Next week at this time we will be welcoming our foreign exchange student, Frederikke from Denmark to our family for the school year! I thought I would share the back-story because it was totally a God thing how it all worked out! It all started the week after Easter, when our church was having Baptism Weekend. Before each baptism, the person getting baptized had the opportunity to give his or her testimony on a video clip. I became extremely intrigued when a young man from Argentina, a foreign exchange student that was staying with a family from our church gave his testimony. I love what he said, “I did not know why I came to Kansas, but now I know why I came to Kansas.” I thought to myself, how cool is that. A family opened their home to a foreign exchange student and in doing so; this student’s life will be forever changed. His testimony prepared my heart for what would happen next.
The following Tuesday, I received a phone call at work from an AFS representative. She shared with me that our family had been recommended as a great family to host a foreign exchange student. I explained to the nice lady that my husband and I had both hosted foreign exchange students in our homes when we were growing up and that we had actually considered hosting sometime in the future. I told her that we thought we might wait until our teens were both in college. She kindly explained that it actually worked best if there were students still at home that could introduce the exchange student around and share this experience with them. I said, “Well, if that is the case, I will need to talk to my family and get back with you.” That night at the dinner table I told our family that something interesting had happened that day. I shared the story with them and asked them what they thought. My husband was surprisingly open to it, my son wasn’t sure, and my daughter was “all in.” She told us that there were some foreign exchange students on her swim team and that she had really enjoyed meeting them. She even volunteered to share her room, which is incredibly selfless and uncharacteristically unusual for a teen. Our family agreed to pray about it and move forward with the process, knowing that at any given moment, something could happen that might give us a sign that we shouldn’t pursue it. We filled out the application, got the references, had the home interview and before we knew it, we were approved. God seemed to be moving our family forward to this destination. It all just fell into place so easily. After we were approved, we found out who our foreign exchange student was. We were thrilled to learn that our foreign exchange student was from Denmark. She loves horses and animals, a perfect fit for our family. She even has a twin sister; so hopefully sharing a room won’t be a problem. We have been talking to her since July via Facebook messenger and Skype. It already seems so unreal, kind of like a dream. Our family has never been out of the country. It feels like we are on a trip to go explore a new country and we are seizing this opportunity to learn about another culture without ever leaving Kansas. I am confident our lives will forever be changed by this experience. So here’s my prayer for the upcoming year and I would appreciate you holding our family and our sweet, new daughter this year up in prayer as well. Pray that God will give us the grace to understand one another, that He will blend our lives together and bring us closer together as a family, and that we will all learn and grow from this experience. This is the good stuff of life! When God places an opportunity before us, it’s our job to pray about it and step forward in faith to answer the call, whatever it might be. When we do this, we give God the opportunity to fulfill his plans and purposes for our life. I am not sure what the year has in store for us, but I am confident that God will equip us for the journey along the way!