Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brief overview of the last few days

On Saturday - we celebrated with the older preschool kids as they graduated preschool. They looked very official in their caps and gowns. The girls did a few traditional Basotho dances as did a few of the preschool boys. It was a very nice celebration.

On Sunday - we went to church and then enjoyed the afternoon relaxing and not doing much of anything as we prepared for our team of 13 guests from Australia to arrive on Monday.

On Monday - the boys our family is very close to went back home to their mother. It was heartbreaking to say the least. When the boys got here in August 2009, they were so sick that the staff did not know if they were going to live. Our social worker reminded the mother of the boys circumstances when they arrived and asked her to make sure she cares for them so they never get into those circumstances again. The boys' house mother was literally sobbing and I was not much comfort to her as I cried right beside her. Our social worker has shared too many sad stories of children reunited with their mothers and it has not given me much reason to hope, but I am doing my best to lay them before Jesus because He loves them so much more that I ever could. He will watch over them even when no one else can. He will keep them safe and away from harm because He is their Father, friend, and comforter.

After the boys left, I helped prepare dinner for the Australian team. They arrived just after 6pm and were all VERY tired ;)

Today - I got up at 5:30am and took a walk with Donna and 2 of our team members then was busy the rest of the day with cooking and homeschooling and a little bit of cuddle time with the BG kids and my own.

I feel a bit like I am on auto pilot. I am very busy when there are teams and our new school year has just begun and I am trying not to fall behind. I hope all of the above makes sense as I have been up for too many hours already and don't have the energy to read over what I wrote.
Good night,
Anita

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving





Today, if I were still in Michigan, we would be at my friends Sammy and Eric’s house with their 3 children along with anyone else who needed to have some adopted family to hang out with for Thanksgiving Day. It has been our tradition for most of the 12 years that Bryan and I have been married. However, if I were there, I am pretty sure that my friends would not be in the process to adopt a sibling set from Lesotho (they may have begun the process of adoption but they probably would not have chosen Lesotho), so I am THANKFUL that I am here in Lesotho.

On this holiday in America, we often stuff our faces with all of our favorite foods, sometimes to the point of having a stomach ache. And then we sit and talk with our family and friends and just enjoy our day, being thankful. Today I walked my children to a cemetery where we buried a little girl who had not reached even two months of life. As we walked I saw Elijah grab the hand of the ‘Me’ that this little girl was named after(one of her house mothers) and comfort her as they walked. It brought tears to my eyes and I am THANKFUL that my kids are here in Lesotho.

Today Bryan would usually be sitting on the couch surrounded by his buddies watching football on TV. And then he would be enjoying some of his favorite desserts. Instead he spent the morning preaching his first sermon at a funeral for a precious baby girl. I saw his heart break as we left the cemetery as he had never planned to preach at a funeral, especially that of a little baby. Then later, I listened to him talking and laughing with some of the Basotho men as they enjoyed the lunch “Me’ Mamatela prepared for us after the funeral. I was so proud of him for being strong enough to preach but also knowing how to let go and relax with his co-workers. I am THANKFUL that Bryan is here in Lesotho.

Yesterday, my friend Edward told me that he and his wife were expecting their 3rd child and they were so happy. But, that last Wednesday his wife began to bleed heavily and he rushed her to the hospital and they lost their baby. He said that he is sad and the pain is so much that they will not try for another baby, but then he said that he trusts God and knows that God is in control and he accepts whatever plan God chooses for him. I am amazed by his testimony through the pain, and I am THANKFUL for my 3 healthy children and I am THANKFUL that God has placed us here to be a comfort to our new friends in their many times of hardship. Today I am counting my blessing and I am THANKFUL for the path God has placed us on, even if it hurts sometimes.
Have a blessed and thankful day!
Anita

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yet I will Praise the LORD

Though there are starving children living next door to me,

Though my son’s best friend is an orphan being raised by his older sister, and often does not have enough food to eat,

Though I do not have enough money to help some of the kids who need it desperately,

Though God has not chosen our family to be a forever family to the boys we love,

Though my heart has more scars in one year than it had in the first 34 put together,

Though God has called home a precious baby girl whom I love dearly,

Yet I will praise the Lord. His name will be praised in all circumstances and I will put my trust in Him because He has good plans for us.


One very important lesson I learned 12 years ago when my sister took her life was that God allows very painful and bad things to happen. He could have stopped her, blocked the lies of satan, and took her out of her desperate situation, but He did not.

God could have healed this baby girl. He could have saved her and allowed her to live long on this earth. Her mother was just about to sign the adoption papers which would have released her for adoption and He could have provided a loving family with a beautiful, sweet baby girl, but He did not.

Who am I to question His plan? In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us that He has a plan for us and it is not in His plans to harm us. So while this may look like “harm” to our human eyes, God is sitting outside of time and orchestrating something good. I love God with my whole heart and although that heart is still hurting and scarred, it is trusting in Him completely. His love endures forever and I choose to accept His will and plan as I know that He is in control.
Anita

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It Hurts



I don't even know where to start...in some ways I feel numb, but if I were numb, I wouldn't hurt so much. I am in so much emotional pain that I feel like I could vomit at any minute. One of our dear, precious baby girls (here at Beautiful Gate) passed away today, very unexpectedly. She is only a couple months old and was healthy and thriving with no indication of sickness, and now she is gone. Oh, how it hurts. I was just there holding her earlier this week and it doesn't seem real. I was so shocked when I heard of her passing that I went to see her for myself because I just couldn't believe it. There she was wrapped up carefully in a few blankets, but no breath.






I hurt too much to even ask God why.






I hurt so much that my tears are just sitting in my eyes ready to roll down, but they seem stuck.






I want to run away and just sit on a mountain alone.






I thought my heart hurt enough when I found out the boys we love as our own would be leaving this week, but now on the eve of my 35th birthday...I am being forced to say good-bye to a precious girl who never got to see her first.

Anita









Monday, November 14, 2011

Love and Let Go

Well, in typical God style...He is in the process of answering our prayers but just not in the way we had planned. 2 boys(brothers) from Beautiful Gate are going to be going home to their mother this coming Saturday. She was being treated for mental illness for the past few years and has received a clean bill of mental health from DSW and will now be taking on her responsibilities as a mother again.

When we arrived at Beautiful Gate 11 months ago, all 5 of us fell madly in love with these 2 brothers and as we were unsure of how severe their mother's mental health and knowing they had been at BG for a few years, we began to pray that they might be able to join our family. I found it strange that all 5 of us felt the same way and when the kids would ask me if we could adopt them, I always told them to pray and God would show us. As the months passed, I was becoming more and more convinced that God was going to say yes and had my hopes set higher than I should have. I cannot explain the bond between the 5 of us and the 2 of them but it just felt so right and perfect.

Then I found out their mother was released from the hospital and could come and get them anytime and I had to pray that God would put them in the right and the best place, even if it was not with our family and He is in the process of doing that. Our family will be learning how to love and let go because the best place for these boys is with their mother and we just need to trust that she will be able to maintain good mental health and care for them. Living with 60 kids is dangerous for one's heart and we will just need to be careful with our hearts in the future. So God is clearing out 2 more beds at BG this week for the 3 - 4 kids who are still to come this month and if we can get a few adoptions this month also, then we will be able to save and serve more of God's little ones. God's plans are always perfect and while they may not always be what we pray for and hope for, we just keep trusting that He knows the future of all the BG kids and He will bring them to the right family!
God Bless You All,
Anita

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adoption Prayers

We are in need of some prayer in the area of adoptions. We have 61 kids and 4 more who will be here by the end of November. We are set up to only have 60 kids and right now, we do not have the funds to open up another baby house so our houses are crowded. This is a huge problem as we want to give the best care to our children and we do not want to over work or over burden our staff. We are to the point of needing to turn away any new referrals for kids, yet we know that Beautiful Gate is the best place for babies and young children in Lesotho who are orphaned or abandoned. We need prayer to know what to do next, and we need extra prayer warriors who can pray for all our pending adoptions.

Currently, we have 23 children who are placed for adoption and a few of them have been placed for about a year now. There are a few new appointed members of government who have really slowed the process of adoption down. Some for good reasons like tightening down on child trafficking, but others for what appears to be power and control more than the benefit of the children. Please pray with me that these adoptions can speed through quickly as then we will not be in our overcrowded situation, the children and families who have been waiting can begin their new life with their forever families, and we will have room to continue taking in new babies and toddlers who need the love, hope and care of Beautiful Gate.

Thank you for your prayers because God is just waiting for us all to ask and we know that He will make it happen!
Anita

Monday, November 7, 2011

Retreat

I went to a ladies missionary retreat this past weekend. It was just what I needed to refresh my spirit and encourage me as Bryan and I begin our new roles as directors of Beautiful Gate. I discovered that while raising 3 kids and living on-site at an orphanage, I have not had much time to reflect on how I really feel about all the changes in my life over the last 11 months. So, this weekend was a chance for me to do that. Our retreat was held at Wynford Farms in South Africa, located just outside Lesotho and with an amazing view of the surrounding mountains. We worshipped in a chapel with big windows in the front so we could enjoy looking at God's splendid creation while we sang to and talked about Him. I do not know if I have ever had such a relaxing time in my whole life (not to mention eating that much food or consuming that much tea).

I really had to look deep within myself and discovered that I have lost a lot of my joy in the past 11 months. With saying "see you later" to family and friends, moving to a new place, having God change our entire reason for being at Beautiful Gate (from helpers to directors), learning to be a teacher, seeing poverty, hunger, pain, and even experiencing death. I have allowed the worries and doubts of life to steal my joy. I always try to spin things in a positive way if I can, but inside I was feeling hallow, empty, scared. Not the emotions a missionary should be feeling, but nevertheless, feeling discouraged and overwhelmed with the tasks ahead and the thought of balancing my family and our new roles here. But this weekend, I was able to look deeper into those emotions and accept that they are not from God (I knew that before but yet let them linger). He has chosen me as a wife of Bryan, a mother of Elijah, Faith and Mercy, a teacher (homeschool and sunday school), a director's wife, a playmate to 60 Beautiful Gate kids, a supplier of books and toys to the neighbor kids, etc. He trusts that I can do it or He wouldn't have given those roles to me. I do not have to doubt or worry because my Father is in control and will give me what I need, SO it is time to let His joy shine in my heart again. I am no use to my friends, family, husband, kids, etc if I let myself get defeated by satan and lose my joy. My prayer is that I can keep my eyes fixed on Him so that I do not lose my joyfulness again ;)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tea Party in Africa

One event each day here in Lesotho that is very different from Michigan is the morning tea time. We did not have such a thing in our day, yet as most kids do, our kids pretended to have tea parties on occasion. They would play dress up and get out their tea set and pour water for each other. Well, a few days ago we got a magazine in the mail (Thanks Nancy for the Kidsclub subscription) and it had a few suggestions for hosting your own tea party with a new friend. Faith and Mercy came running and asked if we could host a tea party. So, we looked over the article and made a plan to invite our friends Donna and Allan over for a tea party (lunch).

So on Tuesday night we made sugar cookies and made them in shapes of leaves for the boys and flowers for the girls. They frosted the cookies themselves and then used candy to make initials on each person's cookie. Then on Wednesday morning the girls (and Elijah too) woke up early and went outside to pick flowers and leaves to decorate the table. They made name tags for each person and decorated those with stickers. As lunch time drew near, they picked some fresh peas from the garden and then helped me roll out pizza dough so we could make special sandwiches for each person. They had so much fun getting ready.

Donna and Allan came before Bryan and Laury got back from work for lunch so Donna and the kids played hide-and-seek for a little while and then we all enjoyed their tea party. It was so sweet so see the joy on their faces as everyone complimented them on such a nice lunch. I think I may be in trouble because they are going to want to have a tea party everyday now! So, now we are have tea time as part of our daily schedule might just have to keep that when we move back to Michigan ;) Hope you enjoyed a story about my girls (and Elijah helped quite a bit too).
Anita
I tried to post a picture but after an hour of waiting for it to upload, I gave up.