By Mario Vega
Being a cell host is not easy. It involves keeping the house open once a week to receive people on a permanent basis. Hosting requires a deep compassion for the lost.
Hortesia was one of the first hostesses we had at the beginning of our cell work. She hosted one of the first nine cells at Elim. She opened the doors of her house to receive guests for many years. It wasn’t long before new cells multiplied from her house and filled the surrounding area. If for any reason Hortensia wasn’t home, she left her sister in charge so the cell meeting would always take place.
On one occassion, after hosting a cell for more than ten years, I thought it was the right moment to ask Hortensia to take a break. So I instructed her coach to move the cell in her house to a new location, which he promptly did.
A few days later Hortensia asked to speak with me. When she arrived at my office, she burst into tears and asked me in what area she had sinned. I answered that I was not aware of any sin in her life. Then she asked why I had removed the cell from her home.
I explained that she had already served the Lord as a hostess for over a decade, and that I thought she needed a well-earned rest. Yet, through her tears, she asked me not to do that. She told me that it wasn’t a burden to open the doors of her house to host a cell group, and that it was her earnest desire to continue doing so.
Embarrassed, I apologized to her and promised that the cell would continue to meet in her home. It has now been over twenty-five years since Hortensia first opened her home to a cell group. A total of 135 cells have originated from the cell in her house. Many people have come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior through Hortensia’s house, and she keeps on serving the Lord as a hostess.
Joel Comiskey did a great job in summarizing the two words that characterize Elim’s cell ministry: passion and persistence. I believe that if it is not passion and persistence that Hortesiz possesses, then “What is it?”