My family and I have been attending Maranatha for a little over a year and in that time, we've been blessed by many brothers and sisters over many meals. I've seen how koinónia, the New Testament Greek for "fellowship" or "community", is a vital part of the vision of the church -- the pastors preach it and the members live it.
Showing hospitality is not something that comes easily and so I am always amazed and encouraged by those who model it well. Jennifer Kim is one sister who does this for me. More recently, she led a kimchi-making party, graciously hosted at the Lim family's new home in Alpine, N.J. There, ladies from the church gathered to chop, dice, wash and wrangle many pounds of Napa cabbage and other vegetables into that delicious Korean staple.
I asked Jennifer a few questions about what it's like organizing events like these and here's what she said:
1. Since joining MGFL, I've been blessed by your hospitality through many meals. What do you think is the value of hosting events like this?
It's another opportunity to engage in community while sharing a skill that hopefully benefits others.
The women who attended were of all different backgrounds and had the opportunity to learn about another culture -- one of the many enriching elements of opening your home to others.
2. How would you encourage people who may find it challenging to serve others through hospitality?
I think fear may be a factor in why people may find it challenging to host. The fear of not being hospitable enough. Perhaps one sees hosting as Martha saw it, very task heavy. But what I have found through opportunities to host is that it is refreshing and energizing as we open our homes and lives to others. Often times after hosting we find ourselves feeling so thankful for the community God has provided for us.
Although the Martha Jennifer is referring to is the task driven one in Luke 10:38-42 (encouraged by Jesus to set aside her to-do list for fellowship with Him), I could not help but think of another Martha. In an age of Pinterest and HGTV, it's easy to get caught up in trying to achieve the picture-perfect Martha Stewart model of hospitality. But I'm reminded that the purpose of these gatherings is not the food or how good it looks on a table or Instagram for that matter, but the fellowship. It's in the moments between the chopping (or chewing), that I've gotten to know my sisters' hearts, their struggles and their prayer requests.
As for their haul, every family scored homemade kimchi for a third of the price. And, as Jennifer says, "The bonus is that it was truly made with love!"