Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A birthday story

I will be the first to confess that I have been judgemental. I have allowed a few to warp my view of the whole. The stories that I have heard of police looking for bribes, dropping kids at other care centers so they do not have to do the paperwork and follow-up we request at BG, police doing nothing when people desperately need help, and many other stories. These stories are very true and happen often, but that does not mean that all police are corrupt and heartless. As a matter of fact there are many who love and care for their fellow citizens as well as the orphans and children of Lesotho. Today's story was the most touching story I have ever witnessed between a "stranger" and a child and I feel that it needs to be shared.

Yesterday, one of our BG children had her first birthday and a police officer came to say he wanted to pay her a visit. He said that he brought her here about a year ago and wanted to see how she was growing. The volunteer at the office did not know him and he did not have his badge or anything so she politely asked if he could return tomorrow.

Today, he came back to visit the little girl and it was such a special and sweet moment (he talked with the necessary office staff this time to set up the visit). He brought her two outfits, a pair of sandals, a doll and some cheese puffs. He held on to her and kissed her cheeks. Our program manager introduced me to him and I asked about what kept her in his mind over the past year. He told me that he got a call from someone telling him that they found a child in a pit toilet. When he got to the scene, he had to get her out and brought her to Beautiful Gate. He gave her the name Precious and he said that it made quite an impression on him. I enjoyed watching him hold her and try to make her laugh. What an amazing story. A police officer finding an infant in a pit toilet and remembering her birthday a year later, bringing her gifts and visiting her at her orphanage.

I thank God for moments like this where He can restore my trust and faith in a police officer in Lesotho. I took a photo of him so that I can record this story and give it to her when she gets adopted. God has a way of bringing people together!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Blessed be the name of the Lord

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the LORD

Those were the words I spoke as I gently tossed a flower into the 3 little graves laid out before me. Such tiny caskets lay in those holes. 2 lives cut short by sickness and 1 who needed medical equipment that the hospital did not have, all 3 in a country where the health care options are limited.

I looked in those graves and wondered if it would have been different if they lived in my town in Michigan. Would they still be here and thriving? I have never been so thankful that I was blessed to have my children in a 1st world country with excellent medical care and facilities. I was even extra blessed to have a good friend of mine be their pediatrician for a few years so I always had someone I trusted that I could talk to when my kids were sick.

As I gazed upon those little graves as the men began to shovel the dirt over their caskets (I am so thankful we do not have to endure that in America because hearing the dirt thudding on the casket is a sickening sound) my friend Jenny put her arm around me. I thanked her for being at BG for both the good and the bad times and she said, "Imagine what their lives would have been like without BG and the love they were given." That brought tears to my eyes and an awakening in my soul.

Oh how we loved them, we have shed tears for them, we mourn for them and we gave them a proper burial. Had they never been brought to us, I do not think they would have felt that love and felt those tender hands holding them through their sicknesses. I praise God for the short time He gave them to us and yes, I praise Him. Blessed be His name because He knew the day and the hour He would take them home and He trusted us to be the ones He wanted to care for His little angels before He called them to His arms. Thank you God for your trust and for your healing as we mourn their loss.

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Ramblings of the Day

Today was unusual like most others days as we never really know what the day will bring. Last week when Terp and I went to the hospital to bring home one of our BG babies, we saw a little baby boy in a bed ,who had been abandoned at a dam. He was not in good health and needed to spend some time in the hospital before we could admit him to BG. He was brought to Beautiful Gate today so I got to enjoy the sounds of our Bo'me singing and shrilling to welcome their new baby. It is such an unforgettable sound when I hear the women rejoicing over a new child.

One sad part of my day was seeing a child who was having a "fit" (small seizure). Seeing him shaking and twitching uncontrollably and not being able to help him was a real sense of helplessness. Thanks to our volunteer Jenny, we were able to move him to the clinic once his body settled down and have her sit with him in a quiet place. He fell into a deep sleep and I am praying that he will sleep well tonight so his little body can have a break. Please pray with me that the doctors will have wisdom to know what he needs. He has an appointment for the 28th of February but we are praying that they can get him in sooner.

I do not know what it is lately, but I am overwhelmed by the medical concerns that have been coming up with our BG children. So many who have been sick, some who need surgeries that the government does not want to cover, this young boy who needs a specialist to understand his complicated needs, a child who may need ear surgery,and many other issues with doctors or the hospital that I have not even shared. I praise God that we have hard working and excellent nurses working on campus as we have needed them desperately these last 2 months, and I pray that God will move in the hearts of doctors and nurses in Lesotho to care for our children, staff and everyone else who comes to them, as if doing it for the Lord!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Faith's 8th birthday in pictures

Well, the car we were using broke down. It took us over 4 hours to get to Faith's surprise birthday place when it should have been less than 2 hours.
We were stopped by the side of the road for a third time with a car that was having some serious issues with blown fuses when the owner of the place we were headed stopped to see if we needed help. How convieneint. Interestingly enough, he was bringing some nice cold dead pigs back to his game farm and offered us a ride in the back of his bakkie (truck). Well, we accepted the ride and got to hang out with the 3 little piggies for awhile! Faith was a bit grossed out by this so she rode in the front of the truck with Kristen while the rest of us rode in the back. Surprisingly, the pigs were a great form of "air conditioning" on a hot day. Jenny, Terp, Paige and I laughed so much and made an incredible amount of pig jokes all the way to the game farm and I do not think any of us will forget this day for a long long time!
Faith got the priveledge of being the first one to feed a little lion cub.
Way toooooooo cute!
Happy 8th Birthday to my sweet Faith!
Hanging with her buddy Terp whom she knew was going to be coming back to Africa.
Giggling with her friend Kristen.
Family fun in the lion's den (well actually it was a cage).
Silly smiles and pictures with her "big sister" Paige.
Aunt Jenny came all the way from England to celebrate Faith's special day, well maybe it wasn't the only reason :)
Feeding Vervet monkeys.
She thought about sitting on this tortoise, but was afraid to hurt his shell.
It seems a little strange that on her 8th birthday, she was drinking like she did on her first birthday, but that is the way they sell their kid's drinks and it made them all laugh. Faith said, "Mom, I think I forgot how to drink out of one of these!"
Mercy got a little inspiration from their lion cub feeding. They have great imaginations.
Faith went flying down the hill on this motorbike and had a blast.
When it was time to tuck her in for the night, Faith said it was her best birthday ever, except for the car breaking down part. Last year our car broke down on her 7th birthday while we were on vacation so Bryan and I are thinking next year it might be more affordable to stay home on her birthday :) Happy birthday to Faith, Happy Anniversary to Amy and Andy and Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who enjoy celebrating it!!


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nursing Duty??!!!

I know what you're thinking - we look so professional don't we!!!

I have written a few times about how tired our staff have been in the past month and that includes our nurses who have been overworked for awhile now. They were both in need of a weekend off so my friend, Terp and I volunteered as the "nurses." Neither of us are really nurses, but we figured we could keep an eye on any kids who were sick (I have mother skills which helps and Terp has helped many friends/family with sick kids). So while on duty, we decided to have a little fun at the expense of our staff, well mostly it was at the expense of ourselves. I borrowed my kids' animal hospital supplies and we went over to the houses to offer our skills. One of the house mothers rolled up her sleeves so we could "test" her blood pressure and she was in fits of laughter. All of the house mothers smiled when they saw our nursing equipment and laughed when Terp would offer to rock them to sleep if they were not feeling well.
Besides bringing laughter to the housemothers, we helped keep 2 kids hydrated as they had "runny tummies" as the Basotho say. We also had the joy of going to the hospital and bringing one of our babies back home. While there, we met one of our new babies that will be joining us at Beautiful Gate when he is healed. A little baby boy who had been abandoned by the dam. He looked pretty good so I hope we will get to have him here soon! When we left the hospital, I was the lucky one who got to drive our relief worker home while Terp suffered and had to hold the little BG baby (she was not about to let him go, hahaha). Her road was incredibly bumpy, but our car survived!
Today I am so thankful for laughter and friendships. It has been a rough time but God is so good and He gives us little glimpses that all will be well and sometimes those glimpses are through some good old fashioned laughter!!!

Time for my shot! I thought they went in your arm not your mouth - we need our nurses back!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Choosing to Praise

God has been using a lot of Bible verses and songs to lift our spirits this week. My new favorite song is 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. Being that I have been in Africa for 2 years, I have only recently discovered this powerful song. It has inspired us volunteers to sing and praise the Lord. Our friend Terp has been kind enough to play music on our guitar and lead our praise and worship nights. We praise God for bringing us together during a time where satan could have divided and conquered Beautiful Gate!
Psalm 121
"I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and Earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber or sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, and even forevermore."

2 of the 3 babies who died have some family so we are checking with the family to see if they would like to have their own services for their child. We are waiting to hear back from them and then we will plan the services accordingly so we have not yet held funeral services for the children. It will be a very difficult day for all of us as seeing a tiny casket and thinking of their life cut so short is heartbreaking. Please continue to ask the Lord to hold up our staff and volunteers during our final good-bye as we wait till heaven to see these precious ones again.

Monday, February 4, 2013

In His Arms

Bryan has put a post on beautiful::africa's website which explains all that has been happening here the last 4 days. It has been the most difficult time in my life since the passing of my beloved sister 13 years ago and so I ask once again that you pray for all of us here at Beautiful Gate. We know that our God is good and mighty and His plan is perfect, but having watched 3 precious, innocent lives being taken too early has left us all ... honestly, not one of us can really describe how we are feeling so it would be better for me not to even try. I do not want to be fake. I just ask for your love, support, prayers and words of encouragement to anyone you know who is serving/working at Beautiful Gate. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the LORD!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Please Please PRAY!!!

I do not have much time to write as I am about to pull an all night shift in one of the houses, but I want to take a minute and honestly beg for your prayers on behalf of Beautiful Gate. A lot has happened in the last 2 days and our hearts are in pain. Yesterday, one of our precious baby girls passed away very unexpectedly and she was not even one of the children in hospital. It is too hard to describe all the details so I will just say that we are all hurting. Our family, our staff and our volunteers. 3 children are in the hospital and a 4th on the way now and we are all looking for some miracles so please pray that God will work out a miracle.