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Aug 26, 2014

Recently, there has been much discussion about the influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States. The majority of these children have fled their home country to avoid being the victims of organized crime violence, including human trafficking—risking their lives and traveling hundreds or thousands of miles in deplorable and unsafe conditions. At Bethany Christian Services, our mission is to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children through quality social services. As the discourse on unaccompanied minors continues, we’re planning to share stories in this space about the struggles these children face and the impact opening our hearts and homes to them can have on their lives. I’m sure you will be touched by these stories and will see the critical need for supporting these vulnerable children.

Brothers Sen Pu and Joseph were living with their parents in Myanmar when soldiers forced them into the notoriously corrupt and repressive army. As they were being marched off to a training camp, the brothers escaped and were smuggled into Malaysia, where they registered as refugees.

As Sen Pu and Joseph awaited their fate in Myanmar, a couple in the United States had just sent their youngest daughter off to college and were contemplating how they would enjoy the freedom of their now-empty nest. Jim and Jan Bush had successfully guided their three children into adulthood and could now look forward to a less-hectic life: no more soccer games, band practices, or orthodontist appointments.

So why would they volunteer to welcome Sen Pu and Joseph into their home as foster children?

“Because we could,” Jan explained. “The opposite of living a life of comfort and ease is to follow God wherever He leads. It means doing what He asks even when it is uncomfortable. But when we do, amazing things happen.”

When the boys arrived, they knew only a few words of English and were completely unfamiliar with American culture. Fireworks terrified them, and they were not exactly impressed with their first trip to McDonald’s: “Picture very nice; sandwich very small,” Sen Pu observed. But today, Sen Pu and Joseph enjoy living in a safe and loving home, thanks to a couple’s decision to open their empty nest to refugees.

“They no longer jump up in a panic when I wake them up in the morning,” Jan said. “They are part of our family, and they know they are loved.”

It’s not just the brothers, however, who have benefited from this experience.

“We have been blessed beyond what we could have imagined. There is a feeling of euphoria that comes from being empowered by God to do what we couldn’t do on our own.”

So instead of cruises and quiet evenings together, Jan and Jim adjust their schedules to their boys’ busy lives, squeezing meals around soccer games, band concerts, and orthodontist appointments.

And they wouldn’t change a thing.

Listen to Bethany Christian Services’  Every Child podcast for more on issues relative to vulnerable children. From adoption and foster care to the introduction of sustainable social services in developing countries, Every Child features an informative discussion, led by Bethany’s president/CEO Bill Blacquiere, with leading voices from ministries and nonprofit organizations, as well as Christian authors and artists.

Bethany Christian Services is a leading global family preservation and child welfare agency.