Holiness in our Midst: Session 55

Holiness in our Midst


STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Remember a time when you extended or received exceptional hospitality.

Our 12-person Church of the Brethren Faith Expedition was welcomed in unforgettable fashion in southern Sudan (now South Sudan) in February of 2002. Hospitality was refined to an art form by the Sudanese.

They welcomed us with open arms. Ours was the first North American group to visit the Anglican compound of Rokon. Men, women and children, in their finest dress, lined the roadside for miles, straining for the sight of our Land Rover. As we approached, the women trilled a greeting for us, then danced and sang for us. The school children had learned a song in English: “We are so happy to see you.”

They remembered our names. The women formed a receiving line and asked each of us our names. Four days later, without prompting, one woman came to me and said, “Jan-eese, thank you for coming and visiting us in our desperate plight. We knew you would come.” She had remembered my name! Had I done as well? No.

They practiced sacrificial generosity. This compound went without enough food for a week—and gladly!—so that we might be given a banquet. They gave from their substance, not their abundance. It wasn’t the fatted calf they served; it was the skinny goat running around the day before. On that trip, I learned to never refuse food prepared with love. Yes, even goat! In a drought-stricken land, from a people pummeled by war, I understood that I was the one who was spiritually impoverished, in dire need of their true hospitality.


  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write about your extended or received exceptional hospitality.


  1.   Read aloud Session LV.     
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

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