This past Christmas, my family decided to host for the very first time. Through a series of events, we were matched with a beautiful 13 year old girl. While we might not have originally intended to host a teen girl, God knew she was meant for our family and we immediately fell in love with her upon arrival.
The biggest blessing of the hosting experience was watching our host daughter begin understanding what it means to have a relationship with God. My family viewed hosting as an opportunity to do mission work in our home. Our church family ordered a Russian bible and, at night, my husband and the older girls would sit down and read their bibles together. She had a real desire to participate and would follow along and listen intently.
She initiated a conversation with us very early the first week about baptism.
We did not know what, if any, religious background she had and decided to hold off until we understood her intentions better. Towards the end of the hosting month we were able to connect with some missionary friends and realized our host daughter knew many bible stories and was able to recite several to us. She asked us again about baptism and, this time, we knew she understood and was ready.
On a chilly Sunday morning, she was so very proud to be baptized in front of our church. In fact, I’m not sure if I have ever seen a child more proud of their own baptism. She was beaming and told everyone that she saw for the rest of the week about her baptism. I believe she understands in a way that my own children do not. As an orphaned child, she has seen firsthand what life holds without God. Now, she is experiencing God for herself. Our family prays daily that she has been able to continue reading, learning and gaining encouragement from that gift bible.
Hosting is not something I can easily explain, but it is both rewarding and difficult. Carrying the burdens of a child who has already lost so much is tough. Showing our own children what mission work looks like was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had. We initially planned to host once, but we are forever changed and hosting will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future.
Project 143 thanks the Hooper family for sharing their wonderful winter hosting testimonial!