Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Update and UNICEF donation

Today was the 4th rabies vaccination for my girls and they are SO thankful that they only have one left. So am I because watching their fear for 24 hours before each shot is not something my mom heart can handle well. On a very positive note (for my kids' sake) the vet was able to acquire a vaccine for the cats so we have not had to put them to sleep. My children are so relieved about that and are happy. They are still pretty sad about Gatsby, the cat who had rabies, and are making plans to make a little memorial for their cat. This is really their first "pet" to have died so this is a bit of a new experience for them.


At Beautiful Gate, we just got a shipment of new toys and therapy supplies donated through UNICEF. I am super excited about some of the items and look forward to the progress some of our special needs kids will make with more specialized therapy items. Thanks to the Haven team who replaced the floor in our therapy room (thanks Art, Keith and Tyler) and to some donated funds from our friends Meghan and Brent, we are able to paint the floor this week and have a new fully functional therapy room by next week. We also have 2 volunteers who are interested in helping Lindiwe with therapy so the room will be used often.



We also got some new playground equipment for the playgroup children. We have 2 water tables, a tiny climber for 1 year olds and 2 new bigger play sets. Our Chaplain, Ron, is going to help put the play sets together, but it will take a week or so because it has been raining for 2 days and is suppose to rain for 3 more days. One of my favorite purchases are the triangles with mirrors. They are like 3-D pads that can be laid on the floor and the babies can see themselves. I have never seen so many smiles (or so much drool from kissing the mirrors) before giving the babies mirrors to look at. I loved watching them and seeing how they pushed up on their arms so they could see themselves better. Amazing how such little things can really add so much to the development of babies.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Shadow of the Almighty


Darkness, death, fear, cancer and miscarriage – these words were swarming through my mind over the last week and even last night. Friends and family who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death and who are living in fear of what is next. I see staff who have buried more family members than I think I even have, one right after another. I hold children who do not know the love of a mother or father. My heart is full of heartbreak for these losses. Sin is such a horrible and wicked reality.

Now, I need to lean on my Father. I need to trust that He knows what He is doing and that His plan will bring perfection at the right time. Maybe some of these losses are better to be faced now, than what would have happened in the future. I just don't know. It does not make walking through today any easier for everyone who is hurting though.

As I tried to fall asleep with all these thought on my mind, God began stirring my thoughts. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind some new thoughts. Why am I afraid? Why don’t I have faith that things will work out? Then the first few verses from Psalm 91 played over my mind:

91 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler[a]
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.

 

I need to sit under the wings of my Heavenly Father. Sin and darkness are all around and it is not an actual war that I can see, but it is a spiritual war. I still feel a heaviness inside my heart, but I am looking up and I am trusting God because He is my refuge and my fortress.  He will cover my family, friends, and our staff and children at BG. He will cover me when I am tempted to worry or despair.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Good-bye and a Prayer Request

Our church family left yesterday and I will admit, the tears were flowing freely. It is incredibly encouraging to have friends and family visit and fall in love with the kids and staff. To hear their stories of love and friendship and to watch them give their hearts away to all the sweet little kids at BG. It is one of the best gifts God gives us to spur one another on in this journey here at BG. It is also a sad and heartbreaking day when we have to say good-bye again knowing it will be a very long time before we see one another again. I praise God that I have a church family that still loves me and supports me after 4 years of our family being away in Lesotho.




During the time that the Haven team was here, we had a big scare with one of our cats contracting rabies (we are 99% sure it was rabies but have sent the body to be tested to confirm). That same cat scratched and bit my girls 3 weeks before and possibly exposed them to rabies. We have taken them to see a doctor and have begun their treatments for the rabies vaccine. They have had 3 out of 5 rabies vaccines and are taking a lot of antibiotics. I am mentioning this as a prayer request. The shots are very painful for Faith and she is not sleeping the night before the shots and today she was sobbing her little heart out after the shot because her arm was hurting so bad. I keep telling them that the treatment is far better that the alternative, but please pray for them, it is sad to see them worry and be anxious.




Our other 2 cats are acting normal and are showing no signs of rabies, but the vet is still working to get us a vaccine for the cats. If she can get us the vaccine this week and the cats allow us to catch them, we will be able to keep them but if she cannot get the vaccine this week, we will probably have to have them put to sleep for precautions. My kids are pretty attached to the cats and the one we had to kill last Tuesday was Faith's cat and she is very sad to think we may have to get rid of the other two as well. However, she is still being strong because she said, "you can always get a new pet, but you can't get a new person." Well said my little sweetie, well said.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Church Family

We have been spending the week with our church family (plus Betty who is like extended church family and Carol). The team from Haven arrived last Saturday and have been loving their time here at BG. We have been keeping them very busy with special projects as well as having them help out in the houses.
One of my highlights has been the few times where we have had worship time with them. Ron (our new chaplain at BG) has lead a church service and a Wednesday service and we were able to sing and dance with our staff. As I worshiped God with my friends from home, it made me realize how much I REALLY miss being a part of our church family. I love Haven and all our friends there and I love being with them here in Lesotho. I am very thankful that our church loves us, supports us, and even sends us teams to share our hearts and Beautiful Gate with.
This team is different from any of our other teams because this team is hurting so much more. Last year they brought Zach with them and he helped build his sister's Beautiful Garden's house and this year, he is in heaven. We have cried a lot together and we have shared a few good memories of him. Walking through this pain with my friends on this team has been sad and hard, but also good in that we have some closure. It is amazing when God opens doors for us to share from our past and encourage one another and I feel like God has given a few wonderful opportunities for that.
We only have 2 more days to spend with our friends and I know that it will go by way too quickly as it always does. It has been refreshing to live among special friends and I have enjoyed getting caught back up on each other's lives. We have rekindled some old jokes (a few of which are just sooooooo funny) and made a few new ones. We have recreated fun from past trips and taken some good pictures of those. We have loved orphans and widows by caring for the kids and the staff. Mostly, we have served and walked together trying to bring glory to our Father in heaven.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Family time

Our family took a few days off to enjoy some peace and quiet in South Africa. We have team after team and new volunteers coming around the clock until June, so we snuck out while we could to refresh ourselves before the busy months ahead. To say it was awesome would be a huge understatement so I will show you all a few highlights. We spent 3 nights at Corana where Bryan and Elijah tried hunting a warthog, but they did not have any luck this time.


Then we had 2 nights at Ndaka Lodge and that was pretty amazing. I enjoyed some special time with my kids making some unforgettable family memories.




We saw a lot of animal and were about 10 feet away from the lions and the elephant. I could get used to a view like this, but unfortunately, Lesotho does not have game animals, only sheep, goats and cows.We love seeing God's amazing creation and my kids are super awesome safari riders because they had to be up at 5am 2 mornings in a row for the game drive and then stay up late both nights for a night safari and a late dinner. Another example of how African my kids have become, they are quite adaptable.







"For since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."
Romans 1:20


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Reunitied

Our family took a vacation last week so sorry about the lack of postings. I can write more about that later this week.


After 4 years of being here and loving on the kids and accidentally falling head over heels in love with some of the kids, you'd think I would be just fine with unexpected good-byes. I mean, truthfully, they happen all of the time and it is just part of the job.
There is this incredibly sweet little boy that I have really enjoyed hanging out with. I would go to the soft play room just to see him and try to make him smile. He had a very quiet nature, but he also showed a determination that was pretty impressive. Not in a naughty sort of way, but more in an unexpected ability to do something we did not know he could do. He would sit in the same place for hours and just watch other kids, then one day, he got up and just walked! Crazy kid!
Today, his mother showed up to get him and since I was gone for a week, I did not know she was coming today. She has not been well for a long time and her husband is also not well and was unable to care for their son, so he has been at BG for awhile. They are both doing better and were able to come and take their son home today. She spoke so lovingly to him when she saw him and he seemed to know her and accept her. I am happy that they are together again, but I am really going to miss him.
We circled around him and his mom and prayed for them before they left and then I gave his mom a pile of pictures I had taken of her son and a book. I told her that we really loved him and that he was such a great kid and then she began to speak rapidly in Sesotho to me. Thankfully one of our local volunteers was able to overhear and translate for me. She was asking me my name and telling me that she was so thankful for all the love he was shown and that she was going to be sure to bring him back to visit one day and to show him his pictures and tell him about how loved he was when he lived at BG. What a sweet thing to say. I was almost in tears at this point so I said my little goodbye and kissed his cheek for the last time.
Goodbyes are so difficult when we give our hearts away. I am sure all of our volunteers and staff would agree with me on that point. Please pray for this guy cause his family has some pretty big things going on with their health. We are trusting God to care for him now and hope if we meet again, he will be happy, healthy and well loved by his family.