It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I didn’t know exactly what to post as their’s so much I could say, but I knew I wanted to share about our host-family appreciation party, so I figure I’ll take the opportunity not only to tell you about that special day, but sum up what a host family is and does.
For our mission here in Senegal, they ask a local church about being a host church and finding a host family in the church. We “get” our host family after being here a few months, that gives us time to learn a little bit of French so we can actually communicate with them. The host family is supposed to help us adapt into the culture. When we finish Culture and Language Acquisition (CLA), our goal is to be able to live and have friendships here in a way that is not a barrier to the gospel, but rather a benefit. Our mission’s leadership talks with our host family, to help them get an insider’s view on how we’re adapting.
Every situation is different, every host family, every missionary, but I can tell you some of the things our family has done for us.
Before moving to our new town, our host dad played a big role in finding us an apartment.
When we moved, we didn’t know the transport system or where the market was, so my host mom took me.
Our host dad helped us out when we started sending the kids to their new school. Not only is he our host dad, but he also works there, and he gave us advice and talked to people for us.
We started meeting most Saturdays to help me learn to cook Senegalese and then we’d eat together.
And we eventually moved in with them, more on that here.
Last December in our host dad’s village, where he grew up.
Is your host family, your language helpers?
No, in fact I haven’t known of anyone doing formal study with their host family. However, because we spend a lot of time together, we do get a lot of French conversation in and sometimes we ask them questions about the French language, or do a short recording of them that we use in sessions.
Did your mission tell you that you had to move in with your host family?
No, it was a decision made by our host family and us. We did however talk with our mission leadership to get their advice and keep them informed. Even though they don’t require families to live together, they do try their best to find housing for the missionaries close to their host families, as they’ve found it makes a big difference in how often you end up seeing them.
So about that appreciation day…
Since we live about an hour and a half away from the mission (depending very much on traffic), we decided to go in Friday and spend the night. It was fun to show our host family the mission/guest house we go to for meetings about twice a month. The next day we had the party!
We had a worship time, followed by a message from a local pastor. Then each CLA missionary got up with their host family to give them a gift as a way of saying thank you.
After that we were split up into groups: host dads, host moms, pastors, missionary men, and missionary ladies. We all answered questions in our groups about hosts/missionaries, things that worked well, challenges ect… Then we heard a summary from the host moms, dads and pastors. It was very informative to get their perspectives.
Then we ate!
As you can see, we got matching outfits made for the occasion!
We stayed Saturday night again in the guest house. We really wanted it to be a restful time for us and our host family. Sunday afternoon, before heading out of the big city we stopped at Le Monument de la Renaissance Africaine.
At the top of the monument we could see the airport and the kids enjoyed plane watching.
As you can see by my hair, it was windy up there.
Then we stopped by the ocean.
After living here for over a year, we have to say we are so thankful for our Senegalese host family! They have played a huge part in us learning how to live here and what we are learning will help us when we move into a village. They’ve made us feel more comfortable and at home here than we would have felt otherwise. God is so kind to have given us this family to help us learn and grow!