by Scott and Joan Comrie
At a recent gathering of the Parents and Faculty, we were blessed to hear from Scott and Joan Comrie about their experience being a JRHS International Host Family. Throughout the years, Scott and Joan have hosted six different students for various amounts of time.
From Joan -
Yes, taking a foreign student for an extended period of time is a big deal. There will be trials. Yet, what you are doing has the potential to make a profound impact. By inviting another culture into your home, you are opening yourselves up to a world of learning experiences.
Our last student, Bob, taught us about Korean culture and we thoroughly enjoyed his fun personality. Of course there were moments that tested us, but we walked through them together as a family. To this day, he still calls me “Mom” and Scott “Dad”. He left a lasting impression on us, and in turn, we helped him see the value of living within the boundaries set by God.
As a host family, you discover such different ways of living and operating in life. Our current student from China is extremely reserved and that is all right. We were told that Chinese students are taught not to be a burden in any way. Our responsibility is to help her function in our culture now. So, sometimes this involves explaining our ways of doing things here. For instance, we share things that are hard, and even adults are willing to help you. At times, we may become narrow-minded and think that our way is the only way. However, getting to really know someone from a different culture expands our understanding of others.
Having raised 9 children of our own has made me face the reality that God is the one in control, and the only one that can develop us as His disciples. But, often we have to take deliberate steps into new territory to allow him to show us how amazing He is. If it is God’s will that you provide an International Student an opportunity like this, you will learn so much and both families will be blessed.
From Scott -
I would add that just in the same way our children are so very unique from one another, these young people are also so very unique, one to the other.
Of the two Chinese girls that are at Jesse this year, one expresses very strong emotions, and the other is very reserved. And if you have raised children in both of these categories, you know that the experience of parenting and mentoring them is going to be very different. I can honestly say that Bob, our South Korean boy (now a young man) was one of the most challenging students we hosted. And yet, even now, we really have wonderful memories and often laugh when he reaches out to us or a photo of him comes up. One of my fondest memories with Bob was when he was 14, early on, and I taught him how to ride the lawn tractor. That was a fun memory. And there are so many more!
It is an awesome responsibility to help these people navigate through some of the most challenging years of their lives, so far from home, and in a whole new culture. And then we must remember that their parents are so far away, and have entrusted us with this awesome task. It keeps us very humble and always before the Lord for discernment, guidance and direction.
JRHS is grateful for the many families who have opened their homes to International Students over the years. Host Families play a significant role in shaping the lives of these young individuals. It is not uncommon for our international students to share how their experience with us has profoundly influenced the course of their lives. For more information about being a host family please contact the office at 603-483-5664.