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."