Ministry Highlight—Hosting International Students
Our first student was Nader Samir Ali from Palestine. This was in the fall of 2004 and Nader was coming for his junior year at UC San Diego studying Electrical Engineering. In that year we developed such an incredible bond with Nader that we had serious concerns about whether we would ever find another student we cared for in the same way. Happily, those concerns were unfounded. While we still love Nader and had the joy of spending several days with he and his family this June in North Carolina, we have found that every subsequent student has been special. Each in their own way is a gift from God and an opportunity to follow the commandment to love and help the stranger.
About 7 years ago, we noticed that applicants to the Solana Beach Host Family Program were no longer predominantly undergraduates coming for a year abroad. While there are still lots of those people, we now receive applications from PhD candidates coming for 5 years, 18 year-old freshmen coming for 4 years, mid-career researchers coming for 3 months, married graduate students and even families. All of these people yearn for a local connection, a family away from home.
Since married students and families are oftentimes difficult to place with hosts, my wife Ann and I decided to specialize a bit in hosting them. So beginning in 2011, many of our hosting experiences have been with couples and families. We have been blessed to host young couples from South Korea, China, France, the UK, Turkmenistan, Slovenia/Portugal, and Spain/Italy. In addition we have welcomed families with children into our home from China, India, Spain and Germany.
And now….it’s raining babies! Four have been born in the last 5 years and three couples are currently expecting. Ann and I are so very grateful to share the joy and hope that new life brings with these young couples.
Please consider volunteering to host an international student, couple or family. A typical homestay is less than a week but could lead to a life-long and life-changing friendship. For more information and to apply, please visit our website. For questions call Nick Stahl at 760-525-1845 or Sue Burgess at 858-245-3735.