Daily Connector | Living in Community during Covid | Cindy Fath

While Jim has worked out of state for six-week stretches of time in 2020, I’ve been mostly at home.  However, I am far from “home alone.” 

Two years ago, we purchased a large home (circa 1853) in North Linden with 0.8 acres, 5 ½ baths and 7 bedrooms.  Three generations of our immediate family (7 people) share the house.  In the future, another daughter and her husband will move in, but for now, we have space for others to live with us. In 2020, that meant two different families.  From June until September, a Venezuelan family of three stayed with us as they transitioned from where they had lived for three years in Delaware (east coast) to their own home in our neighborhood.

In early July, a friend from Turkey arrived into our home and found work in Columbus, thinking to move here. In early August, his wife and 22-year-old son joined him here and have been part of our “pod” ever since.  For several years, they had resided in Miami, Florida, but before that, we were neighbors and friends in Adana, Turkey for eight years. In 2007, we met them at their cafe.  There, they hosted us in their home dozens of times and introduced us to their relatives and friends. We never imagined that 13 years later, we’d live together in the U.S. where we could return their generosity.  They want to find a home in our neighborhood and possibly open a cafe or food truck in Columbus. (We’ll let you know if they do because you won’t want to miss out!)

With both families who have stayed with us we’ve had to establish a level of trust, that while outside we’d carefully abide by Covid-safe protocols.  Inside the house, we have some separateness in living quarters, but also feel safe while interacting.

During the warm months, we alternated cooking days and ate together outdoors.  As colder weather arrived, our Turkish friends have been cooking and eating separately and spending more time in their own quarters.  Miraculously, none of us have had any illness during this time.  The wife has learned to knot comforters, and together we’ve finished more than 15 for MCC.

For Jim and I, living in community has been central to our lives since the mid-1980s.  There have been relatively few months since then when we haven’t shared our home with at least one person. The majority have been immigrants or international students, a phenomenon that has deeply enriched our lives in ways we can’t measure.  The laughter, the tears, the great stories, the connecting at deep levels, a sense of connection to the broader world; all have been formative to our lives and have crystalized in us a longing for the day when the kin-dom of God will be here in its entirety, and graced with people from every tribe, nation and tongue.  What a wondrous day that will be! 

In the months and years ahead, with the new administration removing the bans and banning the deportations, I trust that the flow of immigrants, refugees and otherwise, will again bring blessing on our land.  Just prior to the former President Trump’s election in 2016, we were scheduled to host our first refugee with CRIS.  That never happened, unfortunately, but it is our hope that we can become a host home once again.  Are there others in our Beloved Community who could also serve as temporary hosts and/or extend their table to new arrivals?  Scripture reminds us to show hospitality to strangers and by doing so, some have unknowingly shown kindness to angels. (James 1:27) We promise you’ll be blessed, enriched and forever changed. Presumably we’ve even welcomed an angel or two, including an Angelo from Venezuela in 2020.