Prepare a room for God within your four walls, open your house to guests and make your gifts fruitful to others, this is the recipe for “FamilyHomes”. The young network brings together families who live their mission in a special way: their charisma is Christian hospitality. The project develops the early Christian idea of the home church, as Bishop of Augsburg Bertram Meyer wrote “FamilyHomes” in his June 2020 welcome letter in the family notebook. “We are clearly different from Christian Airbnb,” founder Melanie Oting explains in an interview with this newspaper. “It is about making room for God in our hearts and homes. Through this we want to help others find God and make room for Him in their hearts.”
A room for God through a room in the house
The commitment required is no small feat, because in practice it means that each participating family has a room in their home dedicated to God and prayer. “The room is neither a storeroom nor a study room, but it is used entirely to meet God,” explains a mother of four. The family also prepares a guest room including a bathroom and sometimes a kitchen. Guests can use the Familyhomes.services website to learn more about the various FamilyHomes and inquire about accommodation for an individual fee.
Together with the “Make Room for Christ” fraternity network, twelve families and individuals form the core of the young organization. Make Room for Christ is a kind of introduction to FamilyHomes for families and individuals who have set up their own prayer room but don’t have room for an extra guest room. “The prayer room is a great gift for the occupants of the house and the people in and out of it. “The prayer room changes lives,” says Melanie Oting, who reserved the most beautiful room in her home for God.
Born in a crisis
There is a large cross hanging on the wall in the sunroom and next to it is an icon of Mary. There are fresh flowers on the windowsill. The prayer rooms are as individual as the participating families, as seen in the photo gallery of Make room for Christ. In addition to the cross, many prayer rooms also contain images of saints, a Bible, prayer books, and benches. “Everything one lives, prays through, fights through as a family in this room, guests can build on that. The room in which you pray is like prepared ground. It is easy for others to pray here too. For this reason, Otting insists, he insists that The essence of the matter is that the family regularly prays in the prayer room.
The 47-year-old registered nurse shares how she received the idea for FamilyHomes in prayer while going through a marital crisis. While staying in the House of Prayer in Augsburg, she heard in her heart that her house should become a house of prayer. At the time, she didn’t understand exactly what that was supposed to look like, “But the seed was quietly planted.” The idea matured in prayer, and she finally set up a guest room with an extra bathroom and kitchen in her home as well as a prayer room.
Experience God in silence
At the end of 2018, her family home was ready. Meanwhile, she had already started telling those around her about her project, some of whom were skeptical about the plan. “But it worked. I prayed for the first guests and they came,” Oetting recalls.
Regen is currently visiting Melanie Oting for the fourth time. Milanese Catholic, Regine Free Protestant Church. FamilyHomes has been ecumenical from the start, which Oetting considers a great gift: “We burn together for Jesus Christ!” Your current guest Regine first became aware of “FamilyHomes” through an article in the “Anders leben” magazine from SCM Verlag. “I was looking for a break, I wanted to shut up and experience God in a new way,” Regen says on “Tagespost”.
“Every guest meets the Lord”
Her first visit was a crucial spiritual experience: “I felt accepted here and allowed to be who I am. I really enjoyed being in the prayer room without any demands from me. God was able to work on my heart during this time.” Today, Regen is one of the guests The permanent home of the Munich family. “The relationship and the shared history with the guests develop,” says Oetting happily. Each FamilyHomes has his own talent, which she puts at the service of guests. “Betty is very talkative,” Oetting explains. “I pray a lot with people. They open up to me, and I am open to them.”
No program for visitors has been specified. Guests organize their stay themselves, receiving only offers from their hosts such as meals together or activities. Interested parties can learn more about individual house talents on the website. For example, near Regensburg there is an organic farm with highland cows. Guests can enjoy nature and activity on the farm if they wish. “The wonderful thing is that every guest meets the Lord,” Oting says, summarizing the experiences of the family homes.
The service affects the whole family
A single mother receives an average of two guests per month. But it’s quite clear to her that her first call is her family. “It is important to make sure that the children are not confused. If the project becomes too exciting for the family, I will not be able to carry it out.” Two of their four children are out of the house now. At first the kids were skeptical, but then God sent a teenager as the first guest. This made things a lot closer to the kids at first.
What’s Next? Vision Oettings is an extensive network. More FamilyHomes are already planned. Screening and selection of interested parties is a time-consuming process. “It’s important that we get along together and have some basic elements in place, like family prayer.” Melanie Oting plans to quit her job as a nurse at the end of the year. After that, she wants to devote herself full time to serving “FamilyHomes”, “trusting in God’s provision.”
Information at: familyhomes.services and makeroomforchrist.org
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