I wrote about some hosting experiences here, here, here and here and here. to name a few. Families with no experience prior, just saying, “Yes,” or even “Ok…let’s try…” Of orphans coming out of orphanages for even just a few weeks, and their lives were changed, and the families were better for it, and they’ll be the first to tell you.
“BUTTTT….wait what? What about 1. Language barriers and 2. It’s not the right time and 3. It costs money and 4. Won’t it be totally sad to say goodbye to them and 5. it costs money!! and….
Let me address some of these real quick, in case you, or a spouse on the fence wants to hear more.
1. Did you know that language is 80% non verbal? Seriously, you may not have guessed that if you mostly spend time with people who speak your same language, but it’s true, especially with kids. People often asked us, “How is it communicating with Maria,” when we first brought her home, and we were always taken aback. “Fine!” We’d tell them.
Kids are incredible with language, and learn through playing and doing. She learned the basics of food, sleep, etc immediately, and the rest was fun and eaaaasy. Plus, it was fun for us to learn some Russian, and learn about a new culture.
2. It never feels like the right time to get outside of your normal life, spend money on someone else, plan for someone else, when we all feel like we are busy with our own stuff. Sometimes we glorify busyness to the point of feeling like we can’t escape. But let me tell you something special, when you do say yes, and you are doing less busywork, and more person work, life ends up less stressful in many ways, seriously.
I believe that when we reach outside of ourselves to help another, it’s one of those moments that you will never regret. It’s the chances we missed, we skipped, that we long to re-do.
3. Cost. I get that, I’ve been there, the cost seems like a big thing, we were nervous, it wasn’t cute, but when you dive in, it turns into a smaller thing than you thought. It can actually be freeing, or faith building.
Christmas and Money, they are like this double edged sword, smashed together, that everyone likes to shake their head at, ‘get in the true Christmas spirit!’ everyone wants. We vow to spend less, to worry less, for our kids to truly know what it means to give and share at this time, but often times it just doesn’t happen. We long for our children to experience Christmas in a way that is meaningful, that doesn’t focus on getting, that focuses on the simple truths of Christmas; the Savior being born to our world, to offer us a new life of love. A life of service and care for others. Of humility, and grace.
And that a little one will, in their humility, be able to offer more, in ways you couldn’t imagine.
4. I bet it will be sad to say goodbye, but sadness can be a good thing, sadness is definitely not the enemy. It means that you reached out, and loved, and invested.
Love is not a finite commodity, but grows when we allow it. When we seek and reach out to the ones alone and hoping. Bringing them into abundance, love, the circle of a family.
That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. “I took on the troubles of the troubled,” is the way Scripture puts it. Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us. God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next. May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!
So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! // rom. 15: 3-7
If we guarded our hearts from the sadness of goodbye as our main priority, we would never have any new relationships, new friends, community. And that would be lonely indeed. Saying yes invites more than just a person, but it invites love, for everyone.
Once when I was in 5th grade, I was paired up with an elderly woman from church, who picked me up in a Buick and took me to buy a cross necklace and a card with my name on it. She was very much older, and barely said more than a few words to me, but you know what, I still remember it, and it meant something to me. And I still have that necklace, and I still remember Marie Wood.
5. Money. Did you know that many children who are hoping for a chance at family time for Summer or Christmas have scholarships? Some have HUGE ones! People who have invested and just need a family willing to welcome, to open their arms, just for a short time. To give one extra hug before bed, teach someone how to floss, read a picture book to before turning out the lights. To say, “I love you,” and when they look at you wide eyed at these foreign words, and your heart crumbles a little because these words had always meant something–but not this much before, you’ll realize loving, and saying yes, was the best choice you could have made. That staying confined into your busy life and keeping people out would have been the saddest mistake. One that we all who hosted almost made. We are all victims of our culture, ‘more is more,’ well, not always. Did you know that the organizations that helps host are non profits and can help collect donations from family and friends who want to be a part of this, because there will be many excited for you to do this. Some will be blown away…”Wait–you mean you’re doing a trip to Palm Springs right?? Wait–no? I’m confused….this is cool, I want to help… this sounds amazing.”
The Sad Facts…
Orphans usually feel left out, left behind and unworthy. Their self esteem is many times so low because they have been labeled in their home city by peers as “orphans”. After coming on our program for 4-5 weeks over Christmas holidays or during the summer months, most children learn as much English as they would typically learn in 4-5 semesters if taught at home in their school. This gives the children pride in themselves and helps boost their self esteem tremendously!
Receiving unconditional love and nurturing and being treated as a member of their host family who will usually maintain contact even after the child returns home to their orphanage. This gives them hope. Learning that they do have a Father, the same Father in Heaven that we all have…who loves us dearly and is always with us and lets them know they are never alone.
Share all your amazing family moments with someone who will truly treasure them forever. Take them caroling, meet Santa, look at lights. Eat popcorn, open a present. They will cherish these times in their hearts forever, their eyes alive, which will bless everyone.
If you are interested, and would just like to look and see just who might even be available, I grabbed the link so you can look simply and easily: Pre application, it takes 3 minutes.
your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time”
or “Try me tomorrow”
when the money’s right there in your pocket. // prov. 3:27