Yes, family. In just three weeks you have truly made me feel welcome in your family. I can’t express to you what that means to me. You were my first experience with a host family and I am truly so grateful that you were, because you have shown me the greatest love. You opened your home to me and made me feel welcome, safe, and loved. Thank you for that. Thank you for all that you have blessed me with.
I wanted to take a few moments to reflect and to thank you for those blessings. I don’t think you know just how inspirational of a family you are. Your love for one another, for people, for God, is evident every single day. You’ve shown me this little corner of familiarity in a country I knew nothing about. You’ve blessed me with a framework understanding of what it means to be a Christian American in another country. Thank you.
I wanted to thank you for popcorn and for smoothies, for matoke and homemade chipati, for trips to Java House and Mr. Chips. I wanted to thank you for bubbling laughter, and long talks about movies and games. I wanted to thank you for board game nights, for bumpy car rides, and always being on time to take us home again. I wanted to thank you for dinnertime talks, and for your testimony. I wanted to thank you for listening to mine.
I wanted to thank you for showing me that it’s not always so clean and pretty. I wanted to thank you for teaching me about the challenges you’ve faced and overcome. I wanted to let you know I admire you for that.
I wanted to thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to not agree with the way things are. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to not be able to answer the “why” questions. You’ve helped me to learn balance. You’ve helped me to see that even in the messiest situations, God is there. You’ve reassured me when I’ve been overwhelmed and heartbroken. You’ve given me your arms when I needed your warmth. In just three weeks you have transformed my life.
I don’t know how I can possibly thank you, but I hope that this little letter finds you all well. I am eager and excited to continue my own journey to Ghana, but I have to share that I feel infinitely more confident in doing so because of your love and guidance. I pray that whatever the next step in your own journey is, it brings you joy and happiness like you’ve never known. You truly are a blessed and beautiful family. You take care of others before yourselves. You’re willing to go without so others may have things I’ve taken for granted. And you touch the lives of everyone you come in contact with.
I’m horrible at goodbyes so I won’t say it. You’ve left a mark on my heart and because of that I know you’ll never truly leave me anyway. I pray that you continue to be yourselves, to touch the lives of those around you. I pray that you continue to take life’s challenges as opportunities. I pray that wherever God sends you next, you remember how you’ve inspired me and others like me. I love you guys, so much. It feels like we’ve known each other a lifetime, not just three weeks. Thank you for being intentional about forming relationships with me.
And, forgive me for being cheesy and personal, but I express myself best with words.
Jen, you are such a beautiful and wonderful mother. Your love for your children and your family shines in all that you do. Your love for Christ is molded into your life. I pray that your education goals continue to be met with A’s and joy. You’re a wonderful counselor, and I agree, I think you’re a natural. Thank you for being someone I could confide in, someone I could ask questions to. Thank you for sharing your story with me, for being vulnerable. Your story has melted into my own because you’ve impacted me. Thank you.
Lance, you are such an amazing person. I love your passion for music ministry, for students, and Christ. I hope that you continue to pursue the things that bring you joy in life. I pray that wherever God puts you next, that you remember how impactful you are on those you meet. Thank you for always being willing to listen and not judge, for hearing our stories, and sharing yours.
Miles, thanks for being the little brother I never had. I pray that you continue to grow and find your own passions and callings. You’re so incredibly smart, friendly, and capable. I pray you continue to do well as you start high school, and that you remember it’s okay if your passions and dreams in life are different than where you are now. It’s okay to keep changing your mind too. And also, thanks for being our tour guide of the neighborhood. We’d be lost (literally) without you.
Thank you all again for being the most wonderful host family. Thank you for sharing Coda, and Frankie, and Hazel. Thank you for meeting the demands of our crazy schedule, for making sure we’re always safe, fed, and happy. Thank you for never once complaining.
I love and appreciate you more than I can possibly express.