“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love (her) as yourself, for you were once aliens in the land.” Leviticus 9:34

When the opportunity arose to host a Chinese student, I immediately heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit. I knew this would not be a forever child, and that was a bit unsettling. Blending our family of six and then later adopting number seven, came naturally. However, welcoming an international student, when we had only one child left at home? God knew us better than we knew ourselves. After much prayer, Randy and I decided that we not only wanted to welcome Cindy into our home, but we desired to share her years left at Grace. We wished to be able to hold her hand through frustrations, cheer for her in accomplishments, and be the parents that blessed her at her final graduation. What we did not expect was that God was holding a secret. He knew while we focused on our own agenda, that Cindy would, in turn, bring our family unmeasurable joy.

The best way to describe hosting an international student is having a baby that is suddenly able to express heartfelt emotions. In retrospect, we have learned as much about the Asian culture as she has about the Western world. China does not seem like a foreign land, rather a homeland for our dark-eyed beauty. We find ourselves checking the news more often and pondering how different our world would be if diplomats spent time in each other’s homes. 

This experience has validated God’s presence. Whether giggling with both of “my girls” while lying in the hammock, or singing praise songs on the way to school, I am reminded that His children are the same worldwide. When there is love for the Lord, skin tones and language barriers become obsolete. Ali has a forever sister, whom she has grown to trust and respect, and we have another cherished daughter. As we chat about life while she lets me braid her beautiful hair or rushes in to tell me excitedly about a topic that she discussed in Bible class, I am reminded of the goodness of God. I know we are just a small piece of Cindy’s life puzzle, but I have no doubt that God is preparing her to do His will. What an honor to be included in that plan.

Ann Fedell, GCS Host Mom