When I was 9 months pregnant, my toddler and I were tasked with photographing Jenny, one of our exceptional AWELL program tutors.

“ …she had no idea who I was, and yet she still ‘rolled out the carpet’ for me and my son.”

Unbeknownst to me, due to some crossed-wires, Jenny wasn’t able to warn Friba that an Arrive Ministries staff person would be showing up to her apartment that Friday morning. So with a shy 2-year-old on my hip and a camera around my neck, I buzzed Friba’s apartment in the drizzling rain.

She said in her limited English, “Jenny?” Since I naively assumed my visit was expected, I took that greeting to mean, “Any friend of Jenny’s is a friend of mine. Welcome!”

Friba came to let her unexpected guests into her apartment. My son and I made ourselves comfortable sitting cross-legged on her beautiful Persian rugs. (Okay, I wasn’t that comfortable, but that was due to the impending baby, not the lack of hospitality.)

Friba pulled out platters of Afghan snacks, warmed up a pot of Afghan green tea, and we smiled at each other… a lot.

Jenny finally showed up and explained who I was to Friba. It was only then that I realized Friba had no idea who I was, and yet she still “rolled out the carpet” for me and my son.

Friba’s hospitality was a pure example of what it means to welcome the stranger.


Kate Shermer is Arrive Ministries Communications Director