Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Political Update - to the best of my knowledge

Well, elections happened on Saturday and things went well. There were no reports of intimidation at the poles and that was a good report.
Yesterday, Bryan was talking with the staff about the election results and they told him that the precincts in the mountains are still needing to report their results. There is a close race and a new party was leading as of yesterday, but the current Prime Minister is expected to win those mountain precincts. The staff told Bryan to head into town and get some supplies because if things are going to get heated, then it will begin on Wednesday when the official results are in.
From my understanding, if the current Prime Minister wins, the 2 main rivals are going to join together and count their precincts as one and try to have him step down. If he is able to step down peacefully and just be a member of Parliament without fighting back, then all will be well, but if he wins and will not step down peacefully, we do not know what will happen.
So anyway, all this information is subjective and we have no idea what will actually happen. Just wanted to keep you all updated with what we "know."
Thank you for your prayers,
Anita

Friday, May 25, 2012

Keep Praying Please!

This morning at 7:10, we had a knock on the door and there were 3 of our Bo'me standing outside the door. One was shaking and she explained to Bryan that she had been mugged this morning at the bus stop while she was waiting for a ride to Beautiful Gate. One man walked by going one way and another man walked by going the other way and the next thing she knew they both came up to her and grabbed her purse. She tried to fight them and keep hold of her purse, but it was dark and being a holiday, there was no one else around to help her fight them off. They wound up throwing her to the ground and ripping the purse off her shoulder. She was shaking as she told the story to Bryan. He made sure she was ok and then prayed for her before she went back to her house.

After I got dressed I walked to the house to see if she was really ok or if she wanted to go home (sometimes they are a little shy around Bryan). She told me that she was fine to stay but was just having some pain in her shoulder. I went home and got some ibuprofen and gave it to her and we talked a little more. Her attitude was amazing and she said that she was just happy that they did not kill her. She also laughed because while she was getting ready to come to work, she had a feeling to hide her money, so she hid it in her bra :) They only got R15 and her phone charger so she was happy that she did not have much else in her purse. She is such a lovely lady who loves the Lord with all her heart.

Please keep praying for Lesotho and especially for our staff this weekend as they get ready to vote. Pray for peace and calm in the city both now and after the results are in. Also, please pray that God will fill the hearts of all of us with the kind of love and positive outlook like the staff member who was mugged. I am trying not to worry about our staff too much, but it is hard to lay that burden down.
Anita

Thursday, May 24, 2012

More prayer requested

Today 2 of our children went to the doctor for a check up due to some continued health problems, and neither was given a good report. One is 4 and the other is 3 (neither have been matched with a family as they are not up for adoption yet due to family reasons) and without the intervention of the Lord and a miracle surgery, one may not have long left on the earth. The other has been diagnosed with HIV and has been very ill for the past few weeks. It was not a good day here. It has not been a good few weeks here which is why I have not been posting as much lately. It is not major things going wrong (other than the above health issues), but it has been enough to leave me feeling worn out, defeated, empty and inadequate. But my feelings are nothing in the face of the pain and uncertainty these 2 children are facing for their future. They are young and both of them are incredibly sweet and good-natured kids with a lot of love to share, beautiful smiles, and cuddles that melt your heart. I love them dearly I have spent a lot of time with one because he was here when I came and the other arrived a few months ago, but I have also grown quite close to her. Their lives are only just beginning and yet...

Elections for Prime Minister are happening in 2 days. The tension level remains high with many people taking precautions. I was surprised to hear that the mall will be closed for election day. They take it very seriously around here in that they want every person to have a chance to vote (I just can't imagine the malls in America closing for elections). We have heard that it will take about 4 days to get the results of the voting, so we will just hang out here and spend lots of time with the BG kids.

God is bigger than health problems, He is bigger than elections, He is the great physician and God is our Leader so we have nothing to fear.

Please continue to pray for these 2 precious children, for their healing and for a miracle and please keep the elections in your prayers as well.
Anita

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reading

How easy and accessible is it for you to read a book? Can you afford the books you'd really like to read or at least have the option of borrowing it from a local library? One thing I took for granted before moving to Africa was the freedom to read and be able to afford or borrow a book for my enjoyment as well as the enjoyment of my children.

There are 2 things that always make me think about reading. The first is that my older 2 children are turning into super speed readers. They are plowing through their homeschooling books and are longing for more. I go into South Africa and look for books and I am always disappointed. The hobby of reading is just not affordable in Africa. Books that I can get in America for $4 are over $10 here. And little easy level reading books for early readers are also around $10! It is shocking and disappointing to me that reading is not easily available or affordable to children in this part of Africa (thank you mom for the gift of a kindle before we moved because it has helped us get a few more books).

The other thing I notice is that since reading is not a luxury that many of our staff have had, it does not come easily to them to read to the kids here (many of them can read English though). I do not think that it is something they want to withhold or do purposely, but books are a novelty to the BG kids. They have a few that they get to look through during play time in the evening, but I have tried to put aside some special books with lots of pictures and the older boys will often ask me to haul out my books during play time. They would rather sit in a circle looking at my books and "reading" them than play on the play equipment. Such a simple thing that I used to take for granted, but now I see how important and special it is for these children to learn the love of reading at a young age.


For those of you who will be coming to volunteer here at Beautiful Gate, bring a few of your favorite books to read to the kids (short ones with pictures as their English is limited). They will love it and you will feel blessed by seeing their joy! Happy reading!
Anita
Political Update We drove past hundredes of people on our way to and from church today who were rallying for their candidates. It was shocking to see that many people out wearing their party colors and meeting together at soccer fields and stadiums all over Maseru. Thankfully they were spread out from each other and things seemed peaceful as we drove by, but I will get a better update from our staff tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Urgent Prayer for Lesotho

This post is a prayer request from Beautiful Gate and from our family personally.

Elections in Lesotho are being held on May 26. The last election in 2007 was mostly calm and peaceful, but we are worried about this election. The major difference is that there is more choices/opposition this year than in the previous two elections. The last two elections were won in a landslide by the current Prime Minister, with very little opposition. This election is shaping up very differently.

The current Prime Minister as started a new party, so that he can be re-elected again, which was not viewed favorably by his former party. The former party was and is ready for a new leader and have proposed their candidates as well. Some of those candidates, when found that they did not support the current Prime Minister, were immediately fired by the current Prime Minister from their positions. This has caused a lot of strife between the two parties. And, many of the current Ministers (key government people in each area) are taking sides. Most of the time, they are following the party they think will have the best chance of winning. But, this has only split the two sides even more. That has resulted in threats made by both parties, if the other party gets into power (i.e. even to the point of assassinations).

Please read the following links that were posted a couple weeks ago, showing that another political leader in Southern Africa is worried as well.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2012/0430/Bishop-Tutu-urges-peace-in-upcoming-Lesotho-elections

http://sundayexpress.co.ls/?p=6460

http://sundayexpress.co.ls/?p=6463


While Beautiful Gate is a little outside of town and slightly isolated within our community, we are taking appropriate precautions as well. We are in the Ha Thetsane area, which is mentioned in one of those articles above. We can confirm that the radio announcer was killed. And, we can confirm that tensions are rising around the country. While Beautiful Gate is not a political organization, we do follow very closely to what is happening just across the mountain. This also has ramifications for our partnership with the Department of Social Welfare.

For now, Beautiful Gate is planning ahead, to limit the number of trips into the city, as we believe that is where most of the violence, if any, will happen. We will be stocking up on food, supplies, water, fuel, etc. We will also be paying our staff earlier than normal this month, so that they can go shopping and stock up personally at home as well, before the elections. It is better to be over-prepared and not have anything happen, than to be under-prepared for the worst.

Anita and I will also be personally stocking up on supplies and planning not to leave campus for at least a week after the elections. And, we are in contact with the US Embassy in Maseru and will follow their directions, if any evacuation is called for by them. (Unlikely)

Please join with the staff at Beautiful Gate in prayer every day for peaceful elections in Lesotho. We are not afraid, as God will take care of us, but we are also feeling the tension and anxiety around the country.
“Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; protect me from men of violence, who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day.” Psalm 140:1-2

“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:11

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11b

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”” Romans 8:15

Bryan

Sunday, May 13, 2012

HaPPy MoTheR's DaY!!!

On Friday, Bryan, Laury, Tammy and I had a "surprise" meeting for the Bo'Me. As the mothers of Beautiful Gate, we wanted to honor them for being such good, loving and devoted mothers to all our children. Many have their own children at home, some young and others old, yet they come to work with happy hearts and spread their love around to all the children God has brought into our campus. Many times when a new child arrives the women will celebrate and sing and then hug the child and tell them that they are the child's new mother. It is such a precious moment, a time that shows they love the kids as if they were their own and it is that kind of unconditional love that helps these children to bond so well when their forever family comes!

Our new volunteer, Tammy worked hard all week getting the handprints of almost every child on campus (I enjoyed helping her and we even managed to keep the little ones from sticking their fists into their mouths while full of paint). She then cut them out, copied a poem, and made beautiful posters for each house with their "children's" handprints. The posters are lovely and the staff are proudly displaying them in the baby houses.

Tammy and Laury also came up with a gift idea for all the house mothers and staff so they could feel appreciated. We gave a gift to each worker here because even if they are not married with their own children, they are mothers to the children of Beautiful Gate.

We had a nice little celebration of appreciating the mothers and giving them their gifts, and then one house mother offered a little thank you speech on behalf of the staff. It was another time where I could see that something as small as appreciating them on Mother's Day, goes a long ways in their hearts and appreciation for all of us volunteers :)
Happy Mother's Day to those of you with children and for those of you who read my blog as you await meeting your new child, may it be your last Mother's Day without your child!
God Bless You

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Great Physician

As Director of Beautiful Gate Lesotho, it has been a privilege to watch God’s amazing blessings in the lives of the children of Beautiful Gate. One such moment happened last week:

There is a precious little girl that came to Beautiful Gate from the new hospital in Maseru. Prior to coming to Beautiful Gate, she spent more than 100 days in the hospital recovering from multiple infections in her lungs. Due to the extent of the damage from the infections, she was required to be on an oxygen machine. She was always connected by a long tube from the machine to her nose , like what you would see in the hospital. After a lengthy stay in the hospital, a Doctor approached Beautiful Gate to see if we could care for her, as living in a hospital is not a great environment for a three year old. We were chosen by the Doctor because the machine needed to be plugged into electricity and we are the only care centre in Lesotho that has a backup generator for when the power goes out, which is often. After careful consideration, Beautiful Gate accepted her into our care on February 22, 2012. We were able to secure a longer oxygen tube so that she could have greater range in the house and at play group. All attempts to take her oxygen tubes from her face have resulted in panic attacks and increased stress from the child. We also had to rush her to the hospital once, as the power went out and our on-site generator was malfunctioning (I am convinced the devil was testing us that day). More than 10 minutes without her oxygen machine, and we would see a very panic stricken child.



During the last week of April, she was taken to Baylor Clinic in Maseru for observation. The doctors and our nurse decided to test her blood oxygen levels without the machine during that appointment. The first five minutes went fine, but as the minutes ticked by, she was getting visibly irritated and starting to panic and cry. This resulted in her blood oxygen levels dropping from the 95-100 range (normal) to the low 80′s. But, then an amazing thing started to happen. As the staff calmed her down, her blood oxygen level started to increase and after another half hour without the machine, her blood oxygen levels climbed back to 96! After one hour without the machine, she was still in the normal range! And, after two hours without the machine, she was still in the normal range! Even the Baylor Doctors were amazed! This child should not have recovered to these levels this quickly, in their professional opinion. But, we at Beautiful Gate know who the Great Physician is and know that He was at work in this child’s life!



The Baylor doctors and our nurse have been working together in the last two weeks devising a plan to slowly ween her off the machine, as she likes to overexert herself during play group time. But, it has been such a blessing to see her off the machine and playing with the other kids! Please continue to pray for her continued healing in her lungs. We are hopeful that as she continues to grow, she will also grow a greater capacity in the lungs, which will be healthy for her. This will one day give her the ability to be off the machine for good. She may never be a track star, but she will eventually be able to live a long and happy life!

God is Good….All the Time!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!
Bryan



Saturday, May 5, 2012

Field Trip

On Friday Bryan, Maleseli (BG's social worker), Elijah, Faith, Mercy and I took a little field trip. Our main objective was to learn a little more about what Maleseli does and see some of the places she visits. She had the cases of 2 children that she would like to have cleared for adoption, but more paperwork needed to be completed in the villages these children come from. She called ahead earlier in the week to let the social workers know she was coming on Friday and off we went!

The first stop was Mohale's Hoek. We walked to the DSW (department of social welfare) office to talk with a social worker and found out that none of them were in the office for the day. It was a bit discouraging but she dropped off the information she needed the social workers to look into and we were off again.

Our second stop was to drop off a book of pictures to the grandmother of a few children who were adopted 9 months ago. We were able to get close to her house, but needed a few local Mosotho to tell us which dirt road (aka path) to take to her house. We got good directions,walked to her house, but she was not home. Since it is a long drive and we do not get out that way much, we asked the neighbors where their uncle lived and were given directions to his house. The directions were very confusing, but after asking a few more people we were able to find his house and asked if he would pass the picture book on to their grandmother, which he promised to do. He was not used to seeing white kids as he said he wished he had a camera so he could have taken a picture of our family :)

Back to the car we walked for a quick lunch in the car (while Bryan drove, I spread peanut butter on some bread for all of us-maybe next time I'll find time to make the sandwiches before we go). We arrived in Quthing and stopped by their DSW office and the social worker was still working on the papers our social worker needed to have done when we arrived so once again she was not able to accomplish her goal. I asked her how often that happens and she said more times than not she is unable to complete the tasks she needs to complete on these trips. She always has such a happy and positive attitude and our BG kids are lucky to have her on their side working to find or reconnect them to a family!

So we left at 9am and arrived back around 5pm and did not accomplish any of our objectives, BUT we saw some very beautiful country side, mountains, villages, shepherds, etc during our drive. We got to know our social worker a lot better and here stories from her about her life as well as what it has been life working for Beautiful Gate. We asked her questions about Lesotho and she asked us about America. We saw signs for the dinosaur footprints so now I know where to take the kids on a field trip when we cover dinosaurs in science class. We spent time as a family and so while we did not do what we had planned, we did what God had planned for our day and it was not a wasted day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New baby

Today we received a new baby girl here at Beautiful Gate. She is one month old. Her mother was very young and died from complications during birth and this little baby was being raised by some members of her mother's community (as she has no known relatives). They came to realize that they just could not care for an infant and gave her over to the Department of Social Welfare who then put her into our care. So tonight she is warm, comfortable and well fed and she will be receiving love, care, and comfort from the gentle arms of our Beautiful Gate care staff.

Also tonight is the last night for another of our dear children to be an orphan. His parents are coming to meet him and take him for bonding tomorrow. I love those days when new parents gaze on their children for the first time. It is a little like sneaking into a hospital room and watching new parents receive their new born child because their faces light up in the same way. Before the parents meet their child they meet in a room to await the arrival of their soon to be adopted child. Sometimes only for a few minutes and other times for many minutes and usually Bryan and I wait with them so we can use their cameras to take pictures of their first moments together. I feel bad as we make small talk(as it would be very awkward to sit in silence the whole time) because I know they want nothing to do with me or my attempts to help waste the time as they wait anxiously and I am not offended at all, they are just so eager for that moment to glimpse their son or daughter (they probably do not remember a word I say to them in those moments, hahaha). Some have waited 4 years for this moment and it is so beautiful.

I look forward to being a part of this meeting with our new little girl someday. God needed her biological mother to be with Him in heaven and He has a perfect family waiting to meet her and welcome her into their home. It is so precious and I am so blessed that God has allowed me these special glimpses into this amazing process which is adoption.
Anita