Ministry of Community
By Abigail Austin
Paul and Lynn Veldhouse count themselves blessed to be able to have “a ministry of community.” They, along with many others in their circle of friends who they affectionately call their ‘Framily’ regularly serve as host parents to kids via Safe Families.
“It’s become normal that there will usually be a few extra kids in tow whenever we all get together,” Paul explains.
“The biggest benefit to us is that my children have a group of friends that are different from them. They’re growing up differently than me in that respect, and they don’t even think about it. It’s such a natural extension of their life to have other kids around that come from a different experience. That has been a blessing to our whole family.”
Last summer they hosted four kids from one family while their mom, Sandra, went through surgery. Over the weekend they took the four of them, along with their own five children, camping nearby. Members of their ‘Framily’ who are also involved with Safe Families came along as well for a fun-filled weekend of swimming and camping out.
“Honestly, it’s not really a Safe Families relationship anymore. It’s developed into much more of a friendship. They’re friends of our kids now. They come over and visit on the weekends, usually a couple times a month,” Paul says.
“We’ll pick the kids up after church and they’ll spend the day hanging out and riding bikes. The oldest boy goes to youth group in the evening with our son. Our community of friends has gotten to know them, and they just mix right in. We just had them over for Memorial Day and took them to the parade with us. Afterwards we went over to a friend’s place for lunch and had a really nice day together.”