Monday, January 28, 2013

This Is Africa Moment

Wow, tonight turned out NOTHING at all like I planned. After 2 years of living here, I know that should not come as a surprise to me! We have 2 BG children who are very ill in the hospital and in need of urgent prayer. We have several more on campus who are not healthy and one who needed to be taken to the Emergency room this afternoon.
Bryan and I had asked our friend Terp to watch our kids while we went out to dinner tonight and while the staff and our nurse Donna were trying to get someone to take the baby into the hospital at 4pm, I volunteered Bryan and myself. I figured it may take an hour or 2 to get the child seen and admitted to the hospital, then we could visit the 2 sick children and then have our dinner. Well, it seemed like a good idea.
We got finished signing her in by 4:40pm and then took our seats to wait and wait and wait. No one was being called in to see any doctors. After 3 hours of waiting a woman came to the front desk and began a long speech in Sesotho. Several people asked questions and then the woman began to walk away. I ran up to the desk and asked if she could give me a summary in English. Basically, there was a huge car accident and the doctors had been busy with the victims, but they were going to begin taking patients again. So I sat down feeling like things were going to begin moving along.
The waiting room got fuller and fuller. People in so much pain they could barely move, an elderly man who couldn't even sit up and vomited several times into his little bucket, children crying and whimpering, people with worried and scared looks on their faces and the picture burned in my mind of a woman in a wheelchair having a violent seizure. Another hour ticked by and they were still not seeing many patients. My baby had been crying and coughing and threw up all over me, her breathing sounded labored and she was fitful, but I got her lulled back to sleep. At this point we decided to call in a BG relief worker as it looked like we would be there for the duration of the night but we needed to get back to our kids and relieve Terp.
Bryan was waiting outside for our staff member to arrive and then they finally called me back, 5 hours after I arrived. I talked with the nurse for awhile and then we gave an update to the relief staff and headed out of the hospital at 9:45pm. Needless to say we did not get to visit the other sick kids as it was past time for visits and we did not have dinner out as the restaurants were closed. So we had a very interesting date night, but at least we were together. I joked that had we had an uneventful dinner date we would forget it in a few months whereas this date would be remembered for a long time!
As of the writing of this, I do not know if our little girl was admitted to the hospital or not but if she is that means we would have 3 children in hospital. Please keep praying for God's healing hand to be upon His children. It is hard for me to accept that He would bring them to Beautiful Gate just to take them to Himself so I am trusting in Him.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


It has been awhile since we have had to say good-bye to any of our BG children, but today was the first of about 4 of children who are being reunited with family. The little boy who left today has a special place in my heart. He has the biggest smile, funniest laugh and the smoothest dance moves on campus :) There is a special playgroup song that I used to sing to him and he would do a super fun little dance and then run up and give me a great big hug. Good memories!
Over a year ago, this little guy was left alone in his house for 3 days before someone found him and he was brought to Beautiful Gate. He was such a pudgy little guy when he arrived and so it was hard to believe that he could have been abandoned, yet that was the unfortunate truth in his life. Our care staff took him in and made him feel loved and welcomed to Beautiful Gate.
His mother came to get him today and according to the plan that was laid out by the government, she is to bring him across to South Africa and deliver him to his father as she has been deemed unfit as his mother. I find it quite shocking that the government would allow or even desire an unfit parent to deliver a child to the other parent, but unfortunately, I have no say. Please pray that he gets to his father safely and that his father wants him and will show him love. He is a very special boy with great potential if he is just given the love and care that he desires.
I went to his house to say good-bye today and he was sitting at the table eating lunch. I kissed him good-bye and told him I loved him and he began to cry. He must be so confused right now. Seeing his mother again, hearing that he is going to South Africa and living with his father that he may not even remember, and saying good-bye to all of his friends and caregivers. I always struggle with emotions during these moments...
So I will leave you with the questions that were in my mind during my final moments with this young boy. His face was devoid of emotion, but he clung to the little book I gave him as a gift. I could tell he was trying to be brave and then his mother went through our group and gave each of us a hug. I was the last one she hugged and she was crying and trembling. I told her to go well and asked God to bless her, but I wondered...what brought on those tears? Was it remorse? Was it gratitude? What made those tears flow down her cheeks?
God knows and He can bring her peace and healing and may He hold us all close during these upcoming reunification's and good-byes. I am pleased that God is bringing families back together and praying that each of these children will have a happy, healthy and love filled life!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vacation and health update

Bryan and I took our 3 kids as well as 2 BG volunteers and a friend on a one week vacation through South Africa. We got back last night and spent the day unpacking. What an adventure we had! It is so hard to take time to rest and relax when you are living in Africa for a few years because there is so much to do and see that you just can't do in America!!!! I am so thankful that we were able to have some time away as a family and praise God for the beauty and majesty of His creation!
Before I attempt to add some pics to this post, I thought I'd share that the chicken pox has not spread past the 2 BG kids who had it before we left. However the throwing up and diarrhea has continued to plague BG and many kids have dropped some weight. Please pray that this bug passes by quickly and for these children to regain the lost weight and to feel happy and healthy again soon! We also have one child who has been in the hospital for over a month and pray that all of these sicknesses are cleared up before he comes home as he is very vulnerable to sickness.
Thanks for your prayers and here are a few highlight pics from our trip. By the way, we missed a lot of birthdays as we were without Internet so happy 10th birthday to our niece, Paige and happy birthday Zach, Eric and Natalie :)

We decided to have a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with some seals. Thankfully we were nowhere near seal island in Capetown where the great white sharks lurk!! We were very safe and had a fabulous time swimming with the playful seals and practicing our snorkeling skills.
I think Faith might be part seal as she was snorkeling all over the place without any fear of seals or need of having an adult close by her! Guess it is good she wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up!!!
My 3 little monkeys with some little monkeys behind them while we walk through the monkey sanctuary.
Need I say anything!! Dad is always so much fun to hang out with.
Ok, I am just saying that someone forgot to point out this sign to the elehants because our car was parked and they walked so close to our car that we could have reached out and touched them. I am shocked by the amount of elephants we saw at the water hole here at Addo Elephant park. It was pretty awesome.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sick kids

Well, if I had to describe Beautiful Gate to you right now, my best descriptions would include; hot, smelly, diarrhea, dehydration, eye infections, chicken pox, tired, doctor's visits and hospital visits, and overworked staff!!! Sorry, I know that was not a pretty picture, but it is a realistic one.
We have many kids who are struggling with diarrhea and have been for a few days. It is very hot here so they are losing fluids through sickness and sweat and some are just really struggling to kick their sicknesses. Many are tired and one or two are starting to show signs of pneumonia. Our volunteer nurse, Donna has been working overtime taking kids here and there and checking in on them and getting them all the right medications, etc and I know she is worn out. The staff are tired and worn out from caring for our 63 children, especially with so many who are just not well at the moment. Please take a few minutes and pray for the kids, staff, and volunteers. We are in need of God's healing hand on our campus. We praise Him for helping our kids thus far and trust Him for their complete healing, but it is always helpful to have a few more praying hearts lifting the needs of BG up to the Lord!
Our family has had a vacation planned in advance for some time and we feel bad leaving at a time when so many children are not well. Thankfully God has blessed us with 2 wonderful and knowledgeable nurses so we can leave the children in their wonderful hands. Thank you for your prayers on behalf of our nurses and children and staff.
Have a blessed week!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Visitors and Chicken Pox

Happy New Year everyone!!!! I realize I am about 6 days late on that, but I wanted to send warm wishes for the beginning of your 2013 :) We have had a team here since before Christmas and they will be heading back to California tomorrow morning. 9 college students along with our friends, Bob and Deb Baker and their lovely daughters, Rachel and Rebbeca. Bob and Deb's family came with a different team of college students (Azusa Pacific University) in May 2011 so it was a repeat trip for them. Our time has gone by way too quickly, but we praise God for blessing us with 3 weeks with them. Bryan has been driving all over Maseru in an attempt to help the social work students get a feel of all Lesotho has to offer its citizens. There have been times of fun, laughter and jokes, and there has been times of anger, disappointment and even grief for these students. Please pray for them as they leave and adjust back to Californian life as well as for the Baker family, especially Rebecca as she has become even better friends with Faith and they are very sad to be seperated again.

I also have a prayer request for the children at Beautiful Gate. We are currently at 62 children, so we are a bit full but praising the Lord that He is providing for us and we are able to take in a few extra vulnerable children. My prayers are for a few of our children who have developed chicken pox. Unfortunately, chicken pox are highly contagious and we have a few children who have caught it and we are praying they are able to get over them without spreading it even further around campus. We are especially concerned for our children who are HIV positive and have weakened immune systems. May God put a special covering over them so they do not get sick from this!! Thank you for your prayers and may God bless all of you in 2013!