Throughout my life, I have witnessed Christians serving God through Christian mission in many different ways. While pursuing to serve genuinely in Christian mission; I limited my understanding of God with my own shallow expectations.
This was a big challenge to overcome. However, this exact challenge began my journey in the Shelter Ministry. Here I engaged in a Christian mission that, in fact, shattered my narrow ideas. It inspired a much more radical trust in our all-powerful God.
My encounter with the Christian mission of hospitality
Before I came to volunteer at the Shelter mission, I didn’t know what to expect. I imagined a pushy and uncomfortable environment where travelers were not welcomed, but instead asked to blindly conform to a standard of rules and regulations.
To my own surprise and joy, this is the exact opposite of what I found.
The Shelter Hostels are two youth hostels with the Christian mission of offering hospitality to travelers and backpackers in Amsterdam. Like many hostels in the city, we offer our guests a clean bed, a hot breakfast, and free Wifi. But, even more importantly, we also seek to cultivate a space of rest and acceptance for all travelers. All of those who work and volunteer here have been transformed by God’s love, therefore we seek to share that incredible love with all who pass through.
In my case, I have found that most guests feel blessed, not uncomfortable, by the warm and loving welcome they receive in this hostel. Working here, I have found that the awe-inspiring thing about the gospel, is that it calls each of us home. It calls me to rest in the assurance of a God that loved me so much, that He chose to take away my sin at his own expense. He then gave me a chance to not only know him, but to call him friend and father.
As a Christian, the beauty of my Christian mission lies in my opportunity to offer the same hospitality that Jesus provides for me, to others that are still seeking a home. The travelers that come to the Shelter hostels are always seeking something; seeking adventure, seeking identity, seeking an experience. As staff, we are seeking the same things. And I, alongside my co-workers, have found that Jesus satisfies them all.
How the diversity of God’s children aids my response to Christian mission
Practically, the Shelter’s Christian mission is lived out very uniquely and intentionally. Each staff member is passionate about connecting with guests on a personal level. And as the guests who pass through the Shelter are as diverse as can be, so are the staff. Each staff member’s response to their call to Christian mission is unique.
In this way, God uses the beautiful diversity of his children to reach each traveler right where they are in their personal or spiritual journey. Personally, I share a desire to learn about other cultures with many of the guests passing through the hostel. When I meet a guest who has the same passions as I do, I am able to better point them to Jesus.
I am able to share with each guest that the incredible diversity between international cultures reveals God’s acceptance and creativity! In this way, I can experience the beauty Amsterdam has to offer right alongside the guests I meet, whilst simultaneously pointing them toward the freedom that Christ offers us both by the renewal of His spirit.