AirBnb: Our Own Mission Field

This is a guest post by the very talented Lois Barker, who also happens to be my mother and who I wrote this post about in 2007.

Two weeks ago, my husband and I traveled from our home in Fairfield, Connecticut to Williamsburg, Virginia in order to attend the wedding of a lovely young woman who stayed with us through Airbnb. She stayed with us all last summer, and every day after work, we would spend time together as she told us about her day. As we took our seats at her wedding, we both had tears in our eyes thinking of the blessings God has given us in getting to know this lovely woman and now, her husband. As I told her, she will always be remembered in our prayers. 

Who would have thought when we started AirBnb that we would form such precious relationships with our guests? And that we would be invited to share in their families' momentous occasions? And that we would be able to share our faith with people from all over the world, without ever leaving our home? But that's just a small part of the joys of hosting through Airbnb. 

And what an amazing time we had this past weekend! Again, through Airbnb, we have been honored to host two separate Chinese families over the past several years. They now consider our home their home-away-from-home. These two families had never met in China, but became friends when they were staying in our house at the same time. Both of these families had children in private schools in Connecticut. Both of these young people were the valedictorians of the respective classes and now will be attending the same university in the United States. Imagine our joy when they proudly invited us to the two separate graduations and then two graduation parties afterwards. We felt so honored and privileged to be included in such an intimate gathering. And again, as we said good-bye, we told them they would always be in our hearts and prayers. 

For many years we have been giving to missions but never felt led to go ourselves. At times, we even felt guilty as family members and friends left their homes to be missionaries around the world. Then the Lord brought us to a period of financial instability, so we decided to open our home to Airbnb. What a surprise to find that God used a time of uncertainty in our lives to bring the mission field right to us!

We put Bibles in different languages in all the rooms. We pray for opportunities to share Christ with our guests. We simply become friends and join in their lives, and through this, we have our own little mission field. We pray that we can be a blessing to our guests. And we find great joy in the blessing that they have been to us.