Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Think of Me"

For the past 2 days, I have been going into a house and looking at and holding a little boy. He is less than a week old and he is just an amazingly cute little guy. He is quite lucky to be alive considering his mother did not choose to get pregnant. This choice was forced upon her and yet she choose to go through with her pregnancy and give up her first son for adoption. She is only a teenager and knew she could not care for him nor did she have the resources to even try, so she did the loving thing, and is giving him a hope and a future.
Culturally, she could have ended his life without guilt or shame. Yet, she gave him life. Many girls around the world choose to have "fun" and are careless, get pregnant and abort their babies. They had choices and ways to prevent it and yet choose the easy and immoral way out by choosing death for their child. But this young girl, she chose life for her son. She gave him a chance and can sleep easier without the added trauma of murder to her conscience. May God pour His blessings over this young woman. When forced into this situation, she chose love.
So he arrived the other day, after hours, and I got to meet him on his second day of life. We had a social worker fill out an admission form and that is when I noticed that this little guy did not even have a name. So sad, and yet I know that he does have a name to God. He was knit together and God has a family for him. God knew that his mother would not be able to care for him, but God has a mother who is waiting and aching for a baby to hold in her arms. My heart aches for the girls of Lesotho who are being forced into these situations. My heart breaks for the tiny babies who come through our gates without the love and care of a mother. But my heart also hopes because I will get to see some of these babies in the arms of their chosen mothers. Mothers who will wait years and years until they can bring their child home.
In my reflective state of mind, I listened to the song, "Think of Me" by Lisa Chan a few times today. Here are just a few of the lines in the song that are moving...

"I have a name you can know it, it's been awhile since anybody asked..."
"Think of me, let me live in your mind..."
"Keep loving me, while others play blind..."
"Show true religion, cause words don't relieve, your actions they heal me, show that you believe..."
"Think of me..."

To mothers who chose life and mother's who bring those lives into their homes through adoption!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Eleven years ago, I embarked upon an epic adventure...
I became a mother!
This event changed the course of my life forever. Nothing would ever be the same again...and that is completely fine with me.
You see, I am not one of those mothers who is going to complain about needing time away from my kids because I LOVE being with my kids.
I am not going to tell you all the things I miss from before I was a mother because my life is richer and fuller because of having my kids.
I enjoy who they are, laughing with them, playing with them, cuddling with them, crying with them and most of all loving them through every stage of their life. I do not regret the past and I do not worry about the future hardships to come, I enjoy them right now in the moment.
I say these things not to brag, but in hopes of encouraging others.
Children are a blessing from the Lord whether biological or adopted and I encourage you all to take every minute and live in it so you won't regret missed time once they are gone and out of the house.

Eleven years ago, God gave me a son who was so cute, sweet and easy to love. He has changed a ton over the last 11 years and has become a young man who loves God with all his heart, seeks justice for those who are mistreated, has the most creative and imaginative mind, enjoys being the big brother to over 60 sweet little Basotho kids and who will stop at NOTHING to get a laugh out of everyone he meets. God knew what He was doing when He created this guy because he is a joy to be around :)

Seven years ago, God gave me a daughter who was also cute, sweet and easy to love. She embraces her place as the youngest in our family by being our little clown. Her laugh is so hilarious that it makes all of us laugh with her. She loves like no one I have ever known and enjoys serving others. She spends most of her free time pretending to be an animal and loves to dress up and be a girly girl. But most of all she loves to bring a smile to our face and to cheer up the kids around Beautiful Gate when they are sad. She loves God and wants to please Him and prays more faithfully for people than I ever remember to. I am so glad God knit her together into such a great mixture of fun and love.

I praise God for another year with my precious kids and that I can celebrate the birthdays of 2 of them tomorrow. I did not do anything to deserve such precious gifts, yet God saw fit to give me 3 of the most amazing blessings in all the world. I will do my best to honor Him by investing my whole heart into them so that they in turn can pour their hearts out for others when it is time for them to serve God on their own.


Bryan and I surprised them with a flight with MAF. They loved it except that Mercy gets a little airsick, bummer. They were celebrities at the village they visited too as I do not think too many white kids have flown there :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good Reasons to Come to Africa

The other  night, Faith and her 2 cousins, Paige and Kelly, spent about 2 1/2 hours Skyping with each other. They did their usual things like playing with American girl dolls and having a dance party, but then they did something new which made my heart extremely sad. The three of them decided to convince their mom/Faith's aunt of all the good reasons they should come to Africa. My kids and their cousins are like siblings in that they are so close and they really love each other and miss each other so much while we are here in Africa. It is so hard to have them separated, but I have to trust God's timing and plan.
Sorry Kristin but I made a promise to the little sweeties that I would write out their list and make sure you saw it. They spent a lot of time and had some great discussions (more than one which made me want to cry because they love each other so much) and here is the list of all the good reasons why you should bring your two girls to Lesotho/ South Africa:

1. Good way to spend time together
2. It's educational
3. Once in a lifetime opportunity
4. African kids
5. Fun
6. Warm
7. New foods
8. Amazing views
9. Pet and see cool animals
10. Help kids
11. New culture
12. Exciting
13. Amazing sunsets
14. Swimming
15. Hunting
16. Fishing
17. You will see what life is like for us
18. We don't have to Skype
19. New smells
20. Stars
21. We can climb the big tree
22. Pretty flowers
23. Amazing trip
24. New language
25. Adoptions
26. See each other in person

With each list of good reasons, you need a few bad reasons too so the girls had:

1. Expensive
2. Long travel time
3. Mosquitos
4. Need shots
5. Passports needed
6. Poverty (seeing it I guess)
7. Boring trip in airplane
8. Water is not clean

As you all can see the good far out ways the bad, so it is a pretty convincing argument :) I praise God for a family that really loves one another and really wants to be together. We are lucky that our kids and nieces get along so well. I just need to remember to be thankful when I hear them talking and plotting together and not feel sad or bad that they are not able to be together as much as they would like. This is one of the unfortunate costs of obedience, but we have eternity to spend together making up for the time we do not get to be close to each other on Earth. And Kristin, I do not know if their argument will help you come here, but here is their well thought out list. If only the cost was not so high, then it would be so much easier.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quarterly Update

This is an article that I posted in our most recent newsletter so if you received our newsletter, you can ignore this post.

The last 4 months have been very full of visitors from around the world. We have hosted several teams, even a few from our own hometown which was great. During our furlough, we felt like we were too busy to really connect with a few people that we wanted to connect with and having a team from our church as well as a team from Bryan’s old high school, offered a great opportunity for us to make stronger connections.
Seeing those we love and respect coming through the gates here and falling in love with the same kids and staff we love is heartwarming. Seeing their tears, hearing their stories, and listening to their hearts about how God has met them while they served Him here is always so encouraging to us and inspiring also.

We have had 3 volunteers join our team this year and spending time with them has also been such an encouragement to us. Living in community day by day and seeing Jesus come alive through the actions and attitudes of those serving alongside us has kept us going through the hard times and helped us stop and give God the glory in the good times too. 

Beautiful Gate is not a perfect place because we have not reached our destination in heaven yet, but it is great to see how God is using people from around the world to come alongside our staff and He has helped our staff come alongside those who are hurting. There are many issues that arise both through our staff and through our volunteers and it has given us many opportunities to grow and also to display the fruit of the spirit which God is pruning us to produce. All that being said, we feel God moving and shaping us and we love the way He is using His people to encourage each other in the amazing journey of life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New Prayer Request

We all have experienced that there is a season for everything just like it says in Ecclesiastes, and right now I guess is the season of frustration.
Running the day to day operations of Beautiful Gate is well more than a full time job. There are after hour emergencies, work that needs to be done over the weekend and mental and emotional stress of the job that is taken home each night. I know that is true with many Americans too and I do not discredit their hard work, but the added stress of a donation run organization in a foreign country do add a difficult dimension all their own. Sometimes there are so many great things happening that the difficulty is easy to overlook. A sick child is healed and returns home from the hospital, a child is reunited with a parent who really loves them, a child is adopted, one of our staff shows gratitude for something, a team comes and blesses our staff with special gift, etc.
But sometimes the difficulties of one thing going wrong after another with no break in between is too much and it overshadows the good.
We would appreciate your prayers. Please pray that things would stop "breaking" here at Beautiful Gate, that our equipment would work properly and be installed correctly and that our cars would be maintained well and a trustworthy and good mechanic could be found. Please pray that our staff would love one another and that they would work with unity and in a peaceful spirit with one another. Most of all, please pray that we would ALL keep our eyes focused on God and not let the worries of this world carry us away through fear or frustration.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Goodbyes, Apartheid and G.A.S.

Our family was away most of the last week because we took Grace and Terp to Koranna Game Lodge and met up with some of our friends who are living in South Africa. We had a lot of fun and relaxation time while we were there. We wanted to give Terp and Grace a couple days to have some down time to process all they have experienced over the past 6 months before hopping on a plane and returning to America. Terp and I made a fun little video about hunting and making a homemade bow, which amazingly, was able to shoot an arrow!!!!! Not enough force behind it to kill an animal, but it was impressive anyway (not that I would ever actually kill an animal).
We drove to Jo-berg on Wednesday to drop Terp and Grace off at the airport and Faith summed it up best when she said, "No one should have to say good-bye to 3 of their best friends on the same day." (Elaina is her friend who lives about 8 hours away in South Africa and we had to say buy to them before we drove to Jo-berg). Despite the sadness of saying good-bye to people we love, we were able to have some quality time together as a family for the rest of that night and the next day. I wanted to take the kids on a field trip to Soweto to learn more about apartheid, but we could not afford the tours (I had no idea anything in Africa cost that much, bummer). We settled for the Apartheid museum which was very informative but also very sad to see pictures and see first hand videos of the horror people faced in those years. Each of my kids wrote a paper about it and I was impressed with the things they picked up on while at the museum.
After that we decided to end the day with something a little lighter and took the kids to a place where they could feed giraffes and it was great. They had one of the biggest giraffes I have ever seen (and yes I have seen quite a few since coming to Africa) and unfortunately for Mercy, he confused her finger for a piece of food and squished it a little. After a few moments of tears, she forgave the giraffe, and Bryan told her she was in a rare club called G.A.S., giraffe attack survivors. We all has a very good laugh at that and continued with our day :)
I enjoyed our family time very much as it is a rare thing when we have a few days to ourselves so although our hearts we sad to say our goodbyes, God gave us a little present of family time so we could make a few more memories as well as have a few teachable moments through learning about the history of South Africa.