My name is Tehra Thornton and my husband and I are members here at Southview Baptist. My family is one of the newest families this year to join the ABRO program. When asked how did you like hosting a child for the summer, we have so much to say…it was fun, we learned a lot of Russian, she learned a lot of English, she loved our dogs, we swam all summer; the response I like the best is the one my husband gives having Khristsina in our home is the best thing I have ever done next to marring my wife. I feel exactly the same way. Khrystsina has filled a void for us that we didn’t even know existed.

For us the road to getting Khristsina was very challenging. If it wasn’t for lots of prayer and strong faith I would have given up so many times. First, we had financial issues, to add to that our pipes in our house busted inside the wall, and my husband totaled our car, lost his job, and had a brain cancer scare. Next, we had family members so against us getting her they were making phone calls to us to try and stop us on the night we are going to pick her up from the airport. Life was very hard for those three months leading up to getting her. But Bradley and I knew that God had called us to do this and the enemy did not like it! Through it all I kept remembering what my grandma always tells me. She says, “Tehra, God has Big and great plans for your life.” I believe Khristsina is the start to those big plans.

The night the children walked off the plane I turned to my husband and said the little one in the back with the pink shirt on is ours. I just knew it. As soon as she came up to us and I saw her little face, every tear, all the criticism, all the hurt, every worry became completely worth it.

Khristsina came over a shy, timid 50 pound little girl. She quickly blossomed into the little spit-fire we love to death. Brad and I prayed before she got here that we would get a child that would perfectly fit into our family, after the first week of her being here my husband said to me I finally see what it is like to live with me. Her attitude matched his to a tee. I just thought, “Thank you Jesus,” he finally gets it. In the six weeks Khristsina was here she gained 12 pounds, found out she has a latex allergy, a heart murmur, had three teeth pulled that were infected, had an abscess on her gum treated and seven cavities filled. More importantly than the physical healing she received she was spiritually healed. Every day she wanted to pray and grew to love church.
What I am saying is this; I believe my grandma was right when she says God has big and great things planned for my life. The child we thought we were blessing turned around and blessed us. She helped me to see the world with new eyes. Things Americans take for granted are so appreciated in Belarus. Missions, an area of the church I knew God would NEVER place me in suddenly don’t seem so out of reach. She taught me how to love on a different level. I love being Mama in America. I also believe God has Big and great plans for each of you. If you feel God tugging on your heart while you are here, do not ignore it. He won’t give up on you. Receive your blessing like we did, I thank Jesus each day for my baby-girl. So many children need our help. If you get the call don’t be afraid to answer Him.