USA (MNN) — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently reported nearly 87 million children have grown up in conflict zones. With the constant high stress, children are exposed to extreme trauma, making them vulnerable to emotional scars. Among those hurting are children from Ukraine.
Children have lost family members, friends, their homes, and any sort of stability. They’ve known violence for the last two years, and thousands have been forced to flee to the west, ending up in orphanages or children’s homes.
For many kids, they have lost hope, and they shy away from talking to anyone. They don’t want to lose anything else.
But, that’s where Force for Christ hosting program comes into play. Force for Christ gives many Ukrainian children a chance to visit with an American family for 4-6 weeks. There, they experience a stable family environment and build connections with a loving family.
What does hosting look like?
Ask Seth and Emillie Clayton, who recently hosted a brother and sister for a 4-week period.
“It was a bit unpractical for us to leave the country and do a mission,” Seth says. “So we just saw this as a great opportunity to bring the mission to the inside of our home and involve all of our entire family.”
Seth and Emillie filled out the Force for Christ application after much prayer. From there, they continued to fill out one more in-depth application, had a home visit, a background check, and a one-day informational orientation to learn about the challenges and experiences they would have.
They had a chance to look at different profiles of children available for hosting, and “we fell in love with the brother and sister that we hosted,” Emillie says.
Several months later, they were picking up 12-year-old Vladik and 11-year-old Vika from the airport.
“We weren’t quite sure what to expect,” Seth says. “There was a lot of unknowns going into it. One thing that we realized immediately was just God’s faithfulness and His presence within that mission. We were just very overwhelmed by the love that the kids expressed toward our family.”
Vladik and Vika fit in perfectly with the Claytons. Before coming to America, they didn’t know any English but started picking it up and were able to communicate with the family by the end of the trip. They played well with the younger kids and were receptive to learning about Christ.
Seth notes he saw their personalities coming out more as trust grew and they got to know each other better. The kids were able to experience a stable lifestyle once again, and it helped them grow in love and in Christ.
But it wasn’t just Vladik and Vika who changed.
“Our family experienced an overwhelming presence of God at home during that four-week period time, through the support of friends and family who came around us,” Emillie says. “Our kids were able to learn and experience service in a new way. They were able to give a sacrificial love.”
Each family member gave something up, but it helped grow their trust in what God could do.
This upcoming summer, Force for Christ is looking for families to host children from Ukraine.
“It was very much a leap of faith for us,” Seth says. “We went into it really not knowing what to expect, but it just was very amazing to see how God confirmed what He was speaking to our heart…. I would encourage listeners to follow that calling.”
Ask God if this is the right step for you. If you feel moved to host a child, fill out the pre-application. You may help change a child’s life.