Our Host Families

By Suyapa, Class of 2016.  This was written by Suyapa in English.

Our house is not just a place.  Our host families are providing us a home and allow us to share our lives and experiences with them.  They treat us like their own children.  They are willing to help you, support you and give advice when needed, and above all make you feel in family.

During my time here in Seattle, I am very grateful to everyone who made this possible.  My host family, especially Cheryl and Paul make my life here very happy. 
 
Also all my NPH brothers and sisters families are there when we need them.  They give us the right words that give us the strength to go on. 
 
It is too large to explain what you do for us.  Thank you very much for everything you do for us!

If you want to Change the World, Begin with Yourself

By Luisa, NPH Guatemala (Class of 2015)

(English below)

Hola soy Luisa Fernanda llevo nueve meses estudiando en Seattle Central College. Antes de venir nunca pensé que mi vida iba a cambiar, tengo tantas cosas que contar que no sé  si tendré espacio en mi  hoja.  Antes de venir a Seattle mi vida era muy diferente estaba llena de mucha ira, envida, enojo  la verdad que nunca quise entender porque, simplemente quería esconderme y que nadie pensara que existo, pero esto cambio aquí, vivir con una familia que siempre está pendiente de todo lo que pasa al mi alrededor y ellos estaban atendiendo nuestras necesidades y no simplemente la mía sino la de todos nosotros. Cada vez que veía trabajar a las personas para NPH, me sorprendía porque todos entregaban con mucho amor y con una esperanza para nosotros.

Quiero decirles mil gracias que no tengo palabras, simplemente GRACIAS.

Aquí he trabajado la reflexión conmigo misma, la paciencia, tener un tiempo para proponer planes y son tantas cosas que ahora entiendo, por ejemplo: que cuando estamos herido lastimamos a las personas. Cuando uno  es un líder tiene que saber sanar sus propias heridas para no usarlo como un poder, como dice la Madre Teresa C. di algo que sane no que hiera, esto hacia yo antes de venir Seattle, sé que lastime a varias personas con mi ira y una de las cosa fue porque no sabía sanar mis propias heridas sino solo actuaba.

Aprendi mucho sobre el liderazgo la verdad que nunca me preocupe en buscar información sobre esto, siempre creí trabajar sola y sin ayuda de nadie, pero ahí estaba mi error. Dios nunca trabajo solo él, tuvo que buscar a sus discípulos para que lo ayudaran, entonces ahí entendí que era importante tener dos personas diferentes para no tener las mismas ideas.

Nunca creí en mí, simplemente hacia lo que me pedían educaba con rencor y era un ciclo estaba creando personas como yo con ira. Mi estancia en Seattle me ha ensenado muchas cosas, nunca estuve lejos de casa, no extrañe a nadie porque aquí tenia a mis  hermanos, no extrañe el ruido de cada mañana porque mis hermanos creaban ese ruido de NPH y  por supuesto que  no extrañe mi deporte favorito, hay tantas cosas que le doy gracias a Dios por darme tantas personas tan generosas.

El Padre Wasson hizo un trabajo duro, no es fácil hablar enfrente muchas personas para poder ayudar a tu familia, es difícil y yo tuve la experiencia de esto, cada palabra que decía era como recordar mi pasado y cada vez que leí cada oración de mi historia tenía mucho dolor y enojo. Pero me hizo crecer como persona.

Estoy tan contenta con Kara porque es difícil trabajar con personas como nosotros que tenemos diferentes historias, diferentes pasados y sé que es difícil reconstruir una vida cuando uno está herido. Este año me ha enseñado más de lo que yo imagine, todo en esta vida es temporal y para alcanzar el éxito hay que trabajar duro, que para ser un buen líder hay que prepararse y aprender del fracaso.  ¡Gracias!

 

Hello, my name is Luisa Fernanda and I have been studying at Seattle Central College for nine months.  Before coming to Seattle, I never believed that my life could change.  I have so many things to express that I don’t know if I will have enough space.  Before Seattle, my life was very different.  I was filled with rage, jealousy, and anger – and the truth is I didn’t want to understand it, I only wanted to hide and have no one notice I existed.  But this has changed here.  Living with a family that is always paying attention to me and my needs, and not only my needs but the needs of others too.  Each time I have seen the NPH staff here work, I have been surprised by their complete devotion to us, everything they do in love for NPH.

I want to say thank you, I don’t have words…Just THANK YOU.

Here I have learned how to reflect: how to have patience, how to make plans, and among other things I have learned that when we have been hurt, we hurt others.  When one is a leader, s/he must heal his/her own wounds in order to not abuse power.  As Mother Teresa said, “if you are going to say something, say something that heals not something that wounds”.  That is what I did before I came to Seattle, I know I hurt many people with my anger – and now I know one of the reasons is because I had not healed my own wounds and so I simply reacted. 

I have learned a lot about leadership here.  In truth I had never thought much about this before, instead I simply thought that the best was to work alone without anyone’s help but that was my mistake!  God never worked alone, God invited God’s disciples to help.  So now I understand that it is good to have more than one person in order to have multiple points of view.

I never used to believe in myself, I only did what people told me to do.  And, I taught and coached with a chip on my shoulder – it became a cycle in which I was teaching people to be like me – angry.  My stay in Seattle has taught me many things, a new way.  I was never far from my NPH family – I didn’t have to miss home because I had brothers and sisters here, I didn’t have to miss the noise of a morning at NPH because Joshua and Elias made the same noise, and I didn’t have to miss my favorite sport because I joined a team here!  I am so grateful to God for sending me so many generous people. 

Father Wasson did an amazing and difficult work, I have learned it is not easy to speak in front of many people in order to help our NPH family.  I had that experience here and each word reminded me of my past and reminded me of the pain and anger, but the experience helped me to grow as a person and as a leader.

I am so pleased with Kara because it is difficult to work with people with so many difficult and different stories.  I know that it is hard to rebuild a live when one has been so badly harmed.  This time in Seattle has taught me more than I ever could have imagined.  Everything in this life is temporary and in order to reach our goals and achieve success, we must work hard, be prepared and learn from our mistakes.  Thank you!

“Si quieres cambiar el mundo, cámbiate a ti mismo”

“If you want to change the world, begin with yourself”

Mahatma Gandhi

“I would do it again in a heartbeat” ~ A Reflection on Hosting an NPH Student

By Cheryl Goodwin

When we agreed to be a host family for one of the Leadership students this year, I knew that I would be glad I had done it. My family has been involved with NPH since 2007, when my oldest daughter worked at the regional office. She invited us to a Faces of Hope event that introduced us to NPH, its founder and the children who are part of a large, loving family.  Shortly after that we sponsored our first godchild from Guatemala, and then a second one.

I have been a Table Captain at numerous events, volunteered in the office, and am currently serving on the Regional Board.  This past summer, I visited the home in Guatemala and was able to meet my godchildren and see first-hand that everything that I had heard about NPH was true. I remember clearly driving through the entrance of the grounds and being brought to tears by the beauty of it all, especially in contrast to the poverty we had passed through on the trip from the airport.

During this trip I was able to visit with several of the young men and women who had been through the Leadership program in the past few years.  It was good to see them living out what the program was aiming for – providing leadership and support to their sisters and brothers at NPH. I was also introduced to Luisa, who was planning to come as one of this year’s students.

Paul and I have always opened our home to others.  Our children’s friends were (are) always welcome, extended family members have lived with us for several months, holiday gatherings are frequently at our house, and we have had weekly meals with a  large group of friends for nearly twenty years.  However, in recent years, I kept feeling the call to show “hospitality to strangers.”  We had been asked to consider hosting a student the prior year, but for several reasons had decided it wasn’t the right time.  The idea had stayed in my mind, however, and my visit to the home in Guatemala made everything so much more real than it had been before.  So, when Kara King asked us to consider it again this year we said yes.

To be honest, even after saying yes, I was nervous and uncertain about whether or not it was a good idea. Our student, Magda, is from Honduras and she spoke very little English.  Since neither my husband, my mother, nor I speak Spanish, I was worried about how we were going to communicate.  The first couple weeks were a bit of a challenge, communication-wise.  The translation programs on our cell phones were a life-saver, allowing us to at least get the basics of what we were trying to say across. However, we were able to laugh as we fumbled our way through unfamiliar words and as Magda’s English skills increased and we learned a little Spanish, communication became easier.  We now have long, detailed conversations with only the occasional look-up of a particularly difficult word.

I had also worried that we wouldn’t be exciting enough for her – we don’t have kids at home, we aren’t soccer players, and are pretty busy with work commitments.  But we can, and did, provide an opportunity for her to be part of our family, with all of our quirks and goodness. Our friends and church family have loved getting the chance to get to know her.  I was rather surprised at how quickly Magda began to feel like another daughter to us.

As I mentioned earlier, I knew that I would be glad that we had agreed to be a host family and that it was the right thing to do.  What I hadn’t counted on, however, was the joy I would experience in the midst of it.  I love introducing her to our family’s traditions, taking her to our favorite restaurants, participating in holiday activities, spending the evening watching a movie at home, and even helping her with her homework.  I am humbled by the fact that she has been willing to share her life story with us and that she trusts us to love and care for her.  I am blessed by her generosity and kindness towards her brothers and sisters at the ranch. I am impressed with her hard work to learn a new language and a new culture. I know she will take a piece of my heart with her when she returns to Honduras at the end of June, but am comforted by the knowledge that I now have another reason to visit the NPH ranch there.

An added benefit of being a host family is the opportunity to get to know the other five students and their host families. Each of them, Luisa, Samy, Lucre, Florine, and Nelson, are wonderful individuals who challenge and bless me.  As I near the end of this year, I am saddened by the fact that I will miss them all and so very encouraged by the good work that I know they will all do in the future.

I am grateful that I have been able to play a small part in their lives. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Our Host Families

By Florine St. Eloi, NPFS Haiti

 

I am Florine St Eloi, a leadership student from Haiti. I always had a dream to come to the United States. We were 6 students in NPH Haiti to apply for coming to Seattle in the Leadership program, and studying English at Seattle Central College. After Kara’s “exam” and “interview”, yippeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! I was qualified for 10 months in Seattle. Moreover, my dream came true.

 

This September 11, Lucre, Nelson, Magda, Luisa, Sam and I, we were welcomed by 15 persons, our host families and friends. How blessed we are! Each of us has a family. Lucre has the Collins’, Nelson with the Paulsens, Magda lives at the Goodwins’ place, Luisa stays with the Fittons, Sam is with Jan Siers and John Ittes, and I stay with my famous JoNa, the Fonsecas. It’s wonderful! I am writing about our “Host families” on the “birthday” of one of mine, John Fonseca. Isn’t that interesting…

Happy Birthday John Fonseca!!!

 

Honestly, I prefer “parents” than “host families”. They take care of us, they help us with homework, drive us to church, cook meals and make us laugh. We are so grateful for all of that. They always try to do the best for us. John and Mona always say, “Flo, feel free”. They are wonderful, I really love them.

 

We all love our host families, our parents. We can’t thank you enough for all your kindness and support. You treat us like a member of your family, we are so happy to stay with you and your family. We are very grateful to our host families for opening their home to us to experience the American culture, values and lifestyles.

 

We have many challenges: to become a Leader, to learn English, to be more independent, more confident, while focusing on our plans for the future. Future tense is so funny! That’s my favorite verb tense. Smiling…John always says, “Grammar is like Mathematics. If you know the rules, you’ll always get it right”!

 

I have heard: “If you have a good present, you will have a good future. We have to work hard in our present to have a good future. Our host families, our Mentors and Kara contribute now towards our good future. Thank you so much to all of you! Kara chose well for all of us in pairing the students and host families. However, if she were to choose differently, for example, if I were with the Paulsens, or Magda with the Fonsecas, we would still be happy because our host families want the best for us.

 

In the end, you, host families give to us, the students such an unforgettable experience that would become an invaluable treasure in our life. If you look in our eyes, you would see a light. If you see the light, you would understand our smiles. If you understood our smiles, you would touch our hearts and would know how very much we love and thank you every moment, and every day.

 

 

 

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