After a hosting ends and the child returns home we always have a debrief session with our hosting family. This is a time of reflection and feedback. After one of our more recent hostings, Jason Manning from Hts. Church, openly shared his experience. This is a must read for all of us! Here’s what he had to say:
“I have always said that there is a certain amount of romanticism that comes along when we think about ministry. But when the rubber meets the road we see that serving Christ is not always glamorous or ‘romantic’. As a father of three boys I thought I had parenting down. So when we were asked to host a little boy I thought that it would be so easy. I was wrong.
While our host child was not extremely difficult, the point that I found was it was the change itself that was difficult. I am a playful, hands-on Dad and figuring out how that works to not leave the host child left out was a challenge. Putting him to bed with the same amount of love (or discipline for that matter) that I put my own children to bed with was also a difficult hurdle. I was always keenly aware that I sometimes felt awkward and I just hoped that our host child didn’t feel that way too. The main practical point I walked away with was that it is important to make your host child as much a part of every section of your life so while they are in an extreme environment that aren’t saddled with merely being present in your house.
The greatest moment we had was when I was tickling my two oldest boys and our host child ran up and wanted to be tickled too. To see him laugh and writhe with as much gusto as my own children was a tremendously encouraging thing. We just wanted him to feel like a little boy and not have to worry about all the stuff going on around him. I think that moment was a small reprieve for him.
On the spiritual side I recognized that it is easy to do things that are easy. It’s not a huge inconvenience to be a greeter at church or host a Community Group. It is difficult to invite a stranger into your home for many weeks. Now one service does not outweigh the other in the eyes of Christ, per se. But it was huge for me. It showed me that A) there is real suffering in our city. Little boys and girls are suffering and I had no idea, all the while Christ’s heart is breaking.
This experience showed me how selfish I am and how twisted my priorities were, for me and my children. My boys kept wondering why they had to share their toys and I told them that is what Jesus asks them to do. After I said that, I realized how little of a thing this is, to share your home with those in need. Yet how big of a thing it was in my heart to overcome. Thank God for Jesus.”
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!