March 7, 2019
I walked into the unfamiliar hospital with an empty baby carrier in my hands and a stomach that was obviously not swollen. I only had a name of a woman and a heart that wanted to help. As I made my way to the reception my heart raced, 3 extra kids? We don’t even speak the same language...
The text had come out just two hours before. “Urgent hosting need: 9, 7 and newborn for a week starting today. Possibly Spanish speaking” A mama had had a baby, but because of medical reasons she had to stay in the hospital after the baby would be released. The people she had watching her other two kids weren’t available anymore. The hospital social worker suggested she call Safe Families, and if they didn’t have a family to help, the only other option was foster care taking the kids. This mom had done nothing wrong. But what was she suppose to do? As she had no support system to help in her desperate time of need.
As I walked into the room the two older kids looked cautiously at me and the mama just could not stop saying thank you. “Thank you so much for taking care of my kids, I was so scared. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you” She spoke in a soft voice.
I signed paperwork with her and asked the bigger kids if they liked to swim and made sure pizza was an ok food. I asked her if I could pray for her, she silently cried as I prayed and hugged me so tightly. Thank you. Thank you. She kept saying it. I swapped numbers and told her I’d text her updates and that I’d continue to pray for healing and God’s peace to surround her.
Our church is amazing at something. When people come in, we envelope them and draw them into our circles and into our lives. We do this well at Clovis Christian. And when this specific call came(and every time we’ve done a hosting) I’ve texted a few ladies and had a car seat and baby clothes ready for me to use in a moments time. Safe families provides a safe place for kiddos who don’t need foster care, but parents who need support. Many times introducing us to people we would have never had the chance to meet. A chance to provide for a great need and a perfect opportunity to share the Love of Jesus in word and deed.
It’s an opportunity to practice hospitality, in Hebrews 13 is says to not neglect showing hospitality (In the ESV). Did you know that hospitality actually means showing care towards strangers?
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
Hebrews 13:2 KJV
Safe Families isn’t just about hosting. There are many ways to get involved. Being a coach and support to a family hosting. Being a support to placing parents. Bringing a meal to a host family. Donating clothes to these kiddos who often come with very little. Or just offering to drive a kiddo or babysit the one being hosted.
The kiddos in this hosting ended up speaking English and the sweet mama could send and understand voice texts. We were privileged to have those kids just for a night and as we dropped them off the next day with their thankful mama, we were also able to give them some new clothes, baby furniture and some things they needed.... all because of the very generous people of our church. We invited them to church and prayed for them and continued to build that relationship once they went home.
The relationships we have built with these families is amazing. (And the opportunity to share Christ’s love goes beyond them to even those involved in the process, social workers & hospital workers.) I pray for them, ask if I can take their kids for a day and invite them to holidays. And the best part is that this serving and opportunity, is something I can do all while continuing the normal rhythm of our daily lives. The cost is minimal, diapers for a baby, mascara for the teen, pizza to comfort all. You don’t have to have extra beds, a couch is fine. Though I bet if you asked your kiddos to give up their bed for a night, they actually might say yes! And.....you get to decide when to say yes. The text goes out to all, and you get to decide how you respond. Maybe you can only do one night, or a weekend, this may be just as helpful as they try to piece together people to make it work. Or maybe you can only host 1 of 3 kids, that’s ok too. There is no obligation and you get to just ask the Holy Spirit and move how He leads, though, I might encourage you to jump sometimes:)
I’ll let you decide by these pictures how it’s affected our kiddos.....