doing will be much simpler than that. They will be serving the staff at House of Hope by listening to them, sharing with them, laughing with them, praying with them, and engaging with them in many ways. With the local community, where there will be an obvious language barrier, communication will be much simpler. It will be a smile here, a handshake there, and a hug there. So my prayer for them is that they will have the opportunity to listen to someone, to give someone a bottle of water, or to kick a soccer ball with the kids. I pray that they will engage with someone the way Christ would, and in doing so maybe they will be entertaining angels.

Matt Pogue, Chair of Missions Committee