Having traveled internationally before for short-term missions work, Chris and Misty Britt had a desire to share God’s love abroad. However, traveling outside of the area was not realistic at this time, due to having two young daughters. When they watched a video about Port City’s work in Belarus back in 2014, they felt a nudge to get involved. Opening their home to a child from Belarus seemed like the perfect fit – enabling them to serve abroad without going abroad.
While waiting for the bus to pull into the church parking lot with their host child Dasha on board, nervousness and the unknown was mixed with anticipation and faith. They didn’t know what to expect and wrestled with some tough questions. Would this child blend with their family? How would they deal with the language barrier? How would their daughters deal with someone else needing their parents’ attention? Did they make the right decision? Over time those questions faded away, and now having Dasha in their home has become normal. She’s considered part of the family.
“We treat Dash just like we treat our own girls. We have fun. We have disappointments. She gets in trouble. There are hurt feelings and make up conversations. There are fun family nights with just us and fun family nights with lots of others. Our extended family as well as our friends have all embraced Dasha and love her as we do,” Chris said. “We have gained another daughter while our girls have a new sister. Ultimately, we have someone else to consider beyond ourselves – another heart to consider and parent as we would our own. We have to spread our love a little farther and that shows our own girls how it can be done. It’s a give and take for everyone. This experience is one which has taught us all to give. Give of our time. Give of our things. Give of our love. All to someone that we did not know and did not speak our language from the beginning.”
In the midst of the laughter, tears, family bonding and making memories, a level of trust has been built between Dasha and the Britts. Those teachable moments have provided opportunities to provide wisdom for questions that come up about life, faith and God. Knowing she is loved by her family here in the States, Dasha has let her guard down and been receptive towards hearing about the love of Christ.
“One of the best parts about this experience is watching Dasha’s relationship grow with our family and the trust which is extended by her family. This trust has even lead to questions about God. Ultimately, our purpose is to share the love of Christ with Dasha. Late last summer during her visit she began asking questions about God, which is affirmation that a seed is being planted,” Chris said. “When I think about ‘reaching’ people, I think about extending my arms and heading out beyond my home, beyond my region, beyond my world. The Belarus mission provides a chance for us to open our arms and welcome someone in from afar into our region and our world. What better way to share God’s love than right where we are.”
Not only has participating in the Belarus hosting program brought their family closer together and allowed Chris and Misty to serve and make an impact, this experience has strengthened their faith. It’s helped them gain a better appreciation for their own relationships with God. By opening their home to a stranger from half way across the world, their eyes have been opened to the love Christ offers to each one of us.
“I think we have learned that relationships are not built overnight. It is a reminder of God’s relationship with us. It takes time. It takes work. It takes giving and trusting. Ultimately, our love for a child that we did not know, comes from a loving God that we are continuing to get to know,” Chris said.
Each summer PC3 families host some very special children from Belarus for six weeks. This happens through our partnership with the American Belarussian Relief Organization. If you are interested in learning more about why and how you can open your home and become a host family, visit portcitychurch.org/global and click Belarus to download our host family packet! We will also have an interest meeting on January 22nd at 1:00pm in the Living Rooms at our Wilmington campus.