Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little breakthrough

Today was a special day for me. There was a young boy who came to Beautiful Gate just before we left for our trip. Our volunteer, Paige, has been observing him for the past week and noticed that he has not been talking or showing any emotions. I decided to go ahead and try to give him some extra attention today and see if I could help him feel more comfortable here at Beautiful Gate. He was standing alone on a sidewalk during playgroup and watching the other kids playing. I got a soccer ball and put it in his hands, and then motioned with my feet that I would like him to kick the ball to me.

He did kick the ball to me twice but he did so very unenthusiastically. Then he picked up the ball and indicated to me that he would rather play catch. I caught the ball and then went over to him and helped him hold his hands the right way so he would have a chance to catch the ball too. He looked up at me and had such a look of trust on his face that I felt myself melting a little inside. We played catch for a bit and then he went and sat down for snack time.

There was a school group visiting today and they sang a song to the kids and after they finished one of the songs, he said the word Alleluia (which they had just sung). I was clapping my hands right next to him and he also clapped his hands and swayed back and forth a little. I remember Paige looked over at me with a shocked expression. After the singing, he grabbed another item for me to play catch with and if my hands weren't ready when he was ready to throw it, he said something to me in Sesotho. It was such an awesome day!! By the time I had left playgroup, he had smiled, played, talked and danced which Paige had not seen him do for over a week and she is volunteering in his house. She said when he came home from playgroup and heard the radio playing, he actually swayed a little to the music.

It is days like this that make everything worthwhile. God has us here for such a time as this. He wanted me here to connect with these kids and care for them during this season of their life while they are waiting for their family to come. I praise God for moments like this where we have a tangible way to understand why we are here!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A needed break!

A few days away to refresh our spirits and just be together as a family (yes we have adopted Paige into our family so she will be in our pics too).

 We went a little sign happy on this trip because pretty much everywhere we went there were warnings of crocs, hippos, or leopards. We did see crocs and hippos on this trip but not one leopard (much to the kids disappointment).

                                       Funniest sign EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!
 Bryan was driving around a corner and had to slam on the breaks because this big guy was in our way and he was in no hurry to get out of our way either. We were almost late getting out of the park because he walked along the road and blocked us from passing him for aver 15 minutes.

 The kids enjoyed taking pics with funny/scared looks on their faces. Here, Mercy and Faith have a crocodile behind them on the shore, Thankfully they are safe in a boat.

Having a few days off campus and to ourselves was just what we all needed as a family. I had a lot of time to think and reflect and focus on the important things in life. It was also a great way for our family to get to know Paige more and see her reactions to the ocean and wildlife of South Africa. We will be jumping right back into the busy life of being directors as we have a few adoptions to look forward to this week, and many projects.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Good-bye for now

Our internet was down for a day and when we got back online, we saw an email from our church telling us that our friend Lindy has "won the race." She has beat her cancer and become pain free in the arms of Jesus. Please continue to pray for Dusty (her husband) and her 3 children Brooklyn, Max and Samantha, and also her parents Mel and Lois. She has many friends and family who will miss her dearly until we meet again. We love you Lindy!

Our family will be leaving first thing in the morning for a few days in South Africa. We will probably not have internet access so this may be the last blog post for a week. We look forward to a few days of just being together.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Faith's son

I know that I do not usually post 2 days in a row, but I feel the need to share our day. For Faith and I, it was a little tough because we found out very last minute that Faith's "son's" parents were in town (from the Netherlands) and wanted to come get him right away. Beautiful Gate was given no warning that they were coming which is bad in that it is very hard when children are removed from their house mothers with no warning so the mothers can say good-bye. Today, it was that kind of shock for Faith. She has adopted this boy as her very own "son" (the house mothers used to call him her son, they are the ones who started it and then they began calling me his grandmother, yep I am feeling a little old). She has spent countless hours feeding him, playing with him and making him laugh and she loves him deeply. She has known that he will be adopted, but finding out 2 hours before he was leaving was tough on her. She and his house mother went for a walk together and then picked out a perfect outfit for him to wear. It was so sweet to see them sharing their moments together before saying good-bye to their little "son."

His house mother came and got Faith to help her get him ready before meeting his new family. They are such a precious couple. They cried when they got him and would not let him go. After some time of bonding, I shared with them the special relationship between their son and Faith and they were so touched by the extra love and care he was shown and then they took a picture of Faith so he could remember her when he gets older. It was so sweet. I think Faith felt much better after meeting his parents, but she was a little quiet afterwards. I decided to take her out for a little mommy-daughter date and we both felt much better after a cup of tea and a muffin. Please do not misunderstand, we are so happy that he has found a good home and we wanted him to be adopted, we were just taken by surprise by the lack of notice/preparation given.

One other area of concern I'd like to share is for one of our Beautiful Gate children (who is not placed for adoption). This child went in for a check up and a spot was seen on one of their lungs. Further testing will be done in the week to come, but please pray with us that this spot is nothing serious.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Update to previous post

Ntate Mpho's daughter is doing much better. She has been going to the doctor often to get her bandages changed and starting on next Monday, she will go for physical therapy. The burns on her arms and stomach were not as severe, but the burn on her chin is. She had a difficult time eating for a day or two, but her parents were able to force feed her enough to get her medicine to stay down. We praise God for the healing she has had so far and we are trusting and asking Him that she will have a full recovery. Ntate Mpho has been so positive and was even saying we needed to rejoice in all situations the day after the accident happened. He admitted that it is not easy, but he amazed me with his positive attitude and thankful heart.

My friend Lindy is not doing well from what I hear. We are all struggling with this news. Mercy and Faith immediately drew cards for me to send her as soon as I explained how sick she has become and that there may not be much time before she meets Jesus. I took pictures of their cards and posted it on her facebook page because I wanted her to see them right away. My kids are asking some tough and honest questions about God and sickness and I am trusting Him for the answers. I know there is nothing we could really do to help the situation, but I think honestly, we'd all like to just be home right now. We are trusting God that He has us here for a reason and so we will stay the course, but our hearts are in Zeeland.

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Please keep praying for Lindy (and her family) and Ntate Mpho's daughter.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yet...I will rejoice

Though my friend who has cancer has been given 4 weeks to live,

Nor can I support her and her family the way my heart desires,

Though our staff's 10 month old daughter has been severely burned and is in a great deal of pain,

Nor do I have the words of comfort to offer her parents,

Though our new nurses' work permit has been denied,

And the budget at Beautiful Gate is tight and only getting tighter,

Yet... I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will joy in the God of my salvation.

The Lord God is my strength.

Today I am going to choose to thank God for the nice memories I have with Lindy, Dusty, Brooklyn, Max and Samantha. When we chose to move here, I was confident that I would see Lindy again when we went on furlough, but God's plans are not ours. It may be in the next life, but I will not stop praying for her until He calls her home and neither will my sweet little Mercy who continues to pray each day. I thank you Lord for holding them through their tears and fears and that you will never let Dusty, Brooklyn, Max or Sam go even if you call their sweet, loving, funny, courageous, caring, brave, and faithful wife/mother home to be with you.
Today I am choosing to thank God for his protection of Mpho's daughter. While she has some pretty bad burns, the boiling water did not land in her eyes (Mpho is one of our staff and his little daughter grabbed the handle of a boiling pot and spilled it down the front of her last night). I thank you Lord for a car that runs well so we can share it with those who are in need. I thank you Lord that when we have no words to say, you are the great comforter.
Today, I am choosing to let go of my fears and desire for control. I am choosing to trust You God for a work permit and finances for our care center. Lord I thank you that you know our needs and you are faithful. You will care for the needs of our staff and we do not carry that weight alone. I rejoice in You Lord because you are my God, the healer, the provider, the comforter and our loving shepherd. It it not easy, but I choose to rejoice in You!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Needing to rejoice more

I just sat down to write and as I listen to the sounds around me, it sounds almost like there are airplanes landing over my roof. There is a massive wind storm happening this evening and I praise God that I am in a nice warm, sturdy home. My children have recently taken to praying  for all the street kids to have good food and a warm bed and I especially think of them this evening because it is a very cold wind that is blowing and with the rain, it would be a very bitter evening to be without a home/shelter. It is so windy that my living room curtains are swaying to the breeze!!!

Have you ever come to the Lord with such a massive list of prayer requests that it felt as though you'd never make it through them all? I feel like lately, I have so much to ask Him for on behalf of friends and family, people I love who are very sick, problems specific to Lesotho and the people/children here, funding for Beautiful Gate, people/countries devastated by damaging weather, for those who are unsaved, and so much more. I can sometimes feel discouraged by the great amount of need.

I just finished reading a book to my kids about a missionary named Joy, who was such a prayer warrior. But the secret to her prayers was that she truly rejoiced in all situations. She trusted God before He even answered her prayer and thanked Him and rejoiced. She was in some pretty bad situations and rather than feel overwhelmed and discouraged, she always reminded those who were with her to be thankful and rejoice. God did some INCREDIBLE things in her life and I was just inspired to be a little more thankful. To try to rejoice in all situations because God is worthy of praise even in the tough situations.