For ten years, I’d wanted to host a foreign exchange student. I imagined the excitement, the fun, the give and take of ideas and culture. However, it had never seemed like the right time as life was too uncertain (during the past seven years, we lost our family home, sold or left most of our belongings, and moved half a continent away from everyone we knew as I faced a long divorce process) and money was too scarce.
For the past three summers, I had watched as friends hosted while I’d envied their experience yet wondered how they could afford it. As a single mom of two teenage daughters that I can barely afford to feed, I couldn’t see a way to make it happen.
Still, the idea wouldn’t leave me.
God placed this desire on my heart for a reason, so summer 2012, I decided to take a chance. If I wait for the “right” time, then I might never have the experience, I reasoned. It’s Lexi’s last summer before graduating from high school, I rationalized. If we don’t do it now, then we likely will not do it at all.
I listened to the voice in my heart that told me to open my heart, my door, my home, my family and to trust that it would work out, and I obeyed. The risk paid off as we were blessed immensely with the best summer of our lives and with an experience that we will never forget and that has enriched our lives.
While there were stressful times this summer when I worried about how to feed three mouths or how to find gas money to drive them around and busy times when I worked hard at three jobs in order to have a chance to make it, something always worked out, and I am thankful. Thankful for the help, for the memories we stored up, and for the lessons we learned along the way. For instance, we will never forget sitting outside at Sonic, sipping Cherry limeades, while Astrid had her first ever milkshake, and my girls truly understood how blessed their lives are.