Monday, May 27, 2013

#publicschoolmissionary Turns Six

Mr. Camden (who I often hashtag as #themiddlechild on my instagram pictures of him) turned six this month.  In true Chase fashion, we found a way to celebrate his birthday for over a week.  It's how we roll! ;)

We started celebrating the weekend before his birthday with the Campbell side.  Camden has two birthday buddies in our family.  Nevin, who is exactly three days older than him, and Jovie, who is exactly one year younger.
I just can't help but smile from ear to ear at this picture, so thankful for how God has built our family in such amazing ways.  Just so blessed!

The next day {on his actual birthday}, we brought cupcakes for his class at school and then our little family of five went out to eat at his favorite restaurant, Logan's Roadhouse.
The following Saturday, we took a roadtrip with his two kindergarten boy cousins and their mamas and we met everybody's favorite fifth grader (cousin Isaac) and his family in Kansas City.  After lunch at Fritz's, we spent the afternoon at Lego Land.  So much fun!

Camden also met some other milestones in May; receiving a perfect attendance award, getting a major haircut, moving downstairs into his new room, losing his second tooth, competing in his first little swim meet, and graduating from kindergarten, to name a few.

And I would be remiss if I didn't do a little commentary here about this little guy and his HUGE heart.  I recognized it two years ago and blogged about it here; having him in kindergarten just solidified what I saw that summer at camp.

Camden is so boisterous and full of life and he keeps our entire family on our toes.  He does everything with reckless abandon, which includes loving others.  As an example, when his sister was at home sick one day this month, he made this for her at school (unprompted): 

He also applies that passion to sharing the love of Jesus with everyone he meets.  I watch him in complete awe as he asks strangers in the checkout lane at the grocery store if they know where our church is or makes a bold statement about God for all to hear.

This also transfers to school, which is where I got his #publicschoolmissionary name.  Here are some of my favorite stories from his teacher (and other staff at his school) of his boldness in sharing Jesus' love at school:
  • While monitoring the bathroom, Camden can be heard saying things like "God would be very happy with how you are washing your hands."
  • Once, while in one of his classes, his friend was making a bad choice.  Camden placed his hand on his friend's and said "would Jesus be happy with that choice?"
  • Camden has a friend in his class, Aiden, whose daddy had surgery.  Aiden decided he wanted to pray for his daddy, so he asked Camden and his teacher to pray for him and they did...right there in the middle of class.
  • Camden's teacher had the students line up one day as they were getting ready to go to one of their events for the day.  Their class was all standing quietly when she heard him whispering "God's not dead, He's surely alive, He's livin' on the inside, Roaring like a lion!" and before she knew it, he was leading half the class in singing this bold song.
  • At lunch, Camden was overheard talking to his friend about the trinity.  Then, he asked the teacher doing lunchroom duty "Is Jesus really three people in one, you know...God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?"

I'm sure there are more, but the fact is, my little guy has the makings of a really amazing youth minister or missionary or something along those lines.  I have big, big expectations for this passionate little boy that we are blessed to get to parent.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Orphan Hosting

I had the opportunity to attend the Created for Care Conference in Atlanta, Georgia in March.  It was awesome...I learned so much and had the best time with sweet friends that I got to meet along our adoption journey.  I'll blog more about that amazing experience at a different time, but today I've been made aware of an urgent need that I first learned about at that conference and I can't shake the feeling that I HAVE to share it here.

Before the conference, I had never even heard of Orphan Hosting and had no idea what it even was.  What I learned will forever change me.  

I've long known that orphans across the globe are much less likely to be adopted if they are older, have special needs, or are waiting with their siblings.  It's a truth that's hard to process and has left me wondering "what can I do" about these sweet young children, who, through no fault of their own, could realistically grow up without a mother or a father until they "age out" of their orphanage and are left to live adulthood without knowing the permanency of a childhood home.

For me, right now, advocating for waiting children and Orphan Hosting is the answer.  I pray this blog post answers your questions about Orphan Hosting and that it stirs your heart to consider if God would have you join this crusade to bring the mission field to your home and show an orphan the love of Jesus, if only for 5-6 weeks.

The following information is taken from Wide Horizons for Children's Orphan Hosting Program, the program that has an urgent need for host families as they have 29 orphans who still need hosting for the summer session and the deadline is this Wednesday.  These are children who have been prepared to come to America for this program.  Please pray for them to find host families and ask God if that host family should be YOU! :)

What is Orphan Hosting?
Christian families (like you!) can invite an orphaned child from Latvia, Ukraine or China to become a member of your family for a period of time.   We offer orphan hosting programs three times a year.  5-6 weeks in the summer (Late June – Early Aug.), 5 weeks over Chinese New Year (Jan-Feb) and 4-5 weeks over Christmas Holidays (Mid Dec. – Mid. Jan.).  Being included as a member of a family and receiving unconditional love gives an orphan HOPE for a better future. Learning they do have a Father, the same Father in heaven who loves us all, gives an orphan the promise they are never alone.
NHFC is the largest faith based orphan hosting organization in the USA.  Since 2002, thousands of orphans have been hosted through our ministry, matching orphaned children to Christian host families nationwide.  Typically about 450 children per year are served and growing!

How does it work?
Four times a year, our mission team travels overseas to meet and interview children in their orphanages. A host family is able to select the orphan they would like to host through our password protected online photo listing which provides a recent photo and brief biography. Matching begins after each interview trip.
Hosting is open nationwide and ideal for Christian families with a heart for missions, but cannot travel overseas for a mission trip. In this case, we bring the mission into the family and local congregation.  Host families agree to help cover the cost of airfare and other incidentals and provide these children with an intimate view into life inside a family.
Many of these children have never had a positive family experience. They get a first hand glimpse of what healthy relationships can be! Some of these children have never experienced love in a healthy manner or been able to show affection. They also learn about hygiene, American culture, and they’re immersed in the English language! Their lives can be impacted greatly by their time in the U.S.A. and in your family.

Why is Orphan Hosting so Important?
Orphans usually feel left out, left behind and unworthy. Their self esteem is many times so low because they have been labeled in their home city by peers as “orphans”. After coming on our program for 4-5 weeks over Christmas holidays or during the summer months, most children learn as much English as they would typically learn in 4-5 semesters if taught at home in their school. This gives the children pride in themselves and helps boost their self esteem tremendously!
Receiving unconditional love and nurturing and being treated as a member of their host family who will usually maintain contact even after the child returns home to their orphanage. This gives them hope. Learning that they do have a Father, the same Father in Heaven that we all have…who loves us dearly and is always with us and lets them know they are never alone.

What do I do if God tells me to say YES to Orphan Hosting?
Step 1: View the Available Children: Children’s Photolisting
Step 2: When You Have Found One or More Children that you Love, sign up with the PRE-APPLICATION
For more information, you can view WHFC's Orphan Hosting brochure here and here.

Thank you, friends, for sharing my passion and for praying about what you can do.

P.S. Watch the blog for more information on how Orphan Hosting will affect our family in the Summer of 2014 :)