January 13, 2013

Happenings

Posted in Blogging, Faith, Favorite Quotes, Just Life at 6:32 pm by catsinboxes

At the end of October, my family made the decision to host 2 brothers for Christmas through New Horizons for Children, a Christian orphan hosting program.  We just finished hosting, and now I’m faced with the daunting task of trying to write about a month’s worth of experience.

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.  It was absolutely worth it.  It was absolutely draining.  We started with two brothers, Gunvalds and Muntis.   Soon however it became clear that Muntis, the younger brother, needed to have another family where his needs could be better met.  After that transition, which proved very much to be in the best interest of both brothers, life definitely settled down.

I want to share what my mother wrote about hosting Gunvalds.

 Gunvalds

Gunvalds is a wonderful boy who has been lots of fun to have in our home. His English ability is very good, and he was easy to communicate with. Gunvalds is much more comfortable with women, and has not warmed up to his host dad. He took correction well; though there were often outbursts, these were more cultural (think arguing with an Italian!), than blatant disobedience. He appears to be quite innocent concerning life in general; he loved watching children’s movies at our house. Having a large family, we stick pretty close to home. He loved board games, playing outside, and looking at animal books in the evening. He needs a dad who is patient, kind, and willing to invest a lot of time and love. Tim took off the first two weeks Gunvalds was here, but Gunvalds never warmed up to him.

We had his younger brother, Muntis, moved to another host family because Munits required constant supervision and one-on-one attention. Muntis is doing better in the new host family, and since starting on some behavior modification meds (see his bio for more information). Before Muntis left, Gunvalds did everything with our 16 year-old son. As soon as Muntis left, he transitioned to our youngest 4 children. I would describe his play as more alongside than with, the way a young child “plays” with a playmate. One day, he spent several hours running around the house with our 5 year old shooting things with imaginary guns. He loved staying up after prayers to look at books in our library.

We feel like Gunvalds would do best in a smaller family where more time could be focused on him exclusively.

I love the description, and I can vouch for its accuracy.  My mom was wonderful with Gunvalds, and it is evident how much he craves and desires a mother in his life.

This hosting has taught me many things.  It has impressed upon me how crucial a stable family is for a child’s development.  I’m the big sister, the third in the line of command, and on a personal scale this month was grueling.  It made me realize how helpless we are as sinners, how desperately we need forgiveness and a savior.  When faced with testing of my authority (yes, I am in charge now since Mom is running errands!), I realized the ugliness of our sinful rebellion against God.  It’s so unattractive, so unappealing, yet how amazing that God can say to us, “You are precious in my eyes, and I love you.”

It wasn’t an easy month, but I think it was absolutely worth it.  Because this month wasn’t about me, it was about showing the love of Christ to a boy who desperately needed that love.  Was I able to do it directly?  No, often I was the one in the background keeping the peace while Mom worked with Gunvalds.  Could I have survived for another month in that capacity?  Quite honestly, no!  Yesterday, while Mom and Dad drove back from dropping off Gunvalds at the airport, I spent the day with my four youngest siblings.  It was so peaceful; at least two hours were spent listening to me read aloud ~a much-loved activity that we haven’t been able to do much in the past month.  It was bliss.

In the past year, I’ve been challenged by the words of Isaiah.

Is not this the fast I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness,

to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and to bring the homeless poor into your house . . .

If you pour yourself out for the hungry

and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

and your gloom be as the noonday.

And the LORD will guide you continually . . . .

I’m so thankful the past month.  I’m thankful for two amazing, godly parents who are choosing this fast.  It hasn’t been easy, not by a long shot, but I’m already looking forward to more opportunities in the future.  And most of all, I’m thankful for the guidance of a Shepherd who knows when I need still waters and who restores my soul.

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