Westminster Bridge at sunset, London, UK

“I have a few of the lovely church ladies coming to my home for an informal lunch on Thursday, 2 April at 12.30 and I wondered if you might like to come? It would be lovely to have you and to get to know you better,” wrote my new friend in an email.

Of course, I accepted.

I walked a couple miles to the bus station, climbed on the C1 and looked out the window while listening for the name of the proper stop. Crossed a busy intersection between red buses and black cabs and met a woman coming to lunch on the front stoop, buzzing our host to let us into the building. Squeezing into a two person elevator, we rode up to the sixth floor and walked into a stunning home full of smiling faces.

Almost four hours later, I looked at my watch, excused myself from the conversation and retraced my way back.

As I sat on the bus winding my way around parks and cafes full of people, I thanked God for bringing me to London. And for the people that have warmly welcomed us.

The first time I came here as an adult, I wasn’t as brave about navigating public transportation or accepting invitations from people. I was stuck in London without money or connections. And I learned what practical hospitality means from the welcome of strangers.

Join me at Grace Table today where I’m sharing what I know about practical hospitality; the selfless act of inviting someone into your world without strings attached.