Tuesday, November 26, 2013

update: christine


We got word on Thursday that all the Filipino children who are being hosted are fine.  Phew!

Here's Christine (14 years old)!

We're so glad to hear that!  And we're only a few weeks out from welcoming Christine.  If anyone knows an eye doctor who might be willing to treat Christine pro bono, please let me know!  :)  

The other day I learned (through our hosting agency) that many Filipino children are being evacuated.  Still, the footage I see (we all see!) is just so devastating.

We're still awaiting official word on our Compassion child, Lyka.  As much as we're excited to host Christine, we do not have a relationship with her yet.  But with Lyka, we've journeyed along with her for many years, watching her grow and mature into a fine young woman.  I have so enjoyed writing back and forth with her...waiting for news on her status is hard.

I sent a request to Compassion (they're probably receiving thousands!) to see if Lyka and her family are okay and to offer them refuge should they need it.  I know it's a long shot, but events like typhoon Haiyan are how people become displaced from their homes/countries.  Perhaps knowing they have a place to go (albeit very far away) will be comforting.  They responded back within a day (such an amazing organization!) saying the following:

We are grateful for your sponsorship of Lyka Mae. She lives in Southwest of Puerto Princesa City. We are in the process of contacting our projects and accounting for all the children in the impacted areas.

At this time, we do not have specific information on your child's status. Our staff in the Philippines continues to assess the damage and gather information. Our church partners are coordinating with local government agencies and organizations for preemptive evacuation and relief assistance. A disaster team has been established and is monitoring the situation closely. Please remain patient as information is being collected during such a difficult time. Once we receive specific information, we will contact you IF we learn your child has been directly impacted. In the meantime, please continue to pray for your child and their country as they deal with this latest disaster.

Now back to hosting Christine...

Before I share with you a cool story of how God met us when we stepped out to host, let me fill you in a little about hosting.

First of all, this is something anyone can do!  Hosting an orphan increases his/her chances of being adopted.  In fact, our hosting agency, New Horizons for Children, has a 70% 'success rate.'  Meaning 70% of the children who are hosted get adopted!  Isn't that incredible!?  That's the greatest purpose behind hosting.  The hope is that families who are open to adopting will meet these children and God will prick their hearts to step forward and adopt them!

A second purpose is to simply show these children what a family is.  Most of them have never experienced a family.  I think about how much my family takes for granted just being a family.  We all take each other so for granted!  Ugh.  It pains me everyday.  But to be part of a loving family is one of God's greatest blessings.  To feel belonging and love and acceptance no matter what.  Priceless.

One of the greatest benefits of hosting a child is that she/he will learn about and experience Jesus' love in a more tangible way.  We hope that Christine will learn about Jesus while she's here with us (despite our shortcomings).  May she feel His love and be drawn to Him.  What a gift!  Especially at Christmas time.

What a lot of people don't know is that being a host family has a cost associated with it.  It can definitely be an obstacle.  It certainly was for us.  We've been interested in hosting for a couple of years, but simply didn't know how in the world we could swing the costs.  But for whatever reason we felt very compelled this year to just step out and trust that God would meet us there.  Wow, has He ever!

The cost to bring Christine over is $3150.  That's all the travel expenses (multiple flights, visas, passports, travel chaperones, and agency fees to coordinate it all).  The day that we were filling out the pre-app (and feeling lots of trepidation!), we learned that Christine had just been assigned a $1000 scholarship!  We took that as affirmation that we were doing the right thing and that God was trying to indicate that He was behind this and we could trust Him.

Our balance was now $2150.  We submitted the pre-app and began working on the, a-hem, 25 page application!...five references, faith statements, a home visit by a social worker, the rules of hosting a child, 12 hours of training, etc.  Yikes!

A few days later, we get a call from our coordinator who said I wouldn't believe it but a gentleman and his wife who'd hoped to host this year, but can't wanted to contribute money to the 'most needy child' to increase his/her chances of being adopted.  Our Christine was it!  She's 14 and will be 15 in December!  She'll age out of the orphanage at 16 and be literally put out on the streets with the clothes on her back...very likely headed into a life of prostitution and desperation.  $1000 this generous couple gave!  A perfect stranger!

Balance: $1150.

Then, a local friend who hosted a child last Christmas and had been cheering us on the whole time said immediately that she and her husband wanted to help with our expenses.  They chipped in $400!

Balance: $750.

Then we paid our required payment of $600.

Balance: $150.

Then, a few weeks later I went to my hairdresser who is a friend from church.  We were catching up.  She asked how James is doing and had some questions about adoption, etc.  I shared with her about our plans to host Christine and how this step of faith was being affirmed through provision, provision and more provision.  I said, 'Fran, can you believe that all we have left to pay now is $150?!  Isn't God so cool when He shows Himself as trustworthy and faithful?'  She loved hearing the story about Christine and told me that she grew up with always having lots of 'visitors' in their home -- 'strangers' at Thanksgiving dinner...just people her parents opened their home to.  I loved hearing that because she's such an open and loving person.  As a parent, I can only hope that our kids will grow to be adults with open, loving hearts towards others.

As I got up to leave and began digging in my purse to get out my payment, she said, 'I want you to keep that and put it towards your balance for bringing Christine.'  Gulp.  I had $130 in my purse.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Aren't the images of the Philippines just heart-wrenching?

It's crushing.

I find myself staring at the TV or videos on-line feeling such helplessness.

I just cannot imagine.

As I climb into my cozy bed every night, I think about the people who live in those parts of the world.  It's not that we're completely immune here -- look at New Orleans or the many towns just ravaged each year in this country by tornadoes alone.  But to live in such extreme poverty anyway and then have something like a typhoon come in and practically wipe you off the map is so, so sad.

'Why them and not us?' is what I often ask myself.

A hard thing for us at this moment is that just a couple of weeks ago, we committed to bring a 14-year-old orphan from the Philippines into our home for four or five weeks over Christmas.  It's called hosting.  Think: bring the mission to you.  The hope is that these kids will learn about Christ while being hosted, experience the love of a family and maybe, just maybe, meet the family who is meant to be theirs for forever.

Her name's Christine and we haven't heard how she is yet.  Or how the rest of the children in her orphanage are.  We're waiting for news.  Ick.  I don't do well with waiting.  Not one bit.

Not to mention that for the past seven years, we've sponsored a sweeeet girl named Lyka.  She too is Filippino.  She's not an orphan though.  Her parents are married, her father's a fisherman and she has three siblings.  The thought of anything having happened to her or her family creates the biggest lump in my throat.  Again, waiting for news.  Ugh.

Would you pray for Christine and Lyka?

Pray they're alive.  

I just can't imagine receiving any other news.


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