Tomorrow we'll get to 4 Under $40. Today I felt it was time to let the world know (he he) our plans for Christmas.
Yes, we'll still be at home. Yes, we'll still go to the half-dozen Christmas parties we can't avoid. And yes, we are still getting our babies Christmas presents (we've not totally lost our minds).
But this year, Christmas won't just be about us. This year Christmas at our house will be about Denys, too.
Denys is our new friend who will be with our family over the Christmas Holidays. He will come all the way from Ukraine (that's Eastern Europe), arrive on December 18th and return home January 15th. Whether or not he's orphaned in the truest sense of the word, he lives in an institution and will be experiencing Christmas in America this year.
And no, we are not adopting Denys. We are hosting Denys. In January he will return home.
Last summer I randomly came across the name of the group New Horizons for Children (NHFC) on Facebook. I "liked" their page which meant I began to receive their feeds on my news page and discovered what this group was doing. I found out that twice a year they visit Eastern European institutions and interview kiddos and the institution workers to see which kids might benefit from a trip to the US and would fit well into a family environment during that time. As I followed these posts I thought, "Wow. That's a really cool idea. I'm glad someone thought of it". And, "Good for these families."
Fast forward six months and on my news feed pops up this photo of a super cute kiddo - Denys - who is in need of a host family for the Dec/Jan trip. I show the pic to The Preacher and read him the 4 sentence bio. He says, "Call and check on it." I do. And Denys has already been spoken for. The NHFC staff encourages us to look at the photo-listing for other kids and . . . well, we don't. We're not really interested in other kids. Fast forward another few weeks and his photo pops up again. His initial host family has fallen through and he's available. The Preacher says, "Call and check it out."
I call again and get a little more information and discover Denys is a bit older than we thought he was from his photo. I tell the gal we'll think about and I'll let her know. Two days later we receive a phone call from another NHFC worker who tells us that not only is Denys available, but he has a scholarship and his hosting fees are half-price!
Did I mention that part of hosting is footing the bill for getting him here, flights, documentation, room and board, and getting him home?
I look over at The Preacher and tell him. He says, "Let's do it."
Because God is big, he had seen fit to provide. The Sunday before Denys became available again our church family had blessed us and honored us in an amazing way. Thanks to their generosity and some side jobs The Preacher had recently completed, when the opportunity came to say "yes" to Denys, we were able to do so with much freedom and peace.
At the risk of boring you or adding more typos that you can bear to read I'll stop here for the night. I'll add more about Denys in the coming days; let you know how he does while he's here and what we're up to with him. I'll even fill you in how completely nuts our families think we are (of course, they were headed down that path anyway!). If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll answer them as best I can. Also, check out the NHFC website and the New Horizons Facebook page and see who they are and the ministry they do. It really is super-neat.