Back in June I wrote an article about Missed Blessings’.I urged the reader not to miss out on blessings simply because we do not take the time to converse with people or follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am so happy to report that my family and I followed the Holy Spirits leading and we hosted a child for the summer. The blessings we received are too numerous to count. God is good and was faithful to us the entire summer. You may be wondering what advantages there are to hosting a foreign child for the summer, a missionary family for the week or even a foreign exchange student for the school year. Our family has had the privilege and wonderful opportunity to host Yana as well as two Chinese exchange students. As I was reflecting of the blessings that have come our way, I wanted to share four advantages to hosting foreigners.

The first advantage that we gained was through seeing our daily life and grind through different lenses. We had a renewed application of ‘daily life’. Yana was with us this summer for six weeks and some of the simple things that we take for granted were so exciting for her. She was thrilled from the simple things like rolling down the window and letting her hand hit the wind. She was constantly commenting on the beautiful trees and plants. She got giddy at Google Map navigating the direction to new locations. Simple pleasures that we do not even recognize was fascinating to Yana. Seeing life thru someone else eyes was a great reminder to me to appreciate the daily grind and blessings we have here.

The second advantage that I found to be true from hosting a foreigner was that we as a family experienced a new culture without even purchasing a plane ticket to another country. We experienced Belarus without even leaving our home. Yana was able to share her culture with us. We gained a greater understanding about how she lives and the environment in which she functions. We learned about the climate, the food and the daily life. Having Yana in our home brought another country right into our living room and we experienced it without leaving Raleigh.

The third and greatest advantage for hosting Yana is that we were able to build lasting relationships. Even though Yana didn’t speak English very well and her country is over 5, 000 miles away we were able to build a friendship and relationship that will last a lifetime. Our hearts were knitted together with this special 11-year-old girl and her family back home. We have Skyped with her and her parents on several occasions. I have had the opportunity to meet her sister and her husband in another town recently. We have learned a lot about the beautiful people of Belarus. It is amazing how two families have come together that otherwise would have never met.

The fourth advantage that I see when hosting a foreigner is that we have a return on investment that we can never really count. Yes, it can be costly. Yes, it can put you out and make you work a little harder to meet their needs, but oh it is so worth it. We got to invest in Yana. Now we get to be part of her life and gain treasures because of it. The Bible tells us in Matthew 25:40 that what we do for the least of these we do for him. When we invest in others you gain immediate and eternal blessings.

The advantages and blessings could go on and on. This summer was an adventure for our entire family. We were able to see daily life from a new perspective. We got to experience a new culture without leaving home. We built relationships with a new family that will last a lifetime.  Finally, the return on our investment will be greater than we can even imagine. Do you want to go on an adventure? Do you want to share in these same advantages? If you do, I strongly urge you to pray about hosting a child for the summer. It will not only change the life of a child, but it will impact your entire family for the good.