Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas and Babies

It has been over 2 weeks since I wrote anything on here. I think that in itself will give you an indication of how busy our lives have been!!!!!! I have eaten more food, been to more parties, and played more games that I could even count (ok, maybe I could count the parties and my belly will prove the food part). We have continued to be very loved and blessed by family and friends, and it has really filled us up. I loved seeing everyone and doing the fundraising that needed to be done last furlough, but being in one place for 2 months is pretty great.
I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas!! We missed our first Christmas in Lesotho in 5 years, but we gained some good family memories too. It will be a Christmas to remember for a few years because we will miss it again for a year or two. It was not a white Christmas like my kids were praying for, in fact it was raining a little bit. We have less than a month for the snow to fall, so I am sure my kids will double their efforts in the praying snow department!

On a more serious note, I have been thinking so much about babies this Christmas. Last Sunday, a friend of ours shared a sad story of her grandchild's traumatic entry into the world and his death. Only a week before Christmas, and they are left to mourn this child who was desperately wanted. The parents wanted to give him their love and care and to tell Him how special he was for many years to come. Another baby entered the world this week to an incredible loving couple (Congrats Steve and Heidi). This child was born healthy, and it was so great to see the huge smile on the proud father's face today. That little baby will be loved, cared for, and raised to know and love her Lord. A third baby entered the world today whose mother is barely more than a child herself with no job, and no real means of supporting her child other than government assistance. I do not think that she knows the Lord and I know that her mother was not a good role model, so I wonder how raising this child will go for her.
Jesus came into the world as a baby. He did not chose the easiest or most comfortable way to enter the world (I seriously doubt the comfort of a manger and rags, poverty and a mother who was probably shunned for having a baby out of wedlock). He experienced so many things (like poverty and living in a strange land when they fled to Egypt) and can relate to so many things that we all go through because He lived as one of us. It breaks my heart that my friend's grandchild did not get to live, and it breaks my heart that children is Lesotho are thrown away as if they are no more than a candy wrapper. It is also hard to watch children growing up in poverty struggling to find their next meal. But, it is also beautiful to see a family coming together to celebrate the birth of their child. Some situations seem so much more unfair than others, and yet, we do not walk through any of the hard stuff without our loving Father by our side. We do not go through the injustices without Jesus walking along with us, and saying that everything is going to be ok and He understands. We do not go through the valleys without the Holy Spirit comforting us, or carrying us when the shadow of death is upon us. I am glad God sent His son to us as a tiny baby so we can know how much He cares and understands.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Showered in love

I feel so blessed and overwhelmed with love today. We are now living in our home town of Zeeland. A wonderful couple from this area has gone out west for the winter and are letting us stay in their condo rent free. It is on a pond, in a quiet community and it is a great fit for our family. What a blessing to have our own space so we are close to our church family, and we can invite people over. It was great staying with our family for the last month, and they were so generous with their time and space, and we lacked for nothing.
Yesterday, we moved into this condo, but I had agreed to meet my nieces after school (they had a half day) so we could all hang out and then we went to a hockey game that my brother got us tickets to. I did not have time to get many groceries, only breakfast and lunch stuff since it was 10:45pm and my kids were in the car.
Today, our accountability group (friends who have walked with us for the last 5 years and prayed with us) stopped by dropping off groceries, baked goods, and even a gift card. We feel completely blessed and overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family and our church family/ community. One of our sending churches even collected some gift cards for our family so I could get my kids, and Bryan and I some new clothes.
We have had so many offers for visits and heard from many friends and family who want to see us and it is overwhelming, but good. Being away for a few years and then walking back into such a loving community really makes us feel lucky. We have been out of sight for a long time, but we have not been overlooked or forgotten. For those of you who have been walking this journey with us for the last 5 years, thank you. Thank you for your love, your prayers, your comments and encouragement. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary as missionaries to Beautiful Gate on December 4th, and we are feeling revived and re-energized to finish our final 2 years well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reconnecting Cousins

Our nieces are staying with us for the week and 2 days ago, Bryan had a blast pulling our kids and their cousins on a sled behind the 4 wheeler. I have not heard that much laughter and screaming in a long time. Elijah and my mother-in-law built up a really nice ramp so the sled riders could get some air. Wow, what fun!
Today we took a long walk in the woods and stood watching the river for a little while. It is a mixture of crazy fun and relaxation as we spend time up here in the woods. My kids and their cousins get along as if they had never been apart and that is such a blessing. They still have a lot in common despite their life experiences being so different over the last 5 years. It gives me hope that my kids will be able to transition back into their community in 2 years.
Is it safer with their eyes closed?? Probably not :)

Let the snow balls fly cause for once, Eli can't get us back!

This one is pretty awesome. It is the first time Mercy has been sledding with a ramp. I'd say that she likes it quite a bit :)



These 5 are pretty awesome together! Friends for life.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Family Fun

We made it safely home to America and we are hiding away in the forest of Michigan. There have been SO MANY things that we have noticed that are different than what we are used to in Lesotho, and it has been a fun family game. Mercy and Faith are just amazed at all the trees. Elijah is amazed because there are no people (no shepherds). There are no taxis or pedestrians and because we are in the woods, it is sooooooo quiet! We laughed about how soft the toilet paper is and were appalled at the ridiculous size of a large coke at McDonalds (it is a liter or more in size, crazy). We were surprised to see police actually pulling over speeders and had to remember to slow down. Also needed to remember to be on the proper side of the road (that has been a tough thing to remember and there have been a few close calls, oops). We actually have to get out of our cars and pump our own gas (petrol). I am sure there are plenty of more things that will come up, I just thought I'd share a few :)
I promised the kids to do my best to take them to do 1 fun thing each week while we are home, so today, we went to the beach. I knew it was too cold to play there, but the wind was blowing hard and we wanted to see the waves. It was totally worth it!!!!! Living in a land locked country has really helped us appreciate Lake Michigan. We grabbed some take out and had a nice time together as a family. Here are a few pictures...



I also wanted to point out that Bryan and his mom took the time to make me a special cake for my birthday this week. It was picked due to my like of Kit Kats and not because of the pig theme in case you are wondering :) It was really yummy too!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mercy and Faith's thoughts on furlough

"I am very excited to be going on furlough. I hope the 4 days will go by fast. Can't wait to see my family and friends, but I am sad that it is only 9 weeks. School is going great, and I am sad that I have to do some work on furlough (no offense Miss Dawn or Miss Beth). I am looking forward to doing some roller skating. I want to see some snow and go sledding, make a snowman and play with my grandparents dog. After I play in the snow, I want to go inside and drink some hot cocoa. At Thanksgiving, I hope my Oma will make some of her famous pickles.
I definitely will miss the Beautiful Gate Christmas party cause the food is really, really good (thank you Ntate KB).
Miss you all."
Faith


"I would really appreciate it if I could hang out with my family and friends and have fun. I would like it if our whole family is there. I would like to go roller skating and sledding with our cousins. I also hope to build a snowman and play with my grandparent's dog.
I love everyone and I am so happy to see everyone. I will really miss Lesotho because it is so beautiful and I have spent most of my life here. I am really going to miss school and my friends there."
Love,
Mercy


We are leaving in 4 days! Ready or not West Michigan, here come the Geurinks!

Monday, November 2, 2015

My kids at school and playgroup

Last full week of school for my kiddos till we head out on furlough!!!! I get a 9 week break from packing their lunches :) Just saying that reminds me of the hundreds of things which will be available to our taste buds in a very short period of time. I do not miss the food from home when I am here, but I do remember there are many things which we cannot get here. I better not get started on all of them or I will fill an entire post with things none of you care to read about, hahaha.

My kids had wacky Wednesday and pajama Friday last week so I thought it would be fun to post a couple pictures of my cute kids when looking "not" so cute. I am so thankful for their new school, but I am also so thankful to have them around more for the next 9 weeks.



I brought my kids to play group last week too because they have really been missing living on campus and having the play group available whenever they wanted to play. We had such a good time playing with the kids and I thought I would post a couple pictures of them playing here too. I know they are going to miss it for a few months.

I am so blessed by having these 3 kids. God has been so good to us, and I love watching them grow in their love and friendship with each other and with the BG kids. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

2 weeks till furlough and a request

We will be driving from Chicago to Battlecreek in 2 weeks!!!! Wow it is coming up very quickly. We have a friend here from our church and we have a friend from England here with a team and our days are FLYING by right now. I keep thinking that I will get some packing and organizing of the house done, but.....well there is always next week when they are all gone :) If you see us walking around West Michigan improperly dressed for the weather it could be for 2 reasons. 1- I never got us packed cause we were too busy or 2- my kids have been living in Africa for 5 years and outgrew their winter gear ages ago. Well, technically, both might be true :)


That being said, if you are living in West Michigan and have any old snow pants that your kids will not be using this year and you have yet to donate them to a charity, I wonder if we could borrow them for the winter and then donate them on your behalf in January (or return them if you need to keep them for a younger child). Please email me if you would be willing to let us use snow pants sizes 8-10 for Mercy, 10-12 for Faith and 12-14 for Elijah. I do not know what those sized equate to in S,M, or L cause we buy by age in Lesotho :)  bageurink@hotmail.com. We also do not really want to buy thick gloves if we do not need to as they are no use here in Lesotho, so if you have warm gloves we can use, those would be a great help too!!!


I hope I have not scared you all away with the emotional rollercoaster that has been my life for the past 2 months. I am realizing that I do not necessarily handle big transitions well. Moving and then planning furlough on top of a few other things happening in my life, has left me feeling a little emotionally exposed. I will try to pull myself together so that we can really have a great 9 weeks home in West Michigan though! Hope to see many of you soon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Anguished Heart

It is so heartbreaking to begin the actual discussions about our transition to not being the directors. We had a real heart to heart with our management team about the qualities they are looking for in their new director/s. Before they really began to share their thoughts, they first expressed their gratitude to have us, and their desire to have us reconsider and stay longer. It was a real blessing to hear them say that, but at the same time, it made me very sad. None of us really want to leave here in 2 years, but we know that we are not being called to stay longer than that. We have felt from God that it will be time for us to go back to America in 2017. We are all stuck in the crazy experience that all missionaries find themselves in, we have more than one home. If I am already a mess just thinking about having to leave in 2 years, then I cannot imagine the distress and anguish we will feel when that day comes.


What it boils down to is that I feel I am abandoning my friends. I am disappointing and hurting people by being here, and I will disappoint, hurt, and break the hearts of many when I leave here. Our staff and the BG kids have learned to trust us, and that is huge. They have made themselves vulnerable and shared their lives with us, and we are walking away from that trust.


We are going to be leaving on a 9 week furlough on November 11th. Maybe it will give us some down time to think and restore our emotions, but knowing that it is time to begin the search to replace ourselves is a lot more emotional than I had thought.


Please pray with us that we as a care center will seek the Lord's will in the new directors, who will be chosen by the BGL board. Please pray that BG will be even greater in the years to come than it is now. Please pray with us that we will always do what is best in the sight of the Lord, and that we will trust Him to heal the hearts of our many friends and family around the world.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Used and disappointed

Living in a third world country with a first world upbringing can really be damaging, not only to myself but also for those around me. I have been really struggling with something since Thursday and I am not even sure how to put words to my thoughts.
For those of you who have followed my blog over the years, you have all met and heard about Lucky, the orphan boy who used to "work" for us. He has been living with an uncle for the last couple years, and he visits us about once or twice a year. This year, he came in late January to ask me to sponsor him and help pay for his high school fees, books and uniform. Bryan and I decided that this was something we could do for him since education is very important to us.
Then he showed up last week cause it was spring break, and he had a whole list of wants; new shoes, soccer shoes, a soccer ball, more school books, food, money to start his own business, etc etc. He has always been one to shoot for the moon, so having him ask for things is not new, but something felt different this time. Gone was the gracious and thankful boy I used to know, and here was a demanding and expectant boy. Where did I go wrong in helping him that caused it to change? We certainly could not get all his requests especially when he wanted name brand shoes that I wouldn't even buy my own kids or myself. After getting affordable and sensible shoes, a ball and some food, he did not thank me, he asked for coloring books and crayons for his nephew.
I changed from his friend to the person who gives him things when he needs them. I know that I did this to myself somehow, but I am not sure what I should have done differently along the way so we could stay friends. He was no longer interested in me or my kids, but it was all in what he could get from me.
I feel used and ashamed that I did not teach him better. He is a good boy and I want him to grow up with gratitude for the help he was given, and not with an air of expectancy when he meets white people. I am really disappointed in how things turned out and aim to try to explain myself to him the next time he visits. Please pray for me to have wisdom in hopes of undoing what I unintentionally did to this friendship. Please also pray for him to realize the gifts he has been given in life, and to show gratitude to everyone he comes across in his life.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spring Break

Spring break is here for our preschool kids. They were able to spend the day running all over playgroup and having a great time. I am realizing that I am more drawn to preschoolers because I seem to wander over to playgroup more often when they are home from school. When my days here are done, I think I may need to find a preschool to work at!


I took a little 4 year old to the library for a half hour today, and really enjoyed some one on one time. We read a lot of books. I had to laugh because there is a big stuffed bear in the library so I had a child and a big bear on my lap while reading books. It was good that she turned the pages because I could not fit my arm all the way around her and the bear. I am super thankful for the library because it is nice to single out a child and share a love for books together. Our books are able to last longer and be in better shape since they are no longer in the baby rooms where they used to be eaten or ripped.


Upon coming back to playgroup, I had a good laugh as Grace (our long term volunteer and friend) was surrounded by about 6 kids who were "braiding" her hair. One child was really good at braiding, one was making a super cool twist that will take some serious work to get out and a few others made some nice knots. As I watched the older girl braiding Grace's hair, I began to wonder about her life before BG. Was her mom a hair stylist who taught her daughter to braid or did she learn to braid other kids hair while in her village? She was already 5 when she came to BG so she has a lot more history than most of our kids. Sometimes she is happy and playing with the other kids and other times she is quiet and lost in thought. I do not know what her experience has been, but today when I took a picture of her braiding Grace's hair, I saw a beautiful smile on her face and a look of pride. I love when we see that spark in a kid's eyes that shows their happiness.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Control


It is funny that after 38 years on this earth, I am still crazy enough to think that I can have some amount of control in life. This past week was a big example of that for me. There were 3 situations that happened that threatened the safe and predictable control that I still like to imagine I have in life. I know that I have alluded to that before, and apparently I am not a quick learner because here I sit struggling again. If only I could learn this lesson quicker, then I would not have to face it again and again!
I am trying to keep my spirits up while I process each situation, but I am feeling super emotional and weak right now. None of them are a huge deal on their own, I think it is just the layering of things. If you have a moment to say a prayer, I would appreciate it. Like I said, none of them are earth shattering, I just feel tired. God is bigger than my problems, and He will work all the details out, but I am seeking His wisdom and timing.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Babysitting and Visitors

We had a fun and busy weekend. I watched my friend Mari's son and was reminded of what life with an almost 2 year old is like. He was full of energy and we explored all sorts of things in the house and in the yard. Bryan and I did some yard clean up in our new yard, and he helped by splashing wholeheartedly in our water runoff :) We got a picture and video so we could show off some child labor laws which I am sure we violated by "making" him be our helper. I am thankful that we had some fun with him and his mom could enjoy a nice birthday spa!


About 40 minutes after he left, we welcomed our friends from the Netherlands, the Meijer family. They are in Lesotho adopting a beautiful little boy. He is not from Beautiful Gate (I am so thankful that other care facilities are getting paperwork completed for adoptions too). They had dinner with us and we had a very nice conversation while their 2 children played with my 3 children. Between our kids, there were 3 different languages and they could not communicate with each other, but it did not matter. Legos, toy cars, and coloring books speak their own language of FUN, and that is enough for kids. I am thankful for my friends around the world, and I am thankful that their long 5 year wait is finished. They are a beautiful and happy family. Today they will be visiting Beautiful Gate for the first time before they leave later this week. I am feeling very thankful once again for adoptions!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Donation Information Update - changed Sept. 17





Our financial information has changed. PLEASE take note of the NEW ADDRESS before sending financial support.
 

New address: AFBGI Ministries                         
                       Geurink Fund                              
                      100 Pine Street                    
                      Suite 107                                      
                      Zeeland, Michigan 49464
                      Attn: Vern Meyaard

It is still the same Non-profit ministry, but due to donation guidelines in different states, it will work better for our funds to be deposited in Michigan. We thank you for your faithful support which has allowed us to serve Beautiful Gate for almost 5 years!


Our paypal button is still working and is another option for giving (thanks Michael for the good question).
I just sent out my latest newsletter with this big address change and thought it may be best if I posted it on my blog too. (Thanks Lori for the reminder) If any of you get my quarterly family newsletters and have moved in the past year or are no longer getting my newsletters, please email me your mailing address. If you are interested in receiving our family newsletter by mail and are not on our list, please email me your address as well. If you would like to stop receiving our family newsletter, please email me and let me know and with a small donation of $10,000, we will remove your name (couldn't resist a little sarcasm cause this was getting too formal of a blog post).Our email is bageurink@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Joyful Morning

It has been a joyful morning. I helped my friend Mari as she worked with our special needs kids. It is such a blessing to work with her and to see the progress our children are making! Since the time Mari has started, our kids are making great advances in their physical development. God brought her to this country and then brought her to BG. I love the way He orchestrates these meetings! I have the privilege of playing with her almost 2 year old son between bringing children to the therapy room for Mari. This morning he and I were way to busy with the slide and looking for fish so we were not too helpful to Mari, sorry Mari!!
After therapy, we played with all of the little BG kids who are too young for preschool. We have a plastic play set that has a climbing wall with little finger holes. One little boy was on the other side and would look at me through the finger hole. When I looked back at him, he would shove himself back and laugh hysterically. His laugh is unreal, and it is always so much fun to hear him having a good time. He usually plays tag with Elijah whenever Elijah is at playgroup and then we laugh with him. I know that this little boy was so sad and crying a lot when he first came, but God has lifted his sad spirit and replaced it with joy!
After flipping kids upside down, playing catch and tickling kids for some time, I had to head back to the office. I love my job. Between helping by playing with my friend's son during therapy, playing with BG kids, and laughing with staff and volunteers, I am not really sure people would think I really am working :)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Joyful Gotcha Day

On Tuesday we had a family from Sweden come to meet their new daughter. It was so special because in the past year we have had our first families from Canada, Netherlands and now Sweden who have returned to Beautiful Gate to adopt a second child. Almost exactly 5 years ago they were in Lesotho meeting their son who was 14 months old, and now they returned adopting a daughter who is 14 months old. It was super special to witness!
Since this is only our 4th adoption of the year, it was extra joyful in my heart. I have missed the beautiful moment when a long awaited for child is brought into our chapel and placed into the loving arms of their new parent/s. The joy of the new parents is infectious, and it spreads around the room to each of us who are there watching and taking pictures. May God be praised for bringing this moment together.
I know that I have written of my struggles with abandonment and the sadness of it. Hearing story after heart breaking story of the hard life each kids has walked before being brought here, is more than our hearts can bear. Most of the time, I do not even ask anymore. It is easier to just love the kids and not dwell on what brought them here. However, these precious moments of families receiving their child, it makes the stories less potent. For a time, God's bigger picture shines through, and His perfect family is put together. When he knit that tiny baby in her mother's womb, He knew she was not going to remain with that mother. He had already chosen a different mother to be the one to love her, play with her, read to her, tickle her, and raise her to be a woman. Why? We will never understand, but He knew it was best because He knows all.
Neither of these are the child who was adopted. I just wanted to post a picture of  some BG kids sleeping :)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Women's Day 2015

 Today we celebrated women here at Beautiful Gate! We had a big celebration with some special music, dancing and a wonderful woman evangelist who encouraged and challenged us all. It was a beautiful event with a lot of smiles and a ton of laughter. I was allowed some time at the beginning of our event to share some of my observations over the past year. Moments when I saw our Bo'me caring for new children, mourning the loss of a child who left, visiting and caring for the sick, collecting items for those less fortunate than themselves, laughing till they cried, listening to each other, praying together, and singing together. They are so amazing to work with and every year that goes by, I am more and more honored to work with the staff at BG. Their unconditional love and willingness to sacrifice for the ones they love is inspiring.
Here are some pictures of our day:
A little dancing before our meal.

Our guest speaker as she gave an encouraging word to the women.
The BEAUTIFUL women of Beautiful Gate!!!



Me and my girls' best friend, the house mother of Khotso 1.

Me and my sister, our nurse.

My twin and Ntate KB our grill master :)
I will close this post with the poem that I wrote for the women of Beautiful Gate. I am sure it did not translate super well, but I felt it was the best gift I could give them.

Women's Day 2015
God has surrounded me with women of skin which is brown.
The hardships of their life could easily make them frown.
However, their joy, singing, and laughing can always be found.
Because their love and commitment to God keeps them on solid ground.
My time in Lesotho, my whole life I will treasure.
You faithful women of God are far above measure.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Good-bye my little friend.

Yesterday I drove in to work and found out that one of our kids was being reunited with her family. This girl was brought to Beautiful Gate when she was around 6 months of age because her mother passed away and her dad needed to work and could not stay home with her. She has spent her life at Beautiful Gate for over 4 years, and her dad is ready to have her back in his life. I cannot imagine the shock she must have felt when she saw him for the first time yesterday. He was not in the office as their village is far away so our social worker was going to drive and meet him halfway.

We had the girl join us in a circle and 3 of us prayed for her before she left. After I prayed, I looked over at her and she was holding Karen's hand and looked confused (probably had no idea what we were singing and praying about). I walked over and grabbed her other hand and sat beside her on the floor. She laid her head against my face as the rest of the prayers were said, and it was a precious moment. This is one of the children I remember admitting into BG myself. She came in on a Saturday afternoon with a social worker from her village and Bryan and I helped get her settled into her new home. We had only been at BG for a few months. I have watched her learn to crawl, walk, and talk. I have played countless games with her over the years that she has been here, and it is so crazy to think that she will be gone. She has a very goofy smile that we will all miss around campus too.


I am happy for her though because she has some brothers and sisters that she has never met. They were placed in a care center near her village, but that care center did not have the ability to care for a baby so she came to BG. Our prayer is that this family will be happy and healthy. I pray this girl will remember the love and care from BG and that it will sustain her in the difficult  days ahead. Despite this being her family, currently they are strangers. Please join us in praying that her father makes wise choices for his family and that he will be able to care for them, for more than just physical needs. She has a loving spirit and I hope that her life will be blessed and amazing. God has plans for her that include her need to return home, and we are choosing to praise Him and be excited for this next chapter of her life. Good-bye my little friend, go well!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Life :)

We had a nice weekend. Friday night, Bryan and I went out for a date to celebrate our 16th anniversary. We enjoyed a nice dinner at one of the newer restaurants in Maseru. It is crazy how different our life is than the life we thought we were embarking on 16 years ago. I remember holding each of our 3 kids the day they were born, and imagining the life they would have with Bryan and I. Never once did I think they would be living in a third world country, or actually living on site at an orphanage for 4 1/2 years. But the life God has given us, it is far better than the one I had imagined as a na├»ve new wife or mother.
Today I am working from home since I had the kids go with me to BG on Thursday and Friday. Once the BG kids went inside for nap time, they got a little bored and I did not want to make them suffer another boring afternoon while I am working :) I was able to finish my newsletter and helped Karen finish BG's newsletter, emailed a few people, and am writing a blog post. A pretty productive morning and it is only 11:00! Who knew I could get so much done with 3 kids running around the house. Actually they have been very calm today.
Our BG daughter left this morning which is a little sad. Paige was a volunteer over 2 years ago and she returned for a couple months this year. It was so great having her back on campus and to hear her share all the changes she noticed since being away. When living here every day, it is easy to forget all that has happened and all the changes we have made at BG. The soft play room, library and therapy rooms are just a few of the changes we have made for the better. The kids have been in better health due to menu changes, multivitamins, and hebalife shakes. God is our provider and it is thanks to His provision that any of these good things have been able to happen. We give Him the glory for his goodness.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sickies

Well, like I just wrote on Facebook, we sure know how to break in a new house. Most of us are sick and I have been sick for about a week now, Elijah has been sick for 3 days and now Mercy has a nice fever. Lots of friends have wanted to stop by and see the new place, but.... I guess we are suppose to spend the first week or two by ourselves :) The house is great though, and it is a good thing cause we have not really left it (except for Bryan who has been faithfully going back and forth to BG). Hopefully we will all be better soon cause having nasty colds and fevers is not the best way to spend our winter vacation. Bryan has been making the most of it but reading to us all after dinner and we are almost done with book 1 of his Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan series (I think there are 13 massive books in this series, so we have a lot more reading in our future). It is a good family hobby. Last year and earlier this year, Bryan read the Harry Potter books to all of us. The benefits of not having a TV! It is nice to read books together because it has given us some pretty good family discussions. So I guess I do not have anything major to report, just a bunch of sickies enjoying their new home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

School Update and moving update

I just about lost my sanity a few minutes ago as I tried desperately to figure out how to order my son's online classes. Apparently, I am a teacher on the account and not a parent so I had to do it completely differently than the parents I had emailed with instructions. Praise the Lord, I found the right way to order and Elijah is officially an online student starting on August 24, 2015. It is really insane that I have a 7th grader, just for the record!!!!! I also need to give a shout out to JP Ministries because they covered the cost for him to be enrolled in his new classes this year. I am so excited, Christian online learning, here comes Elijah.


Faith and Mercy will continue with the Sonlight curriculum with some helpful additions from Dawn and Beth who taught them all last year. They are really enjoying their teachers and looking forward to a new year. This year instead of 7 students, we will have 9 students in our new school, Kingdom Christian Academy of Lesotho (KCAL). We have most of the month of August to hang out still, but I have been in charge of some book ordering and enrolling stuff....thankfully, I am done now!


We are mostly moved in, I think I have 2 large suitcases and one carry on suitcase that is awaiting unpacking. I have not worked at BG for 2 weeks due to all of this moving process, but will be dragging my 3 reluctant kids to work with me on Thursday. I have indulged them enough and really need to check in and get some work done before they fire me!!! :) I really miss the staff and kids though too and want to see how they all are. Apparently, we got two new babies today which brings us up to 72 kids. Our max capacity is 75, so please pray for a few adoptions or reunifications to happen real soon!


Yesterday involved an all out war in our new house, and I am not really sure who won. Do not be alarmed though, it was with Nerf guns. I am still finding bullets everywhere! In between setting up the new washing machine and unpacking the bookcases, we had World War 3. I have not seen Elijah that happy is ages, despite my killer shot that hit him right on the head (I will admit to a bit of immaturity as I laughed until I cried at my super, accidental shot). The kids and I are really loving all this open space. I hate saying that because it makes me feel like a spoiled American, but we have been living literally on top of each other since moving to Africa. While we are a pretty close family, having a room to myself for 30 minutes is very new. I could get used to this ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Moving Day is Coming

We are moving! Bryan and I are moving our family off campus this Saturday. We found a really nice home about 5 minutes from Beautiful Gate, and we are going to be renting it for the next 2 years. This is a big change for our family and especially for our staff and volunteers who have become quite used to us being readily available for anything they need. I think it will be a huge adjustment for us too, but one that has been a long time needed :)


We have a family and a single volunteer who have been living in out team house, and so we will be able to move them into our current house when we move off campus. Beautiful Gate has become very busy with teams and volunteers and this is a great way to open up more space.


2015 was suppose to be our last year at Beautiful Gate, but as you all know we decided to extend to 2017. Having this house open will also be a benefit as we begin the search for our replacements after our short furlough later this year. So many changes, but God is good and He has been leading and guiding us along as we make these big decisions. I am going to miss being able to walk out of my house and go to playgroup whenever I want. Or be cooking dinner and still be able to have a chat with a staff member or volunteer. However, I will enjoy a lot more uninterrupted time with my kids and Bryan. Living where you work is a tough balance that I feel we have done well for 4 1/2 years, but we are ready for a small change. We remain 100% committed to Beautiful Gate and this move is certainly not due to any burn out or anything like that. We love, love, LOVE what we are doing here at BG and look forward to the next few years with great joy and anticipation for what God is doing through this ministry.


We took our kids over to their new home today and they were ecstatic!!! Apparently, they miss having stairs and they were running up and down the stairs and sliding down on their butts (one of them will learn the hard way when they get a splinter). They will each have their own room and we will actually have more than one toilet for the 5 of us, hahaha. Not that it is needed, but it will be nice not to wait in the long line because we always have to go at the same time. There will be a room attached to the house for guests so please feel free to come and visit us sometime next year :) Yes, that was a big hint to our family especially, but friends are welcome too! Life is never dull when you are a Geurink!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Birthday wishes for my "twins"

Hello, I am Faith and I am very excited to say that today is my twin brother and sister's birthday. Actually, they are not twins. One is older and one is younger than me, but they share a birthday. They are two of the best siblings you could ever have (most of the time, ha ha). Mercy is probably the cutest thing that walks the earth, on two feet anyways. Elijah is....humorous and a fun bro to hang out with. I thank the Lord for my lovely siblings.
From Faith


I had a little guest blogger today! Thanks Faith. I am one of those really rare parents who have 3 kids who actually like each other, hahaha (oh yeah, most of the time). I still remember Elijah visiting me in the hospital and holding his brand new baby sister, and he looked at me with wonder and said I had given him the BEST birthday present ever. What can I say, it was not planned at all, but I can take some credit, right?! Elijah and Mercy are so similar that they can really drive each other crazy, yet they can also spend time playing games and enjoying each other's company. I love seeing God develop their personalities more and more each year.


My life is so full of good moments with these crazy kids in my life. It kinda stinks that my oldest gets older and my youngest gets older on the same day. I like to live in denial that they will be small and sweet forever, but I can not live there for long with my 12 year old and my 8 year old celebrating birthdays today :) I feel like this year has been a remarkable year and the 5 of us feel closer and more unified as a family than we have ever been before. It is so cool and I really look forward to what God has in store for us in the next year. I am not worthy of these 2 fantastic blessings God has trusted me with, and every year, I am more and more thankful. I am the luckiest mom in the whole world!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Prayers During Waiting


Hello my faithful readers! This is a time of waiting. We have 69 kids who are living here and waiting for their forever families, or to be reunited with their family. It has been such a slow year for adoptions, and I feel like all I can say is the waiting is excruciating for both sides. I am thankful for new regulations that prevent child trafficking, but the practical halt on adoptions is hard to see. Watching kids grow up in a care center, when I know there are better options, is a daily reminder of the sinful world we live in. It sucks. I am thankful they are in a safe and loving environment, but my mother’s heart longs for them to have more, to have what my kids have. Please pray for a huge miracle, so kids can go home and empty arms can be filled.

We also wait for peace and safety for this country. There have been a lot of killings within the Lesotho Defense Force, and it is dangerous. Many soldiers are being killed, kidnapped or tortured, and it does not seem that peace is around the corner. Thankfully, it has not touched our campus physically, but it has touched our staff emotionally. Some of their family or friends are soldiers, and some of them have been killed.  There are rumors predicting a stand-off on Friday between the two sides of the Lesotho Defense Force. We fear more useless death, how sad for soldiers to be dying when there is no war. Please pray with us, as we look to God to stop this as there is nothing any of us can do.

These are the two big things on my heart, but there is so much more going on. We trust God to work miracles. God knows all, and we give over any imagined control we have, and lay these at His feet. Thank you for praying with us!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learning how to celebrate!

In the past 2 weeks, I have seen and heard joy like never before. One of our staff members (who was kind enough to let me write about her, so thanks Motsilisi) has had a couple occasions for celebration. The week after Terp headed back to the states, Motsilisi was kind and shared my office with me so I would not be lonely. She shared the frustrations she has been facing while attending classes to get her Accounting degree. She was awaiting her final results of her final class and had a very bad feeling about her final exam. She said that most of the students had not finished the exam as they were only given two hours, and it was a long exam. I really felt bad for her as she was worried about having wasted money her classes, but she said to me that she had been praying for God's favor on her. She knew that if she passed, it would all be because of God's favor on her.
Just a few days later, Bryan came home and told me that she passed her exam. She was jumping up and down and saying, "yes, yes, yes." Then when our social worker, Mme Makatleho went to see what she was excited about, Tsili jumped on her and wrapped her legs around her. I do not have a single friend in college who ever responded like that when they passed. Everyone's heart was so light that day as we congratulated her. God's favor was very real in her life and it was so amazing to be a part of it, and watch her fear of disappointment turn into pure gratitude to God.
Then yesterday was so cool because Tsili showed up to work in her NEW CAR!!!! Most of us had no idea that she was going to buy a car so it was a big surprise. I was so shocked to see her driving in her car. She and her office mate, Mme Connie, turned the radio up and parked the car. All of us went over to see her car and gave hugs and congrats. Then the house mothers heard the music and they came running from their houses, trilling in excitement! They danced around the car and lifted Tseli in the air and just celebrated with her. Rather than being jealous that she has a car and none of them do, they sang out about blessings from above. The authentic happiness for others that our staff displays is so inspiring. Most Basotho will go their whole lives without a car, and we had two in America and never really considered how blessed we were. Some kids in America get a new car on their 16th birthday without even having to work hard to get it, and she had to work full-time for 11 years before the day came that she could get a car. Yep, that is a reason to celebrate BIG and to thank God for His good gifts to His children. Congratulations Tsili and thanks for the reminder on how to SHOW thankfulness!!!!!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

This Side of Adoption

Hello, yes we are all still alive and well. We are just enjoying winter break and due to some Internet usage issues and 3 really cute kids who have hijacked my computer, I have not blogged in a bit. First world problems right!!!!

Since the kids are home, we have been going out everyday to playgroup in the mornings and the afternoons. All of the BG kids are home from school also, so it is busy. There are several older girls who have started a little girls club and I have been hanging our with them. We are pretending to be going to the store, buying groceries and bringing them back to BG. We also pretend to drive to church and sing songs. It is a lot of fun :)

On Monday, one of the older girls looked at me and said, "Mme Anita, you do not have any babies."
"I do not have any tiny babies, that is true, but I do have 3 older babies, Elijah, Faith and Mercy."
"You need more, you should have me and (she pointed to another older girl who looked up and me and smiled with a hopeful look on her face)."

Oh my, what do you say to that. Maybe it happened in our beginning time here, but I must have blocked it out if it did. In all our time here, I do not remember a child asking me to adopt them. Many have cried and said they want a family, but did not ask to be a part of my family. My heart still hurts. I wish the people who do the paperwork in the government levels could be there in moments like that. There is no lack of people who want to bring orphans into their families, there is a lack of motivation and quickness to get things done on the government levels so kids can be cleared for adoption. I understand the need to be thorough, but this is more than that. This is a good reminder for us all to pray and to know that there are kids who desperately want a family and families who desperately want kids (many of you know that from personal experience). Please pray because it is heartbreaking on this side of adoption too.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Family Growth and Reflections

The 2014/2015 school year has officially come to a close. I am overjoyed to have 2 months with my kids where we can just be together. I love our family time more than I can say and having them away for the past year was very difficult for all of us, yet I wouldn't change it for anything. You see, through the hardship of transitioning to school for them and balancing work, teaching, and family life for me, we all grew a lot.
Each of my children went through a very difficult trial in the last year, some trials were sorted within a month or two and some continued throughout the whole school year. One child did not remember how to show proper respect for a teacher, which really shocked me because that was not a problem during homeschooling. After much consistency and creative discipline, the child turned out to be more respectful than I thought they ever would be. The character development of this child BLEW me away, and to God be the glory! One child had to deal with another student, who they felt was bullying them, and they had to learn to deal with the other child and learn to control their temper. I wish I could say that this issue resolved itself, but it is still a work in progress. God is growing this child to know who they are as a child of the King, and it is beautiful. Another child felt left out and ignored by others due to differing interests and many tears were shed. Many conversations happened to encourage the child, but it was a long hard lesson taught. This child learned what it means to compromise and the opportunity for give and take in relationships. I see a new love for others and their opinions in this child, and I praise God for the growth.
I cried many tears of pain, frustration and brokenness for each child at different points in the year, but God was faithful to us all, and we are all stronger and better people. Sometimes watching a child walk through something hard makes you feel like you failed, or they would not have to walk through that, but I really feel like God was telling me over and over this year that He was refining my kids. Wow, turning them over to their Maker should be the easiest thing to do, but it was so painful to let go of the imagined control I thought I had in their lives. So many lessons were learned by all of us this past year, and God is so incredibly good. The 3 kids who walked out of school on Thursday are not even close to the kids who entered that school 9 months ago. It still brings tears to my eyes as I remember the really hard days, and then I see the amazing growth that God brought out in each heart. God is so good.
As for Bryan and I, it is hard to know where to begin. What a year! Bryan has been walking through some pretty hard spiritual battles for over a year now and God has brought him to a new and better place. Running BG takes so much of his time, energy and patience. Making sure there are funds here for staff to be able to do their jobs with excellence is huge, not to mention the countless "fires" needed to be handled daily with the government, staff and projects such as Beautiful Gardens. He is my hero because he handles it well and the last 2 months have shown an even better and stronger side of him, and I praise God for his growth. He loves the kids and staff here with all his heart and it is so amazing to see and hear him when he talks to the staff and plays with the kids. I wish the demands of the job were less so he could be with the BG kids more, but with the countless teams and volunteers here, the children are not lacking attention :)
Working at BG has been a real blessing for me these past 8 months. I feel more connected with the staff and their hearts for what they do at BG. I had the opportunity to get to know a lot more teams and volunteers because I was not stuck in my house teaching all day :) I also found that I was a ton busier than before as I have way more meetings than I am used to, but it is good because we are working together for the glory of God in this place! I continued teaching on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons (yep, I am the science teacher at the school) and then each day, needed to spend an hour or so with my kids helping make sure homework was done. I still have no idea how we made it through and I am thankful for a calendar, or I would have missed hundreds of things cause life was full. I need prayer that I will balance the next year better than this year, because I did feel like I could not give 100% to all the different things I was doing, and I want to be sure I do all things with excellence! All this to say that I am thankful to God for the growth He has given each of us this past year and I feel so blessed by all God has done for each of us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Special moment

Holland Christian High School has a team of students who are serving at Beautiful Gate this week. They offered to lead our Wednesday chapel time, and surprised our staff by washing their feet. The students read a few verses and thanked our staff for serving the BG kids. They decided to take it one step further and paint the nails of our female staff after washing their feet. Our staff were smiling and laughing and mostly, they were relaxing which was perfect. I started off in the chapel with all of them, but was needed to cover a baby house half way through.


I enjoyed my time in the baby room because I found a couple really good books and read them to the 7 babies in the room with me. The kids loved the book that had a mirror on every page. After reading and tickling the little ones, I decided to check on the kids who were still sleeping in the other room and found one of the older girls just getting out of her bed. She has been struggling with a fever for a few days and when she saw me she began to cry and reached out for me. I grabbed her and sat her on the bed in the room and rocked her back and forth. She held on tight to my shirt and laid her head on my shoulder as we rocked. She swayed her body back and forth as I rocked her to show me that she did not want me to stop. How long has it been since her mom rocked her? Am I a comfort or am I bringing back the longing of having her own mother back in her life?


Love was bursting from my heart and in that special moment with just the two of us, the most unexpected song popped in my head. I used to sing my 3 kids a song I made up. I would rock them as I was getting them ready for bed when they were infants and I would always sing this little made up song. As we rocked I sang the song and tears welled in my eyes. I am amazed by the love that God continues to give me for His children year after year, and I am amazed that He gave me such an intimate moment with one of His precious little children. To Him, she is not an orphan, but His beautiful handiwork. She is not fatherless because He is her Daddy. She was not an accident but was fearfully and wonderfully made by the best Artist. God is good even in her pain.


PS. Thank you for all your prayers over the last week or so. They have been felt and while we may not know all the reasons and motivations for our trials, it is nice to be reminded that we do not walk this journey alone. God is holding onto us and He has placed so many good friends and faithful family members along our journey. My friend gave me a great verse today and I want to share it with all of you.


Exodus 14:13-14 " Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.' "

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Love does not seek its own

God has a way of turning our eyes to Him and to His glory and goodness despite our own worries. Today, He slapped me in the face with an emergency which arose on campus. A 7 month old baby was throwing up and then began to aspirate. Her house mother actually sucked her nose clear so she could breath and ran out of the house looking for help. At the same time the emergency arose, Terp needed something out of the office and I offered to go with her to get some papers for my Sunday School class. I knew I was driving my kids in the Rav 4 so I put the keys in my pocket (which is really not my usual way to be so prepared so I know God had this planned out for His glory) and I headed out the door to the office.


As we were on our way, the house mother ran at us with the baby. Her breathing was labored and the house mother was still working to clear her nose. Terp and I grabbed the baby, ran for the car and started rushing to the hospital. We had to pause for the house mother to catch up to us as she had run in for some slippers. Praise God that the hospital had no wait and got her straight back to get her on oxygen. She is doing well right now and we are so thankful.


As we were getting discharged, I looked into the baby's eyes and then looked over at her house mother and tears welled up in my eyes. She saved the baby's life through her quick thinking and willingness to do something that most people would not have thought to do, by sucking out the child's nose with her own mouth because there was nothing else to use. I am amazed at the true love that I see here between the staff and the kids. It is so beautiful and it is such a reminder of the love God has for each of us.


1 Corinthians 13:4,5 "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil." NKJV


I see love that does not seek its own when I am here. People who will drop everything to lend a helping hand. Thanks Melisa for teaching my Sunday School class and Bryan and Tyler for stepping in to get our team and volunteers to church and getting the medical book and my glasses to me. We are a community working together to take care of the kids and staff here and I am blessed beyond measure to be a part of this awesome team.


One final note that has all of us laughing in stitches now that the emergency is over...the house mother realized when she got to the hospital that she never put any pants on because she got called out of a bath to help the child. The way she was telling the story of figuring it out in the emergency room is sooooo funny. Thankfully her work house coat is a little long and she had that over her pajama shirt. There is joy to be found in the most unexpected places and love to be found in a mother who is not the biological mother of this child, but loves even better than some biological mothers would. Thank you once again Lord, that you chose this life for me.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Corrupt Words

My dear friends who are walking this journey with us through faithfully reading our blog, I am in need of your prayers. We have been wounded deeply and we have been walking in pain for many weeks and I ask that you please help us by praying for us as we seek God's guidance and wisdom.


Harsh words spoken and judgment given without complete information or understanding has fallen upon us, and it is dragging down our spirits and faith. Some people do not think of the power of a word, spoken in anger or said flippantly, but words can scar the soul deeper than they might expect.


We have been praying for God to help bring truth and revelation to the situation, but His timing is not ours and it seems that we are being refined by the hottest fire. We do not know the best way to proceed so please pray. Please pray for us to be covered by the armor of God and for the spiritual warfare to be over. I do not want to go into details of all of our hurt as I do not want to add to gossip or slander, but please keep us in your prayers.


Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:29


Please remember that when you hear people talking about others, check with the person that was being talked about to see if it is true, do not contribute to gossip or slander as it is in no way edifying to anyone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

All the Poor and Powerless

Tonight was a worship night for all of us volunteering at Beautiful Gate. Those are some of our best nights where we can sit at the feet of Jesus and think about Him. We can draw closer to God and really search ourselves. Lately, I have been very reflective in my spirit and feeling a bit down as there have been many trials within our family as well as within our ministry. The song, "All the Poor and Powerless" by All Sons and Daughters really spoke to me tonight. Here are the lyrics.



All the poor and powerless
And all the lost and lonely
All the thieves will come confess
And know that You are holy
And know that You are holy


And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah


All the hearts who are content
And all who feel unworthy
And all who hurt with nothing left
Will know that You are holy


And all will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah


Shout it
Go on scream it from the mountains
Go on and tell it to the masses
That He is God
We will sing out
Hallelujah
And we will cry out
Hallelujah 


The part about all who feel unworthy and who hurt with nothing left is what really hit me tonight. Then to sing SHOUT IT and SCREAM it and TELL it that HE IS GOD, what a powerful reminder that we are not alone. When we are walking through the shadow of death, we need to shout and scream that He is God. When we are persecuted for things we did not even do, we need to cry out that He is God. When we feel unworthy and the waiting feels like an eternity, we need to tell the masses that He is God.


Right now I really feel like climbing a mountain and actually screaming that HE IS GOD in hopes that it will heal the brokenness that feels like is overwhelming my soul. So much pain around me in Lesotho, so much pain that my position here at BG causes at times, so much pain from living so separately from what used to be normal, and so much more. I am but a broken pot in need of my Potter's hands to reshape me and make me even better, but it really hurts to have to be broken. I am so glad that He is God, and He cares deeply for the poor and powerless, even on days when we are too worn to carry on His good works. I choose to sing Hallelujah, knowing that He is God and I am so thankful for music as it is a balm to our souls!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Harsh Realities

Where are they? Are they warm and sleeping in bed or have they been abandoned? Will they ever know the love of their mother or will the rest of their life be spent being a pawn in her hand?

There is a mother who came to BG for help a few weeks ago and our social worker, other staff and volunteers had compassion on her. A mother with a new child who did not have the resources needed and who the government told to come back in for counseling before they would help. She was given formula by our staff and when they went back to give her bottles and diapers, she had disappeared.

She showed up last Thursday with another sob story, but it was filled with lies and not trustworthy. A staff member and volunteer drove her to the Ministry of Social Development where the lady was yelled at and confronted for her chronic poor parenting and lies. The woman had 2 children with her this time and has been known to "play the system." The worse part is that she says she will abandon her children whenever she is told that she cannot have her way, and it really pulls at our heart strings when the children are the ones who suffer from her poor choices.

It really is horrible that we cannot just take the kids so we know that they are safe, but we need to follow what the Ministry thinks is best. We have to pray that her threats are empty threats and that God will hold those little children safely in the palm of His hand. Even though we know God sees the kids and their plight, it does not help us all sleep better at night as we wonder. I even had a staff member tell me she is losing slept as she wonders about the kids and triggers her own past hurts.

This job is draining both emotionally and physically for our staff and volunteers. So many unanswered questions running through minds. So many times we have to sit by and watch helplessly in situations where we do not have the freedom to act. Trying to be thankful for the kids we have saved and not to think of the hundreds who go unsaved. Trying to be thankful for the warm heaters that we have for the BG kids and not worrying about the kids who will literally freeze to death tonight. Trying to be truly thankful for the full bellies we have and knowing there are kids who are dying right now because theirs has been empty for days. This is just one small example of the harsh realities that we face in a day. We may never know...

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Lotus Flower

I have something pretty deep that has been playing through my mind for over a week, but I have been afraid to put words to it. I feel convicted about a trend I see in America and it breaks my heart. It is a long explanation, but if you are up for it then please continue reading...


In an attempt to stay relevant and up to date with my kids' interests, I have been reading some of the books they love. One of the most recent ones is the Percy Jackson series. In the first book, the main characters are on a quest and they need to get to a certain place by a certain day. As the days are getting closer to the deadline, they wind up in a casino in Las Vegas. The workers at the casino give everyone in the casino lotus flowers to eat, and these flowers cause people to forget their purpose. They dull the mind to what is really important and then the characters were free to enjoy life with no worries in the casino. Obviously there is a lot more to the story, but this is the part that I keep mulling over in my mind.


Life in America is a lotus flower, the same may be true in other countries, but I can only speak of the culture I know. We are distracted by hours upon hours of TV, video games, and social media. Kids are enrolled in a high number of activities and parents are running around endlessly to keep up their busy schedules. Are these things really worth all the time and attention we give them? Is our kid really benefitting from the endless activities? Are we really making a difference in God's kingdom with what we choose to do with our time? Some of us are being blinded to our mission by the constant and never ending entertainment at our finger tips. We get too busy with these things that the work God has laid out before us goes forgotten or put on the back burner. How do we stop?


In James (James 1:22) it says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Being a doer of the word means serving others and being in a meaningful relationship with those around us. It means choosing to put aside meaningless entertainment for the betterment of God's kingdom and His people. As an American, this does not come easily to me nor does it feel natural. There are many times I still miss my opportunities, but I do not want to have my senses dulled by meaningless things. I want to stay on my mission without distractions because when I am on my mission, I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I live with purpose and with a greater capacity to love because I am reaching out to my neighbors.


So many people have come and gone from Beautiful Gate and have said they never want to forget what they have experienced. Many have remembered and come back or made some big changes in their lives, but for many others months later, life has taken over and their love for Beautiful Gate is forgotten. I remember being afraid of that very thing when I went home from my mission trip and I prayed that God would burn my memories into my head for the rest of my life so I would be changed (He did a little more than just that though which is why I now live in Lesotho, God knew I needed immersion for a few years for that prayer to be answered). Satan's number one defeat for us is distraction so we do not listen to God and choose the better path which He has chosen for us. I encourage you, as well as myself, to stop eating the lotus flowers being offered by satan and offered by our culture. May we all find a meaningful way that we can live and serve Him because life is short and we will need to make an account for our choices. God bless you all as you journey this life He has graciously allowed us to live!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Motherhood

I am so thankful for the family that God has allowed me to be a part of. I do not deserve them, I am not worthy of their unconditional love, yet God has allowed us to be together anyway! I am reminded of the days before I became a mother and my friend, Meredith, said that being a mother is a huge blessing. Children should not be considered a burden because they are a blessing from God. Thank you Meredith for giving me the right perspective. I have never forgotten your words and when I am tempted to complain or be discouraged, I am reminded that God is trusting me with His children. He has given me a chance to disciple and prune 3 of His beautiful children. I want to live my life with this attitude of gratefulness because I know that life is not always what we expect or what we plan for and it is not always as long as we expect either so we should live, laugh, and love freely while we have the time!





And because anyone who knows the 5 of us knows we cannot be serious all the time....


I am madly in love with my crazy family :)

PS> Thanks for taking our pics Christina Terpstra, you are amazing and patient.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Joy

I am attending a bible study with a few other missionaries and we are studying the topic of joy. It has made me do a lot of thinking about what is joy and do I have evidence of joy in my daily life......


As a child, I always tried to be the clown in my family in order to diffuse tense situations and I loved to make people laugh. I never could go more than a minute mad at someone because my smile came very easily. I did not have an easy time all the time as I grew up, but I was always smiling and people would describe me as joyful.


When my sister died, she took my joy with her. I lost my easy going and happy attitude and became more introspective. I realized that God was not as safe as I had once thought He was and that bad and hard things could really happen. I lived 3 years in a state of joylessness (poor Bryan had to deal with me during this time) and felt very empty, but I knew I needed help and decided to seek counseling in order to find some joy again. After a few months, my smile came back. I could face what was coming and what had been with a smile on my face.


When I moved to Lesotho and faced the reality of life for people living in a 3rd world country, my joy began to slip. Life is hard, children die, people have conflicts and how do we live each day in such a reality. I am learning that joy is not just the happy feeling it once was to me. I have not lost my joy, it just looks different that I thought it would. I find joy each day in the faces around me; my family, my friends, my amazing co-workers who love me even though I look different and am terrible with their language and the 60-70 kids I see each day. Joy is not just a happy feeling, joy is knowing that "all is well with my soul." I am content that I am right where I am suppose to be, and I am doing what the Lord wants me to be doing and that brings me joy. I am happy with what I have and do not feel like I want or need more, I am content and have peace with that part of my life too.


I have joy in knowing that God is in control of everything so I do not need to live each day worried or anxious. I can be free to do my best knowing that my heavenly Father will pick up the pieces that I miss. When bad and sad and hard things happen, I will shout and I will cry, but I do not live without knowing "all is well with my soul." I find great joy in the Lord and my prayer is that I will live in such a way that I can share His joy with everyone I meet. It never hurts to show His joy with a smile on my face so I will try to keep that going too :)


May you find joy in your life wherever you may be. If it is in the long and drawn out days of waiting for a child, God knows and His timing is right for you and you future child. If you are going through a time of mourning, there is hope that you will find joy again through the happy memories. If it is praying for a lost soul, we pray with hope for the ones we love and we can live in joy of knowing that God does not want anyone to perish.


John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be complete." words of Jesus