Friday, 15 May 2015

The story in numbers

One of our helpers writes up the evening's menu.

I can hardly believe that one week ago we said goodbye to this season's travellers. 

It's been 6.5 months of sitting down with strangers and making them our companions. Companion - literally someone who breaks bread with you (as Rachel Jankovic points out in her talk on the grace and grit of hospitality, which I recommend).

I know that in a blink of an eye it will be October again, and strawberries will be reddening, and there will be new people from all over the world finding out that picking them is a lot harder than they thought. They'll discover they didn't bring enough warm clothes and that food is expensive in Tasmania. 

God willing, lots of them will come to our dinners. They will find out that we are people who care about their needs, the ones they already know about - like being warm and fed - and the ones they don't - reconciliation with God through His Son.

But right now we want to rest in the blessings that God has showered on us over the last half-year. I want to share with you the story of Pilgrim Dinners in numbers. 

Numbers don't prove faithfulness, but numbers can be significant. After all, think of the many times the Bible is specific about numbers, always to the glory of God. 

Pilgrim Dinners in numbers

Dinners: 27
Topics covered: 26
Guests who signed up for our weekly email reminders: 240
Total number of new guests (estimate): 500

Countries of origin of our guests, in descending order of frequency:
UK, France, Italy, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Netherlands, Ireland, Chile, Sweden, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Fiji, Brazil, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Mauritius, Argentina, Albania, China.

5 rice cookers, taking up all of the small kitchen counter.
Dishes washed (not including cutlery) in a small town library's staff kitchen: more than 5,000
Families who cooked and brought food: 21
Helpers: over 50

One of our regular French tables.
Rejoice in the God who created and knows all numbers, even to the hairs on the head of every backpacker, from Norway to Argentina. 

500+ of them broke bread with us this year, becoming our companions. Pray that they might also become our companions on the path of life.