Monday, September 23, 2013

Saying Good-bye long distance

Wow, so many changes are taking place at Beautiful Gate while we are away. Some have been great, some have been extremely difficult and some leave us feeling like we are missing a little closure by not being there. Benno and Wendy are doing a great job at Beautiful Gate and I thank God that He brought them there to fill in for us while we have been away. I got an email from Wendy about one of the kids who will be leaving soon and I got an email from Kristen (our volunteer in the BG office who is Bryan's right hand helper) about 5 kids who will be leaving in the next 2 weeks. It is good that there are a few kids leaving real soon as our numbers have just bounced to 74 today!

With these kids leaving it has caused me to reflect on a few of them and on how bittersweet it is that I will not likely see them again. In those kids are my "soccer buddy" who was deathly afraid of white people when he first arrived, oh how he screamed and hid from me whenever he saw me near him. It took about 2 weeks before he warmed up and became my buddy. His smile lights up a room. My "cuddler" is also being adopted. She would run to my side and hug me whenever she had the chance. I looked for her in play group because I knew she would give me her best smile and hug and then we could run off and play together. My "singer," I will miss my little singer. He is the brightest kid I have ever met in my life and he can sing and clap to the beat and though he is young, he has been doing it for years. I thank God that I have a little recording of his little voice because I will miss his singing and his amazing chubby cheeks.

The last little guy is a miracle, and today I got to write him a farewell letter. It was hard not to tear up as I recall how special and how miraculous his life is. So many nights I was on my knees in prayer for this little kid, praying that God would heal him and now the Lord has provided him a family of his own. It leaves me feeling awestruck by the goodness and faithfulness of our God. I am sad that I will not get to say good-bye in person, but it is only a tiny sadness that is overcome with the joy that God has not left these children as fatherless or motherless. He has given them the very thing they stand in NEED of, a family who will love them. Until we meet again my precious Beautiful Gate friends.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back to the swing of things...

It took a little while to rest up and wait for my headaches to subside after all our travels. I have been taking it easy for the last week and a half which I think helped the headaches to go away. The kids started school last Monday and they were a little less than thrilled to start school only 2 days after returning from their travels, but they have adjusted this week and school has been going very well.

 
We also spent some time relaxing by the river and watching the guys do some fishing. It was a good way to spend some down time after the traveling. We still have so many people we want to see and not near enough weekends to squeeze it in so I hope that we will be able to manage our time well in the next 2 1/2 months!


 
We did have a day where we were missing Lesotho so I made a traditional Basotho meal in order to help us feel closer to our friends there. It turned out pretty good, yeah!
 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

We are home in Michigan

We have arrived safely home to Michigan. Our last leg in the journey was pretty exciting so I thought I would share our final highlights. We spent the night in Green Bay, Wisconsin so in the morning we took our kids to see the Packer's stadium. I have been a fan of the Packers for a long time and it was fun to see how excited my kids got when I told them we were going to see the stadium.

 
The next item on the agenda was taking my brother across the Mackinac bridge as neither he nor our kids have been across the bridge. They thought it was pretty cool and had a lively conversation about why the lake has one name on one side of the bridge and another on the other when there is nothing separating the lakes :)
 
 
And the final stop was a very very special one for my kids. A few years ago, my sister-in-law Kristin unknowingly got Elijah addicted to a series of books by Jonathan Rand, the Michigan Chillers books. She mailed 2 books to us in Lesotho and within 3 hours, Elijah had read both of the books. I was shocked that a boy could read that fast and after that he begged her and his grandmother to ship him books for his birthday and Christmas. Bryan and I were going to be driving right by Chillermania which is his store in Indian River and it was late in the day so we figured we would just get a picture of him outside the building, but we saw a car in the parking lot and the door to the store was unlocked. My kids walked inside and found that Jonathan Rand and his wife had stopped by the store to pick something up (it was not actually open). They were kind enough to let my kids buy a few books and he autographed the books and even offered to let me take a picture with him and my kids. To say that my kids were excited would be a bit of an understatement!!! As we were leaving, Mr. Rand also handed my kids a free CD of some ghost stories for the rest of their journey. I was super thrilled for my kids!


 


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Almost home

I want to write something eloquent and beautiful to describe the journey our family has been on since August 2nd, but words fail me. SO many friendships renewed, new friendships formed, and experiences that will NEVER be forgotten. My children have so many highlights that I cannot even begin to narrow it down. Each city and each family we stayed with has blessed us and enriched our lives by sharing theirs with us. I thank God that He could orchestrate all of our divine appointments, give us strength to share how He is working through us, give us the strength to share our hearts about Beautiful Gate, keep us all in pretty good health as we traveled from place to place, bless our children with experiences that few children their age have been blessed with, and so much more. Thank you so much to all of you who have opened your homes and hearts to us. Thank you for the many meals, tours and heartfelt conversations.

With the chance to share and answer questions, came the million dollar question, over and over again. "Will you be coming home after your 5 year commitment is up, or will you extend your stay?" Time and again we have felt a tug in our heart one way or the other. To come home and be with the ones we love and have missed so terribly...how we yearn for it. However, being with the precious children and staff that have carved themselves in our hearts and who we love and truly feel humbled by and called to serve...how we yearn for it. So we cannot in any way answer the question of what we will do yet because we are seeking the Lord so if you would like to help, please pray for us to hear from God and that we will do His will, not our own, not our family's and not Beautiful Gate's.

We are slowly making our way back to Michigan and hope to be there either Saturday or Sunday this week.