Praying Them Home

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I am so blessed to be a volunteer for New Horizons for Children.  Over the past 3 years I have had the great privilege to meet many awesome families and children and help them along their hosting journey.  I believe they have made just as much of an impact on my life as I have on theirs.

I’ve had the joy of getting to know one family from my church who I met when they first hosted a girl through our ministry in December 2012.  They have become great friends and I am constantly encouraged and challenged by their faith.

God led them to host a young girl who is not currently available to be adopted and they did not host her with the intent to adopt.  Over the course of the month that they hosted her, they fell in love with her, and God had a way of changing their minds.    However, she is still not available to be adopted.  One day, the wife was talking about they love her so much and she is still a part of their family, even though she is now living on the other side of the globe. She said that it is still her mission to ‘pray her home’… not necessarily to their home, but to whichever home God has for her, whether it be in the US or in Europe. 

That phrase just hit me so profoundly… praying her home.   It takes a lot of faith and humility to make this your prayer.  She surrendered her own plans and prays that God would give their host girl a home where she can grow up and be safe and loved.

And now I think about these orphans who are soon to be graduating from the orphanages.  Their orphanages have been their homes.  Now where will their homes be?  Just because the government considers you to be an adult, doesn’t mean you don’t need a place to call home anymore. 

Just think of our classes of high school graduates who are entering the real world this year.  They may be growing up and moving on, but their anchors will always be their families.  Their parents’ homes will be the place they celebrate their graduations, the people they count on for assistance to move into a dorm room or apartment, and the place they will always return to for holidays.  You always need a place to call home, no matter how old you are.

The ministry that we will be working with on our missions trip to Ukraine will be doing just that… providing a home for orphans who no longer have a place to call home.  Right now, there are a handful of students who attend our missionary partner’s trade school and also live in a home with house parents.  In this home, the are safe, mentored, and learn life skills to prepare them to have a home of their own someday. 

Watch the video below to hear the students themselves talk about how much these homes mean to them.   Perhaps the most powerful words come from Maxim K., who is interviewed last : “I had not much home ever. And I even couldn’t think that I will have another chance to change my life for better.”

Meet 4 boys who are enjoying the blessing of a home… possibly for the first time in their lives

Please join us in praying even more of these orphans home.  These children may be older, too old to be adopted, but they still need a place to call home.  I can’t think of a better place for  them, than one where they will learn how to take care of a home, care for themselves, learn a trade that will earn them a living, and be disciple by believers who meet them where they are!

I can’t wait to be on the grounds of these homes in less than 2 months! What an opportunity it will be to see these homes, be a part of building a new one, meet the students living there whose lives have been changed, and just see all that God has been doing in the past year!

Also, I please ask that you consider giving financially to support my trip.  My dad and I still have a long way to go and not much time to get there.  Any bit to show your support will help!

You can easily give online at this link – http://fnd.us/c/5W3p3 

Thank you so much for your support and for praying these kids home!

 

My people will live in peaceful dwelling places,
in secure homes,
in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:18 (NIV)

“Where Would You Go If You Couldn’t Go Home?”–Orphan Care & Joplin Tornado Relief

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What a busy week.  Not only have I been working on getting ready for summer orphan hosting, but also have been hosting a small short term missions team from my home church.  They have come to serve with my church – James River Assembly – Love417 – and their relief work in Joplin, our nearby town that was recently devastated by an F5 tornado. 

I have seen the destruction firsthand, it’s unlike anything I ever could have imagined.   Trees stripped of their every leaf, branch, and bark.  Winds so strong that it stripped upholstery from inside vehicles, ripped muscle tissue from arms grasping on for life, and stole children from their mothers’ embrace.  8,000+ families lost their homes.

These houses, apartments, and mobile homes did not just have a few broken windows, they were flattened.  These people have no where to call home.   Our team couldn’t constantly help but wonder where all these people have gone in the wake of this shocking natural disaster. 

Now, you ask, what could this have to do with orphan care?  It says a lot to me.  The song “Where Would You Go” by The Mark Chapman Band emotionally paints that picture of these victims’ utter homelessness & desperation.  It occurred to me, this is exactly what millions of orphans around the world face.  None of these children have a place to call a forever home.    Where could they go?  Who can they count on when they don’t have a family that makes a house a home? 

 

“Where Would You Go (If You Couldn’t Go Home)? ” by The Mark Chapman Band

Where would you go if you couldn’t go home?
What would you do if everything you ever knew was gone?
I can’t imagine what that’s like
I pray I’ll never have to know
Where would you go if you couldn’t go home?

Hosting Reflection #10–A Place to Call Home

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Home. …such a simple word, I often overlook its deep meaning.  A building with four walls and a doorbell does not make a home.   Home is a building but so much more.  Home is the people you have there, the safety, the permanency.  No matter what happens, you know there’s always a place you can go, and that’s home.

Many times we think of orphans as homeless, and some of them may be, but many of them do have a home. Many of them find temporary homes in orphanages, shelters, or foster homes.  The realization that orphans do have a place to call home came to me in a special way when I spent time with orphans in Estonia last summer.  

We had just spent 1 week with the kids at a summer camp (they were there a total of 4 weeks) and were packing up at camp to head to their orphanage for another week.   I was kind of surprised to see the kids excited to leave camp.  I can still hear one of the boys, Sergey, joyfully saying, “Мы едем домой!” (Mwi yedem domoĭ ! / We are going home!)  I wondered, Could he really be that excited to go home to a place Sergey's roomwhere he lives with 30 other kids? What kind of home is that? But that was Sergey’s home, and he loves it there.  He was so excited to be home and show me his room.     When our team found out we needed an extra room to stay in, SergeySergey & I on our last night at his home insisted that I stayed in his room.  He quickly arranged the furniture, made the bed with fresh sheets, hooked up a TV and VCR, and swept the floor before proudly presenting it to me.  This boy who was so excited to come home to the orphanage, selflessly gave up his room – the only thing he can call his own – for me.  What an incredible honor it was to be in his home. 

Hosting Sasha for Christmas, gave me another perspective of the meaning of home.  My family and I chose him and invited him into our family so that he could have the experience of being in a home with a loving family.  Our home was made up of the immaterial things – comfort, peace, memories, hope, security, love – as well as the material – a strong permanent house, safety, special belongings.  I believe both the tangible and intangible reality of a home is important… especially for an orphan who is unlikely to find any consistent or enduring home throughout their life, without a forever family.  I can recall several times when we were out around town and Sasha said to me, "Джэнэлл, домой хочу.” (Dzjhenell, domoĭ hochu. / Jenelle, I want to go home.)  He just wanted to go home, to our home.  God had worked in us and our prayers to help Sasha know that he had a special new place to call home. Our last Sunday at home with Sasha

Father of orphans, champion of widows,
         is God in his holy house.
   God makes homes for the homeless,
leads prisoners to freedom…
Psalm 68:5-6 (The Message)

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