Wednesday, March 27, 2013

4x4 Birthday Adventure

Bryan celebrated his birthday on Sunday so I decided to pack a picnic and we drove to a small game park not too far away. It was a perfect day for a drive and a picnic and we had a lovely time. It is amazing how relaxing it is to get off campus once in awhile and just to be a family. The reason I choose this game park is that Bryan has been wanting to go there for a long time now. We went in July of 2011 with a few volunteers but it was before we had our "Beast" (Land Rover) and the BG truck was too weak to make it up the hill. There is such a steep hill and only cars with 4x4 can make it up the hill to go on a safari so we had to pile 11 people in Allan's truck to go on safari last time.

I did my best to get a picture to show how steep the hill is, but there is no way to do it justice!
 There was a springbok who was very friendly and wanted me to pet it.
My kids love this swing. Bryan and I joked that we would turn the motor on and then just leave the kids for awhile, haha!

We had a little trouble toward the top of the hill as there was a steep rocky part with a sharp turn, but Bryan is an excellent driver and got through it. If it were up to me, I would never have even tried going up that hill in a truck :) We had a great adventure, one I am sure the kids will remember for a long time and enjoyed our day celebrating Bryan!
The kids even helped me make a 4x4 cake for Bryan. He said not to worry because his truck is still going

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tearful Reunion

Anyone who has been following my blog for the past 2 years knows that sometimes I do not like reunifications. It is hard to see a child who was severely sick but untreated, malnourished, abandoned, or a victim of an attempted murder returned to the person who hurt them. We grow to love these children as our own and we rejoice with their progress and it is hard to let go and not worry about them when they leave, especially with the knowledge that we will never see them again. But God had a special reunification for us this week and I am happy I was able to see the last part before he went home.
The young boy who was reunified with his mother on Tuesday came to Beautiful Gate over a year ago. He blended in pretty well with the other kids and even made some very good friends since he was a little older when he arrived. There was no information about his family and after searching for clues to where he came from, it was determined that he would be available for adoption.
Meanwhile, his mother has been searching for him. Her husband took him and said he would be back and never returned. She had no idea where he went or what happened with her son, but she assumed that he had taken him across to South Africa. She looked for him in South Africa and even had paperwork confirming her efforts to find her son. When she finally began looking around in Lesotho, she found that her son was at Beautiful Gate. She got the proper forms from the ministry of social development and came to BG to get her son.
I was late for the farewell and came in during the prayer time and I saw his mother standing there with tears streaming down her face. She had not given up hope for her son and now they would be back together again. It was so beautiful and heartfelt to see that reunion. We pray that God will bless them as they grow closer together and that He will not allow them to be separated again.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sharing our needs

Many friends and family members have asked us about the costs of adding these 12 additional children to our care facility and our friend Terp has put together a video on youtube to show some of the additional costs. It is worth the extra costs to see these kids playing happily around campus and adjusting so well to their new home. We trust God's provision that He will supply all of our needs, but we also realize that many times He provides through the giving of others. So this video was made to share some of our needs due to our 12 little blessings.

The link below is for anyone in America who is thinking of donating.

The link below is for anyone from Canada who is thinking of donating.

The link below is for anyone from Sweden who is thinking of donating.

We are trying to get a link for England and the Netherlands as well but they are not finished yet. Thank you for your love and support and your prayers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My kids amaze me

Usually when you have to qualify a statement you are about to make, it should not be made, so please forgive me if it sounds like I am boasting because that is NOT my intention. I am just feeling such joy in my children that I just need to share it.

Over 2 years ago before we even began this journey, we had a few friends who were opposed to us coming here. I understand that they wanted to make sure this decision was from God so they wanted to really make us think. A few statements that stands out to me the most were about my children. "How can you do this to your children? What about their education? What about saving for their college? How can you take them away from their friends at school and in their neighborhood?" To be honest, questions like that were painful and even kept me up at night with worry.

But I had to lay it down at God's feet. He loves my 3 kids more than I ever could and let me tell you I already love them a lot so I cannot even pretend to imagine how much He loves them. When we decided to take on these extra 12 children at Beautiful Gate, we were asked by the staff to help out at dinner during the week when the house mothers are alone during shift change. I told my kids about this and they were so supportive. They have even decided to pitch in and today, Mercy was even bragging that she fed more kids than I did :)

Tonight as Elijah was going to bed, he took over 5 minutes to really lay out all that was on his heart before the Lord and I was just speechless. He prayed earnestly for the new children to fit in and for older children in the homes to love and respect the little children. He prayed for lost people all over the world to hear the word and just believe it and fall in love with the Lord.

Faith has adopted a house mother and makes a point to spend time with her most days. This house mother is not feeling well and Faith laid that request before the Lord and her love and compassion was shining through. This house mother has told me many times how blessed she is to have Faith for her friend. It makes me know that if nothing else, we came here for that friendship to develop. Her testimony is one of great pain and suffering and it is so special to see the love between my daughter and her. God has restored some of her joy through Faith.

Mercy has made a new friend. The girl that I blogged about Monday had become Mercy's new friend. Mercy has been going to playgroup looking for her and holds her hand and hugs her. It is unbelievable how much Mercy's loves her already (she even asked if we can adopt her as a new sister). I had to tell Mercy about the girl's sickness (HIV) to remind her about being safe if either of them get hurt and Mercy was so perceptive and told me that she would not tell anyone else about the girl's sickness because she does not want anyone to treat her differently. It is beautiful the pure, innocent love between a 5 and 6 year old who are not of the same culture, race or even language.

My children have made huge sacrifices in their lives to be here and I have no idea what kind of job Bryan or I will have when God calls us back to Michigan, but I will not regret the time we have been here and I will not regret homeschooling. I do not know how my kids will pay for college, but God knows what they need and He will make a way when it is needed. I praise God for allowing my kids this opportunity to grow in Him, to learn first hand what it means to be a blessing to "the least of these," to learn compassion, to live the fact that love can cross all barriers of race, culture and language and to just be kids too! Please pray that God will cover them with His armor because any parent knows that when they praise their kids, the next few days will be filled with attacks from the enemy! To God be the glory because I never could have touched their hearts like He has.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bonding with our new children

Friday night I had a decision to make. I had told our social worker to only keep children under 5 as it may take us a long time to sort out the paperwork and we do not want the children who were being transferred to be here for the next 2 years and way over our age limit. It is not an easy thing to say but BG specializes in care for infants to 5 year olds. Children over 5 need special care and emotional support which our staff are not trained for at this time so while it is hard to ever turn a child away, we need to stay focused on what we do well.

We were suppose to get 12 children, but we only had 11. The Bo'me were carrying them to their houses and I was walking toward the houses with them when I got a call from our social worker. They had a 6 year old in the van and she was HIV positive and the other social workers were concerned that she would not get her ARV medicine consistently at the place they were wanting to transfer her. I took one look at her and knew we needed to keep her. She did not look very healthy for a girl her age and so I felt a strong desire that we need to help her get the proper nutrition, medication and love. I carried her to her new home and she clung to me tightly as we walked together. I cannot ever explain the responsibility I felt as I carried her along. God has placed a huge responsibility on Bryan and I to care for these orphans and vulnerable children, and I know He will not abandon us. He will shower us with His grace, mercy and wisdom. He will provide for His children meaning us, the staff, the volunteers and the kids here.

Last night I went into one of the baby houses to help with dinner. This house got 4 of the new children and I wanted to see how they were adjusting. Much to my surprise, the 4 children were doing very well. I had heard that the 6 year old spent a lot of time Saturday crying and when I came into the house, she was a bit shy, but did not seem unhappy. All the kids who have been at BG for awhile came running up to me and yelling "Me Anita" which seemed to indicate that I am trustworthy as the 4 new children warmed up to me quickly. The 6 year old came and sat by me and smiled up at me, the one year old sat in my lap and one of the other 2 girls was playing peek-a-boo with me. I am thankful that the Lord has brought them here. I pray that some paperwork can be found so we will be able to find a good home for each of the children. I do not know anything about any of their pasts, but I pray that God will use us to make their future one of hope, love and joy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Orphans in their distress

I am lying on my bed and it is after 11:30pm, but sleep is nowhere near me. My beautiful 5 year old daughter is asleep next to me (her brother and sister were having a sleepover so she decided she needed one too) and as I gaze at her peaceful sleeping form, my heart squeezes inside my chest. There are days I do not know how to process the things I see and feel here at Beautiful Gate. There are days I want to cry out in relief and thankfulness to God that my children are not orphans, but then there is so much guilt in my heart because there are so many orphans in Lesotho that deserve the peaceful sleep that my daughter enjoys every night, the sleep that comes from knowing she is loved, treasured, and wanted. Sleep that comes after a day of play and good nutrition. Sleep that comes through the peace of knowing she belongs to God and He will never let go.

Today in Lesotho, 2 care centers were shut down after it was determined that they were unfit to give the proper nutrition and care to their children. Many children were shipped all over the country today in hopes of finding better care at a different facility. 12 were shipped here which brings us up to 71 children.

We met as a management team and also with the House Mothers to discuss the idea of adding 12 more, and not once did the women say no, instead from the start, they discussed how we could make it work. I admire their strength and willingness to love the least of these abandoned and orphaned children. Many of these women are orphans and their willingness to take on extra and show unconditional love is not of this world.

The children arrived around 10pm tonight and we brought them into the houses to get washed and changed and then to give them some food before bed. There is nothing like bathing a severely malnourished child to open your eyes to the reality of the lack of care and resources that the child must have been suffering from. His eyes were so wide with fear, but as I dried him off, covered him with Vaseline and got him dressed, he actually managed a small smile for me. How scary this experience must be for the 12 of them.

I do not know how we will manage having so many extra kids, but I do know that God had called us to look after orphans in their distress. I look forward to them adjusting to BG so they can enjoy the peaceful sleep that comes in knowing they are wanted, loved and treasured by our staff. The sleep that comes after a day of fun in the playgroup and from a full belly. So in closing I ask that you pray with me that in taking care of these orphans in their distress, that we do not cause distress to our widows (many of our house mothers are widows). Please pray that we seek God in all our decisions, that we are open to His leading.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In the News

Last Tuesday Bryan had the opportunity to be on Lesotho television. He received a gift of R15,000 toward the daily operations of Beautiful Gate and if you have the time, here is a brief article in the Lesotho newspaper, the  Public Eye