Friday, November 2, 2012

My Biggest Fear about Hosting (HINT: It's NOT the Kids!)

Almost two years ago, I read a blog about a hosting opportunity for orphans from the Ukraine and Latvia. Curious, I clicked on the link and read all about New Horizons for Children. It grabbed my heart!

Last summer we picked out two boys from Ukraine to host, but my dad became very ill and all thoughts of hosting vanished. In August, my dad passed away. In October we moved across country -- from California to Georgia. Winter hosting was right around the corner, but we were in no shape to open our homes to anyone. Summer 2012 arrived and I came down with whooping cough and was in bed for six weeks. Again, not a great time for hosting. Now it's time for Winter hosting ... and ... well, things are different.

I began praying about hosting before the photolistings even came up. I asked God to show us 1) if He wants us to host, and 2) which children we should choose. All the children are so cute and, when I read their bios, I fell in love with each and every one. So I began to systematically pray for specific children. Each day I would pray about a certain child or sibling set. I told God that I would pray for 24-hours, if they were still available the next day, I would know that that was the child/children for us.

A funny thing happened. I began praying for the first child, a fifteen-year-old boy. The next day, he had a family to host him. Then I started praying for a brother/sister sibling set. The following day, they too had a family. A set of three sisters were next on my prayer list, but, by morning, they too had a family. I was happy and frustrated all at the same time. I was thrilled that all these kids I was praying for were getting hosted. I began to think that was what God was asking me to do -- just pray for kids to find families.

But, then there was the set of four kids from Latvia that I was a little nervous about praying for. I was nervous, because I knew that it would require a lot more faith than I had to host a sibling set of four. Hosting them would be waaaay outside my comfort zone. I know my heart, at least part of it, so I began to pray that my lack of faith would not stand in the way of anything God was trying to do but that I would trust Him in everything.

On Monday, I began to pray for these precious children -- three sisters and one little brother. Tuesday morning, my stomach was in knots as I cautiously opened the photolisting.

They were still there!

I decided to give it a little more time. I would check again when work was over. Maybe I hadn't waited long enough.

After work, I checked the website again. There they were! Four smiling little faces peering out at me from the computer screen. I gulped. Really, God?! Four?!

I needed confirmation. Often younger children, aged five and under, are not allowed to travel to the United States. Little Eltons is five. I asked God to show me definitely if this was the set for us. I prayed that if Eltons would be traveling with his sisters, that would be our cue to say yes and trust that God would provide the funds necessary. If Eltons would not be coming, then we would know that God was closing the door. Oh me of little faith!!!

I sent an email off to the regional coordinator to ask about Eltons' status.

And I prayed. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. the following morning and prayed until 4:30 when I decided sleep was futile and I might as well get out of bed. By now, I was also feeling pretty strongly that God was moving us forward with these kids.

By the time work was over at the end of that long and tiring day, I was ready to submit to whatever God's will was. I still had not heard back from the regional coordinator about Eltons, but in my heart I knew. These kids were for us. I emailed the coordinator and told her so.

A couple hours later I got the response I knew was coming -- Eltons would be traveling with his sisters after all. I smiled as I realized God was writing the introductory lines of a new chapter in our lives. These children, half-a-world away, were now connected to us for some reason and for some purpose.

But, we are just in the beginning sentences of this new chapter. There is a chance this chapter will never be written. God will work miracles, but I must do my part as well. Approximately $7000 stands between us and hosting these kids. Our $2200 deposit is due Monday. Our last payment is due December 1. We have a little less than one month to raise that money! My husband and I are taking on extra work in order to earn extra cash. Yesterday, we opened a fundraising website. All donations are tax deductible and go straight to New Horizons for Children to fund the kids' trip.

To help offset the expenses of providing medical, dental, and eye examinations I have set up a ChipIn widget on the side of my blog. Unfortunately, these donations are not tax deductible, but they do come with a bona fide blessing from their Heavenly Father -- which may just benefit you more than a tax deduction ever could.

Most importantly, I solicit your prayers. My biggest fear is failing God. I know He can do all things. I just want to be faithful to my part. I don't want December 1 to roll around and feel like I haven't done what I should have or could have done. So for now I'm trying all options. If God closes the door for some reason, I'm okay with that. I just want to make sure it's not because I wasn't faithful to His calling. Please, I beg you, pray with me and for me. Please pray that God's will will be done in the lives of His precious children.

Any advice you can give me is appreciated as well.

Thank you so much!

And now...

Allow me introduce Valerija (12), Samanta (10), Liga (7), and Eltons (5)