Are you busy this summer? I’ve got a mission trip for you.. Well a project anyways.. The cost is basically nothing just a little extra food, and some time. It’s guaranteed to be an eye opening experience and if you see that it not something you can handle there are chair people who can help bail you out. Dates are flexible. AND you don’t even have to leave the comforts of your home..
Fresh Air Fund is looking for volunteers. Host families and we need you! Every summer, they send children into all parts of the country. And are always looking for volunteers to make the difference in the life of a child.
My parents have been involved with this ministry for years. They recall that there used to be multiple busloads of children coming into the area. While the number of host families has increased in our area in the last number of years the need is still tremendous.
Several years ago, Mother escorted a bus down from the city. Apparently they over book the number of children leaving from the city in case someone doesn’t show, and as the bus pulled away from the station, there stood a handful of little guys, solemn black eyes, suitcase in hand, no place to go.. Heart breaking. Last year 900 children applied that there were not host families for.. I was trying to think how many children that is.. More than all the private schools in our area combined? Can we change that number?
Why host a Fresh Air Child? My parents started in the mid 80s before I was born, so it’s been a childhood project for me. I remember how Damon would harass me by stealing my favorite blanket and taking it out and loading it in our car trunk and claiming it was going to NYC with him. I’d be so mad! I’d cry and report to Mother and thought I couldn’t wait for him to leave. But then the morning that he’d head out and for a while afterwards I’d cry.. I like having a big brother.
Way back when.. These old photos are not excellent quality..
Looking back, it was also priceless bridging culture and race issues. I learned so much. Not everyone was like me, and I knew that always, thanks to my exposure to the FAF. Mother says often that she thought that hosting a child would make a big difference to that child.. And it does.. But it also opens our eyes to what we have.. Beautiful countryside and a loving home.. The world is ours.
We’ve had 5 different children since Damon first came in ’84 . I’m not sure what percentage of Fresh Air children come from a 2 parent home, but it’s not very high. It’s interesting to notice how they gravitate toward the parent that is missing in their life. We have the opportunity to show them that life is not only as they experience it. We have contact with 3 of them.. Damon brought his son for a visit, sends pictures at Christmas, calls frequently and texts my dad “Happy Father’s Day”. Gladys showed up for a visit last summer YEARS after we had lost contact with her. We look forward to seeing Karen again this July..
Last night was a Host Family banquet and a number of families shared why they host year after year.. And the common heart cry was the opportunity to share the gospel with these children.. Name one other way that you can take an impressible inner city child and spend 10 days each summer breathing truth into.. In the comforts of you home. I love it. It’s like the “Great Commission” in reverse. You don’t need to go into all the world when you can bring children from Asia, Africa, Puerto Rico, America, the Philippines, etc into your house! 🙂
They aren’t hard to entertain. They are just children needing some Tender Loving Care, and we can all spare a little.. Blowing bubbles, swimming, the stars in the night sky, the feeling of grass beneath bare feet.. The need to be loved and hugged and appreciated for the special child that God has created.. Things that I grew up with every day, but things that these children and their “trying to make ends meet, working two job” parents never have the time, or opportunity..
Quality time with Kalila
Emily’s scrap quilt “Farmers Daughter” has finally made it to the one piece stage..:)
This week found me-in Kentucky.. Tobacco Farm area.. This was a mural painted on a “sea wall’ along the Ohio River
We visited an Amish bird feeder making factory.. It was amazing.. Sorry my stealth photography attempts are low quality. They hire girls because they are faster with the staple guns. Each feeder is made up of 34 pieces, and it took 3 minutes for one to make it down the assembly line. It was very interesting to watch in action. Every hour they switch stations, and were hoping to beat the record of 504 a day.. I turned the label over and saw a little horse and buggy and read “Made by Amish sold only by Pennington..” So if you are at Wal-Mart purchasing a bird feed and notice where it was built-I may have seen that happen.. 🙂