Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cheerful Givers

I have read the verse in 1 Corinthians 9:7 many times before, it says, "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
But, I have never truly seen it done before in quite the way I saw it done last Friday evening. A fundraiser was put together for the Beautiful Gardens project by a couple of special women, Pam and Mary, at Graafschap CRC church. They had a lot of helpers and put together an evening where we all rode in an airplane to Lesotho, Africa to help build a house for Beautiful Gardens. There were skits, music, exercise, and so much more. To be honest it was so funny at times, I along with a few other people, was literally crying. I could never pull off something like that so I am thankful that God has gifted so many people with the ability to bring laughter and fun to a fundraiser.

Here are a few photos from the evening...
Our beautiful angelic hosts for the evening, aka the top flight attendants who did many funny skits along with organizing the fundraiser. These ladies are so much fun!

Yep, Captain Bryan flew our plane to Africa. He did go a little off script on occasion to show his own good humor.
Apparently I have been living in Africa too long because I have never seen a tummy whistler skit before. I was crying from laughter. I will not disclose who the whistlers were though :)

Elijah got to join his buddies Jesse and Shelby for an in flight exercise routine.

As we closed the night, I reflected on how much joy had been shared throughout the evening. It means so much to me that despite the lighthearted atmosphere of the evening, every person there knew that they were there because of the orphans at Beautiful Gate. The money that they put into their envelopes would be going to be used to help in the care of orphans across the ocean through a building project,  and I got to sit back as people pulled out their checkbooks with smiles on their faces. I saw real cheerful giving and I learned something new about being a cheerful giver that night. Doing God's work is joyful, I should always give with a smile and with gratitude in my heart! Thanks again Graafschap Church. 
The goal was to raise $40,000 so they could build one house, but actually the number they announced at church on Sunday morning was $127,000, enough for 3 houses. You just can't beat God's giving!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What faith can do through an 11 year old!

When I went to Lesotho for the first time in 2009, my team was lead by my friends Keith and Lori Kroll. They had lived in Lesotho for 5 months with their 3 children a few years before our trip. During that time, their 5 year old daughter was impacted a lot by Beautiful Gate and by Lesotho. She has made an incredible video and tells her story in a way which is honest and real. She is working toward a goal of raising some funds to help build a rental home at Beautiful Gardens as a way of supporting the children and staff of Beautiful Gate. Please take some time to click on this link and watch her video and prayerfully consider your role in helping her reach her goal! Thank you Morgan for showing us all what faith can do and for having faith to move a mountain, or in this case build a house!

I may not have done this right to make the link work, but it does work when I copy and paste it. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

South Carolina and Halloween

Despite our apprehension about another road trip, our trip to south Carolina was a huge success! It was a blast for our kids as they reconnected with their cousins and I also enjoyed some time to get caught up with my sister, brother-in-law and dad again. We went hiking, to the zoo and just spent time playing together at the park and in the backyard with a big pile of leaves and it was wonderful.

The Greenville zoo was celebrating the birthday of their giraffe.
It isn't "fall" unless there is a huge pile of leaves to fall into!
The leaves wore her out :)

I felt a little inspired by the elephants so did a little reenactment in the gift shop.


It was also a highlight to hang out with our friends Tim and Antje as well and to see our kids all get along so well after 3 years of not seeing each other. Tim and Antje peppered us with questions about our time in Lesotho and also invited their bible study group over so we could share with them about Beautiful Gate. It was really good to answer their questions and look back at our journey thus far and it also got us more excited about going back to Lesotho. God is so good and He provided a lot of great connections and conversations during our time in South Carolina!

When we came back, we jumped right into the Halloween activities and Mercy really enjoyed her first "American" Halloween that she could remember (I have pictures to prove other years but she does not remember). We have carved pumpkins, done some face paint, and trick or treated with friends. This coming week is FULL of meetings and speaking engagements for Bryan and I as our time is winding down swiftly here in the states. We leave for Lesotho on December 4th so it is little over a month away.