Allan and Rachel are a Safe Family in London, ON who recently opened their home to a family in need. Here is their story:
Our first placement as a Safe Families Host Home felt, in many ways, like an intensive missions trip – except that we had welcomed the people we were serving right into our home. The challenges ended up being bigger than we expected, but it made the hope we have in Christ seem even more important to share.
We knew we wanted to be involved with Safe Families when it was presented at our church. But when it came to actually getting requests to take in children, it was just never as simple as we had expected. We were tired, we were busy, we weren’t sure how to arrange bedrooms—the unknowns were unnerving. But finally, there came a placement request that we just didn’t have a good enough excuse to say “no” to and we knew it was time to say “yes.”
We were able to connect with the kids’ mom through her Safe Families Family Friend and meet the family in advance. This helped immensely in preparing our hearts for welcoming the kids to our home, because we suddenly could picture their faces and see the genuine need this family had for support. But there were definitely moments where I thought, “What are we doing? We didn’t even know these kids a few days ago!” This thought was especially in my mind as I sat in the hallway for hours one night, praying for the little one (who needed to see that someone was there) to finally fall back to sleep so I could return to bed!
Once, when our small group from church was over, one of the kids pointed to each adult in turn and sweetly demanded that they pray for his prayer request 🙂 God also prepared our hearts in unexpected ways to be open to asking for prayer and help from friends and family. The energy and love that we needed to welcome these kids into our home came from beyond ourselves. It was humbling, invigorating and somewhat scary to realize we were “outside of the boat” of what was comfortable for us to manage in our own strength.
It was so reassuring to see the kids’ mom feeling stronger near the end of the placement. Together, we developed a plan to help the kids with the transition back home. We shared a “celebration meal” together on the final evening and had the opportunity to see the family reunited.
Each time we make room in our home and our hearts for others to come in, it gets a bit harder to think of our resources as strictly our own, as we are forced to find creative ways to make our space and time more flexible for ministry opportunities. This experience has left us with so many decisions about how we use our lives and our home in the years to come!