Thursday, January 23, 2014

Questions

I guess being away from Lesotho for a few months took down a bit of a protective wall I had placed around my heart and mind. Since my return, I find myself just wanted to be alone and to think through some verses that have really been on my mind. I am struggling with them and mulling them around in my head each day and rather than coming up with the answer, I just feel more and more confused as to what should be my next step.


Luke 14:25-33
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.


What does this mean for me and my family? How much do I love God and want to be a disciple of Jesus? Am I really, really willing to give up EVERYTHING?


James 2:15-17
15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.


What about the children who walk past me barefoot everyday? What about the kids in my community who go to bed hungry each night and I have food that occasionally goes bad and I throw it away!? I know I am helping to care for the kids on BG's campus, but there is much more that needs to be done right outside my gate.


James 4:17
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.


I need to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and love my neighbor as myself. I love my kids and would do everything in my power to keep them from being barefoot and half starved so shouldn't I do the same for my neighbors? Wow, my mind is just spinning everyday, but I know that God knows my thoughts and will guide me to the right answers.





Friday, January 17, 2014

Racing to the Deadline

The Beautiful Gate maintenance crew and even some of our office staff have been keeping very busy this week. Our new volunteer house was suppose to be completed at the end of December, but due to an unforeseen roofing issue, got delayed by 3 weeks. It has been a nightmare for Bryan as he has tried to get it all sorted, but he has been doing his best to keep things rolling and to have our maintenance supervisor order the supplies well in advance so as not to have anymore delays. Bryan has joined the crew and has been helping them paint walls and seeing their boss working hard has kept everyone in good spirits and on task!

Yesterday was a bit of a warm day so Bryan had one of our volunteers, Kristen, go out and buy some watermelons for the crew as well as all the staff and kids on campus. Watermelon is a special treat that they do not get very often so it was fun to give them a little blessing.

We have exactly 9 days to get the house finished before we are having our first volunteer family of the year so please pray that all goes well and that it is finished before they arrive (knowing how things work in Africa, we have found a back up house just in case, but hope not to use it).


Here are 3 pictures from the work being done on Tuesday!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Faith's request

My daughter, Faith, has given me something to think about and I thought I would share it with my fellow blog readers who are journeying with us here in Lesotho. As a family, we have decided to get involved with the soup kitchen through our church once a month on a Wednesday night. I have been inquiring with the ladies who run it as to how our family can best be of help, and we are still working out the answer to that.


Yesterday Faith pulled me into her room and sat me on the floor with her piggy bank in her lap. She was very serious and said that while she thinks that the soup kitchen is a good idea, it is not helping the people in this neighborhood (our church is in town about a 15 minute drive). She told me that it bothers her that so many kids walk to the well each day to get water and they are barefoot. It bothers her that kids cannot go to school because they cannot afford a uniform or shoes. It bothers her that kids are hungry right outside our fence. She and her cousins were skyping last week and trying to figure out how to make shoes for all the kids in the neighborhood who are barefoot so Faith told me that we don't have to worry about shoes because her and her cousins, Paige and Kelly, have that covered (they are so sweet). She opened her piggy bank and dumped out the 8 rand and said I could get started. I told her that we should pray about it and have a meeting with one of our staff for insight before we jump in.


So here is my prayer request. It is easy to help at the soup kitchen because the church members know the kids who come and are able to tell me which ones really need help, whether it is shoes or a warm blanket. But in our neighborhood, I do not know who needs help the most and I have to be careful how I do it. I do not want it to come from us but rather through a church or a village chief so that it is not the "white skins" who are seen as benefiting everyone. Please pray for Faith and I to find a trustworthy Masotho who can guide us so we can help the least of these outside our fence the way we used to help Lucky. Maybe God wants us to do both of these things?


I know I have vented on my blog a few times about worrying about ruining my kids by being here since they see such hard things at such a young age, but God has shown me that He is working through their hearts. I praise God for the work of compassion He is doing in Faith's heart.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Welcome Terp and Grace!

Today, Anita and I had the pleasure of doing something a little different from our normal day at Beautiful Gate.  We were able to take the day "off" and drive to Johanesburg Airport to fetch our two newest volunteers, Christina Terpstra and Grace Boersma.  We left at 8AM this morning and arrived back shortly before midnight.  While this may not sound like a "day off" to most people, it was a pleasant change of pace for us.  And, Kristen Mann, my "right hand" lady in the office was able to watch our children for the day.  So, Anita and I were able to get some really good quality time with each other while we were driving for about 6 hours to the airport.

Arrival in South Africa!

After the ladies came out of the baggage claim area, they looked a bit exhausted.  But, they were both very strong and made it most of the way home without falling asleep.  That is one of the best ways to get on this time zone.  The conversation in the 6 hour drive back was great!  And, we became aware that Grace had been dreaming of coming to Beautiful Gate for about 5-6 years.  That is some amazing commitment!  In our world of instantaneous reactions, twitter and other social media and trying to keep up with everyday life, we sometimes give up on the dreams that we may have had only a few weeks ago.  But, God's timing does not always match with ours.  It reminds me of the passage in Hebrews 12:1b, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  Yes, we are running toward our goal, but there will be trials, or delays during our race.  But, we are not to give up on them and continue on. 
Terp and Bryan back at their shenanigans!
We look forward to seeing the Lord work through them here at Beautiful Gate.  We know that they will see the face of God in the children and will be amazingly blessed.  Thanks for coming to Beautiful Gate!
Bryan

Monday, January 6, 2014

An Adoption Reflection

One of the hardest things about being in Lesotho are the sad stories of abandonment. It breaks my heart that life can be so hard that there is no choice but to walk away from an innocent child who is undeserving of such a hardship. This reflecting got me thinking of the story of Moses.
A mother desperate to keep her son but she can't or he will be killed (or in Lesotho the child would starve to death or get HIV from nursing, etc). In her desperation she hides him and lets her daughter look on as she leaves her son in the river. What a horrible place she must have been in. She only knew her own devastation that she had to let him go, she never could have known what God had planned. Abandoning a child has to be horrible and traumatic for so many mothers who are forced to do it and it is hard to even try to be in their shoes.
Then this little baby boy is found by a princess and is adopted. Abandoned in desperation, then adopted to be the rescuer of the Hebrew people! Born to be adopted by another woman so God's plan could be perfected. Knit together in his mother's womb, but not meant to stay in her arms for more than a few years. Chosen to be someone else's son so that more good could come to a whole nation than to one family. WOW, that is powerful!!!!!!
There are many days when my human weakness takes over and I am tempted to doubt God's plan when I hear sad stories or witness heart wrenching moments, but God's plan is so much better, bigger and well it is just perfect. When God is knitting together His children, He has an amazing plan that sometimes can only be brought together through adoption. Just some thoughts I have been reflecting on today and thought I'd share them.