The very first student who walked through our doors and took our class on Lake Street was a confident, assertive and strong woman, named Esther (not her real name for the sake of privacy) that I nicknamed “the lioness”. Some years later I was invited to speak in Kansas City, so I called up Esther and asked her for recommendations on where to stay since she was from Kansas City. She called me back a half hour later and told me it was all arranged for me, my son, and two other guests to stay with her niece and her husband, and that we would have no expenses while we were down there.


Okay teacher, you will stay with my family. They will pick you up at the airport. They have a car for you to use while you are there. You won’t worry about anything.


“Okay teacher, you will stay with my family. They will pick you up at the airport. They have a car for you to use while you are there. You won’t worry about anything,” said Esther.

When I arrived in Kansas City, Esther’s niece, Beloved, insisted on locking up her shop, forgoing any business she would have otherwise had, and taking the whole group to lunch. It was the month of Ramadan so she fasted as she watched her guests eat. Later, after the speaking engagement, my group went back to her house to discover she had cooked a large meal of spaghetti, rice, and goat meat.

At bedtime, Beloved made beds for her guests with new linens and blankets she had brought home from her shop. She insisted that me and my son take her personal bed, while she and her husband slept on the floor.


The hospitality she showed us was embarrassingly generous. Her niece honored her auntie by welcoming us as guests.


The next morning, Beloved woke early to prepare breakfast for her husband and drive him to his first day of work at his first job in America. Then she returned home to serve her guests hot, spiced milk tea. As she said goodbye, she sent two large grocery bags full of snacks with us for our trip home.

The hospitality she showed us was embarrassingly generous. Her niece honored her auntie by welcoming us as guests.

Before leaving, I offered Beloved a gift of two copies of the Jesus Film DVD, translated into Somali. I told her, “This is a small gift but this story is precious to me and it is the best gift I can offer. If you appreciate this story, keep one for yourself, but share the other one with your family and others you love.”

Beloved expressed gratitude for the gift and confided that she was initially welcomed and resettled in Kansas City by loving Christian volunteers. She said she had come to appreciate reading the Bible as a result and looked forward to watching the film as well.

-Mike Neterer, Founder and Departing Director of SALT