Like a good neighbor….

As Director of Missions and Outreach, I have a passion to see people connect. I love it when people learn something new about someone else, find something in common with a complete stranger or even discover something unique in cultural differences.

We have an opportunity coming up to experience all of the above. Our friends at Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) and St. Peter’s University have approached Hoboken Grace with some special chances to get first hand looks at new cultures and languages and to add new dynamics to your family.

I’m talking about the opportunity to be an American Homestay family. What is that you may ask? It’s simply opening up your heart and home and sharing your daily lives with students who are coming to the United States for the first time.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells us two things. One, that we must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind. (Luke 10:27 NLT) but then, later on in the same verse He tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hosting an international student is a perfect opportunity to love our neighbors from all over the world and all walks of life. You have the opportunity to help your student learn about your city and community, practice hospitality and generosity, support diversity and cross cultural understanding, and create an international friendship that lasts a lifetime.

By living with an American homestay family, participants will be fully immersed in American culture and get an authentic cultural experience and perspective. They’ll experience first-hand the customs they will have learned about during their preparation and will also be able to speak English with native speakers everyday. Additionally, the homestay family will help participants deal with homesickness and provide a great support system for them during the exciting yet anxiety-filled time abroad.

A couple of years ago, my wife Dana and I got to spend time with Mary, an international student from Korea, who came to live with one of Hoboken Grace’s family members. I’ll never forget the opportunity we had to take her to her first Broadway show. We saw “Phantom of the Opera,” and I wish you could have seen her eyes light up when the nfamous chandelier made its way to the rafters. Mary grew up in North Korea and defected through 2,000 miles of rough terrain. She later told me that her experience while in the United States allowed her to see and learn what loving others was all about – something Jesus talked about too.

If you’re interested in furthering your understanding of what Jesus was talking about in being a good neighbor and opening your home to a student or two, please feel free to email me at and I’ll be more than happy to sit down with you and get you all the details.

It’s not just State Farm that can be a good neighbor, Jesus says we can too.

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