Yep, us Dallases are preparing for Christmas.
I’m a die hard after Thanksgiving Christmas celebrator. Like HARD.CORE. No Christmas music, no Christmas decorations, no Christmas candles or cookies, NOTHING until after Thanksgiving. So why are we preparing now? Well, we have some exciting news. We are going to be host parents to an orphan from Eastern Europe this Christmas!!! We are beyond excited.
After reading of Amy and her family’s hosting experience last winter, we were intrigued. As time went on and Dirk and I talked about it more, it became something that we committed to prayer. We have felt the Lord leading us in this way for about 6 months now. To see it start coming to fruition is so exciting!
So, you’re probably wondering…
What does it mean that you’re “hosting” an orphan?
I feel like “hosting” sounds a bit sterile. I don’t know what other word we could use but here’s what we’re really doing.
This is L…
She is a 14 year old girl and while we don’t know her story or her background we do know that she lives in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. She is a great student. She loves art and design and interior decorating.
We will openly welcome her into our home as if she’s one of our own. We will love her and show her the love of Christ. We will take her to church, and to our weekly family night at my parents’ house. We will go look at Christmas lights and bake Christmas cookies. We will celebrate the New Year and just live life as a family of five. We will show her that she is loved and important. Most importantly, we will let her know that there is a God who loves her more than anyone ever could.
Why are you doing this? Aren’t there plenty of children in the United States that you could help?
I know right? There are people, orphans even, hurting everywhere, all around us, why raise all this money and go through all this trouble?
I could give you a list of rational answers, and I will touch on a few of them, but the real reason is because God has led us here. Because every time we think we aren’t going to do it, we are. Because right before we turned in our deposit and we were scared, the Lord confirmed in us both that this is what we are supposed to do. Because although I was praying for a specific verse before we turned in the deposit, we stepped out in faith and that evening the Lord showed me Isaiah 58 (you can read a portion of it at the bottom of this post.) You can’t always rationalize God’s calling and so we move forward in anticipation of all God is calling us to, both to the really hard stuff and the really awesome stuff.
So this brings me to the rational reasons. Every Christian is called to care for the poor and specifically the orphan. (Isaiah 1:17, James 2:15-16, James 1:27, Deut. 24:21) Can we do that here in the states? Sure we can, but here’s where the burden on my heart is. I didn’t even recognize the name of the country our girl is coming from. I knew nothing about it. As I started to learn more about her country I realized that these are the forgotten kids, she is a forgotten daughter.
These kids are just years from “aging out.”
In Eastern Europe, less than 50% of the orphan population will live to see their 20th birthdays.
60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals.
In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18.
You guys, L has only FOUR years until she ages out. This is our opportunity to speak life into her, to show her, maybe for the first time ever, that she is loved unconditionally. We are being given an opportunity to tell her that she is better than those statistics, that God has a hope and a future for her. And while we’re over here thinking of all that God has for her, and looking forward to loving on her more than she’s ever been loved before, I know that He has a plan for our family in all of this too and I am so excited to see what He is going to do in all five of us.
I am sharing this with you for three reasons, first of all, will you join us in prayer? Will you please pray for L? Will you pray that God will prepare her heart? Pray that people will come across her path that will peak her interest in the things of the Lord, pray that she will be ready for all God has for her during this time with us. Please also pray for us. I think it’s easy to romanticize ministry and caring for the orphan. Dirk and I are constantly putting ourselves in check and recognizing that we are turning our home, our lives, into a mission field. It will be rewarding but it will be hard too. She doesn’t speak English so that will be a major barrier (although we have heard that many children catch on quickly and we are thankful for the technology available to us to help us communicate with her). We have no idea what kind of life she leaves behind. Orphans became such through trauma and so we will be loving on this child who has been abandoned and has been deeply hurt. We will be breaking barriers and showing her unconditional love. This is no easy task. Pray for wisdom for us, for patience, for God to prepare our hearts to love on her unconditionally. Pray for Big Sis and Little E to have open hearts. Pray for them to be loving and, even at their young age, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Also, please pray for the financial needs to be met.
So that brings me to the second reason why I am sharing. In bringing L here we are responsible for paying for her visa, her transportation, insurance, and other needs. Maybe you are not able to host an orphan, or are not called to serve them physically, but maybe you could help bring an orphan to America, to a family that is so anxiously awaiting her arrival, to a family that can’t wait to show her the love that they already feel towards her. Would you be willing to donate? If so, here’s a link to our donation site. All donations given through this site are tax deductible.
Dallas Family YouCaring Site (please note that this is a general site set up for us by New Horizons so it’s very generic, we will keep it personal over here on the blog).
Lastly, I write this because maybe as you’re reading this your heart is being tugged on and you’re thinking, I could donate but I’d really like to host! There is still time and there are still so many children waiting and hoping to be hosted this winter. Head over to the New Horizons for Children webpage and go to “get started here” under “orphan hosting.” You can get more information and can fill out a pre-app to get access to the photolisting for all of the children available to be hosted.
If you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m new at all of this but I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for sticking through this lengthy post and for hearing the burden of my heart.
“Here is the way I want you to fast.
Set free those who are held by chains without any reason.
Untie the ropes that hold people as slaves.
Set free those who are crushed.
Break every evil chain.
Share your food with hungry people.
Provide homeless people with a place to stay.
Give naked people clothes to wear.
Provide for the needs of your own family.
Then the light of my blessing will shine on you like the rising sun.
I will heal you quickly.
I will march out ahead of you.
And my glory will follow behind you and guard you.
That is because I always do what is right.
You will call out to me for help.
And I will answer you.
You will cry out.
And I will say, ‘Here I am.’
“Get rid of the chains you use to hold others down.
Stop pointing your finger at others as if they had done something wrong.
Stop saying harmful things about them.
Work hard to feed hungry people.
Satisfy the needs of those who are crushed.
Then my blessing will light up your darkness.
And the night of your suffering will become as bright as the noonday sun.
I will always guide you.
I will satisfy your needs in a land that is baked by the sun.
I will make you stronger.
You will be like a garden that has plenty of water.
You will be like a spring whose water never runs dry.”