Ryan and I recently became a host family after several months of volunteering with Safe Families. We quickly fell in love with this organization and the children and people associated. Suddenly, we felt God prompting us to become more involved. At first, we hesitated becoming a host family because we felt “our house wasn’t big enough” or “we didn’t have enough time or money” but as we began to pray about it, God revealed His word to us:
“We love because He first loved us,” 1 John 4:19
I believe we are each created to change the world for someone; to love someone the way Christ first loved us, to spread His light. For our family, it was showing Christ’s love to children in need.
When we got the phone call about hosting two small children, a 1 year old and a 2 year old to be exact, the phone call came a couple months prior to the actual placement. The mom was having a baby and would need her children to be placed in Safe Families for 3 weeks. We met the 2 children and the mom a couple of months before having them. Mom was very hesitant about using Safe Families because she was nervous to leave her children. She told me later, after meeting our family, she felt very relieved and she felt her children would be safe. Then a couple months went by and we got a call that mom was going to be having her baby and we would be getting the kids in a couple days. From the time we met the two children, a couple months prior, our family had undergone a few changes. Now we were expecting a baby, selling our house, and our jobs were changing. The thought of hosting these two small children on top of everything else just seemed exhausting and overwhelming. Then my husband and I began praying and the only thing God revealed to us were two little faces…the 1 year old and 2 year old. These two little children needed a safe, loving place to stay. We couldn’t say no to God’s children that were in need.
While having the two children stay with us we built many relationships with people and we really were able to see community at work. The children went to day care while we worked, and I became close with their childcare provider. She is an amazing woman that goes out of her way to take care of the children she watches and helps provide additional support for the families.
Then our church, Pendleton Christian Church, really came together and helped love on us and these two children. I had a family provide a Pack ‘n Play and other necessities. I had young girls in the church ask if they could babysit for us. At church on Sunday mornings the two children were eager to see everyone. They loved being at our church and felt loved and safe there.
Our family goes to the Pendleton Falls Park and the Pendleton Farmer’s Market a lot. Every person we met would ask us about the kids and we were given the opportunity to tell them about Safe Families.
I was able to see the body of Christ come together as a community and love others through these two children. To me that’s what God wants His church to look like.
Keeping the two children didn’t stop at staying at our house for 3 weeks. Since then I have built a friendship with their mom. I love texting her, sharing our stories, visiting her and the kids, providing a ride for her when needed, going grocery shopping with her, and helping her find resources to provide for her family. I continue to keep in touch with her and the kids because, in a way, they are my family and have a special place in my heart.
Not only is Safe Families a way to provide a safe place for children during a time when it’s needed but it’s loving others and showing them Christ’s love.
Every day we have a choice. We can stay nestled in our safe comfortable places, we can let fear of something that really is small compared to the greatness of God cripple us. Or we can take a risk, do something to help someone else, make a person smile, and change someone’s world.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Katie J Davis, author of Kisses From Katie tells us that in this world there are close to 164.8 million needy children. 2.1 billion proclaim to be Christians. If only 8% of Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistic left. Crazy huh? As you can see, it definitely “takes a village to raise a child.”
I hope that you and your family will become part of this village and give children a safe and loving place to feel Christ’s love.