In 1976 I was selected as a Rotary High School Exchange student from Marcos De NIza High School through the Tempe South Rotary Club, with Terry Beach heading the program. I spent 11 months in Stratford, New Zealand that had a major impact on my life.
My host sister Brenda visited me in Eugene, Ore. eight years ago after connecting again on Facebook.  I recently sent a letter to my host father Colin who is 92 and as spry and alert as ever.  The letter (copied below) relates the "ripples in the water" that emanated from my opportunity to experience another country and family thanks to the Rotary homestay program.
I thought that the Rotarians in District 5495 might enjoy reading about the benefits that this Rotary program brought about so many years ago.
Rick Obst
Eugene, Oregon
Colin “Dad” Kurth
The Country Estate
5 Anderley Place
Omokoroa 3114
New Zealand
Dear Dad,
It was February 1978. Over 45 years ago. It was the distant past. It still feels like yesterday. I left what felt like home to return to my family and a future ahead of me. I called my USA home from the Phoenix, Arizona airport upon returning. My brother Chris asked , “Who is this?” as my Kiwi accent was so strong, he had trouble understanding it was his brother speaking.
For several years thereafter I was asked where I came from when talking to people. When I told them I was a native Arizonan, they mentioned I had an accent. The hospitality of New Zealand had truly penetrated my soul.
Nyla, you, and your children made a deep and meaningful impression on me when you opened your home and your lives to a young Yankee far from home. My parents must have been more than somewhat fearful to have their oldest 16-year-old son so far from them.
The credibility of the Rotary Exchange program must have assured my parents. Their sacrifice to send me to New Zealand when they had three younger sons to consider was underappreciated at the time. I hope that my filial piety partially repaid the love and dedication that enabled me to be a part of your family for many months.
I returned to America in February 1978.  I graduated with honors from high school and college. I graduated with a master’s degree, got a job, and got on with my life. Great fortune allowed me to meet my perfect companion (Suzanne) in my life in California in 2000 and we ended up moving to Oregon in 2005 after marrying in 2002.
During our early days in Oregon, we came across a non-profit organization (Friendship Foundation for International Students) formed just after WWII that welcomed international students coming to the University of Oregon.  Locals hosted those students in their homes when they first arrived and provided a “home away from home” during their stay in Eugene, Oregon.
We were intrigued and decided to participate. We hosted many international students over the years when they first arrived.  More importantly, I joined the FFIS Steering Committee shortly thereafter and served as the Chairperson for 8-plus years.  I am still involved in leadership roles today.  I credit this involvement to you and the Rotary Exchange Program.
Your family’s hospitality led directly to warm memories two generations later for dozens of international students that Suzanne and I hosted in our home.  I’ll relate one story that encapsulates the love that your family showed me.
Shion was a young Japanese student staying with another host family in 2007. She met us and spent many weekends in our home because she felt more comfortable. We took her on several weekend camping trips and enjoyed spending time with her.
She returned home, graduated, and got a job.  Like all Japanese, her work life was grinding with long hours and days.  A few years later she reached out to us to say that she would like to come for a weekend visit.  Of course, we opened our home to her for those few days.
We learned later her boss wanted to reward her work with a use of his frequent flyer miles anywhere in the world she wanted to go and have a day off.  She chose to use the miles to visit Suzanne and me because that is where she felt most at peace.  She flew many, many hours to Eugene and back home for less than 48 hours here so that she could briefly experience the feeling she had when she was with us.
She would not have had that moment if many years ago you hadn’t given me those moments in Stratford.  There are many more examples I could tell of students who were touched by our hospitality, which would not have happened but for your hospitality to me in 1977-78.
There is a poem by James W. Foley that begins:

“Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there's half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.”
Your pebble in the water led to a ripple that may continue for multiple generations.  We had a telephone call from Saudi Arabia today from a wonderful man who didn’t stay with us but was a part of our family many years ago.  He remembered us lovingly and wants to return to visit with his wife.  Your choosing to be a Rotary host family for a young Yank stranger so many years ago led to this call.  That is part of your family’s legacy!
I miss your smile and your laugh. I miss Nyla, Robyn, Murray. Brenda, and Lynn.  I miss seeing Mt. Egmont (Taranaki), milking cows, working hard in the sheep shearing shed, riding the milk trucks when they made their rounds, playing rugby and cricket when I had little idea what I was doing, the blokes and sheilas I met at Stratford High School, and singing in the school musical (Born to be Wild).
You are a remarkable man to be so spry and active so many years later.  Nyla and you raised a remarkable family.  I can still picture you in my mind from 1977 and my memories are strong of the days I spent in your home.  I miss pavlova and lamb with mint sauce.  I miss the nights around the dinner table.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love you and your family provided and felt for me over the years!  It is deeply appreciated.  My own father passed away in late June 2023 after Suzanne and I cared for him 24/7 in his home since the beginning of this year. 
We miss him. You are my Dad, now.  THANK YOU for all that you and your family did for me so many years ago!
Much Love,
Rick Obst
2223 Warren Street
Eugene, OR 97405-1100
United States of America