Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Life

Lately I have been thinking about "new life." You see, I have 2 big changes that are going to happen to me in the month of January, that will bring a lot of newness to my routine and outlook on life.

First, for the past few months I have had some health concerns arise. I have been able to "semi" hide it, but for the past 2 weeks that is not the case. I will try and make this short. 3 and a half years ago I had a large cyst on one of my ovaries that had to be surgically removed. I was told because of my age and health, that there was only a 10% chance it would come back. 2 years later, I found myself in the 10% and had another one just as big removed, but once again was told, I should be fine. A few months ago, I felt another one coming back. Because of some insurances issues, I had to wait a little while before I could have it checked out. My original doctor was very full and couldn't see me until February, so I did a lot of research and changed doctors. Monday I had an appointment with him and God's peace filled the room. He did some tests and we sat down for an hour and talked through my family history, my health history and my options. We both agreed that the best way to treat my case was to do a hysterectomy. I know it sounds pretty extreme, but if you have seen me the past 2 weeks you could tell the amount of pain I was living in and I was done with it. So surgery is schedule for January 12.

When I tell people about the surgery, they usually feel very sorry for me. I have to be honest, I am doing really well right now. God's peace has filled my heart and I know that this is best. I am sure there might be a day when all I want to do is destroy something, because of the brokenness I feel, but until then, I am living in the peace that surpasses our "flesh" thinking. People have been asking how it makes me feel, knowing I will never physically give birth to a child. The only thing I can say is that it makes me sadder thinking of the 46 kids I left at Beautiful Gate, some of whom are still waiting for their families, than for me to not physically have a child. Looking with my "big picture" eyes, I can see that one of the many reasons I spent 4 months in Africa was to see and become passionate about the beautiful picture of adoption. I will never have a child grow inside of me, but there are 46 kids who live in my heart, that I would love to find homes for.

Another change, is that I am going back to school. WHAT?!?!? I know shocking. I never liked school and studying never came easy for me, but God has placed some passions in my heart and I need to learn how to put them into practice. I will attending Grace Bible College pursuing my bachelor's degree in Church Leadership and Ministry. For many years, I always felt lead to youth ministry, but since being back from Africa, I am feeling directed in a different way. What that is I am not exactly sure of, but I pray these classes will help me discover that.

Good thing all my classes are online, because school starts 2 weeks after my surgery and the only thing I will be wearing at that point are very comfy clothes.

I appreciate all your prayers support through these changes. The best thing I have learned through the past few weeks (and years) is that we may go through changes, but Jesus never changes. He is the same today as He was the day I was born. He is the same today as He was when I was a mom in Africa and He will be the same when I walk through surgery and the long hours of studying. God is good...ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May you rediscover the goodness and newness of Christ this Holiday season!!!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Void

Ever since being home, I have been walking around with a void. I know God completes me and with Him guiding my way, I am not incomplete, but for some reason I have just felt like half a person. When I first got home, I called it "culture shock." Everyone warned me about how hard the transition was going to be and they were right it was hard, but I have been home a month and I still feel incomplete.

At first, it was when I was alone at home and surrounded by all the "stuff" of home that the feeling was very strong, but the past few weeks it has come up when when I am with others. The void has made my mind process things differently and because of that conversations I have had with people close to me have changed. On the outside I could be laughing, but my insides are very screwed up. Last night I had a conversation with a close friend about goals. I was able to say a few goals that I truly do have, but inside everything she said, my mind answered with "she isn't going to think your goal is good." or "how can I have a goal, because something inside of me is missing." I went home just feeling defeated. I feel like I can no longer have a conversation with my best friend without the lies of satan whispering in my ear. I feel like I can't even hang out with people, because an innocent conversation about nothing or everything, turns into me thinking something is really messed up in me. This void has made me want to distance myself from others.

Today I think I figured out what the void is. I miss serving others, every minute of every day. For 4 months, I was a mom, (the best form of a servant) I was the person that made the food, got kids dressed, played with them, taught them things, kissed their hurts and put them to bed. They ran to me for comfort, they got mad at me when I disciplined them, they wanted to play with me some days and other days wanted me no where near them. Today I took my 3 youngest nephews and niece with me while I ran some errands. It was so much fun to be out with kids and have people tell me how cute they are. On the way home, my 2 year old nephew fell asleep and would not wake up after I took him out of his car seat. He just snuggled in my arms and I felt the void get littler. I then knew what I was missing. I miss being a mom. I feel like part of me is gone, well 46 parts of me are gone actually. 46 parts that gave me purpose. I know some of you are know thinking, "is she going to adopt?" Not now. I LOVE adoption. I support adoption, and if God calls me down that road someday I will gladly walk the path. But if I adopted right now the child God gave me, would not fill the void I have.

Also since being home, I have jumped back into building relationships with the high school students at church and have become involved in some things that have allowed me to serve. I love serving. It makes my heart happy, but it doesn't fill the void.

This past Sunday I stood up in front of my church and challenged them to focus God's plan, to fix their eyes on the things that are not right in front of your face. We need to fix our eyes on what we cannot see, because that is what is eternal. (2 Cor 4) As I talked to them, I was also talking to myself. Right now I am journeying through a tough place, but I pray with expectation, that one day it will all make sense. One day I will understand the void that is in my heart. One day I will feel complete, and no human person can take that void away. Daily I have to remind myself that the void I am experiencing will only go away when I reach Heaven. I may try to fill the void with a person or a "project" but those things will not fill the void. The void is the fact, that I am not home. Heaven is my home and I will live in a void until my homecoming.

BUT I will live with JOY through the void, so more people can experience what TRUE love with our Father is all about. I choose to focus on the good through the days when the void is screaming at me and satan's lies are louder than God's whispers. I choose to walk in peace and in choosing this, I must be bold with my faith. I have to tell others that the voids that they may be walking through, are temporary. I must be bold and not shrink back.

I miss being a mom, I miss serving every second of everyday, but I know God has a plan and I am choosing to believe one day this feeling will go away and everything will make sense.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

loosing me

One thing my time in Africa taught me was the process of loosing myself. I have to tell you that the process of loosing yourself can't be done in 4 months, it is a daily process where you have to surrender the person you created yourself to be and embrace the one God created you to be. Loosing yourself allows God to be in control and requires trust.

One thing that really stuck out to me with the children at BG was how much they trusted you. When you picked them up to hug them, they would snuggle into your arms and not let go. They trusted you to care for them, love them and simply just be with them. Now, because of their past, a lot of the children had a need to fight to survive, even though at BG they were completely taken care of. It was in those children that you claimed a huge victory when they trusted you. They too, were in a process of loosing who they created themselves to be due to horrible circumstances, rather than who God created them to be. When they ran up to me and yell, "ausey Boostina...knuckles," and put their little fist up, I celebrated. It was in those moments, that I felt God smiling on me.

I pray that I can continue to loose myself to Him daily. Honestly, I am having more culture shock coming back home, than I did going to Africa. Daily I am learning to let go my sense to fight, look up at my Abba Father and say, "knuckles."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

leap of faith

I can't thank you all enough for everything you have done for me. Your support both financially and spiritually showed me how BIG my God is!!!

I have been home for five days now. I have to say it is weird. Things are in the same place, but everything feels different. Things I enjoyed doing, I no longer do. I love being with my family and friends again, but I also miss the children at BG. I love being home, but I am learning that home is different.

When leaving for BG, I saw this as a leap of faith, quitting my job, leaving home, friends, family and going to serve in Africa. Since being home, I have realized each day we have here on earth is a leap of faith. You don't have to go across the world for God to stretch you. You can hear Him right here. God has a path and plan laid out for each of us and us choosing to trust Him in all things is a huge leap of faith.

Yesterday a friend of mine was given news that requires a "leap of faith" attitude. As I talked to her yesterday and today, her faith is her anchor. The odds are against her, but she knows how big her God is. (To read more of her story visit her blog PLEASE join me in praying for a miracle for Lindy, Dustin, Brooklyn, Maxwell and Samantha!!

The children at BG, taught me so much about trust and love. I will never forget the way their hands naturally held mine wherever we went. I will never forget that by just picking up a crying baby and holding them close you could feel them relax. I will never forget the sound of 30 children yelling, "ausey boostina, ausey boostina." They all have the "leap of faith" attitude, without even knowing it. Some of them have fought to survive and they have won!!

I have so many cherished memories at BG. I loved my 4 months there. God gave me a gift by allowing me to go and serve. I didn't serve, as much as I took in from the people around me. May God receive the glory the great things HE did in Lesotho.

Everyday is leap of faith...where is God calling you to trust Him and jump?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

See you Later

So I just put all the kids to bed for the last time. It was pretty hard. I decided to say goodbye to them tonight, instead of in the morning, so I wouldn't feel so rushed. One of the boys told his house mother he wanted me to sleep with him tonight, since I was going to America in the morning. I got into his cot, but there wasn't enough room for him, so he kicked me out.

Friday I was taking the children for a walk outside of BG. One of the older girls found it really fun to take her foot and slam it down on the dirt road to make a definite footprint. I decided to join her and after a few minutes all of the children were doing it. It made me think what footprint did I leave in Lesotho? What part of God's bigger plan did I play? I am not really sure, but I do know that Lesotho, BG and the people I have met have made a huge imprint on my heart and I will never be the same.

Tomorrow I start the long journey back, but I pray someday I will be back to BG and Lesotho. I pray I can take others with me and introduce them to the beautiful people that are here. Anyone up for a trip with me?

Please pray for a safe journey back home. I leave here at 5am (Michigan time) and if everything goes according to plan, I will land in GR Tuesday at 1pm. Some of you have asked if you could meet me at the airport. You are more than welcome too. I will be having a quiet night with my family after the airport, but you all are invited to see me at the airport. Your prayers and support have been a HUGE asset to this "leap of faith" and I would love to celebrate with all of you!!!

Love and Hugs from Lesotho!!!

A new face

I would just like to take a moment and introduce you to one of the newest members of the BG family. She is approximately 6-9 months old and was found in a forest alone. She is a very quiet girl, but since coming to BG has improved a lot, by making eye contact with people, acknowledging when someone calls her name and letting everyone know when she is ready to eat.

The director of BG gave her the name Christina.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The List

Sunday I was playing with the children after nap time. I sat with a 6 year old girl on my lap and she was going through "the List". This is something the older children do when a volunteer leaves or a child gets adopted. She said the names and I said where they are. "Neo...Canada. Thabo...Sweden. Leah...America" My friends Lindsey and Lindsay were added to the list since they left on Friday. But then she said my name, something she never had done before, "Boostina" and I said, "soon America." She then got up and ran away crying. When I caught her, she kept saying, "Boostina no America!!! Maseru!!!!" (Maseru is the captial of Lesotho.)

I am learning how hard it is for people to leave on the children. I wonder if my time here is a good thing or a bad thing for them. Yes, I am here for 4 months and have played with them, laughed with them, made their breakfast, and kissed them goodnight, but soon I will leave and they will have to adjust again. For the most part they are fine after someone leaves and after a few days they don't go through "The List" anymore and every time they do they forget about someone. So life does go on. I just feel bad that in 20 days I will be leaving them and their will be no more volunteers to go through "The List" with them.

A huge part of me is VERY ready to go home. I need to process the things I have gone through. I need to be able to go some where to just sit and think about everything I have seen and had my heart broken because of them. The past 2 days I have hit a point where my heart just can't take anymore. I have held a 7 day old baby that was found in a toilet pit, where the bugs had already started feeding off from his face and shoulders. I have seen things and heard noises that make you stop in your tracks. I LOVED my time in Lesotho and I know that when I get home and I am going to want to come back, but right now I need to breathe.

The thing is I feel really guilty about typing that. I need to breathe and have a break, but these children never get a break. They are here and this is their life. They are orphans. I am so glad that they are in a place where they are taught about the One who will not leave them as orphans (John 14:18). He will never leave or forsake them (Duet 31:6). Nothing can ever separate them for His love (Romans 8:38-39). He is the Father to the fatherless. (Psalm 68:5) Because of these promises it will be easier to give them the final kiss goodnight.

I may only be here for 20 more days, but a part of me will never leave Lesotho.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

pictures or clapping

I had to laugh the other day about a few emails I got. In one day, I got 4 emails asking me to post some pictures of my trip. I laughed because honestly I haven't been taking a lot of pictures. I know I just scared some of you. I have taken about 800 pictures, but I just don't carry the camera with me everywhere with me.

Yesterday I was going to get my camera and start take some pictures per people's request, but I got distracted. Instead of getting the camera, I ended up going and hanging out with a 2 year old boy. Some people here think he may have autism and we are in the process of trying to send him to get tested. He is 2 and doesn't walk or crawl. He gets around by sliding on his butt in the sitting position. He won't make eye contact and has a lot of tantrums that usually end up with him hurting himself. He needs a lot of extra care. So yesterday I sat him on my lap facing me and we clapped. First I clapped with his hands, then he put his hands on the outside of mine and clapped for me. Then he would make a noise with his mouth every time my hands clapped together. Then he started getting it and clapped by himself. For 2 hours, we clapped and for 2 hours it didn't matter what was going in the world, it was all about him and me.

For me pictures are good, they capture a memory that I don't want to forget. I am learning though about the people in the picture. They have names and stories. The other day I flipped through a magazine (I haven't done that in months) and my heart sank. There was an article about AIDs and the people whose lives have been affected by it. For me, the article was not about a distant issue, but one that I have lived in for 4 months. The faces have names. I have changed their diapers and comforted them when they were sad. I have held their hand on the playground and kicked around a soccer ball with them. They are more than a photo, they are a person.

For those who want a picture, the pictures on this post was taken by a friend of mine. We went to another orphanage last week and I made a new friend with a little boy. As you can see the camera is on my back, so my friend took some pictures. I thought about how I should take a photo, but then I just wanted to sit with him on my lap. He pressed his little body so tight up against mine. He didn't to let go of me. Saying goodbye was hard. Thanks for taking the picture Lindsey.

I am currently working on a video of my trip. I hope to have it done by the time I go home and will post it on the blog. I can't wait to show you all the people I know. I don't want to just post pictures and let you figure them out. I want to introduce you to the people I love in Lesotho.

love from Lesotho

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the other place

Yesterday my friends and I went to another orphanage in Lesotho. I had been there in October and told myself I never wanted to go back. My friends heard the stories and wanted to see the difference with their own eyes.

There had been a lot of changes since October, but it still was heart breaking. The dirty baby room was added on to to create more sleeping areas, so that was great and a new play area had also been added.

It is hard for me to share about some of the things we saw and some of the children we touched, during our 2 hour stay. BG is so blessed by a great facility and caring staff, but my heart goes out to the approximate 100 children that are living at the other place.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

happy father's day

Happy Father's Day, Dad!!!

Thank you for always influencing with the many mission trips you have gone on. Thank you for always loving me and teaching me about my Heavenly Father!!!

I hope you have a great day doing whatever you want.

love you!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

the tongue

My friends, I need to confess to you the sin of my heart. I have allowed my tongue to rule my life. It's loud lies that I have believed, have shouted over the truth God wanted to see and hear. Psalm 64:3-4 says, "They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent man; they shoot at him suddenly without fear." My tongue became a weapon.

I want to apologize to anyone who I talked negatively about, ruined your reputation or caused others to look at you differently because of the words I have said. The words I spoke should not have been directed toward any of you. I am eternally sorry for causing anyone to stumble because my tongue became my sword. The words I spoke were done out of my own insecurities. I can not take the words back, I really wish I could. I wish I could buy the biggest billboard along the busiest road and proclaim the truths that God knows to everyone about those I have ever spoken wrongly about. I apologize to everyone, if the word that came out of my mouth cut you down in anyway, or if I allowed the words of others to influence my words.

James 3:5-6 says, "Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."

Psalm 59:12 says, "For the sins of their mouths, for the words of their lips, let them be caught up in their pride."

I have allowed the words of my tongue to take over every part of my body. I have been very critical of people and have spoken wrongly about them, only to make myself feel better. I am sorry, that the words of my mouth did not bring unity to the body of Christ.

Every moment, I now am surrendering the desires of my tongue. I don't want it to rule over the rest of my body. Many times throughout the day I find my self praying...

Psalm 19:14, "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and Redeemer."

Psalm 34:13, "Keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from speaking lies."

Psalm 35:28, "My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long."

Psalm 71:24, "My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long."

Psalm 15:2-4, "He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truths from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong, and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises the vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath, even when it hurts,"

Friends. I am very sorry that Satan used my tongue to hold anyone back from living as God intended us to live. I am sorry that my desires became priority over what God wanted. I pray that I can be faithful with what the Lord has given me and I can speak encouraging words to and about everyone. I pray that in the moments when my flesh over powers my tongue, God's grace and mercy will shower over me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the path

This weekend, my 5 roommates and I as well as my friend Edward went on a Pony Trek through the mountains of Malealea. It was breath taking. I don't think any picture can match what my eyes saw as I rode on the back of a horse for 3 hours through some of God's creation.

The ride itself was a lot of fun, and taught me a huge lesson in trust. The last week I was struggling. My attitude wasn't that great and I was questioning a lot of things that I suppose to be enjoying. I just hit a wall. I was surrounded by some of the most beautiful kids on earth and all I could think about was how some of them will never know what a family is. My heart broke everyday as I saw them "just being kids" but then having to go to bed without the feeling of knowing, your bed is your bed. I was looking forward to the trek, because it was a little getaway from the heart break of being surrounded by children without families.

The ride was amazing. There were points when it was grass and my horse and I could run. There were points when it was steep hills and I could do was leave back or forward and trust that my horse knew what he was doing. At some points my horse had to step down 2 or 3 feet on the side of the mountain and I couldn't see where he was going. I had to trust, that I wasn't going to fall off and roll down the cliff. At one point I couldn't see anywhere my horse was stepping, because we were going straight down. At that point I just had to trust.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your lath straight."

That verse sums up my pony trek and my time at BG. I had to trust my horse and know he would get me to where we were going. Most of the ride we were in the group, riding along enjoying the mountains, but then my horse decided that he needed to lead, so he ran past 2 others horse and our guide and there was no stopping him. My guide just kept telling me don't worry he knows where he is going. At that point I had to trust the horse, because I had no idea where he was going and the group was far behind us.

In life, we are faced with times when we don't know where we are going. We don't know what adventure God has in store for us, but we need to trust Him, because He knows where he is going. I need to trust Him that these precious children will know what a family is and for the time being I need to trust Him and know I am their family. God has blessed me with 4 months to just seek Him and serve. Each day He is giving me more and more glimpses of Him and more and more moments to reflect Him to who I meet.

I pray that we all can trust God enough that even though we can't see the next step, we can enjoy the scenery. I pray we can just let go of our plans and know that He knows the way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my amazing mom!! (I know this is a few days early, but I will be gone on a weekend adventure, and won't be able to post on Sunday). If anyone sees my mom this weekend, please give her a BIG birthday hug from me.

I pray you have a great day mom, just relaxing and enjoying life. God blessed me so much when He gave me you!!! Thank you for letting me follow God's call to serve Him wherever He leads.

I love you!!!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

welcome to the Lindseays!!

Two of my friends are here from Haven. It has been fun to have some familiar faces around. They will be here until July 2, so I am looking forward to the many adventures we will have.


Some of you have been curious about my hair. For those of you who don't know, I love to get haircuts. I usually get one every 4 weeks. I love my "therapy time" with Kelli. She knows exactly what to do, to make my hair look good. Well I have gone 8 weeks now without a haircut. It hasn't been easy. It is so long!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm Here!!

I know...I know. I haven't blogged in awhile. If I was home right now, my neighbor would know the exact numbers of days from my last and scold me for not updating. I am sorry.

The truth is things are great in Africa. It is hard to describe my everyday activities, because they change so much. Two of my friends from church are here right now, which is SOOOO great. It is so nice to have a little piece of home here, but I also think it is showing me a little bit of the "culture shock" that will happen when I get home. They have already told me how different I am from the way I was before. God has changed me while being here. It is so freeing to see the layers of the old me being removed and the new me shining through. I praise Him for His faithfulness.

There are a few volunteers who are leaving this week. It is funny to hear them talk about the things they are going to do when they get home. One is going to eat at In & Out on his way home from the airport. Another is going to find the closet store and get some chips and salsa (there are none in is painful.) I have been thinking about what I want when I get home. It is funny there are no material items that I want. I just want to be with people. I want to walk off the plane and give my mom and dad and BIG hug. I want to take my 5 nephews and nieces to the zoo. I want to sit around a bonfire with people and talk. I want to share Cherry Slushies with a friend. I want to sit in a lawn chair for a whole day, only getting up to move with the sun.

I have learned a lot on Africa. One of the biggest things is that people matter. I didn't invest enough time in people before this. I pray I will now. I pray God will give me opportunities to just sit with people and listen. I don't need to talk, because I want to get to people. I don't need to get to know me. God showed me, myself during the past 2 months.

It is amazing the changes that have happened in the past 2 months. What will the next 2 months bring? I don't know, but I do know I just want to take in as much of Africa and it's people as I can.

Thank you for your love and encouragement. I couldn't do this without you!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I am sorry about the lack of blogging lately, the Internet has been down again. God continues to show himself to me daily. I have found a "routine," even though I don't think Africa knows what that word means.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with someone at BG. We were talking about how God was moving in my heart and the things He was showing me. This person said, "God is sure using some sandpaper on you!" Isn't that the truth!! Everyday I feel God is sanding off things of my heart that I don't need.

My dad does a lot of wood working, so I know the stages of sanding and finishing a project. First you start with the course sandpaper, because the things on the surface need to be removed fast, so you can see the beauty of the piece of wood. Then with each layer you use a finer piece of sandpaper, so you can see the true beauty in the piece of wood. Sometimes there are flaws in the wood that can't be taken away and you just have to work with them. But those flaws add a lot of character to the wood.

Sometimes in life God needs to use the coarse sandpaper to get rid of the junk on the top layer of your heart. It hurts, but when the sanding is done, you are pure. But God isn't finished yet. God knows all about sin. He knows how we all have secret sin in our lives, that maybe we don't even know about. He also knows that the course sandpaper won't take away those sins, so he changes to a finer piece to get rid of those sins. With each layer that is removed, God is returning His creation to the beautiful thing it was suppose to be, before the desires of our flesh came in to play. Sometimes in life, there are things that we can't change, but in those "flaws" God's grace comes in and they build character in our lives.

I am so glad to be in Africa right now!! God is showing me things about myself and getting rid of the things that I don't need to hang on to anymore. This process is draining, it hurts, but the FREEDOM that comes with it is so indescribable.

The other day I was praying that the things I am learning here will not leave me when I go back home. I also was praying that people in my life will accept the new me and love me the same through the sandpaper process, because I know it won't stop in Africa. God is removing things every day and He won't be finished until we reach Heaven. I was reading a book that described the character of Paul. When God worked in Saul and He became Paul, he changed a lot, but his core didn't change. He still was a passionate, strong leader, but he had a different purpose. Instead of killing Christians, he was fighting to proclaim the name of Christ.

God is changing the way I see things, because of what I am experiencing in Africa, He is changing me, but He is not changing my core, because He created that core. He is just asking me to take what He made and use it for good, rather than the prideful, jealous, and coveted things I was doing before.

I pray that everyone who reads this sees God working in my life. I pray that whoever reads this will take some time to TRULY ask God to show them what He wants to sandpaper out of their lives and allow the change to take place. I pray that everyone can have an encounter with the Holy God, in the same way I am right now.

But be careful, because the geniue encounter with Him requires some sanding.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Becky!! I wish I was with you today to celebrate. We could sit in lawn chairs all day and I could grill us supper, but I know you fully understand why I am in Africa. I pray you have a great day just relaxing with your 2 precious angels. (and if the weather is nice, you can go to a few garage sales!!!)

love you friend!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

what a difference a week makes!!!

So last week I asked you all to pray for a 6 month old boy that was brought to BG very malnourished and in bad shape. People prayed, God answered. A week ago I feed him with a syringe, today he was holding his own bottle. A week ago his eyes were very cloudy and never tracked with anyone, today his big, bright brown eyes followed me around the room. A week ago he didn't have enough energy to cry, today we laughed together. A week ago he hated being held, today he cried when I put him down. God has showed me what a lot of love and care can do for a child, it can change their life.

My friend Bryan has been at BG this week. It has been great to have a little piece of home here. I love being able to chat with him about what is going on in Zeeland, but I also love just watching him get his hands dirty for the kingdom. He has been in the office most of the week and I could see him getting tired. Today I left one of the baby houses and was looking for one of my roommates. I went into the playgroup room and found Bryan reading a book to about 3 kids. It just brought a smile to my face. Thank you Bryan for being the hands and feet of Christ here at BG!!!!!

I have heard from so many people this week about how they love to read this blog. I am pretty humbled by those words. I never thought of myself as a good writer and only set up this blog so I was forced to journal about this trip. It has become my prayer though, that those who read it don't see me, but see the work God is doing. My hands are too weak to serve, but His strength makes me unstoppable to love these precious children.

I can't thank you all enough for your words of encouragement. I love getting emails and messages from people, it is a huge highlight to my day!!!

love to you all from Lesotho

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day MOM!!!!

Love and miss you!!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

"They're coming"

Yesterday, 3 boys were officially adopted at BG. Even though their parents picked them up a week ago, yesterday the papers were signed and it was official, Canada has 3 new beautiful boys. It was an amazing thing to be a part of, to see the bond that had formed in only a few days between the children and the parents. What a great mother's day these moms will have!!!

I also saw this week what adoption does for the other children here. One boy was walking into preschool and asked where his friend was. When the teacher told him his parents came to pick him up, the child looked into his teacher's eyes and asked, "Where are my parents?". The teacher looked at him and said, "They're coming."

Today I am praying for all the parents that are "coming". Some of them haven't even thought of adoption yet, but one day they will be be "coming."

May we all, like that child, get excited that one day our Abba Daddy will be COMING!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

one month

A month ago, I boarded a plane and headed for Africa. I only knew I was going to be working at Beautiful Gate, but God knew the many lessons He would teach me.

1. The feeling of being abandoned.
2. The love of being reunited with some special kids.
3. How to change a cloth Nappie (diaper)
4. How to make 20 bottles with 3 different kids of formula, many different ml of water and not get them messed up.
5. How to use the meteoric system
6. Leaving a sick child at a hospital that was dirtier than anything I have ever seen. (Praise note. The baby is back at BG and doing very well.)
7. How to use an outdoor toilet and not even think it is weird.
8. How to boil water many times throughout the day so it is safe to use.
9. To enjoy riding in the hatchback of a Toyota through the mountains.
10. To listen to ONLY God's voice for direction.
11. How to let a child go to his mom.
12. What the price is for a bride. 23 cows and 8 sheep. (Now I have to find a way to tell all men my dad isn't a farmer.)

I can't thank you all enough for your prayers and support. I am loving my time at Beautiful Gate. I have done so many things it is hard to list them all. My favorite part has been seeing 4
children meet their mom and dads. As hard as it was to say goodbye to them, it was good to know the dream of Beautiful Gate is being fulfilled and these children have homes.

**Yesterday a 6 month old baby boy was brought in. He is VERY malnourished and needs a lot of attention. Tomorrow I said I would take care of him. Which means feeding him very little amounts through a syringe, otherwise he will vomit all over. Please pray for this little miracle to grow and gain weight.

love to you all from Lesotho.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

thank you

I just want to thank you all for your prayers over the past few days. I have enjoyed reading all your notes of encouragement and have really seen God speak through you. Being in Africa has made me realize what matters in life...relationships. Thank you all.

The decision I had to make was when I will be coming home. Last week, I wrote a post saying that I would be home by August due to my job change at Beautiful Gate. I thought it was a good plan, I would serve here for 4 months and then go home and speak about BG and the program I am working on to as many churches as possible. I was really looking forward to it and felt complete peace about it.

But then came 3 emails from people I love and trust saying that they were disappointed in me for changing the date. They wanted me to consider what God wanted to show me during the last 2 months of my stay here. They wanted me to think of all the people that trusted me and gave money for me to serve IN Africa for 6 months and what leaving would do to my reputation. Above all, they wanted me to just sit and think for a while. So I told them I would wait on it for a week and see what happened.

Well the week has come and gone and I have done some BIG wrestling with God. First I lived in the decision that I was coming home by August for 4 days. I wanted to see how it felt and see if it was really from God or not. Then I lived 4 days in the decision to stay and go home in October, hoping BG would be able to find something for me to do that would fill my days here. During each of those days I lived in the moment. I tried not to focus on my end date, but the day I was living in. I served the people at BG, I explored a lot of Lesotho (from the hatchback of a Toyota) and loved on a lot of children. During those days I sought out the advice of people I trust back home and people I have met here at BG. Hearing each of their feelings was very good for me, but hearing from God is what I wanted most of all. After sitting on the decision for 9 days now I have peace about what to do.

I will be coming home by August. When I wanted to serve at BG I wanted my time here to be beneficial for them. I want to get my hands dirty for God's kingdom work. After talking with Ray, the biggest need for me, would be to get the word out about the "Sponsor a House" program I am starting. The program is replacing the "Sponsor a Cot" program. BG has had huge success in the old program, but in the last few years has had some major issues with it that caused them to look at it in a different way. My role is to make the changes, set it up, train someone here to continue it and then get the word out to as many churches or organizations I can.

Could BG find something for me to do until October and then I speak then? Yes, but I don't feel it would be right. Since October of last year, BG has changed the way they run things in the baby houses. Because of these changes, the need for long term volunteers has become less and less. BG has done a great thing by training local women to really care for the children here. Because of this, they are seeing less and less attachment issues with the children and they are seeing the women take pride in what they are doing and raise these children as their own. They are learning skills like cooking, sewing and how to really care for a child. It really is a "win win" situation.

BG still loves short term volunteers (2-4weeks) because it gives the ladies a little break and allows outsiders to see Lesotho and BG. I don't want to deter anyone from coming here to serve. It is a great place. I am loving my time here. The people of Lesotho are beautiful. They care about each other and are united with one goal of taking care of God's precious children. I believe everyone should come here at least once in their life.

This decision was a very hard one to make. But when I laid out the "pros and cons" the main "pro" for staying until October was to not let people down back home. Yesterday, my devotions said, "Your fear about displeasing other people, puts you in bondage with them and they become your primary focus." That is so true. When thinking about staying until October, all I could think about was how others would be so proud of me. When I thought about leaving by August, I had peace that God would be proud of me. I am not sure why, but I feel God wants me home earlier and I am going to be faithful to that. I don't want my primary focus here to be about other people, I want my primary focus to be about pleasing God.

All the money that was raised for my last 2 months, will be given mostly to BG. Plus I want to bless a family I have meet here that is in need. I thank you all so much for your financial support and would never want any of you to think I was stealing the money you gave to God. It is His, not mine and I am leaving it in Lesotho.

I am VERY grateful for the 3 people who sent emails asking me to think about my choice. They were looking out for my best interest, and were only trying to help me. I am not mad or upset at them, but very grateful that they asked me to take more time. Because in taking the additional time, I know without a shadow of a doubt that coming home by August is what is right. So to those 3 people, I thank you and I love you. I pray that every person has people in their lives that are honest with them, even if the honesty hurts and makes you feel like you have been run over by a truck. Honesty with one another is how God calls us to live. We need to help each other look at the bigger picture in life, rather than the moment you are currently living in.

I have a plane ticket reserved, that I will be finalizing this week. When I know all the details, I will post them. I would love to see you all at the airport when I get home.

Thank you again for your prayers and love. We are called to be one body, to carry each other when times are rough. I am seeing Hebrews 10:19-25 in each of you.

"Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to each other in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as we see the Day approaching."

Thursday, April 29, 2010


hello readers,

I am writing to you seeking out your prayers today. I have a big decision to make and I am really stuck. I have been praying and believe I have gotten my answer from God, but people that I love and trust are firmly telling me the opposite thing. I am trying to discern, if what I thought was God's answer was or if it was Satan's way of being a stupid snake.

I feel like I have been run over by a truck. I have been sick all week with a bad cold that plus the weight of the decision I need to make has taken its toll on my body. I was able to send 1 email out today regarding the project I am working on at Beautiful Gate, but other than that I have been in bed. My body and spirit are both weak.

Please pray God would make HIS plan clear and that HIS voice is the only one I hear. Please pray that I can rest and take in all that God wants me to see and experience. Days here are very draining, but there is no doubt that God is here and He is working. Please also pray that no matter what decision has been made, everyone who has been given me advise can surrender it.

When I come home, I want to have no regrets. I want to know that my time here in Lesotho had meaning. Right now I am trying so hard to seek out the still, small voice of God and focus on Him.

I am learning that my time here is less about me serving at BG and more about God stripping everything away, even relationships, so I can focus on Him ALONE!!!! I love my time spent with my God. Worshiping Him is what has brought me so much joy here. May I keep my focus on that.

I have a meeting with the director of the orphanage on Monday, after that I will be able to give you all more details.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the dream come true

Yesterday I saw two couple's dream come true, as they met their children for the first time. Everywhere I went yesterday you could feel God smiling down on Beautiful Gate, because not only did these parent's dream come true, but the dream and purpose of BG was also being fulfilled.

It was a joy to me to see a mom's face light up when I walked out of the house with her son. It was so much fun to see them play and laugh together. I could only think that this is what God must do every time someone enters into the family of God. He must smile with His whole body as He adopts up into the family that will never leave us abandoned.

BG has MANY adoptions happening in the next month. It is such a blessing to be here at this time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Thursday night, I realized how blessed we are in Michigan. I went to the dirtiest place I have seen in Lesotho yet. As I walked along, I watched every step I took and hoped not to step in something that I didn't want to. The place was the hospital in Maseru.

I had to take 6 month old baby boy there because he was very sick. The nurse from BG went with and did all the talking. When we walked into the waiting room, I saw every one's eye look me up and down. They thoughts were not silent because every time I walked past another person I heard the Lesotho word for "white woman". When we were waited on right away, they all got made. I just wanted to disappear. My lap became the exam table. I sat their holding the baby as they drew blood, check his vitals and went over his symptoms. The same eyes that look at me everyday as I feed him his bottle turned from love to fear. They gave him an IV, bandaged his whole hand so he won't pull it out, wrapped him up and told us to go to the children's ward. As I walked across 2 parking lots holding a baby that was partially treated on I prayed for his safety. When we walked in to the children's ward, I felt like I walked in to an old movie. The children there were VERY skinny with IV coming out of their heads. Most beds had 2 or 3 children in them and the loud cries echoed through the big room. We were brought to a room about 7 feet by 10 feet and given a tiny bed. I was glad to see he would have his own bed, but then I looked around the room. There were 6 other children in the same room and no place for me to sit down. The other children were peeing in pop bottles and most had witchcraft beads around their waist. Right away they put him on oxygen and gave him some meds. He just laid there and cried and all I could do was rub his head and pray. Then the news came, he has pneumonia.

The BG nurse left to go pick someone up who could stay the night with the child. I sat there all alone with this baby and began to wish I was with him in Michigan. My niece has had pneumonia many times and is fine, but the sad thing is pneumonia in Africa isn't good, in fact it is really bad. At one point in time I just looked up at the wall and counted 40 cockroaches climbing all over. When it came time that I had to go I really didn't want to leave him, but I knew that the language barrier would be too much and I couldn't do anything.

When I got to BG and laid in bed the tears began to follow, because things got personal. What if my nephew Jake was born in Africa and not in Michigan, would he be the amazing 5 year old boy that he is today without the work of the DeVos Children's Hospital? I thought of a friend's daughter who has had a kidney issue her whole life, would she be here?

Please pray for the baby. He is still in the hospital and when I asked about him on Friday, he was getting worse.

We are so blessed in America with great health care!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stripping Away

The past week has been hard, but I am rejoicing that God has done some great things!!! Everyday I feel God is stripping away more of me and revealing more of who He created me to be. It is a very hard process. I have learned that I really don't like the person I made myself to be. My heart was full of selfish desires, power and pride. I tried so hard to be a very good planner, and realized that doing that I was trying to control God.

I have learned that you can't plan anything in Africa and you don't even try to control something. I have been so homesick this week , but I believe God wanted me to get to that spot to realize how blessed I am. He even decided that I didn't need to have the Internet, so I wouldn't be distracted by Facebook, emails and blogging. I have come to a place where I have acknowledge Him above all. I know that He is in charge and nothing I plan will ever bring Him as much praise as if I just let go and allow Him to move.

The things I see and hear in Lesotho are heartaching, yet there are many joyful celebrations as well. It is all very draining, but I know this is exactly where God has placed me and I am trying to be faithful to His calling.

I have been assigned a special job at BG. I am so excited about this project. I am working on changing the Sponsor a Cot program that BG currently has in place. This program is great, but it is hard to update sponsors about their children, because BG has such a high turn over due to the opening of adoptions. I am still working in one of the baby houses during the mornings, and then I head to the office by 10a to work on the new program. It makes for a great day. I get to start out by taking care of 13 children, getting them ready for school or play group. Then I make about 18 bottles and get to feed the newest BG baby that I blogged about last post. After that I go the office and work on the new program.

Ray and I sat down and went over a timeline for the new program and I am happy to say I will be back in Michigan at the beginning of August. I will not be done with BG though. Part of starting this program is getting the word out to potential sponsors. So even though I will be in Michigan, I will still be very much involved at BG trying to speak to as many churches, small groups, and/or sponsors I can.

I can't thank you all enough for your prayers and encouragement. I have started writing down, every Bible verse or quote people have sent me and I read them often. Thank you all so much for being a huge part of this Leap of Faith.

Monday, April 12, 2010

abandon and alone

My prayer for this trip was that God would break my heart for the things that break His. Everyday it seems He is stripping away more and more layers of Christina and I am feeling abandoned and alone. I know this is a process and one day it will all make sense, but right now it is very tough.

A 5 day old baby was just brought to BG. She was found in a garbage bag next to the dumpsters in town. How can someone just throw away a precious child? How can a person be trash? But then I am reminded of how many times I have ignored someone or pushed away one need because I didn't think it was worth my time. Through those acts, I put someone in a trash bag and treated them like garbage.

There are people all around us right now that need to be loved. The cashier at the grocery store, a student in your class, a family member and even that person in church that you always see. The list could go on and on. People are not garbage. Babies are not orphans. We are all children of the King of kings and Lord of lords. I personally have had to remind myself of that many times already on this trip. The transition time I have been told is the hardest and I hope so, because this doesn't feel so well.

I have seen glimpses of Heaven through conversations with people at BG. I have seen Jesus in the eyes of these kids. Today I was on the playground and 1 year old boy came and melted into my lap. He just held on to me with all his might as we sat. I was so hard to put him down when I had to leave and hear his cries as I walked away.

There is so much in Africa that is abandoned and alone. I pray each day I can feel more and more like the child on my lap. I pray I can sit in my Abba, Father's lap and trust him FULLY. I pray I can take all my fears and anxieties and melt them into my Daddy's nail scared hands.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

the trip

I made it!

I am in Africa!!

It is so hard to believe. The trip was LONG and not so much fun, but I am here. Unlike October, all but one of my flights were on time. The issue this time was sleep, health and turbulence. When I left Wednesday morning my stomach was in knots. I know Africa is where I need to be, but saying goodbye to my family and friends was hard and getting on a plane by myself was even harder. All of the flights were full of turbulence due to some thunderstorms that I seemed to be flying into, that added with the fact that hotel I stayed in in New York was having problems with their alarm system (since the fire alarm went off 3 times in the night), I only had about 5 hours of sleep from Wednesday to Friday night when I got to Beautiful Gate. Just so you all know, riding on a plane for 18 hours with stomach issues is not fun. PRAISE THE LORD, I was in the row right in front of the bathrooms and on the aisle. You don't need to know the details.

Last night Brian from Beautiful Gate picked me up and we were able to get my 30 day visa right away. This means I have 30 days to extend the visa, which shouldn't be an issue. We then stopped by the hotel my friend was staying at and I was greeted with a big "Pastor Tim" hug. It was great to see someone I knew right away. Brain then brought me to BG and I meet my roommates and went to bed. It was nice to just lay down, rather than sit up for a change. My roommates left for the weekend, so I had the house to myself.

Enough of the boring details...

I was out playing with some of the children this afternoon, when "my boy" came outside. He didn't see me at first, but with one call of his name, his face lite up and he ran to me. It was an amazing feeling. For about an hour he and I (and 8 other kids) just walked around the playground. It felt so good to be with him again.

One of the boys here has some special physical needs. When the Krolls were here 3 years ago, he was barely walking. In October when we were here he was walking with a severe limp. Now you can hardly tell. He is running around with the other children and having fun. He does have a little limp, but it doesn't stop him.

Tyler, your little buddy is still here and I showed him a picture of you and him in October and you could tell he remembers you.

Keith Lori, Tyler, Anita, Rog, Mary and Sara, you guys should see the wall it looks great and the sandboxes are in as well.

Lindsey and Lindsay, when you get here, it will be just the 3 of us in the house. I can't wait to see you guys.

Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. It was so hard to walk down the terminal alone on Wednesday, but God is in control of this trip and I am trusting Him. Sunday I am going to a brai (BBQ) with Pastor Tim and his team as well as Natate Edward and his family. I can't wait for some African BBQ!!!

love to you all from Lesotho.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Psalm 37:4

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
I used to think this verse meant if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you what you want. A few weeks ago, Haven's high school youth group had a speaker who spoke on this verse and it became new to me. If you truly delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart and that is HIM.
Here I sit in the hotel in New York. I am truly trying to delight myself in MY Lord. People have asked me why I am moving to Africa for 6 months. Why would I quit my job and leave behind my family and friends? The answer is two fold.
First, I am going to serve God. I am going to be a "mommy" to kids who don't know what a mommy is. I am going to do whatever is needed at Beautiful Gate. Second, I am going to "delight myself in the Lord." I am looking at these 6 months as a time for me to get away from all the distractions and comfortable things of home and gaze upon my Lord and Savior. I don't know what God is going to show me during this time, but I am opening myself to Him and whatever He has planned.
Thank you for all your prayers and support. This journey isn't just for me, but for you as well.
Sala Hantle.
(Stay Well)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Last Post from Michigan

Here it is, the night before I leave and I am so ready to go. I know it is because of all your prayers that I am so calm and excited. I really have no nerves, I just can't wait to get back to Beautiful Gate.

Dusty would like to apologize to all of you. A lot of people have been feeding me well over the past few weeks and also giving me yummy treats to take home. I realized though, that the treats were disappearing. Well, Dusty ate so many of the goodies that he weights too much to go to Africa. He is so bummed about this, but He knows it is best this way. Dusty will be taken care of by 3 kids who already love him and fight over who gets to have them in their bed. He will be loved a lot.

Sorry I have nothing profound to say I am sure I will post something from New York tomorrow might, since I will be spending some time in the hotel.

Good night Michigan. See you in October.

Monday, March 29, 2010

9 days

I am stuck in the in between and it is hard. Last week, I was still working, doing youth ministry, and serving at Haven Church. Now I am not. I am at the point where I just want to go. I know the next 9 days are going to go really fast, but it is still tough. Every day is filled with a lot of "last time"s. The last time I get gas in my car or the last time I see someone and have to say goodbye. I am as ready as I will ever be (maybe not, because I haven't packed) to go. I just want to go.

The good byes are not fun, they are very draining. While I am am with the person, yes, the conversation and whatever we are doing is fun, but then there is the final hug and the goodbye. I think I took 2 naps today, just because I feel so drained.

I want to thank my church, Haven CRC, for an amazing service last night. It was filled with God's power and His story for each of us. I could feel you all holding me up in prayer, literally, and I pray I never forget that feeling. To those who held my hand, made me laugh, prayed and gave me hugs...thank you. I am going to miss you all, but I know God has big things in store for all of us. Remember, whatever you do, do it 100% no matter the outcome, you will learn to trust God more and fall more and more in love with Him. To the MOSAIC students...I love you guys. Keep asking hard questions and keep seeking His will.

Here is the link to the video from last night.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

what's in a name?

Hi everyone. My name is Dusty. I know you all put in some very good suggestions for my name, but ultimately one name stood out and so I am Dusty. Thank you to Karen who suggested my name. The reason she said it, is because she knows I will get very dusty and/or dirty while in Africa. She should know since she has spent time in Uganda. Christina, my traveling friend, decided it would be a good name for another reason. You see when Jesus walked this earth, his disciples would walk so closely to him that they would be covered in the dust that His feet kicked up. Going to Beautiful Gate is such a huge adventure and there are going to be time when I am afraid, but Christina has told me that as long as we stay in the dust of our Rabbi Jesus we will be okay.
I can't believe we will be leaving in 17 days. Christina keeps telling me about all the amazing people I am going to meet and about all the children that I get to play with. This is going to be such a cool journey. Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

office pictures and countdown

For those of you that are curious, Amy posted pictures of the new office on her blog. Check it out! By the way, only she can all me "sneaky Ms. Christina"


I realized tonight I was a day a head in my count down. I now leave in 20 days.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Some people say communion can only be taken with bread and wine or juice. Today I believe I had communion with a Shamrock shake and amazing conversation.

I woke up today feeling the sacrifice of this step. Being away from those I love for 6 months is going to not be easy. But after I had communion this afternoon I am a little more ready to go back to Africa and start this adventure God has put me on. I know there will be days when the sacrifice screams louder than the joy of taking care of children, but there are always more Shamrock shakes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

the list

The reality of me leaving hit me square in the face today and it didn't feel too good. I think it is because ever since I knew I was going back to BG for 6 months, I started making a list of things I wanted to do before I left. Some are fun, like spending a morning in bed doing nothing or making sure I get a Shamrock shake from McDonald's, but others are meaningful. The top thing I wanted to do before I left, I finished on Saturday and now that it is done, I feel the reality of what this step of obedience means.

For those of you who don't know my best friend Amy, you are missing out. She is one of those people who I believe spent some extra time on when He knitted her together. Of course she is not perfect, but she is one of the most giving, compassionate people I have ever met. Plus, she is VERY funny and understands my humor as well. Well, Amy's office is not the most cheerful place and as a mom of 3 and a high school youth director, who gives so much of herself to others, I thought she needed a place to just "be". So when she left for Florida last week with her family, I completely made over her office. Along with the help of some great friends, the gray walls are a bright blue and the place is just peaceful. I am so happy how it turned out.

But now that the office is done, I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I am leaving for 6 months and the people that I care about will no longer be a phone call or car ride away. I know this time God is going to show me how much I need to cling to Him for strength and support, but I am going to miss my support system here. As I sat in church today, my heart sank. I only have a few more weeks to worship at Haven. I couldn't even sing tonight. I just put my head down, closed my eyes and listened to the worship that I have love to be apart of.

The office is done...
The list is getting smaller...
My heart is realizing what true obedience means...

22 days.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

23 days

I have a ticket!!!!!

Yes, my friends, I have a place ticket and will be leaving for Africa 1 day earlier than planned. So, in 23 days I will head to Chicago, then New York, then Jo'burg then Bloemfontein where I will be greeted by some people from Beautiful Gate who will take me to Lesotho. It is going to be a few long days of travel, but I will be heading back to "my kids" at BG and a few days in a plane are worth it. PLUS...I will be able to see a friend and former pastor of mine Tim Spykstra, his daugther Anna and mom, Harriet and step dad, Bill. Bill, Harriet and Tim are a BIG part of BG and have provided a lot of direction and mentorship for the directors Ray and Sue.

Thank you all who have been praying that this would work out. God has provided, as He always does and I am excited to see what He wanted to me to learn through this new flight route. He already has taught and showed me that He alone will provide. The new flight plan was $300 more than the original, but there was nothing I could do about it. A few hours after booking the flight, a friend of mine came to me with a check for $300. She said it was the amount her and her husband decided on to donate and I was blown away. I couldn't even cry I was so overwhelmed by God showing up and saying, "do you trust me?" I just took a deep breath and said yes. He also provided through another friend using her hotel points to book a room for me in New York, because I have an overnight there. I am so grateful to everyone who has given, not only financially, but in their time to learn more about my trip. It has been just a blessing to sit down with people and show them the pictures and tell them the stories.

I just can't believe I will be leaving in 23 days. That is so soon. There are people that I am trying to avoid saying goodbye to, because it will be a very hard goodbye. BUT I can't wait to get back to the staff and children at BG. It is amazing how the 8 days I spent with them in October has changed my heart.

23 days...

this is going to be an incredible journey!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Hello Readers.

I was doing really well during the past week, but then all the emotions that I had been bottling up, exploded out yesterday. It is funny how long you can convince yourself that you are "fine" when you are really not. I preserved through the crashed computer and purchased a new one, but I just couldn't fight through the pity party with the plane tickets. Yesterday, I received an email from my travel agent, who is working hard to help me, but is finding out there is no way I could fly the same route I had chosen without an overnight. She advise me looking in to flying through London, which should clear up the overnight. I would have an 8 hour lay over, but I wouldn't have to leave the airport. I just lost it. I was making high pitch squeals that only dogs could understand. I feel to my knees and as much as I want to say I start praying, I didn't, I started questioning. I questioned every thought I had, every feeling I experienced, every word someone said to me. I question if this was REALLY what God wanted for me. I composed myself and went to work just trying to ignore the situation that was happening. Today I woke up and prayed. I prayed for a renewed spirit. I prayed for God to take control in ways only He can. I prayed for peace. I prayed for this to be COMPLETELY released from my hands. I control nothing!!!

This morning my neighbor and dear friend Becky came over and handed me my reminder from God. Becky was gone last week, picking up her second daughter. A beautiful, six month old baby girl from Ethiopia. So for an hour, I sat holding Africa. I looked into Grace's eyes and I remembered why I am doing this. I prayed this morning and God then reminded of His grace through Grace.

It all comes down to fears. I was afraid yesterday that God forgot about me and I would never get to Africa. I feared I would never get back and see those precious children that have touched my life so deeply. Joyce Meyers puts it this way, "The truth is courageous people also feel fear, but they do it anyway! In fact there is no courage unless faced on a fearful situation. In order to find courage to receive a new thing from God, I just do it afraid."

Sometimes we have to just fight through the fear and do it. Yes, I have a fear that the same flight issues I had in October will happen again and I will get stuck somewhere and not know what to do. I fear the unknown. I fear the loss of control. I fear I will never get back to Africa, but I am going to go, knowing I will get there and but I might have to go afraid.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I have always heard you must be doing something good, if you are feeling beat up. This has been a hard weekend, but one that has developed more perseverance and trust. Friday I received an email letting me know that one of my flight times was changed, which didn't allow me enough time between flights. Since "TIA" (see previous post for definition) all of my other flights had to be changed. So, as of Sunday night I have no flight to Africa. I was EXTREMELY frustrated after the email, but instead of staying frustrated I went to the Word. I was studying the great faith chapter Hebrews 11. I tried to put myself in the people's shoes listed in the chapter and decided that even if I have to build a boat in my yard in the middle of winter, I will get to Beautiful Gate.

The second frustration came today. While I was reading an email from Ray, the director of Beautiful Gate, my computer crashed. After talking with a few different people and realizing this is the second virus it has had in 6 months, I have made the decision that I need a new computer. I don't like this decision, because it means spending money that I don't know where it is going to come from. But the fact is the most "reliable" form of communication I will have in Africa is via the computer (email, Skype, Facebook and the blog) so going without one is not even a choice. When I asked BG what I should bring with me, a laptop was first on the list. So it is a purchase that has to be made.

I was talking with some great friends today about attitude. Usually when things like this happen I like to sit and pout and have a pity party. One of my friends was agreeing with me on how even though we are suppose to praise God when we are facing storms, sometimes sitting on the couch and dwelling on the negative feels better. Her husband was opposite from us. He said things happen for a reason and when something comes up that wasn't planned we should look to see where God is leading. I really want to have his attitude. Having a pity party, might feel good for a time, but is it, really?

Tomorrow as I try to book a new flight route, I am going to praise God for what He wants me to experience. Also as I try to work more hours at work to get some extra money for the computer, I am going to keep my eyes open to what God wants me to see. I am not saying I am no longer going to have pity parties, because sometimes we just need to, what I am saying is I am going to start acknowledging Christ as my King, who reigns over all and trust Him alone.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Recently I was trying to figure out how to share my adventures in Africa to you blog readers in a way that doesn’t sound like every adult character on Charlie Brown, “wah wah wah wah wah.” I decided to take a friend along to help with the journey. I would like to say this was my idea, but I need to give credit to my friend Karebear Lubbers, who did the same thing on her trip to Uganda and hopefully will publish her stories because they are great. So throughout my 6 months at Lesotho you will hear updates from me and my perspective as well as updates from my friend and the adventures he has been on.

Here is the contest…my friend needs a name. As you can see my friend is a nice fluffy puppy who loves to be cuddled and loved. I am sure my friend will enjoy it’s time with the children at Beautiful Gate, because there will be so many children to love on it.

You can submit your names to my email, with the subject "name my friend". I will then pick a winner and my friend will have a name. And yes, there will be a prize for the winner.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Thanks you all for your prayers and support. I know that moving to another continent isn't going to be easy, but I can't wait. I am at the point where I am tired of planning. I just want to go. I want to be peace at Beautiful Gate. I want to bring joy.

When I was in Lesotho in October I asked my friend Edward, who lives in Lesotho and works at BG, if I could have a Besotho name. I wanted to be apart of Lesotho, the people, the culture. I wanted to belong. For a female, your name changes after you have your first child. After your child is born your name changes to M'e ma... (which means mother of and then your child's name). Since I am not a mom I was curious what my name would be. He came back the next day and named me M'e maTumello. Mother of Faith.

Who knew that that name would cause me to act. Through this whole process I have redefined the word faith. For me faith is living life without knowing the details. Faith is stepping out and acting when God calls you to. It could mean moving to another country to serve. It could mean giving up your shoes for those who don't have them. It could mean fasting from going out to eat and taking that money and giving it to those who need help. It could mean adopting a child. Faith is doing things that make other people say "what?"

I want to encourage you friends, to step, leap, jump into God's plan. It is so freeing. Yes is it stretching and will cause you to sacrifice but in sacrificing

What's in a name?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


There has been some tense moments this week. Nothing too major that relates to Africa directly, just moments when you look to God and say, "am I really strong enough for this?" I have had 2 conversations with people this week that make we want to scream at the ridiculous things they have said.

Our world, right now is at war and I am fired up!!!! There are babies dying. There are people who have gone days without food or water. There is a family standing over some one's bed as their life support is being shut off. What is the church doing about it? Really?!?!

In my last post I encouraged you all to seek out the part that God has chosen for you to play. What is your role in the family? We all have one. Now do you believe enough to take up that role, to take up your cross and follow God. Do you know that you know, that you know, that you know, that God is who is says He is and will come like He said He will come? My hope is that from now on I can let the tense conversations flow in one ear and out the other. I don't want them to settle in ANY part on my mind, heart or body. I don't want to be distracted from my role. I have a role to play. I believe enough. I am being sent to Africa, and I am going.


Because God is who is says He is and He will come like He said.

After a drive with my best friend tonight I walked in the house trying to make sense of the week. My friend always has a way of speaking the truth to me, even when I don't want to hear it. I opened the door to the house walked in and started singing a song that I haven't sung in a while. May you be blessed by our great God as you take up your cross and follow HIm alone.

God is bigger than, the air I breathe, the world I leave.
God will save the day and all will say, "My Glorious."

Friday, January 29, 2010

dates booked

Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers. There has been a lot going on. I have been making a lot of phone calls to set up health insurance, suspend my car insurance, research things I will need while there and the hardest, picking the dates and getting a plane ticket.

My exact dates are set and I booked my tickets this week. I will be gone April 8 through October 12. I found out I will be staying right at Beautiful Gate. I am VERY excited about this. I will never be without the children. There are times when thinking about Africa just freaks me out, but then I remember the children and I know why I am going.

I just read a great book called, "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. (A must read!!) He asks a hard question, many hard questions, but one that sticks out to me. "Do you believe enough to do something?" That question has been running through my heart and mind constantly. Do I believe enough in God and His BIG plan to do something to change the world? The answer is YES!!!!!

We all can't move to Africa for six months or adopt a child, but we can do something. We all are a part of God's big plan. What is your part? Do you believe enough to do something?

Monday, January 18, 2010

leap of faith

I can't believe I am typing this, but here it goes...I am moving to Africa for 6 months. My heart is racing with joys, excitement, fears and concerns. I can't wait to see what God is going to teach me through this experience. There are a lot of details that are not fully set in place yet, but I believe God has is all planned out and has had it all planned out for many years. Here is my story...

For many years I have always prayed to be in full time youth ministry at Haven Church. I strove to do whatever I could, to not only serve God, but the body of believers there. Last spring, through many hard conversations, I decided I needed to look somewhere else. It was a hard decision, because I love the people at Haven, but knew there was never going to be a job for me there. So I started applying at other churches, six to be exact. Five of the churches knew right away that I wasn't the right fit for them. One of the churches I felt very good about. I had an interview and was feeling very confident that this was going to be where God was going to place me. I was excited, because it was full time youth ministry and it was still in West Michigan. But I received a "no" from them too. A few weeks after not getting the job, I had to have surgery, so I had a lot of time to think about what was going on while I was healing. I remember laying in my bed one day saying "God, I don't want to put limits on you anymore. Just let me be your hands and feet somewhere." Well, that was a pretty bold prayer, because the somewhere turned into Africa.

In October of 2009, I was privileged to spend 8 days at Beautiful Gate, orphanage in Lesotho, Africa. During those eight days, God made it clear that this was not going to be my only time at Beautiful Gate. After coming home, I spent many hours in prayer and a few days fasting, seeking God's direction for the next step. I am pleased to say that the next step will be spending 6 months being His hands and feet to the children and staff at Beautiful Gate, as well as those I meet in Lesotho. I am going with an open mind and heart, knowing that this step of obedience, will serve a purpose in God's BIG plan.

This blog is designed to share updates, prayer requests and God moments, while I am gone. I am not sure exactly how often I will be updating it, since the availability of Internet connection changes daily in Africa, but I will try as much as possible to keep all my readers informed of what is going on. Right now I am busy, choosing my exact dates, making travel arrangements, finding health insurance, and the list goes on and on.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. It is overwhelming to me to talk about the trip, because most days I feel like I am dreaming. I am so humbled by your support and excitement for this trip. Thank you.