Monday, October 27, 2014

Cape Town Adventure

Beautiful Gate South Africa celebrated their 20th anniversary this past weekend. The founders and the directors of BG South Africa (BGSA)have been extremely helpful and supportive to Bryan and I as we have taken over the leadership of Beautiful Gate Lesotho (BGL). That being said, we decided to take 4 members (all Basotho) of our management team along with us to celebrate the success of BGSA. The ceremony was nice with a lot of singing and speeches and even a really nice presentation of the children who are part of their after school program. There were a lot of parents who graduated from their parent training program as well and it was such a nice celebration. Well done Beautiful Gate South Africa. I am proud to be affiliated with your organization!

As wonderful as the celebration was and I could say a lot about it, what is really on my heart is the reaction of our 4 staff to their trip to Cape Town. Only 1 of them had been there since childhood and so the experience was new and exciting for the other 3. The enthusiasm they had for the ocean, mountains, wildlife and food was overwhelming, There were times when they were speechless (which pretty much never happens with this group, hahaha) as they looked out over the vast ocean and then they broke into songs and hymns praising God for His creation. The two guys even struck up a conversation with a stranger at a gas station about the beauty of Cape Town and how you can in no way deny God when you see such a beautiful place.

They swam in the water and waves despite the cold water and breeze, they walked next to penguins and baboons (the baboons were a bit scary to me), they sat in awe of creation at the south western most point of Africa, they hiked and they laughed and joked with each other till they almost cried. Being on this trip broke some of the barriers between boss and staff and we all could relax together and experience a common bond of appreciating God's handiwork.

What can I say to such things? My heart is so full and I only wish I could give the same experience to all my staff. I felt like crying once or twice just by the joy they expressed and their words of appreciation for being able to join us on this trip. God is good and this last sentence is dedicated to our 4 staff members, "I like it for the laughter, the singing, and the energy!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beautiful Restoration

Today was a day of restoration here at Beautiful Gate. What satan has meant for harm, God has turned to good. What has been incomplete, has now become complete. What was broken and missing has now been restored. Another orphan has joined his family and a lost child has been found.

There was a little boy here at Beautiful Gate before our family arrived in 2010. He has been here for such a long time and has waited anxiously for the day when he would have a family. I remember days when other kids would be adopted and he would sit by himself during playgroup and he would have tears run down his face. So broken and so alone as he waited for his turn. He is such a softhearted little guy and it always made us feel broken hearted as we would hold him in our laps and dry his tears. We prayed with him and asked God to provide a family for him.

Today was the day and God has answered our prayers! He now has his very own mom and dad and he could not have been more proud. I do not think he stopped smiling the entire time they sat together in the chapel and it made all of our hearts glad. No more tears and wondering when it would be his turn because now he will never be alone again. His heart is no longer broken and his desire for a family has been made complete.

As if this was not enough restoration for the day, we also celebrated with an aunt as she came and was reunited with her niece. She cried tears of joy as she held her niece for the first time and then said that she looked just like her sister and cried more (I am not sure if the aunt's sister has passed away or disappeared??). It was really sweet to see her smiling at and kissing her new niece with such a look of love in her eyes. She cried when she told us that she did not even know she had a niece until our social worker found their family and told them. It was obvious that she is happy to be the one to care for this precious child.

It is always sad to see the brokenness that comes along with running a child care center. Children who are without parents and who desire having a family with all of their hearts. Or children who are lost and their family is unknown. Today we saw God bring hope back to these kids and these families through adoption and reunification and it is the most beautiful sight in all the world.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

School Update

Last week flew by as I was busy getting a house ready for our new teachers who arrived last Friday. Beth and Dawn are sisters from California who have sold their belongings and moved here to Lesotho with their daughters. They are elementary school teachers from a christian school and have been teaching for many years. I asked for help finding 2 teachers so we could start a small school and they felt God had been tugging on their hearts for awhile for them to come to Lesotho.

I am anxiously excited to see what this year will bring. I have just started my 4th year as the kids teacher and I am about to hand my job over to these 2 wonderful ladies. I know that this is for the best as I have really been feeling led to be more involved at Beautiful Gate, but it is a very big transition for all of us. The kids are used to being on campus and having me around 24 hours a day, I am used to being with them all the time as well, and now Bryan will have me working in the same office with him during the week and hopefully won't get too sick of having me around :)

There is a season for everything under the sun and this year is a season of learning to share the educational responsibilities of my kids and learning to let go of control. It is a season of learning where my place at Beautiful Gate is going to be and how God has gifted me so that I can be a useful tool in His work here. It will be a season of transitions for my family but also for the teachers as they have to learn to find balance living and teaching in the same house, learning to adapt to a new culture, trying to be good mothers to their children as they also adapt to being away from home and many other things that will come up.

Please pray for all of us as we transition and adjust together. There will also be 3 other kids joining the school and please pray for them as well as they all learn how to enjoy being together, learning together and growing into better disciples for God's kingdom. We are all feeling that this plan is from God, but we also know that with all change, there can be "growing pains."

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An 11 year old's heart

I have seen many different phases in the lives and hearts of my children over the past 3 3/4 years. I know that when we first arrived, my kids fell head over heels in love with the BG kids. For Elijah, he made some pretty solid friendships despite the language barriers. Then one by one the kids began to get reunited with family or they would get adopted and I noticed that as each friend went away, so did Elijah's carefree friendship with the BG kids. He eventually stopped going to the playgroup and even tried to refuse adoption ceremonies. His heart was broken and it was too hard to love and lose a friend. Before furlough, he even began to lose his smile and became very serious.

During furlough, he reconnected with a few of those special friends and got to see them in their new home, new country and new family. It was like it all clicked and he could realize that they were happier in their new family than they ever could have been at BG. I think he began to soften his heart toward adoption more and not feel the sting of a lost friend.

Since we came back, I have noticed that the carefree and fun big brother attitude is back and Elijah has been making friends with the kids again. He has one little boy who adores him and wants to spend every minute with Elijah that he can. Before furlough, I would have to beg Elijah to play with this boy, but now he seeks him out. He says nice things just to make this boy feel good about himself or to reassure the boy when he is having a tough day. I am so proud of Elijah for his growth and that he came to this conclusion on his own that it is better to love and lose a friend than it is to hide at home and not make friendships. Yesterday when he was watching a slide show, he saw this boy and said, "that's my buddy!" I could not be more proud of his heart. He even asked if we could adopt this little boy and I had to tell him that he is now matched and rather than be disappointed, he was happy that he would have a family and even wishes that he will have a big brother in his new family.