Sunday, February 26, 2012

What a Morning!

Last night I worked hard to prepare a special lesson for my sunday school class (5-7yr olds) and I woke up this morning excited about what I had planned. I ate breakfast with the kids and was about to have them go and get dressed when there was a frantic knock on my door. A house mother told me that the power at Beautiful Gate was out and they could not get the generator working. Normally this is not a big deal but we recently have added a child here at Beautiful Gate who has some medical needs and one requirement for this child is to have electricity for their special machine to work. We were told to try not to let the child go more than 30 minutes without electricity in order to keep the child at their best health.

I (Bryan was out of town so that is why I took over)rushed over to the maintenance worker on duty to see what the problem was and found that the generator had gas, but would not start. At this point it had been 30 minutes so I told the staff to contact the nurse and then I would drive the child and the house mother to the hospital where they had power (Maseru schedules days with no power till 4pm and it was only 8am). Thankfully, the driver of the Beautiful Gate bus arrived and offered to drive us as I have no idea where the hospital is. It is brand new and on the side of town I am not familiar with it. Once we arrived (which was quite fast as our driver put on the flashers and drove MUCH faster than I would have been comfortable driving!) the nurses and doctors got the child all situated and the child looked pretty good. I was told that we could leave and the house mother would bring the child home once the city had power restored.

So the driver and I got into the car and he told me I was driving home (what I have not admitted is that I have only driven twice in the last 14 months). I said okay and started driving back to BG. Well, we had only gone a block or two when he asked me to pull into a drive because he was going to stay in town to do some work with some prison inmates (very noble and praiseworthy volunteer work). I dropped him off and then I told him I have no idea how to get back. I asked if I turn right at the main road to get back to town and he said yes, so off I went. First time driving alone in Maseru and I was completely lost. I did not pay a ton of attention to the roads we took to get there because I was busy looking back at the child and praying for the child, the house mother and our driver. So I figured there is only one way I was ever going to make it home... I asked Jesus to help me! And He did, within minutes after I prayed I saw a sign pointing the direction to the Maseru Bridge and I knew if I could find my way there, I could get home. Luckily, as I drove on the road (which was busy and a little crazy as the stop lights/robots were not working due to the power outage) I became more familiar with my surroundings and made my way home without having to go all the way to the Maseru bridge. What an adventure! Thank you God for getting me home, thank you Lisa for taking over my sunday school class which I completely missed, and thank you Mom for keeping my kids safe during all this!

I came home and told all the staff that the child would be returning at 4 (which is what the doctor told me) when the power returned, but I was just informed that the child will be remaining at the hospital. I was given no other details as to why, but please pray that this child can come home quickly and ease the worry of the staff as they wait for the child's return.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unfair Start

How do I even start this blog post? What can I even say to describe to you what I have seen and how I feel? I feel full of grief and sadness because I have seen a child who is so severely malnourished that he can’t even walk. He is almost 6 years old. A year and a half older than my youngest child, yet he is only about 1/3 her size. I walked into his house shortly after he arrived because I usually like to take a picture of the children soon after they arrive. I was shocked at his size and had to ask the house mothers again about his age because he was so tiny.

His mother could not or would not care for him any longer, so she dropped him off with her sister and disappeared. Her sister did not know how to care for him, lacked the resources to care for him, or just did not care and left him to starve. I do not know how he got to the hospital but thankfully he did and DSW decided to place him here at Beautiful Gate.

My head knows that this is the best place for him and that he can become well and grow healthy and happy, but my heart is aching for the life he had to endure for the first 5 years of his life. I am unable to separate my mother heart from situations like this and it is so hard to imagine his fear, his pain, his unfulfilled desire to be loved, and all the other thoughts and feelings he has endured in his life.

We took Mercy and our volunteers along with a few staff and we circled around him and prayed for him. As I prayed for his healing, peace from painful memories, protection from life- long health complications, and many more things, tears began to roll down my cheeks. He is so young and innocent and this is such an unfair start to life.

I am putting this picture in so you can see the severity of his lack of nutrition and care. According to American standards, Mercy is an average child of average height and weight and she is one and a half years younger than him! Please pray for him with us because he needs God’s healing and loving arms around him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Catching up

I do not think I realized how much I missed the BG kids while we were away on our vacation. The last few days I have been sneaking out as much as my kids will allow so I can take their pictures, cuddle with them, play with them and read them books. I also spent some time in 2 of the houses catching up with the house mothers and it felt really good. They seemed to enjoy our catching up time as much as I did which really gave me a feeling of peace as if I am finally building some trust and relationships. We are not only here to bless the children but also to bless the staff in any way we can and taking the time to find out how they are and how things are going in their life is one small way we can show we care.

It is so hard to believe that we have been here over a year now and as I looked around at the children in playgroup this afternoon, I realized how many new faces I see and how many old faces I am missing. There have been so many children who have been adopted or reunited with their families in the last year and so many new kids that we are building relationships with. Reflecting on their stories and seeing where God is leading their lives has been encouraging. I also find that God has given me a heart to keep on loving the new kids as much as the ones who have left. There was a time that I did not think my heart could keep opening up and letting more kids in because it can hurt too much when they leave, but as I play with the kids and tickle and hug them, I just can't help but to fall in love with each and every one :)
Have a blessed day!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Our Addo Adventures

We are back from our holiday! A day late due to some unexpected car problems on Faith's birthday.

We went to the ocean on Monday the 13th and enjoyed our morning swimming and collecting shells and then we drove into Addo in the evening to see some wildlife.

Tuesday was Faith's birthday so we went to the Danielle Cheetah Breeding Project and had a great tour. Ola the 5 year old Cheetah was awake and playful and the kids were in their glory! They also had 7 week old lion cubs which we got to pet and hold. As we got in the truck and started it to head to the reptile center as phase 2 of Faith's birthday, the truck stopped running and then wouldn't start again. After several hours of sitting and waiting and a couple trips for the local mechanic to get some tools, it was deemed that we needed a new fuel pump and we got a ride back to our cabin, and were left with no car and very little to eat (we were at a self-catering cabin and had not purchased many groceries yet, oops). So Faith's birthday was a little disappointing, but we enjoyed some yummy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner, played on the playground near our cabin, and Faith opened presents :)

Wednesday we were still without a car and the owners of the place we were staying allowed us to use their pool for the day, so that was a big blessing for the kids. We managed to get our car back at 3pm, but the bill was so high we had to drive the mechanic to the ATM ( we were thankful to get our car back, just shocked by the price of it!!!). The kids were dissapointed because we couldn't get to the reptiles as the reptile center was closed, but we took Faith out for her birthday dinner a day late and the food and view were wonderful.

Thursday we went to Addo in the morning and saw a ton of elephants (well, maybe it was only about 30) and even got to see 2 lions. We sat by the lions for a long time because they were at a watering hole and it was like watching animal planet. We saw a big bull elephant chase them away from the watering hole and after he left, the lions came back near the watering hole. Then 2 cape buffalo came for a drink and caught sight of them and one of the buffalo ran up to them and began to chase them away into the woodlands. It was amazing to watch the animals interacting. We then took an afternoon break and headed to see the reptiles that Faith had been waiting all week to see. We learned a lot about snakes and held a lot of them too!

Friday we were suppose to check out and head back to Lesotho, but after the car issues and the lost day, we decided to drive to East London, South Africa and stay one more night. We went to a small aquarium and then spent the evening at the ocean jumping in the waves. It was the perfect end to our vacation and we made some great memories with Bryan's parents.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Off to celebrate Faith :)

We are in the final stretch of time with Bryan's parents so we are going on our 2nd vacation/holiday in order to celebrate Faith's 7th birthday. She requested that we visit the reptile sanctuary and Cheetah breeding farm where we took Laury and her friend Nancy in September. So, tomorrow we are headed out to Port Elizabeth for a few days. We will be returning on Friday so there will be no posts till Friday or Saturday.

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day everyone and Happy Anniversary Amy and Andy. Also, we would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Uncle Rick, Uncle Bob, and Olivia.
Have a blessed week,
Anita and family!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Supporting Beautiful Gate

Bryan has booked all his flights and is working with a few specific friends of ours to set up speaking engagements, etc and will be headed to North America to do his first fundraising trip. He will be in West Michigan from March 4 - March 14th then flying to Chino/Redlands California on the 14th. He will be staying there until the 21st of March and then on the 22nd of March he is headed to Vancouver, Canada until March 29th at which time he will return to Lesotho (the 31st). If you are interested in seeing him or hearing him speak, I'll try to post where he will be as we get closer to his departure.

A few prayer requests would be that God will move in the hearts of those Bryan will speak to and they will feel lead to support Beautiful Gate through prayers, volunteering, and/or financial support. Pray that God will use Bryan as His tool to share the hope and love of Beautiful Gate and that He will fill Bryan with wisdom and discernment. We thank God for those who are helping him with his travel plans and finding him places to stay and ask that God will bless all those who are helping with planning and opening their homes.

The kids and I regret that we will not be able to join Bryan on this trip as we would all love to go and see family and friends and adoptive parents who have come through in the last year, but it would not be financially responsible for all 5 of us to go (bummer). So, please pray for the 4 of us as we remain in Lesotho. Pray for the kids especially as their grandparents are leaving on February 29th after 2 months of living with us here in Lesotho and then their daddy will be traveling starting on March 3rd! Yikes, our timing could have been better, but God is faithful and He will see us through this time apart. Thank you for your love and prayers and especially thank you to those of you who will be seeing Bryan in the next month and making him welcome!

Once we get closer to his departure, I'll also try to post the information for sponsor a house for those of you who may be interested, but may not live in the areas where Bryan will be speaking.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silly to Serious

Today a funny mix up of words lead me to thinking about Lesotho's government in a new light. To give a little back story, this week Bryan went to a meeting with the Department of Health and Social Welfare. During this meeting, he became a bit frustrated because he heard a lot of really big words, but no conclusions. No action plans to try to fix the problems in Lesotho. The government recognizes areas that are lacking, but it seems that they lack the resources or planning to fix or prevent some of these problems. So they have meetings to discuss these problems, but they do not make the plans to fix them, or they fix something which is not the root of the problem.

Well, today I had a terrible headache and looked through the first aid kid for some pain medicine. I found some Motrin and when Bryan asked me if I found something for my headache, I told him that I took 2 Imodium. He began to laugh and asked if I really took Imodium which is for diarrhea instead of pain medicine. I also laughed and said, no I took Motrin but said the wrong name of the medicine. Then I laughed about how silly it would have been if I would have switched those 2 medicines, it would not have hurt me too much but it certainly would not have fixed my problem either :)

I began to reflect for a minute and I said that my mix up reminded me of Lesotho. This perplexed Bryan, which I understand, so I told him that I feel like Lesotho has some real pains in some areas and rather than getting the proper "medicine," they use the wrong medicine to treat their problems. They recognize that lack of proper nutrition, proper health care, and lack of education are hurting their country, but it seems they only have the resources to fix something else which does not even relate to these 3 areas. (I know that this is not entirely true and that they are trying, it just gets discouraging to us sometimes). Pray with me for their wisdom and initiative to find ways to bring healing and wholeness to Lesotho. Pray they will find ways to reverse all the talk of Lesotho being a 4th world country with no hope for it's future generations. We know there are those who are in the government who care deeply for Lesotho and those who are hurting and we pray that God will use them to create change. With God, all things are possible and He can reverse the poverty, poor health and lack of education. We are trusting Him and His plan for Lesotho!