On Saturday 15th June, we welcomed eleven of our At Home hosts to our office in Wapping. During which, they shared their realities of hosting and explored deeper sentiments surrounding individual experiences of having a destitute refugee as both a resident and guest. It was a very fruitful and affirming morning.
Naomi, our Communities of Hospitality Coordinator, remarked: “I am often inspired by our hosts. However, one comment from a host struck me as particularly poignant. She had recently started hosting her first guest through At Home, and reflecting on the experience said: ‘It woke me up!’. I have heard similar comments from many of our hosts – on how the experience of hosting opens up so much to them; living with someone who has had such a different life experience, obtained a different world view, and is from a different background.”
Another reoccurring motif shared through the morning was that of mutual benefit and value, with hosts saying that you “get back more than you give”, and that it is “joyous watching someone open up like a rose bud”. Yet, At Home hosts also found comfort in confiding with others about the difficulties of sharing their homes with someone unfamiliar, but also the thought-provoking anxiety with regards to their guest’s future.
Receiving hospitality as opposed to hostility recalls and affirms our friends’ humanity and dignity. Could you be someone to help restore this by hosting a refugee?
The morning delivered inspiring feedback, with hosts feeling as though their hospitality towards the most vulnerable members of our community is an extremely rewarding experience that resonates long after the guest has left. At JRS UK, we feel grateful to witness our refugee friends grow as people as a result of having some secure and welcoming short-term accommodation. This resounds in our hosts also, as they take the opportunity to reflect on current political and more personal human affairs; with one host saying that hosting was “a reality check – a chance to put a face to the situation”, and another reflecting on whether they “are caring enough and empathetic enough”.
Since our last reflection morning in July 2018, our wonderful hosts have provided over 3200 bed nights to destitute refugees. Our community of hosts are a very important part of the JRS family, and we will continue to create opportunities for sharing and reflecting on this unique and very significant role. JRS hosts carry out our mission of serving our refugee friends, and practically transform our beliefs into actions – with some stating it feels they are “living out the gospel”.
If you have a spare room in the London area and would like to help a destitute refugee through JRS, perhaps you would consider becoming one of our At Home hosts?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch and find out more.