Our families certainly have a BIG impact on who we are…
But have you ever had another family play a big role in your life?
Sometimes we learn things from other families that we just wouldn’t pick up if we only knew our own family.
In ABIDE one of our core values is relationships. Each week we have a theme that we discuss and try to connect classes and activities to it throughout the entire week. Every theme has a famous quote and Scripture passage to go along with it. The first theme every year is Relationships…We believe that real relationships ignite true transformation.
With this belief, over the years, ABIDE has initiated Host Families to be apart of the program. We assign each student to a Christian family in the community, then a few times during the program the student spends a weekend with his/her Host Family. The idea is essentially that the family will mentor this student to be more like Christ, invest in his/her life, and serve as an example of a godly family.
Trying to use up all of our contacts and finding families who are willing to participate is not always easy, but we struggle through it because we believe it has great value. The beautiful thing about Ugandan culture, is that many people take in children as informal family members. In fact, when an adult is introducing himself, he may say something like, I am married, we have five biological children, then we have three other children in our home as well. So, when our students go to their Host Homes for the first time, they are already referring to the parents as their Mom and Dad.
Last weekend we invited the Host Parents to come to the ABIDE house to appreciate them and address any questions they might have about the program. They are anticipating their daughters to come home one more time before graduation.
The girls spent the morning cleaning the house and preparing a special meal for their parents. They did such an excellent job! It was even commented that if it was logistically possible, we would have them cook for graduation instead of hiring a caterer! It was seriously so good!
We had a great time of fellowship with the families. I enjoyed getting to know them a little better, and assuring them that they indeed were making a big impact on the lives of the students, even though some of them were unsure. It was fun to see the parents support their girls by buying jewelry (that the students have made) for themselves, their wives who couldn’t come, or even their ABIDE daughters.
We always pray over the decisions of which student should be placed with which family before we assign them. It is amazing to see how it is truly God who places them in the right homes. The students are certainly learning from the Host Families…some of the lessons are things their hosts certainly never plan to teach, and maybe will never know they have, but they are certainly helping to mentor our girls in their walks with Christ.
We are praying that God opens doors for us to find more families willing to join in this part of the ABIDE ministry.
But what about you? You may not have someone from a ministry like ABIDE calling you and asking if you would be a Host Family for a young man or woman…but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a Host Family to someone! Is there someone in your life who could really benefit from the influence of a good Christian family? Are you willing to welcome some younger person to simply live life with your family? I’m sure there is someone…if you don’t know anyone, ask around…
I Thessalonians 2:8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.