Imagine two scenarios with me:
Scene #1: A young mother with three children, ages 4, 2 and 6 months. Alone, homeless, scared, and embarrassed to seek assistance from her family. Needing help but nowhere to turn.
Scene #2: A young missionary family living in Kenya. Monthly support provides a decent home with plenty of food and necessary provisions. Their aim: to serve the local people and to live a life of love among them, doing what they can to point to Jesus.
Imagine your family is that missionary family, and Jesus brought a young mother to your door. She needs you to watch her 2-year-old for a few weeks so she can start a new job and get back on her feet. If you had the resources to help her, I imagine you would say with joy, “Yes! That’s what we’re here for!”
In truth, don’t we expect missionaries to open their home in such a way in that situation? I wonder: why is it any different here in Indiana? Do I have the resources, space, time, love, concern and a similar mission in life? Why do I expect such “sacrifice” and action from the missionaries but so easily let myself “off the hook?”
Six years ago, back when we started our Safe Families for Children hosting journey, this comparison was burning in my mind and heart.
I sensed Jesus saying to me, “You’re not off the hook, Jana! I’m bringing “mission” right to your door, right here in Indiana.”
Imagine the curtain opening. From stage left enters C*, a real-life mother here in Indianapolis, homeless with three young children. Enter G*, her precious 2-year-old daughter. Enter us, a typical Midwest family with busy lives and a young child. Enter Safe Families for Children, a ministry to connect the local church with local hurting families who need short-term help.
Miss G came to live with us for a week. Since we had one biological boy at that point, she was in a very special way “my first little girl.”
Quite suddenly I was thrown into the busy life of a mother with two children needing constant care and attention. She was so precious — lots of little conversations, potty-training, fish crackers, trying to figure out what she liked to eat and giving comfort when she missed her mommy. Suddenly she was with us (found out Sunday, picked her up on Monday) and what seemed like just as suddenly she was not (expected her to be with us for at least a month, but she wonderfully returned to her mother after only a week).
Hosting was such a small “inconvenience” and such an immense blessing to our family including our son.
He loved having Miss G. with us for that short time. They would snuggle and play together.
Such a privilege to be her caretaker and to love on her for a week.
Such a pleasure to serve her mother in this way.
Such a time of strengthening for our marriage (an unexpected side-effect).
Such a small and simple way to express Jesus’ love to a hurting family.
Click here to read more about Safe Families for Children. It’s not for the “super families” among us. We’re just a regular family trying to live the Jesus-life in our city: loving the poor, the fatherless, the needy. Perhaps this ministry is your door to service, maybe Jesus is starting to nudge your heart.
Sometimes I think about “my first little girl” and I wonder where she is and I pray she is safe. I am so thankful Safe Families for Children provided a way for us to serve her and her family. Living out Jesus’ mission is not just for the missionaries in Kenya! I am so thankful the sacrificial, inconvenient, serving missionary life is open to us right here in Central Indiana.
Our cities, our mission — Safe Families for Children bringing the two together.
* names withheld to protect our wonderful placing families
By Jana Langebartels, Safe Families for Children of Central Indiana Host