Welcoming Strangers In Through Annual Hog Roast

There is real need for relationships in this world we live in. However, time and time again we see men and women longing to be known and longing for a community. Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) is working hard to seek these individuals who do feel lonely and depressed, to invite them into our community and to be intentional with them. We hold events at our SPO Households throughout the year that allow these individuals to feel welcomed and comfortable. One of the events that we held last month was the Hog Roast.

The Hog Roast is an event that is put on by Saint Paul’s Outreach every year in which the members living inside that house smoke pork butts and invite the campus community for some free food and to hang out. This year we smoked approximately 130 pounds of meat. Although smoking the meat was a big part of preparing for the event on that day, the Household members of SPO were praying weeks before and up until for the Lord to bring these men and women to this event, so that they can experience first hand of what it means to be known. As people started to arrive to the Hog Roast, many of them looked timid and nervous to be around so many people. However, as the Household members started to converse and get to know these individuals, they started to be open to conversation with other individuals outside of our Household community. More people were arriving, and the party started to begin. We played corn-hole, spike ball, and other games with strangers who were now friends. The joy on their faces brought joy to ours. As we started to serve the food, there was an amazing image that I saw staring out onto our deck. A full house of people who were entering relationship, who were getting known by others, and who felt comfortable to be themselves. When I finally got some food to eat and sat down with a couple of the men I met that night, they were telling me about the experiences they were having at the Hog Roast. They were amazed at how welcoming and caring our community was. One of the guys specifically said that this was the first time he was able to have fun at a party that did not have alcohol and that didn’t have so many people drunk, which is rare to find.

Relationships are sought after because it is in our gifted nature to be in relationship with one another. However, many people will go beyond unnecessary means to be known and to be liked. So many people go to parties that resort to alcohol in order to fit in and to be liked. Often, they tell themselves that they need to get drunk because it allows them to be themselves. Here in SPO, we know of a greater joy that allows us to be truly ourselves. That is the joy of Jesus Christ who set us free to be who we are, sons and daughters made for relationship. That’s why when people experience being a part of our community, they experience the same joy that Jesus Christ gives us. For many of these individuals that came to our Hog Roast, they experienced what it’s like to be a part of this community that truly wants to know one another. For many it was an answer to their longing and prayers for relationship; but praise be to God for these people because they are an answer to mine and the community of Saint Paul’s Outreach’s prayers. Our community allows these individuals to experience the joy that enflames our hearts, a joy that is lasting and does not end, the great joy of the living Jesus Christ! Amen.

Daniel Tello

Household Member/ Missionary Core