About seven years ago, a couple from the north-east coast of Scotland left their home to take a two-week holiday in their caravan. They were going to spend the first week in Inverness, and then they planned to cross the Minch and spend their second week in the Isle of Lewis. That was their plan. But on the Friday of the first week, they received a phone call saying that their home had a burst boiler, and so they had to rush home to try and sort out the mess.
Not what you want at any time, but definitely not what you want in the middle of your summer holiday.
Anyway, they returned home to do some cleaning, drying and fixing.
On the Sunday night, a family arrived in their church. This family was....us! They had never seen us. We'd never been in that part of Scotland before, but on the Sunday evening, after church, in the middle of their holiday, and in the midst of their burach, they asked all six of us for supper.
Their home had damp carpets and humidifiers. And this lady was officially in the middle of her holiday. But she didn't think of the hassle of having her holiday disrupted. She didn't think that someone else could ask us, because, after all, she wasn't even supposed to be there - she was on her break.
Instead, she asked us all for supper. That was our first meeting with a couple who has, since then, become a huge part of our lives.
Here I am with them last Tuesday. They were leaving us having spent a wonderful few days with us.
When my friend saw this photo she said the love was evident. Well, I know this much is true: there is a load of love between them and us!
In the past few years, they have come to stay with us at least twice each year, and we look forward to seeing them every time.
I guess my reason for telling the story is this: it never ceases to amaze me that, despite the circumstances this lady had when we arrived that Sunday in their church, she had no hesitation in showing us hospitality. That one act has had so many repercussions - all of them good! - and is surely a lesson for us.
Showing hospitality is not just for the times we feel it's convenient. I hope if I was ever to be in the same position as our friends were that weekend, that I'd be as willing to open my home. The friendship that developed between our two families has been of such blessing to us all.