Hospitality is a big part of Dan & Mary Vissani's ministry, in addition to teaching developmental farming techniques through Foundations for Farming.
To some of us, hosting visitors is enthralling (“Whom can we invite over tonight??”), while for others, it is draining (“Running a marathon might have been less exhausting…”). Where would you put yourself on that spectrum? For the Vissanis here in Zambia, as we suspect with most families, we experience a mixture of both. But whether it recharges our batteries or takes all of our muster, hosting is both a privilege and a responsibility for us here at the Nest.
We always knew that hospitality would be part of our roles—we do, after all, oversee a site with two guest cottages—but we couldn’t have predicted the diversity of visitors we would welcome! In our nearly four years as Nest hosts, we have welcomed South African honey entrepreneurs, British youth teams, New Zealander missionaries, Zimbabwean commercial kitchen installers, Dutch business-as-mission leaders, Zambian pastors, and a plethora of farmers and disciple-makers from all over Africa.
Most come to learn about the Foundations for Farming approach to ministry, with the aim of either lending a hand right here in Mkushi or implementing our approach at their home. Even as we write this, two of Foundations Zambia’s junior trainers are spending the night at the Nest after three long days of village visits, as they weren’t able to make it to their homes (about 10 miles away) before dark.
For most of these visitors, our role is to provide room and board and (hopefully) good company. But for some, particularly those who have come to help our local ministry, “hosting” expands to include training in culture, language, and how we approach ministry, regular debriefing and how to leave well. These have proved really helpful in ensuring a fruitful visit, not only in terms of what they deposit into Foundations Zambia, but how they learn and grow themselves.
Our ministry of discipleship and agriculture carries on, by God’s grace. Some disciples are making great progress expanding the footprint of their faithful stewardship (farming more land, growing more vegetables or keeping more chickens, for example). Of course, some are struggling just to maintain status quo, and there are always some who pack it in for a number of reasons. But we thank God for the opportunity to be here, walking in good paths he has prepared for us, whether in a field, a classroom, or at home, possibly even entertaining angels.