More than a decade ago, when Susanne was two years of age, my husband's colleague and friend from Columbia, South America, asked if we would homestay his four children (two at a time) over the course of two years, successively. I remember saying, “That salesman is unabashedly asking us for the moon!” and, He’s got a lot of nerve!” I wasn’t sure, but my husband said yes! So they came, two by two and they attended AACS. And guess what happened? I grew to love the children! They were delightful, fun, respectful, and yes, they became family. Isn’t that just like God? He takes us kicking and screaming, and leads us into a “God” opportunity, only to turn the tables and bless us? How humbling and faith building! So this was the beginning…
When we heard that AACS offered homestay students from China, we were immediately interested but kept praying and thinking about the possibility. Not long after, we met with the coordinator and brought Rachel Li into our home. It’s no surprise that she has become family to us. So now, instead of three girls, we have four. Life is crazy (I always wanted a passel of kids anyway)!
So, would we say “yes” to another homestay student? Absolutely! When you welcome a homestay student into your home your family grows, your children experience immersion on their turf, you get to love someone who needs a family close by, and you fulfill the Great Commission. Yes, there will be adjustments, and yes, it is a family commitment, but AACS undergirds your efforts so you will not minister alone. In addition, there is a stipend which supports your decision, and you can choose to homestay for a year, or more.
In closing, what goals do you have for your family? As a parent, I find it easy to look to the needs of my own family, but Scripture also tells us to look to the needs of others. Rachel has become a believer in Christ; talk about an eternal investment! The Bible says, “Whatever you do to the least of these, my brethren, you do unto me.” We are all the least of these. If God should call you to welcome a homestay student into your home, your ministry will be ETERNAL!
God’s blessings from the Whitney Family
Do you have questions about hosting? Would you like more information? AACS is looking for new families to join our team for the next school year!
Bethany Thornton, International Student Program Coordinator, at email@example.com. Her phone number is
Pictured above: Our 2017-18 International students got involved in Spirit Week! For the Parade of Nations, they wore Chinese colors to celebrate their country.