Hospitality Stories

The Navigators have a rich tradition of hospitality, one that is still lived out among current staff. I recently came back from the field overseas and am staying with Steve and Carol Rugg. This started me thinking. How do we as Navigators embody hospitality? And where does being hospitable come from? I interviewed Steve and Carol, Daniel Medina, and Adam and Renae Sperling to ask those questions.


Carol (Train – Develop – Care) and Steve (Field Support Center) Rugg often invite people to stay with them, anywhere from a few days to months. Their relaxed style allows guests to freely share their home and resources.

How did this lifestyle of generosity get started? “There was a lean year when I was on campus staff.” Carol smiles, remembering. “That was back when instead of getting your full pay, you only got what came in. One month, my check was sixteen dollars. The Van Zante family told me to come over for dinner every night and be like part of the family. It made me feel really cared for, protected, and welcomed.”

“Hospitality to us,” says Steve, “is being free with our things and with ourselves. God has entrusted these things to us, so He decides what we do with them. God’s been hospitable with us, gracious even with our sins and shortcomings, and He still invites us into His family. I think that’s a version of hospitality, though generosity might be a more accurate term. If I’ve been treated by the Lord that way, it makes me want to treat others that way.”

Carol agrees. “I feel that hospitality requires so little of me. It’s like when you go to the faucet and fill a container, it isn’t hard for the container to overflow into the sink. It’s not hard for us to share our home because it’s just natural overflow.”


Daniel Medina works as the Care Review Coordinator in the Train – Develop – Care team of The Navigators.

“Hospitality has affected me in a big way,” he says. “Latin culture is huge on it. There’s a phrase in Spanish, ‘Mi casa es su casa,’ or, ‘My house is your house.’ Hospitality comes out of a place of genuine love for whoever you’re providing hospitality for. “I went on a mission trip to Poland, and the Polish team was extremely hospitable. The apartment had two rooms, a kitchen and a living room. There were twelve of us visiting. The wife cooked for us and went above and beyond. They kept apologizing for the size for the apartment, but we didn’t care. We felt so loved because they were willing to share their cultural dishes and to make space for us in their lives.

“Consider Matthew 25:35. When you provide for someone else, you’re providing for Jesus. People might be afraid of hospitality because they think it needs to be this perfect, over-the-top thing, but it can be simple. It’s offering what you have to someone else. And what you have is enough.”


Adam and Renae Sperling (Collegiate) regularly have groups into their home for meetings and invite people over for dinner. Others stay with them long-term. They have four children.

“When I was a little girl,” says Renae, “I watched how my parents hosted. My dad was a pastor, and both my parents had the gift of hospitality. We had people in our home all the time. As a child, I loved it.”

Adam nods. “I remember the door being wide open in my house. My mom would drop everything she was doing when someone walked in the house, and they were her new focus. I always admired that.

“One phrase that comes to mind,” he says, “is ‘our house is God’s house.’ That’s our main philosophy. God did some miraculous things to give us the house we’re in. We could easily become a Sperling Island and fill our lives with things that only benefit us and not think about inviting other people into it. But if it were just the six of us, we’d miss out on a lot of richness of what God’s doing in other people.”

All of us know Navigator staff who come to mind when someone mentions hospitality. The five staff I talked with are a just tiny percentage, and I would love to have kept going. I’m thankful for our organization’s heritage of hospitality, and I hope you’re as encouraged as I am that it’s still common practice among us.

  • What new thoughts do you have about hospitality and ways to host those around you?
  • Is there a practice that has made you feel welcome in someone else’s home?
  • How has God uniquely wired you to be hospitable? How could this help you embody your faith?
  • Are there ways that you want to embody the spirit of hosting more in this next season of life? Are there ways that you share your home that you are glad that the Lord leads and has guided you towards?

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