Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 months

It is official and the plane tickets have finally been purchased, we are leaving in 2 months for our furlough (break from Lesotho and chance to visit family and friends). We are beginning to get some plans together. We will leave Lesotho around the 11th of June to do some fundraising for Beautiful Gate in England, Netherlands (as well as visiting some of our friends who have been  adopted) and Belgium and then we will fly into Michigan around the 26th of June. We are planning to spend about a week "off the map" at Bryan's parents house visiting with family and then we will be ready to come out of hiding and share our stories :) In August we will be heading to Colorado, Canada and California to do some fundraising and visit some of our little buddies who have been adopted. I look forward to seeing some of my special friends (most probably will not remember me at all) who I used to play with and have fun with during play group here at Beautiful Gate. Now they are living such a wonderful life with their new families and it will be great to see a glimpse of that new awesome life!
I do not know how much time we will have available with the updates we will do at our supporting churches and friends and family who have been supporting us, but if you are interested in putting together a fundraiser while we are home or want us/and or our North American Ambassador, Christina Terpstra, to come share at your church, please email us very soon so we can see if something could be worked out. We will be home (Michigan) till the end of November and then we will be heading back to Lesotho for the rest of our commitment. Bryan's work email is or our personal email is

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sad day

Last night I went to bed with the image of 3 bundles of flowers in my kitchen sink. The weight of the reason for the 3 bundles of flowers was heavy on my heart, not only on mine but on everyone around me also. But what I heard this morning took me by surprise, Elijah said that he and Faith were talking last night and they decided that they did not want to go to the funeral today because it is too sad. My kids have always been perceptive and open and they have not said a whole lot after these two children passed away. Faith did say she was sad and Elijah was a bit angry right after, but that is all they said. It breaks my heart that my kids are hurting. I talked with them both about how attending the funeral would be a way to honor the kids who died, but told them that they may choose what they thought was best for them this time. Elijah decided that he should come, but Faith was very confident that staying home was best for her this time. Such a sweet, sensitive and caring spirit at the age of 8 and 9 and yet faced with the harsh realities of life in a 3rd world country. Am I helping my kids by being here or am I hurting them by stealing away their sweet innocence?

Here are a few photos taken to show honor to the ones who have been called home. Let me just tell you that many tears were shed today as the 3 mounds from Feb were still so fresh and new and here we were adding two more graves.



Monday, April 22, 2013

1 Week Later

I want to say that I am doing much better and am no longer in a lot of emotional pain, but then I would be telling a lie, so I should not say that. I want to tell you that I am stronger than the trials that have come my way, and with God's strength I am, but I am not feeling strong yet. I am having a really hard time bouncing back this time. I hate feeling weak!

It has been a week since the two babies died and I am just not feeling ready to let go or ready to accept it. I remember sitting in the hospital ER with the baby girl for 5 hours one night (in February) when Bryan and I were suppose to be going on a date. Feeding her with a syringe and holding her close while she struggled with her poor health. Laughing when she threw up all over me in the waiting room because I did not even have a burp cloth and I just had to shrug my shoulders and wait for it to dry up. It was nice to cuddle with her and pray for her and rock her to sleep. I am glad I had those 5 hours with her and I just need to accept that God has her for eternity and that was the best plan.

I am still glad that God has called our family here. That we have been able to touch the lives of each child here at Beautiful Gate. I am thankful to have been able to be used by God and that He has literally broken my heart for the things that break His heart. But I feel my human weakness and vulnerability because I cannot seem to heal the brokenness inside me. Please God, heal me, glue the pieces back together, make me whole again. Give me strength and a faith that can literally move mountains. Help me to believe with my whole heart that You can make something good of all the bad and sad things I have seen and felt over the last 2 years.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Better is one day

I can see him so clearly. Lying naked and cold in a plastic bag. Crying and squirming because he is uncomfortable and hungry. Longing to be let out, picked up, fed, and loved. The deepest desire of all hearts - to know we are loved, cared for, important and secure.
Today God gave me this vision of the little boy who passed away Sunday. In my blog post on Sunday, I said why didn't God just take him home when he was in the bag rather than make us all love this little boy only to take him home 41 days later, but as I began to really think it through, I realized that is not what I really wanted. If I had found a bag with a dead little baby, I know that my heart would have just bled for the child. Never having the loving, tender touch of a caregiver. Never hearing sweet words whispered in his ear or a song sung to calm him down. Only a cold plastic bag as his only touch, the sound of the wind rustling the bag his only song, and the sound of passerbys who never knew he existed as his words. No, I do not want that for any child.
While the pain is still raw and my tears are still fresh, better is one day, week, month or year to love and be loved than for a cold heartless death on this earth for any of God's precious little ones.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A letter from Faith

Yesterday, I was so tired and so sad and Faith could see the tears in my eyes after I had spent the night in the baby house. I tried to keep my emotions in check, blink back my tears and go on with my day, but I did not fool Faith. Instead of listening to what I was reading during school, she was busy writing.

Dear Momey,
I know you are sad but you know what I'm sad too Plees chear up Momey i wont (want) you to.
i love you so so so so much! You can chear up cus i love you.
From Faith


Sometimes life is hard and things happen that do not make sense, but it is a great comfort to know that I am not in this alone. God has given me great healing by blessing me with my children. Faith like a child is displayed before my eyes each day and I praise God for the example they can be for me during my struggles. Thank you my dear sweet Faith.

Monday, April 15, 2013

We need you God

From the wisdom of Solomon come these words;
A good name is better than
precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day
of one's birth;
Better to go to the house of
Than to go to the house of
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the
heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the
house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the
house of mirth.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-4

I cannot believe that I am writing these next words, but last night the Lord decided to take another of our precious babies home to be with Him. 2:40 am we were awoken to the words, "There has been an emergency." A baby girl died in her sleep. I cannot express the trauma, heartache, and pain that is rippling through this campus. 2 babies in the same day, from the same home, dying unexpectedly. I will never be able to express the grief I witnessed last night, real anguish like I have not seen or heard before. God help us please because we are in the pit of despair. A campus of mourning, a house of grief and disbelief, full of the deepest sorrow. We need you God. Come close to our broken hearts and restore our hope and trust.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I am not okay

I have tried to think of several different ways to write this post, but it hard to know what to say and what to leave out. I know that many people think that missionaries are all put together and their faith is always strong, but well.. that just isn't the truth. We are human. We sin. We hurt others (not necessarily on purpose). We ourselves hurt. Our scars are so deep and so real that sometimes we can barely breath. Any while this may be only true for myself, sometimes I have questions that cannot be answered. Sometimes I even feel angry with God and I have tried very hard not to post about those things, but today is a day for honesty.

On Friday night I had a friend visit me and while she drove her kids home after it was dark, she came across a big accident. She saw one of the victims lying in the road and the victim had been decapitated. She accidentally said something out loud about it as she was so shocked to see it and while process with her kids about it, her 9 year old daughter said, "I just do not understand how this type of death could have been a part of God's plan." My friend had a hard time answering this question.

Today was a tough day. One of our little babies who was in the hospital for a little over a week passed on into the arms of Jesus today. It was completely unexpected. On Friday the doctor said that he could come home from the hospital soon, but then today we got the call that he was dead. Our relief worker who had been spending time with him told us that she warned the nurses yesterday that he was taking a turn for the worse. He was not eating as well and was losing weight, but the nurse ignored her and did not look into her concerns. Our worker was so discouraged. How could this type of death be part of God's plan?

I am so discouraged too. On March 9th this little baby was found in a plastic trash bag. He was thrown away with no hope for a future and left to die. But he was rescued and brought to Beautiful Gate when he was 3 days old. Then he gets diarrhea, dehydrated and brought to the hospital. Rescued from the trash only to die on his 44th day of life. Why? Why couldn't God have taken him home sooner if He was just going to make him suffer and then have his needs ignored by the ones who were supposed to make him well. Why does the medical care in this country have to be so apathetic? How could this attitude of apathy be part of God's plan?

I am so tired. I am so weak. I feel so hopeless and discouraged. Yesterday, Terp and I went to the hospital with a lightness in us because we heard the 2 boys were doing better, and today we went to get a death certificate, his personal effects, and to pray over the relief worker who spent the last week  caring for him and who left the hospital with a broken heart. Terp and I had a really difficult time trying to process all of this on the way home from the hospital. Ususally one of us is able to be strong and encourage the other, but today we both realized that we are not okay. We are hurting so much. I do not understand God's plan in this. I want to trust Him right now, but I am too weak. Sin, I suppose is the answer to all of my above questions, but God is greater than all the sin in the world.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

14 Years

Tomorrow marks a significant memorial for my family and I have been doing a little reflecting.


When I think of that number I think of how relative it is. Now if I were thinking of it from the perspective of a 90 year old, I would think it is not a long period of time in a person’s life, a mere blip on their radar. If I look at it from the perspective of a 14 year old, it would be a long time, an entire lifetime as a matter of fact. If I think of it in my own life, I think of all that has happened. Too much to write in 1 mere blog post. I got married, bought 3 houses (sold 2 of them), had 3 children, moved 6 times (one of which was to a whole new continent), worked at a group home for neglected and abused teenagers, did day care with my nieces, and became a co-director of an orphanage. Wow, when I write it all out, it seems that a lot can happen in 14 years and those were just a few of the biggest highlights, there is so much more.

I have shared before about my sister April and how special she was to me and it has been 14 years since I have seen her smile or heard her laugh. It has been 14 years since I have been able to call her when I was having a bad day or read one of her sweet letters written to me. 14 years of wondering why, yet trusting God’s timing and plan. 14 years of working hard to find my joy back, yet knowing that I am stronger and more mature because of my journey. 14 years of knowing that being a daughter of the King does not mean that life is going to be easy, but also knowing that I could not bear to go a single day without Him. I do not approach this day as a sister who is mourning, I approach it as a sister who has loved and has no regrets of that love. A sister who wishes she could share all that has happened in 14 years but also realizing that I have all eternity to share with April.

We have no guarantees of how long we get to spend on this earth. I want to spend each day living with purpose. Loving those around me to the fullest, even though sometimes it hurts. Giving away my love freely means I will be hurt, but God wipes my tears and helps me to move on again. We have laid 5 babies to rest since I have come here, but I do not regret giving them my love. We have reunited many children to their families not knowing what will happen to them and if they will be fed, loved, or cared for, but I am glad I could shower them with affection while they were here. God has been merciful and given me 14 years more than my sister and I am glad that I have not wasted them in anger, bitterness and regrets. I miss her and wish she were here, but I cannot change the past and will continue to do my best to live in such a way as to create many amazing memories I can share with her when at last God decides it is time to reunite us in heaven!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Update of sick kids

I am happy to share that Mercy's best friend has returned to Beautiful Gate. She was still quite sick yesterday and not able to play at all, but today she was looking much better. We praise God for her healing. It turns out she had an infection in her blood but thankfully, her body responded well to the treatments.

Yesterday, Donna and I took the little boy (the one who Terp has been feeding faithfully overnight and Donna and I have been feeding during the afternoon and evening) to the hospital for x-rays. Friday night he was unable to eat because his coughing was so intense. He is already very underweight and having this cough is making it very difficult to increase his weight. When looking at this little guy, it is easy to forget that he is 5 months old because he is so small. Such small arms and legs and a rib cage that really stands out. Please pray for him as He needs God's help to get some weight on and to find the right formula. This child is so amazing, despite his malnourished state, he is so alert and has a heart stopping, gorgeous smile. I am amazed by his strength and endurance through his sicknesses and am holding on to the hope that God has great plans for this little guy. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers on his behalf!

We do also have a 3 week old baby who has been in the hospital for a few days. I do not know the details of his illness and ask that you keep him in your prayers also.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2 specific prayer reqests

I have 2 specific children that I would like to ask you to pray for. The first is my daughter Mercy's best friend. She is one of the 12 new children and her and Mercy have become very fast friends. Every afternoon, Mercy looks forward to going to playgroup so she can see "my friend." Yesterday her friend was feeling sick at playgroup, came home and had some further health concerns and needed to be taken to the hospital Emergency Room. Her house mother came to my house and told me Donna needed me in the clinic and there I found Donna hard at work trying to get an oxygen tank ready so we could transport the girl to the hospital. I admire Donna (our amazing Australian volunteer nurse) and her quick thinking in these emergency situations! Poor Mercy followed me into the clinic (because neither of us knew it was an emergency situation when the house mother came and got me) and she saw her friend lying on the bed with machines beeping and oxygen pumping through a mask on her face. Thankfully Bryan was on campus so I could help carry the girl off to the hospital and our team from California even pitched in to make lunch for my kids. Please pray for her as she was quite ill when we brought her in and I do not know enough details to explain what she is being treated for.

The second prayer request I have is for a baby boy. He has been with us at BG for a little while and he is just not able to gain weight. Donna has helped come up with "operation fat" (thanks Donna for the idea and the cool name) to help us get him out of the danger zone and Terp is being our extra feeder during the overnight hours (so if you are one of her friends and she seems out of it in the next 2 weeks now you know why!!!!), Donna is helping with a long afternoon feeding (he has difficulty eating) and I am going to do an evening feeding also. Our goal is to really work hard to get some weight on him in the next two weeks so we can hopefully prevent hospitalization.

Tonight I had the privilege of having him at our house and playing with him for a little while. My kids were kind of excited too which made me smile. Elijah got a small plastic toy car for him to hold and washed it extra carefully before giving it to the baby (we are doing our best not to get him sick). When it was time to feed him, he coughed and choked so much that it was extremely difficult to feed him. I took a few moments to burp him and just felt my hand going over every bone in his spine and touching every rib so clearly. It breaks my heart that he is so young and is having such a tough start to life. Please pray that he will be healed of his cough and that he will be able to put on some weight during the next few weeks and to allow his weight to grow.

We know that God brought both of these children to us for a reason and we pray that He will lead them into a time of healing. We do not want to borrow trouble through worry, so we will just continue asking, seeking and knocking on their behalf.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter weekend

Wow, I can not believe how many days have flown by since I last blogged. I am sure you are all noticing a pattern that when we have a team, my blogging diminishes quite a bit!!!
On Friday, we welcomed a youth group team from Crosspoint Church, in Chino, California. We are LOVING this team and our time together is already going way to quick.

After getting the team settled and fed, our family decided to have a little sleep out under the stars with our friend, Terp. It was such a great time and something we need to do way more of when it is spring and fall and not mosquito season. It was a cool night so thankfully the bugs were at a low. We made it till 6am when Bryan woke up to a few raindrops on his face and we all decided to hurry indoors.

Saturday was a relaxing day and members from the team dispersed a little here and there with our volunteers and many found our local soccer field and played a pick-up game of football (soccer) with the neighbor kids. Elijah joined in the game and was a serious muddy mess when he returned home, but he was beaming with joy from a fun day with new friends. At 2pm several volunteers and a MAF family joined us to color 106 Easter eggs. I hope to have some pics to show you soon, but they are all on my friend Terp's camera.

Sunday - we took the team to church and then had a fun Easter Egg hunt in the afternoon. It was a bit of chaos but what else would you expect from about 40 kids mostly between 2 and 4 years old :) Thankfully the older children are getting used to these hunts as it is our 3rd year doing it so they helped the younger ones find things and fill the bowls. Having extra hands with our Crosspoint team was extremely helpful as I think less children ate egg shells and candy wrappers this year, hahaha!

Today was filled with a fun road trip for the team and I know I have a lot of readers from the California area so... I am not going to tell you what we did, I will let the team share those details when they get home!

All that to say we are busy but we are having fun. We are making new friends and sharing life together in the Beautiful Gate way and it is a blessing to see others being touched by what God is doing here at Beautiful Gate. We can take no credit because we know we could never do this in our own power, the glory all belongs to the Lord. I hope you all had a blessed Easter weekend and that you found time to rejoice in Christ's victory over death.