Saturday, February 22, 2014

God's "blessings"

I went to a mountain to spend some time with my friends, but I did not even get to talk to them.

I went to the mountain to watch a sunset, but the clouds came and covered it up.

I went to the mountain to sit and reflect on how wonderful God is by looking at His amazing creation, but the creation He wanted me to reflect on surprised me.

You see, God did not want me to talk to my friends or look at nature, God had some very special little people who needed some love and attention so He brought them to the mountain… to me.

We arrived at Lancer’s Gap to watch a sunset and as we got there, about 20 children from the village walked over to us and sat on a rock near us. They wanted to play with my girls but my girls were a little shy. Elijah and the boys took rocks and used a plastic bottle for target practice and they had such a good time. I sat there in a quandary for a minute. I have friends from England visiting me and I haven’t had much time to spend with them, yet I see 20 beautiful faces looking at me and waiting for me to invite them into a conversation.

I asked them each their name, the grade in school and favorite class. I asked them all which ones were brother and sister and then told them about my kids’ names, grades and about their school. We sat there for a very long time and then it was getting dark. I asked each of them what they want to be when they grow up and got answers like a soldier, a nurse, a teacher, and a police officer. It was so delightful to spend time sitting on a rock circled by a bunch of kids and talking to them all. It also made me really reflect.

“Let the little children come to me,” the words of Jesus. Children are a blessing from the Lord. How sad is it that so many parents have forgotten that. They spend their days working long hours to buy things that their kids do not even need to be happy, their kids just want them to sit and listen to them, show that they care. Groups of mothers gather together to display a badge of honor about how “hard they have it” rather than enjoying this precious time with their children. I am not saying that I enjoy each and every minute with my kids like I should, but I do spend a lot of time with them trying to do the things they are interested in and just loving them. I encourage all of you with kids to enjoy your blessings, discipline them when they need it of course, but really enjoy who they are because you only have 18 years to really lay a foundation of love and caring in them so they can go into the world confidently knowing they are loved and encouraged by their parents. For those of you who are still waiting for your child, the adjustment can be hard but never forget that they are a blessing, a gift from God Himself.

The children of Lesotho are teaching me so much and one of those lessons is that a kid does not need stuff to make them happy; they need love and a listening ear. They need to know that someone thinks they are special and believes in them so they can go out and achieve their dreams. They need someone to choose them over the other adults around and sit with them and tell them that they have value in this world. I thank God for His many lessons that He is teaching me on my journey here in Lesotho.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Homeschool update

I thought I would give a little update about something new our kids are a part of here in Lesotho. While we were away on furlough, another homeschooling family moved into Maseru, working with MAF. She and a few other mothers began to get together once a week for a homeschool co-op. Once we arrived back from furlough, I got in touch with these families so we could join.

On Thursdays, 3 of us moms have been taking turns teaching our kids. We meet at the Maseru Sun pool for 2 hours of swimming and wow my kids have improved greatly, even Mercy who was not swimming at all till this year. Then we go to the "teachers" home for lunch and 2 hours of class time. It is so much fun to see other moms and their teaching styles and to teach other peoples kids too. I am loving this! I have decided to teach some music appreciation and science. The experiments are a ton of fun for the kids and I have always struggled to do it with my 3 kids and now I have other people depending on me too so it is easier to plan and follow through with science experiments.

A prayer point is that we are considering the idea of starting a small christian school in Maseru because our kids are loving this so much and we are all seeing the benefits of coming together to teach our kids. One of my new friends, Anna, is willing to coordinate the efforts and is working on it with her sending organization. I am talking with a friend who has expressed interest in seeing a christian school in Maseru and seeking his help. I would like prayer for guidance, wisdom, and favor from God in this process as we want to do what is best for our kids, but it is not a small task. God is good and we are trusting His leading as well as His timing.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine Gift

I am such a sap! Today we are celebrating Faith’s 9th birthday and it is such a joy to share life with Faith. I never knew a kid could be so obedient, thoughtful, compassionate, kind and imaginative, but God has made Faith very special. Her heart toward others is so beautiful and I thank God for who He is molding her to be.

I put a few photos of her on facebook and immediately got a few comments from mothers around the world whose children have been touched by Faith’s kindness and friendship and I literally almost began to cry. I KNOW as a 9 year old, I was not anywhere as thoughtful and compassionate as Faith and it amazes me that at the young age of 9 she really understands the need of a friend to those around her. She chooses the least of these, the underdog, the one who is different, and the lonely one sitting out of a group as her friend. I am amazed by that spirit of love.

There have been times when I have been fearful that our time here is ruining my kids because of the difficult life of those around them, but moments of reflections like birthdays are great times to look at who my child is becoming and see how God as used the tough stuff not to harden their hearts, but to grow their heart more deep, more real, more insightful and more like His. I have noticed the same things in Elijah and Mercy, but I wanted to dedicate this post to Faith because she is shining the Light of Jesus to the kids here at Beautiful Gate as well as to the volunteers, teams and missionary kids around her and it is her special day, her birthday. Thank you God for the gift of Faith because she is such a precious gift to our family!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Special Friends

The past 2 weeks have been incredible. Our good friends, Chad and Meredith and their 5 kids are visiting us and volunteering at Beautiful Gate. The fact that they are here was definitely a God appointment because we almost did not find time to get together while we were on furlough.
Bryan and I have known Chad and Meredith for 15 years. They were volunteers in our college ministry through our church when we were attending Calvin College. They were kind enough to invite Bryan and I to join their bible study after we were married and for 8 years we met together faithfully every Thursday night. We really felt like they, and many other members of our bible study, were like family after meeting together and sharing our life and faith for so many years.
I never could have even imagined that Bryan and I would be living here in Lesotho and that God would allow our friends to bring their family and visit us. They are such encouraging friends and sharing our “new” life with them has been exciting. Seeing Beautiful Gate through their eyes has been amazing. Seeing their kids bonding with the Beautiful Gate kids and sharing special moments with them has been rewarding. Sharing the details of all that has happened in the last 3 years with Chad and Meredith has been encouraging also. They have such good insight and advice and are amazing listeners as well as great with asking questions! Meredith has formed special friendships with some of our staff and is enjoying going from house to house helping her daughters during feeding time and playing with all the kids during play group. Chad has been off campus more and been working with a local clinic that rarely has access to a doctor, but has also been able to help in the houses and give a check up to a few of our sick kids (including Faith who had good timing to get sick while he was here).

A chance meeting where God was stirring in their hearts to do a family mission trip, my son Elijah in his excitement of sharing about BG encouraged them to bring their family and come because we had something for everyone in the family. God gave us a special gift of renewed friendships and new friendships formed as our kids have had the chance to get to know one another. God is good and this is just one small example of His goodness. Looking forward to enjoying another week with our special friends. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Semonkong Pictures

Hmmm, that time it worked so maybe I will try to add a couple pictures from our trip to Semonkong last weekend with our friends, the Furness family from Grand Rapids, Michigan (I will do a post on them again soon as my last 2 attempts never posted)
A traditional Basotho Hut.

Bryan's favorite construction sign.

The beautiful waterfall in Semonkong.

Our super cool friends from MI who are visiting us for almost a month and are volunteering at BG.

Not sure who had more fun on the pony trekking cause they both have huge smiles. Faith and her guide enjoyed their journey to the waterfall and back.

As you can see I got the pictures to load but I had to go through a different browser than usual so I still do know what has happened to make my blog suddenly stop working with Internet Explorer??

Test Post

I am having a terrible time with my blog. I have lost the last 2 posts I have written due to some unknown error so this is a test post. Praying I can get it sorted soon before you all give up hope in my blogging abilities :)