Christmas International House
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” —Matthew 25:35
Christmas International House is a national program that started in 1965. Today, more than 30,000 international students have participated, finding a home away from home over the holidays.
This peacemaking program allows students worldwide to experience the United States and its holiday traditions. Usually students travel to a different part of the Americas to experience a new city, new traditions and in our case, “the Heart of America.”
Christmas International House also allows host families the opportunity to share in and learn about cultures and traditions from around the world. This program is a great way for children in your own family to experience the true meaning of Christmas again for the first time. Students are from China, Japan, Korea, France, Turkey, Ethiopia, Thailand, Kenya and more. Often, lasting relationships develop from sharing this special time together.
For the 11th year in a row, Village Church is hosting Christmas International House (CIH) Dec. 18 through Jan. 2. Anyone interested in learning more or becoming involved can contact Jan Liu (913-722-5845) or Judy Miller (816-651-5387).
In 2003, Village and Grace Covenant Presbyterian Churches introduced this program to Kansas City when nine college students from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Pakistan spent two weeks in Kansas City as guests of eight host families from five area churches.
In addition to offering friendship and hospitality to the students, CIH affords church members an opportunity to be peacemakers as Christians and Americans. Promoting the understanding of cultures, religions, languages, and human relationships based on dignity and respect, it is a way for host families and volunteers to experience the “global village” on a one-to-one basis. And it’s FUN!
To participate in Christmas International House, you can:
• Be a host family.
• Be a guide on excursions to area attractions.
• Host a gathering in your home.
• Assist with transportation.
• Assist with International Night.
Host families provide lodging and some meals for one or two students for one or both weeks before or after Christmas. Our program pays for group activity expenses, some meals outside the host family home, local transportation, and a Christmas gift. Drivers and Guides accompany students to area attractions. Other volunteers assist with International Night—a potluck supper featuring the students dressed in native attire serving native food.
Last year, 15 students from Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Brazil were guests of 14 host families from four area churches. These students attended colleges and universities across the US (Georgia, Iowa, California, Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts and Indiana).
Students must be 18 or over and provide their own transportation to and from Kansas City. Those studying in the US are typically the best and brightest, determined to improve themselves and their countries. They are destined to become future leaders. Hopefully, when they return to their homelands, they will have a better understanding of and appreciation for America.
Want to be a host family? What to expect …
Host families provide a warm, welcoming environment for their students. Each day, however, Village Church plans activities for the students so that you can go about your life as usual. Students gather at the church each morning and experience the sights of Kansas City, including The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, The Toy and Miniature Museum, Liberty Memorial, Crown Center, the Plaza lights, 18th & Vine jazz and many more.
Still have concerns about being a good host? Visit the Christmas International House Web site for FAQs and more information.
Make it YOUR Mission.
Want to be a host family?
Host Family Recruiter Jan Liu