Monday, January 26, 2015

Community ??

2014 was a year full of teams and volunteers. While this was an AWESOME blessing here at Beautiful Gate, it also came with a sense of loss. The loss was that of community for those who are living here longer term. In being busy, sometimes we did not seek each other out to have daily or even sometimes weekly interactions. When Bryan and I first came here, we usually had only 2-3 long term volunteers living on campus most of the time. We also had only 2 -3 volunteers living off campus at a time. Now we have 3-4 volunteers living off campus, 4 long term volunteers in one house, and 4 long term volunteers in another house and that is not even counting my family. Once again I do not say this as if it is a bad thing, just noticing the differences. Having one to two volunteers over for dinner is not as easy as it once was :)


Bryan, Tyler and I are concerned about our lack of community as volunteers so we are going to start up a bible study just for BG volunteers on Tuesday nights. We are going to try to be intentional to build community. It will be an ever changing and ever growing/decreasing community, but we are going to do our best to try to love Jesus more. We want to grow deeper in our love for the One who brought us all together to serve His precious little children. Please pray for us to do this well so we can share and carry one another's burdens. If any of you have any good suggestions for a group study, please feel free to comment on this post so that we have a few ideas. I'll be honest, I have been out of America for 4 years and may not know a lot about good Bible study material or good books that are really convicting and may help us all go deeper with God. Thanks!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Where is my Mother?

What went wrong?
How did I get here?
I don't belong here,
Where is my mother?


This is not my home,
These are not my siblings,
And these are not my clothes.
Where is my mother?


I do not recognize anyone,
I do not know these new smells,
Or the taste of this new food.
Where is my mother?


What did I do wrong?
Was it something I said?
Am I not important?
Where is my mother?


She doesn't want me,
She doesn't need me?
What is wrong with me?
Where is my mother?


The people are new here,
They are kind and friendly,
But I am so confused...
Where is my mother?


I wrote this in honor of a new child at BG who is just not adjusting well. He is deeply troubled for a child as young as he is and I am worried about him. I did find a game he liked today and saw his smile for the first time today (other volunteers may have seen it already but it was my first one), but it has been over a month since he came and he is very sad. I will never know what is going through his head, but I feel like God gave me those words so I can ponder it more and really reach out to this little child.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Safety

On Friday, I had a school meeting with teachers and parents, so I was a little late getting to Beautiful Gate and my friend,Terp, arrived before I got there. I decided to go on a hunt for her because I had not seen her for 6 months, but I was intercepted by one of our staff who was admitting a new child. The new child is an older girl, maybe 4ish, and her mother is not well so she needs a safe place to be while her mother heals. I like when kids come to Beautiful Gate for that reason because it is so wonderful that we can provide a safe and loving environment for children whose parents are too sick to care for them (I do not like that parents get sick only that we can come alongside them in a tangible way). Then when their parent is feeling better, the child can return home and enjoy being with their healthy parent.


I helped decide which home to place the child and we brought her to her new home. I think we accidentally scared her a little because then Terp and several other volunteers happen to come into the home and the girl was frightened by our loudness as we greeted one another as well as fear from our whiteness :) She went to the Basotho staff and was comforted and we all gave her some space so she could adjust to her temporary home.


I did not see the little girl yesterday, but today I stopped by playgroup and she gave me a big surprise. Several of us volunteers went to playgroup and we all were chasing kids and letting them tackle us. I had a few who were having me chase them and then this little girl circled around my waist and wanted me to chase and tickle her. She was smiling and laughing and stayed by me for quite awhile. I had such a nice time with the kids today but it made me feel very special that this new little girl decided that I was trustworthy. It must be so strange to be in a new place with strange people and yet, because the other kids trust us volunteers, she decided that we must all be safe.


Hoping that other new kids will be able to adjust well and feel safe like this little girl and I am once again thankful that God has made a safe place like Beautiful Gate for kids.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Updates of BG and life

Wednesday, we welcomed a team from Australia. Allan has been here for a week to help prepare everything for this team as they are going to be putting the main finishing touches on the Beautiful Gardens' rental housing project. These men are going to be putting in kitchen cupboards and counters as well as wardrobes and other counters in the 7 smaller rental houses. I am so excited for the work that they are doing and it is making the project feel a lot more real. Bryan was able to go out to their work site and see them hard at work yesterday.

Here is an update on Beautiful Gate. We are currently at 60 kids which is a bit low for us, as we have the capacity for 75 kids. I think that this lower number is a blessing so that we have more time to really focus on the kids we have. We have many volunteers right now so we have been able to specialize a little more on specific needs of children, especially those with special needs. Our soft play room for kids who are over 6 months up to walking age has been very successful. BG kids are crawling and walking faster and those who are not are able to be singled out for special attention. Our Ops Manager, Brittany, has been putting together activity centers for the older playgroup kids for days when we have 4 or more volunteers in the playgroup. I am amazed by all the changes that have happened in the last year,

My kids have been attending their new school since mid-October, Elijah has had a big adjustment to attending school and I really feel responsible for his frustrations. There is just such a big difference in homeschool work and expectations and those of a classroom so he was not as prepared as I wish he would have been (I also realize he is technically a middle schooler so some of this may be age related too), I know it will go well and he will adjust, but please pray for him to accept the differences without taking them personally, The girls are adjusting great and doing very well in their new school. They are eager to learn and to please their teachers which is helping them to make their adjustments well,

I am teaching science on Tuesday and Wednesdays to the 4 older kids at the school and I am now attending a ladies bible study on Wednesday morning which I have wanted to do since we moved here, but was too busy teaching, I work at BG on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays now and it is going well. It is not hard to find enough to do, it is harder to stick to the hours I am trying to be available to BG, to the school and to bible study. Everyday is different and a lot harder to stay on track than when I was locked in a room with 3 kids homeschooling :) I am enjoying being a part of school as well as being a part of BG more regularly and am thankful that God has sent 2 wonderful teachers to help.

I am sure you noticed, but after 41/2 years, I have changed my blog's look a little. I updated a few prayer requests too. Hope you enjoy the new look!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Conversations

One of the benefits of sitting in a baby house and feeding my special little friend, is getting the chance to talk with some of our staff. The other day, I got to talk to one of our relief workers whom I have never had a long conversation with before. She was telling me about her family. She is married with 2 kids and her husband is working at a factory and he does not make much money. She said that it is hard to have enough each month because her income in unpredictable (relief workers do not have set hours and only fill in when we need them). Then her next sentence was," But we do not have to worry because we serve a mighty God who provides for us." Life can be so hard but her faith in God is so strong.
She shared that her mother used to be a baker and now is suffering with diabetes and needs insulin shots each day. She has 6 siblings and they have all agreed to give their mother M100 a month to help her get medication and food each month. What a beautiful picture of families taking care of each other. What a way to honor your mother in her old age. I was so blessed by this conversation and I am thankful that we have women with such giving and loving and trusting hearts working alongside us here at Beautiful Gate. Not to mention her wonderful smile which makes everyone feel welcome.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Frustrations turned into hope

Last week was one of the most frustrating weeks I have had in a long time. I took over the nursing duties of BG for a few weeks while our nurse was on vacation and then last week one of our volunteers went away and I was put in charge of feeding one of our kids with special needs. This child has been on a feeding tube and we are trying to get her to swallow food again in hopes of getting her off the feeding tube. I have helped a few times in the past and she has done ok, but last week she was apparently on an eating strike. For 6 days, I would go to feed her at 10,12, 2, and 4 and she would refuse to swallow and would spit most of the food out or hold it in her mouth for 7 minutes before spitting it out all over me.
I wasn't frustrated about getting spit on, but I was so frustrated because I really want that tube out so she can live a "normal" life. I want her to be able to enjoy food and be able to have a normal schedule because there will not be much in her life that will ever be "normal." I love this little girl so much and I have been praying for her for a long time and it just made me sad to see her struggling and being defiant about one of the most basic things I could do for her.
It turns out that she was getting a whole bunch of molars and was teething last week. I never thought of that possibility when I was feeding her because she does not open her mouth a whole lot and when it was open, I took my chance and shoveled some food or milk in. Yesterday, I was able to feed her again because her helper was out of town and she ate very well. We decided to try buying baby food instead of mashing things up for her because she has a huge gag reflex and the baby food is perfect. I may have to buy a special blended to get that same consistency but we will have to go week by week with this little girl. I at least have hope again that we will be able to keep her eating.
Even if last week felt like a waste of time with the eating part, at least I was able to hold her and love on her a little while she was teething (even though I was oblivious to her pain). Please join me in praying that she will continue eating well and that we will not have too many set backs. Please pray that she will increase her desire to eat so we can give her enough food to make her grow and be healthy without her feeding tube. We have hope that God will bring healing to her and that He has a very good plan for her life even if we cannot see what His plan could be.