By LeAnn Dilbeck
A 16-year old German girl came to Mena curious. As an exchange student, she was curious about U.S. culture and traditions. What she discovered eternally changed her.
Josie Friedland (seated center) was hosted by the Tim and Tara Milham family over the last year. Tara said that her entire family has thoroughly enjoyed the experience of sharing our country with Josie. “It is fun to show someone from another country some of the fun things that we do in America. We were able to take Josie on two vacations while she was here. She had never been to the beach, so we took her to Florida. We also took her to Branson for some shows since she has such a love for the theatre,” said Tara, who also introduced her to some traditional American cuisine. “We cooked many different American meals. Her favorite meal was my Grandma Kelly’s Chicken and Dumplin’s and her favorite American dessert was the American icon Rice Krispie Treats.”
But it was sharing God with Josie that the Milham family cherished most. Josie came to America as an atheist but during her stay, surrendered her life to Christ. “Being able to pour the love of God into her and watch her go from being an atheist into being a Christian has been, by far, the most wonderful experience.”
While the year was full of many firsts for both Josie and the Milhams, it wasn’t without tragedy. And, it was through that tragedy that Josie could see the wondrous works of the Lord as He carried them through the loss of their home by fire, “But God helped us to get through it,” said Josie. “She has been with us through a rough time the past few months with our house burning, but she has been able to witness how God has helped us through it all,” said Tara.
The Milhams said they would definitely recommend being a host family to others. “It is so neat to learn about the cultures and traditions of another country. My daughter has actually learned to speak some German!” said Tara.
Josie returned to Germany last week and Milham said they will miss her greatly. “We will miss her big smile and her friendly dimeanor. She is such a joy and a blessing to our lives. It will be quiet around the house without her. She is a talker and kept us very entertained.”
Josie said she has been forever changed but not because of our American culture, traditions or food…but because of our God, “It changed my life because I got saved.”