Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Retreat/Break

I was fortunate enough to spend the last weekend at a missionary ladies retreat. It was a nice time to relax, spend time with God and put the worries of my life back into perspective. I had a new roommate (already a good friend, but her first time at retreat) for the retreat this year and I spent so much time laughing, that I think I burned more calories than I took in during my meals :) It is a shame that she is going to be leaving Lesotho soon though :( One of the worse parts of missionary life, the constant leavings of friends who feel like sisters. I also enjoyed some tennis with another wonderful friend, and we are already making plans for many more matches together once we are both back in MI. Besides not having my husband and kids around, I really look forward to this retreat because I can just let down my titles as co-director (BG and KCAL), mom, teacher, and wife, and just be me. If I want to skip the main course at dinner and eat dessert, I will. If I want to do nothing at all, it is ok. I can be selfish with my time (I know that sounds kind of unchristian, but one weekend a year of selfishness can hopefully be forgiven).


I enjoyed meeting with other women who are serving in Lesotho and hearing about ways they are seeing God move, or ways they are struggling in their work and I can be intentional with prayer. Sometimes hearing the struggles of others can really put my own struggles into perspective. Things may not look as bad. We can encourage, and uplift our fellow missionaries. We can also be encouraged by people who flew to Lesotho, just to serve us (so weird when those who serve daily are being served, it feels unnatural sometimes). It is nice to have that break and I think if I didn't have 5 kids and a husband, I would try to do this once a quarter, not a full retreat but a day away, but maybe it is because I have 5 kids and a husband, that I need the break! Hahaha.


I look forward to the week ahead now that I am feeling more energized.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Unforeseen Blessings

I titled my post today as unforeseen blessings because I have been reflecting on God's surprises in our life over the last 6 years. I can't even begin to count the new friends I have made through teams, volunteers, staff, neighbors and missionary families in Lesotho. I can honestly say that I had never known nearly this many people when I was living my quiet life in Zeeland, MI. I have grown in my confidence and in my ability to talk to people (I am still shy in large groups, but I can talk when I need to which is new for me). I have learned how to manage conflict better, and how to be a peace maker, all skills that have come from our move to Lesotho. These skills and blessing could be somewhat expected though, so I am not really talking about those.

This is me giving a speech at a funeral and being translated by Ntate Moribe. I never thought I would have the strength to do something like this, but with God all things really are possible.



I have already shared 2 unforeseen blessings that NEVER would have happened if we did not choose to follow God's path to Lesotho, and those blessings are my youngest daughters. I would not have seen the plight of orphans firsthand, and I don't really know if Bryan and I ever would have adopted. Yes, we talked about it a little, but we were not committed to it like we were after moving here. We would have missed the blessing of a larger and more fun family life. We would have missed the chance to daily love little girls who didn't get enough love and attention for many years of their lives. But we didn't miss a thing because God showered us with His blessings.

Polita and Nthabeleng on our long car ride to Port Elizabeth last August. They are really good sports, even when we threw a 9 hour car ride on them. They decided that the ocean and elephants were worth the long ride, I agree!



Now I want to share another COMPLETELY unforeseen blessing. I never thought my brother would come and see me in Lesotho because of the cost and his busy work schedule. I wanted him to come so badly and my friends, Terp and Tyler decided to surprise me and pay his way to visit me last April. We had a great time together and enjoyed traveling, and he got to know his new nieces, but God had an even bigger plan. During my brother's visit, he met a wonderful young woman who works at Beautiful Gate, and my shy little brother shocked me because he began to pursue this young lady. They only met 4 days before he left Lesotho, but kept in contact over the last 7 months, and she has just returned from a trip to America as his fiancĂ©!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My brother Robert (or Bob or Rob depending on who you are) and his future bride, Tsili, during her 2 weeks in October. 

Yes, you read that right. my brother is getting married to one of my co-workers (I am technically her boss which is super weird now, hahaha) Motselisi (Tsili as we call her) works in the finance department at Beautiful Gate and she is such a great woman. She loves the Lord, is super fun, serves in her church, tells the best stories, loves my brother with her whole heart, and she is going to be my sister. I have been praying for years that God would help my brother find a godly wife, but NEVER did I expect it would be due to his trip to visit us in Lesotho. What a blessing! What a gift! God is amazing at weaving lives together, and I am so glad we followed Him to Africa because He had some pretty huge blessings to pour out on my whole family!!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Elijah's Gift


I remember several years ago where I worried that living in Lesotho might be ruining my kids. I think it had to do with them losing their innocence due to witnessing the hardships of the Basotho. I couldn’t shelter them or sugar coat the truth. It broke my heart and I struggled, as most parents do I imagine, with self doubt and fear. I really don’t write this as a pat on the back for my kids, or my parenting because anyone who really knows us, knows that we are a very flawed family ;) I want to share this because it is a huge encouragement to me about the way God works through children growing up surrounded by poverty and hardship.

I have written in my blog briefly about a family from our former church in Maseru who are struggling with poverty. They have lost their jobs and now lost their temporary housing arrangement and were almost on the streets. I have committed to a certain amount of money that I felt I could share with them during their desperate struggle, but I knew I couldn’t help them with more than that committed amount. I prayed for them, pleading with God for someone to come alongside and help them. I didn’t expect the way God provided…

Last week during recess, Elijah came up to me and said that he had been feeling the Holy Spirit prompting him to give away his savings. (Side note- Elijah has been saving for months by doing chores and babysitting because he wanted to buy himself something special for Christmas.) He had been counting his money the night before and realized he was almost at his goal, but that goal was also the exact amount this family needed to pay their first month’s rent. He knew that this family needed the money more than he did. We met with the mother of the family and Elijah shared his gift to her. She was beyond grateful, which I am thankful for, because it was a real sacrifice for a young teenager.

Later that night after he had shared his money, Mercy came to me and asked if she could do some extra chores and earn some money to buy him the gift that he had given up with her own allowance. My heart just about burst at the sweetness of such an offer. I am so grateful that their hearts have been broken for those who have less then themselves. I am so grateful that Elijah has learned to discern what the Holy Spirit wants from him. I am in awe of the obediance of a 13 year old boy as he seeks to serve His Lord. I am humbled by the love of a little sister who has watched her brother give away a goal, and seek to come alongside and make that goal a reality.

This moment was so inspiring to my own faith as I reflected about God, and what it means to follow Him. What am I willing to give up as I put my faith into daily practice? I love that the Lord can use children to continue to show us His ways…love your neighbor as yourself!