During the course of our marriage, my wife and I have had close to 30 people live with us at various times in our home as guests. We see hospitality as a gift that we can offer to others. In 2002 we purchased a home with extra room for the express purpose of having two to four university students live with us in an intentional Christian discipleship community. This idea never came together, but with the added space, other people continued to live with us. In the spring of 2004 a friend contacted me about a co-worker who had an urgent housing need. I will call his co-worker "John." We met. He had his idiosyncrasies - he described himself as a poster child for ADHD. John gave me the name of a reference in his home state that by and large vouched for him. I decided to allow John to live with us in a room off of our carport, a room John was glad to call his. He stayed through the summer and into the fall. He was laid off his job, but picked up odd jobs detailing vehicles. He enrolled in a local community college with the goal of pursuing a nursing degree. Over time it became apparent that John was dealing with more than ADHD - that he had some type of mental health problems. Being untrained, however, it was difficult for me to put my finger on what wasn't right. During this period of time we also had another person staying with us as well - "Sally." Conflict between John and Sally developed and in January 2005, I asked John to move out within the next 30 days. He refused. He became verbally belligerent insisting that Sally move out and not he. He started regularly drinking in excess. Sally temporarily moved out. Because he had lived with us for several months in exchange for some occasional work, the police could not remove him from the property as a trespasser. The police advised that he could not be placed on a mental hold unless he was a danger to himself or others. I gave him a 30 day written notice to move out. In mid-February he became so belligerent that my wife and children moved out of the house and my brother-in-law and nephew moved in the house to secure it while I was at work. One night, John went on a rampage and began destroying his own property in our drive way. Another night he had a panic attack and the police and paramedics were called around midnight. He was hospitalized, but released early the next morning and returned to the house. Finally, John agreed to move out. The month long ordeal was finally over. The next day my wife and children moved back home. Two days later, after the children had gone to school, and I was preparing to leave for work, John drove up and asked to get some belongings he had left behind in his room. I unlocked the room and went back into the house to finish getting dressed. There was a commotion in the hall. John was attacking my wife with a baseball bat hitting her on her head and shoulders. I wrestled him into our children's room yelling for my wife to call the police. John and I disengaged. He walked out of the room. I thought we had reached a truce of sorts. As I walked into the living room I saw him again attacking my wife on the back porch. He was attempting to strike her with a splitting maul and she was grabbing the maul handle close to the head. I tackled him again and we rolled out into the back yard. Again we disengaged and I ran away into street finding my wife. The police came. We were taken to the hospital. My wife, covered in blood, had lacerations to her scalp and chest and a contusion on her back, but no permanent injuries. At the hospital we learned that John had set fire to our home. These events occurred almost 12 years ago, but they are still tender wounds. It was a time of upheaval in our home. The events connected with the election of Mr. Trump point to a time of upheaval in our nation as well. This upheaval has many strands, but one is the balance between being welcoming and being wise. How can we as a nation be a welcoming nation? But in our welcoming, what does it mean to be wise? At the time I invited John to stay with us I thought I was being wise. In hindsight I see that my "vetting" process was very inadequate. We need to make sure our refugee vetting procedures are up to snuff. John, as subsequent court proceedings established, had significant mental health issues - issues not appropriately addressed in a family's home. How do we best help the refugee and the immigrant? Is the uprooting from one hemisphere to another with significantly different cultures, the best solution for the refugee? Once the welcome had been extended to John, it was difficult to end his stay. This reality underscores the need to make good decisions upfront. With the passage of time, my wife and I started having people stay with us again, but much more selectively. At first only family members, but then people referred by friends who knew us well. I want to continue to welcome ---but wisely. I want our nation to continue to welcome, but wisely.

~Michael Duggan