I am a big fan of hospitality. So is one of the guys who works for us. I have not told many stories about Eomer, after all he is just a driver. Well, more than a driver he is a child of God and a follower of Jesus and that makes him pretty special indeed. He and his wife are from a village in the south and are the only relatives in the family who live in Minas Tirith. This means that whenever someone comes to the Capitol for business or whatever they stay at Eomer's house. He has a small apartment and it is always full. Some of his relatives come for weeks at a time. He is the first in his extended family to come to faith- actually his wife came to faith first. But at any rate- or at least at the rate I am going- he has a very active ministry to his family through hospitality.
But he has over these last years been discouraged. He is a leader in his small house group and quite frankly, he is a fine pastor. But his group has remained a small committed seven to ten people week after week for years now. Last year something happened to change his perspective and I hope it will influence yours as well! Last year an uncle came to visit him back in the Spring. He was a committed Muslim who highly disapproved of Eomer's decision to follow Jesus. Of course, as a guest in Eomer's house he would not be too rude about it. He mostly just verbally attacked Eomer's wife and children when he went out to work. Eomer sat down with his uncle one night and said, 'Uncle, you are always welcome in my house. You will not talk about religion with me or my family again while you are here. There on my book shelf is a Bible and a Koran. If you want to know truth read them and then if you have any questions you can ask me.' This was pretty abrupt but it is almost word for word what he told me he said. His uncle did not leave. He stayed for three months. They began to wonder if he would ever leave! And then one night the Uncle sat down with Eomer and said, 'I have read much of the books. What is this part in the Koran about Jihad?' The Uncle asked if Jihad meant what he thought it did- that Muslims were at war with the rest of the world and needed to bring the message of Islam to everyone else and to count all non-Muslims as enemies of God. Eomer answered, 'It's your book.' The Uncle said no, this can not be true. Jesus says to love our enemies. Jesus says that there is forgiveness. This is the kind of God that he believed in. Well, it took a while but the Uncle came to faith and was baptized. After another month he said to Eomer, 'It is not right that I stay here any longer. I must go back to the village and tell everyone there about Jesus.' He did. His sons who were very aggressive Muslims were very angry but slowly they changed their minds. Last week they too were baptized. Now, Eomer goes down every other weekend to the village to visit the new Church there in his uncle's home. Eomer is a changed man. He no longer thinks about growing a bigger house Church. Now he just thinks about how many Churches his little house Church can see planted in the lost villages of Gondor. There are two so far among his relatives- there will need to be many more.
As Eomer continues to serve his family like this I am confident that many more will come to faith and that many Churches will be established in the villages that up until now have been so hard to reach. Is your door always open? I pray that mine will be. It is not always easy but it is not supposed to be. The message of the Cross must be preached by the way of the Cross or it will have no power. Eomer's words have a lot of power these days- and you should meet his wife! Do my words have power? I pray that with more loving service they will be endued with the power that our Lord intends for them to have. Words that transform, cleanse, and create.