Monday, June 25, 2012

A Day Away

On Saturday, we left bright (well not really bright as it was very foggy, hahaha) and early and went for an overnight to Semonkong for a special farewell to Laury from our family, Donna, Allan, and Tammy (another current volunteer till this Friday). IT literally rained the entire day on Friday so when we went out Saturday it was in the mud and fog and there were times when we were driving up in the mountains that the fog was pretty dense, but Bryan and Allan are great and safe drivers and they got us where we needed to go safely!

Since Laury has been struggling with some pain in the knee, we had to get creative and find a new way to the waterfall that would not involve the 1 1/2 hour walk that we did last time (sorry Oma and Papa but we promise we will take you this new way when you come back). We were able to drive all the way to a wonderful lookout point for a great view and with all the rain and melting snow, the falls were magnificent!!!

After we saw the falls we came back to the lodge to relax and then the rains came pouring down. It rained for the next several hours and our Braai facilities were in the open and were drenched so you can see that Bryan got creative with our fireplace. We had a cozy and relaxed evening away and a great time making smores in our fireplace and having some great laughs with some really amazing friends. So here are several pictures for your viewing pleasure. The kids got their much wanted chance to see snow and even play for a short time on our drive back.

Our view on the drive up to Semonkong, there were many times we were driving in the clouds.

The view of the falls on Saturday, it was so windy and cold that we ate our picnic lunch in the car.

Bryan being resourceful with cooking our dinner.

The falls on Sunday. It was much warmer so we hiked around for a little while before the long drive home.

One of our views while driving, so beautiful!

We stopped for a short snow break along the way and made a baby snowman for our car "the Beast." We all made bets on how long the snowman would make it on the car - it wasn't very long ;)

Bryan hit every single mud puddle along the way just because we have the right kind of car for it...I think we brought lots of the mountains home with us.

Our family with Laury and Tammy by the river near the lodge. One of many days of good memories with our friends, they will be missed.

By the way, we are on very limited internet access until the beginning of July which has reduced my ability to blog as often. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Movie Outing

Well, the process has begun. Laury has been volunteering here at Beautiful Gate for about a year and a half. She came about 3 weeks after us and has been such a blessing and help to Bryan in the office at BG. She will be returning to California on July 12 and has no plans to return, at this point. So the good-byes are beginning and it is not going to be easy for her to say good-bye to the staff and children. She has been a great friend to them all and has done so much and given so much to Beautiful Gate as well as to our family.

Her first good-bye happened yesterday when we took 11 (preschool and primary school age) Beautiful Gate children to the mall to see a movie. They had never been to a mall, never ridden in an elevator and never been to a movie theater, so you can imagine the looks of wonder on their faces! She gave them all a little package of fruit chews and bought 3 tubs of popcorn for the kids to share. They were so delighted with these special snacks.

One of the cutest things was when our social worker and playgroup staff brought the kids all into the mall, they told us that the kids kept saying, “we are going to a happy.” They were overjoyed to have an outing. We got many surprised looks when we went walking through the mall with 11 basotho children, 5 adults and my 3 kids. So thank you Laury for a very successful first good-bye. I am not looking forward to the others and wish I could pretend that you weren’t leaving us!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Surprise Skype

I have no idea how missionaries of the past made it without the technology that we have today. Maybe it is the whole idea of not knowing what you are missing. Without Skype, my family would be so out of touch with our family and friends. It is such a blessing in our lives because we can not only hear the voices of those we love and miss so much, but we can also see their faces and if that is not is free!!!!! :)

Today my mom pulled off a pretty cool skype surprise. She is on vacation in lower Michigan and I knew she was going to see my grandmother, but I also know my grandmother does not have internet. My mom went to my cousins house where my uncle and grandmother were and then skyped my family. My kids were so shocked to see my grandmother and they were so cute. They went running into their bedrooms and grabbed the blanket she made them so they could show her that they still slept with their blankets (I think they each have 2 blankets from her). It was so sweet to see her face when they showed her that they remember her and still appreciate the gifts she made for them.

I am feeling so blessed today. Seeing some of my family that I have not seen in over 2 years and seeing the pure joy on my kids faces at getting to skype with their great grandmother just made my day. Thank you so much mom for the surprise skype :) it is something I am sure the kids will be talking about for weeks!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ministers and Basotho adoptions

Well, it is official that we have a new Prime Minister, Thabane. Many are hopeful that he will bring change to Lesotho and many are feeling happy and optimistic. He has already made a few important decisions about the way the government spends money and has saved the government thousands of Maluti (Lesotho's currency) by these choices and he has not been afraid to confront corruption. If he remains this way, he could be such a blessing to this country so please pray for him, that he would follow God's lead and not fall into the temptations that so easily ensnares leaders! Thank you so much for your prayers during the election time here in Lesotho. It was a time that was tense and many feared the worse, but God heard and answered the many prayers offered up on Lesotho's behalf.
Today all of the ministers were announced and sworn in. It looks like the department of social welfare has a new minister. We are praying that this new minister will be in favor of adoptions and work on a few of our cases that have been stalled for awhile.
During the month of May, I had the privilege of going to a matching meeting and at this matching meeting there were several children who were matched with local families. It has been a blessing to see the interest of Basotho families in adoptions. In the year and a half we have been here there has only been one local adoption to a Basotho mother. There are an estimate of 360,000 orphans in Lesotho so there are plenty to go around locally and internationally and it is beautiful to see families from all over the world as well as Lesotho coming to rescue these innocent and vulnerable children who through no fault of their own are found without a family.
These last 2 weeks have been extra busy with these local families coming to visit their new babies/children. It is nice that since they live so close, they can visit and bond with their child as they wait for the paperwork to go through.
I know many people who read this blog are matched or are waiting anxiously to be matched to a basotho child. There are over 300,000 orphans here in Lesotho and I know the wait is long and hard, but you are making a huge difference in their lives and giving them a hope and a future.
God bless you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prayer for our friends

We want to share a burden that is on our hearts and while it does not relate specifically to Beautiful Gate, it affects our family. We have some friends whom we attend church and bible study with back in Zeeland, MI that are in need of a miraculous healing. Lindy, the wife and mother of 3, has been battling cancer for over 3 years. She started with breast cancer and for awhile it looked like she had beaten it, but then it moved to her brain. She had a special surgery for the 6 spots on her brain, and they were shrinking and things were looking very good, but then cancer showed up in her lungs and new spots in her brain. She has had multiple chemo, radiation, tests, tests and more tests, horrible side effects- pretty much every single one imaginable and now she has been having fluid build up in her heart and lungs and is in the hospital. Our hearts long to comfort her and her family as they fight this battle, but we are unable to do more than pray and try to send encouraging emails.
So we are asking for you to pray with us please. Pray for her husband Dusty who has been trying to work, be a supportive husband and father and keep his faith strong for his family. Pray for Lindy that God would provide her healing so she can live long on this earth and raise her precious children. Pray for her children, and her parents and other loved ones who are supporting her and Dusty. They are such a beautiful and amazing family and we long for her health to return so they can enjoy being together as a family, pain free and cancer free! Our family has been praying everyday for over 3 years especially Mercy who prays for Ms. Lindy every single time she prays (usually 2-3 times a day).
If you would like to read more about their story so you can pray more specifically, you can scroll down my blog and you will find a spot for blogs I follow (on the right) and the VerBeek blog is the 4th one down. Thank you for your prayers,
Anita, Bryan, Elijah, Faith and Mercy

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Snow in Lesotho

For your viewing pleasure and much to the delight of my 3 children...

I do not remember the last time I heard my kids shouting so loud or saw them get dressed so fast as when Bryan told them it was snowing!!!

It got very dark outside and then the big fluffy snowflakes started coming down.

We headed into South Africa today and this was the view of the Lesotho Mountains (yes there are snow covered mountains, not just clouds in the distance) as we were driving by...AMAZING!! God's creation is stunning!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stress Relief

Moving to a foreign country, becoming a teacher, becoming a co-director, having extreme days of highs and lows, and many other things have caused me to have a bit of a high stress level than I was used to. I know you are all surprised by that right, hahaha. I have tried to deal with my stress through over-sleeping, over-eating, not managing my anger properly and other such non-effective ways of handling stress.

Last month I went to the doctor because I had a ton of red itchy spots all over my chest, back, armpits, and stomach. The doctor told me that I have eczema. I find that odd as I have never had this diagnosis before and I thought it was something that was more of an issue while young and something most kids grow out of. The doctor gave me a shot and a prescription for a cream I can use. He told me that there is nothing that is known that causes it or that will make it go away but I should take a multivitamin, use a daily moisturizer, and reduce my stress (I almost laughed out loud at the last part).

My front yard before
 So...In an attempt to reduce my stress, the kids and I have started a new project. Something I have been missing for 1 1/2 years and been wanting to find a way to get back into. Since we have recently moved to a new spot on campus, I have made a vegetable garden for us. For most people that may sound crazy as a stress reducer, but I have been gardening for almost 5 years and there is something about digging in the dirt and pulling weeds and then harvesting produce that makes me forget about my troubles. And it is small enough that it will not be too much of a burden.

Adding a raised bed and then squaring it for planting

The kids are helping to plant the cabbage which was donated by one of our maintenance staff

Happy little planters after they planted and watered the cabbage

Finished with planting, we are trying spinach and sweet peas in the second bed
So, here is to happy, stress reducing gardening :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Politics and moving

I am not sure if a local staff can even explain the complexity that is the elections in Lesotho. I am not even going to try because I would not do it justice. What I will say is that 2 parties were very close in the final election and now have a chance to join with a party that was less successful in the vote and combine to beat the other party and name their Prime Minister. There is a great deal of debate in the Parliament about this right now and the parties involved have until this Friday to select their new Prime Minister and begin running the government. Things have been peaceful in the city so we went out to the store and to church and everything seems to be running smoothly and as it should. I can not thank you enough for all your prayers and encouraging emails while we waited in uncertainty. We have been told that as long as the army and police stay out of this (they have sided with different parties), all will stay peaceful, so that would be one more prayer request to keep the peace.

A small update on BG and our family. We have moved into a house that is still on campus, but closer to the preschool. It is a 2 bedroom duplex and the other half (which is separated by a wall unlike our other house where we shared a kitchen) of the house is going to be used for volunteers. The original intent was for families who were adopting to use these houses while in the bonding phase, but DSW (Dept. of Social Welfare) has told us that families may not stay on campus so we are putting the house to use. Our former house is getting a nice paint job and the play group is moving into one half and big teams coming to volunteer will be staying in the other half. We are excited about the move as winter is approaching and it will be very nice for the playgroup to be inside for the cold months. I have been busy (hence the lack in keeping up with the blog) unpacking and finding homes for all our things inside our new house as it is a bit smaller that our previous one.

One thing I am learning is that we do not NEED all the space we thought we needed as a family. We used to live in a 4 bedroom house with a basement and a 2 stall garage and we had SO MUCH stuff. Now we live in a 2 bedroom house (like an apartment) with no garage and no basement. The kids bedroom is our school room and Bryan and my bedroom is just big enough for our double bed and a bookcase. We are cozy, but we are happy. Although, I think the kids fought less when they had their own rooms :) There is nothing wrong with my 4 bedroom home in Zeeland, but living here really makes me think about how much we have verses how much we need.