At dinner one night in October, my husband announced that he wanted our family to do something radically generous this Christmas. “That’s interesting,” I said, “I just got an email today that said the deadline for orphan hosting this winter is in a few days.” Jeremy barely missed a beat, “Let’s do it.”
During Thanksgiving 2012, we first learned about a non-profit organization called New Horizons For Children. NHFC arranges short-term hosting of orphans in American homes. We’ve known for two years about the incredible blessing it is for these orphans to visit America and we’ve imagined what it would be like to participate in that kind of blessing. This year, we decided to go for it!
A bit about New Horizons according to their website:
NHFC is the largest, faith-based host program, facilitating orphan hosting nationwide. Since 2002, more than 3,500 orphans have been hosted through our ministry.
Without intervention, upon leaving the orphanage, 60% of girls will end up in prostitution, 70% of boys will be on the streets or in jail, and 15% will commit suicide within the first two years on their own.
The intervention New Horizons offers these orphans is at least three-fold:
- Exposure to English is a great advantage for future educational and financial opportunity.
- Observation of healthy family life to give the kids a framework for a better future family than the one they’ve known.
- Possible introduction to a “forever family.” Most host children are adoptable. Maybe by coming to America, they will meet a family who is ready to love them forever.
Any of these experiences are confidence-building and potentially life-changing for a child whose entire life exists within the confines of an orphanage.
There are several countries with whom New Horizons has a partnership to bring orphans to American host homes. We chose a country in Eastern Europe. It was heartbreaking to look through the photo listing and see so many in need of a loving home. We finally decided on two brothers.
So, on December 17, 2014, we will welcome V. and O. to our home for four weeks.*
We are praying to be a blessing to these boys. We are definitely expecting to be blessed by them. We look forward to the joy that comes from sharing the love of Christ. We are confident in receiving that joy because of Jesus’ own words as he describes the cyclical nature of joy and love:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:9-14)
Want joy? Then love. What kind of love? The sacrificial, “I don’t really feel like doing this for you right now” kind of love. The making lunches, doing laundry, comforting when sick kind of love. The give up the last chocolate chip cookie in the jar kind of love. Simply the lay down your life for a friend love. V. and O. don’t know they are our friends, yet. But I already love them like crazy, pray for them daily, and can not wait to lay eyes on them and wrap my arms around them.
If you feel inclined, please pray for our family on this journey. We want to truly be the hands and feet of Christ in these young men’s lives. We want to impact them so that they do not become a statistic.
And ask yourself, “Could I use some radical joy this Christmas season?” If so, I challenge you to find some tangible way to sacrificially love someone. It might be a stranger, it might be your spouse. Be creative. Be a blessing.
Glad tidings of comfort and joy to you and yours!
*The agency rules require that we do not publicly post the children’s names, ages, or country of origin.