Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Child Who Changes Eternity

A few years ago a good friend of mine wrote a beautiful Christmas song.  The chorus of the song is as follows...

Oh come let us adore Him,
the child who changes eternity.
With the Angels sing glory on high,
for the same on earth shall ever be.
Hallelujah and Amen
All praise to the Father and to this child...His Son.

Today is Christmas, a time for people to come together and worship the Child who changed eternity.  Without Christ, Christmas is really just another day.  But because of the child in a manger, it is the start of our story.  So many people, Christians included look at Easter as the start of their story with God.  Easter is a great day, and it is the start of our Eternal life story with God in Heaven.  Christmas though is the start of our fleshly, earthly life with Christ.  Christ came to the world in the form of a baby.  He could have come as a power warrior and quickly killed off all the evil in the world, but He came as an innocent child.  Christ took on flesh, to show us that we have a story to share on earth and as we walk this journey in our flesh we must keep sharing how the King of kings left His throne for us and walked this earth as a testament to how we must live our lives full of grace and truth.

I am less than a month away from getting on a plane to Lesotho and continuing the journey God gave in October of 2009.  Because of the desire God has placed on my heart to love all the children of the world, I will be leaving my "safe" lifestyle in Zeeland and jumping into a dangerous, radical, dependent relationship with God.  Not everyone is called to do this.  Some people's dangerous lifestyle is in Zeeland, some people it is in their house with their families and for some people it is on the other side of the world.  Wherever your radical journey with God goes, you must take it.  Jesus came to give us a full life (John 10:10), not an easy life or a safe life.  Not living the journey or mission God has for you is not fully embracing the power of the manger and what it represents.

I will be taking off January 21 and Lord willing, getting to BG on the 23rd.  BG and Lesotho are in hard place right now.  Adoptions are closed and children are in need.  BG is currently over it's maximum capacity, but how do you turn away a child who needs to be loved?  Please be in prayer for the staff, the children, the director and myself as we strive to care and love these precious gifts of God.  Please also be in prayer for the journey God has for me there.  Everyday is full of unknowns and I want to be completely open to what God's desire is for me at BG.

If you would like to purchase my friend's song, you can at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/robstamchrislowe.  All proceeds will be donated to my missionary fund.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Choose JOY

A close friend of mine, always signs off her emails, notes and cards by saying "CHOOSE JOY."  My friend is someone who definitely chooses joy.  Her fun loving, compassionate personality is contagious to those around her.  She serves God in so many ways, to so many people she is the reflection of Christ.  I know, because many times I have experienced the peace, love and joy of God through her and our conversations.

Lately my mind and heart seems like lion pacing around in it's cage.  I am so close to reaching my $25,000 budget, but I am not there yet.  I just want to know the date I will be leaving for Africa, but that won't happen until I am fully funded.  I want to have a plane ticket purchased and I want to be able to start crossing things off my to-do list, but since so many of them are hinged on when I leave, I cannot.  I am finding it hard to enjoy the Christmas, because I am so restless.  I have not been choosing JOY.

Faith is an amazing journey.  It truly is, as Hebrews 11 says, "Confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."  Taking a step of faith in any situation of life requires faith.  Are you really going to let go of everything that is "normal" for you and run toward what God wants?  Are you willing to let go of the things you can see, only to embrace the things that you can't?

Life in Lesotho is a lot like faith.  The people of Lesotho do not know what will happen tomorrow.  Will they have work?  Will they be alive?  Life at Beautiful Gate is faith.  When you wake up and start work, you do not know how many children will be dropped off that day.  Children that have been abandoned, lost or neglected.  Children that have had a horrible start in life.  You may have a to-do list of items to be accomplished that day, but mostly likely, you will not be able to accomplish any of it, because in Lesotho it is hard to plan ahead.  The thing is, is that those in Lesotho have JOY.  The children of Beautiful Gate children are simply children and when you walk out of a building you will hear laughter and JOY!

James 1:2-3 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith requires perseverance."  How does one consider a trial JOY?  There are a lot of people in this world that are suffering.  People that do not deserve the life situations they are facing, but they have no choice.  The fact is no matter what we face each day...cancer, starvation, negative work issues, family struggles, etc., we do have a choice to make.  We can choose to feel beat up and live a life of selfish desires or we can learn from the children of Beautiful Gate and choose JOY!!

I am surrendering the fact that I do not have a leaving date.  I believe God will provide for the funds that are still need to be raised and I will have a leave date.  I no longer want to be the caged lion pacing around worrying about life and the things in it that I cannot control.  I want to be like the children at Beautiful Gate.  I want to run and experience the NOW of life instead of trying to plan for the maybe of tomorrow.  I want to soak in the time I have here and the people I share those moments with. 

Above all, no matter what comes my way in the next few weeks, I am going to CHOOSE JOY!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

See you later friend

Friday morning, I stood in front of the students and staff at Holland Christian High School and I talked about the one gift God has given all of us...our timeline.  Two hours after I spoke, my friend Lindy jumped into the best part of the timeline...eternity with Jesus.

I met Lindy 12 years ago, when I started working at Haven Church.  I was surprised at how one of my brother's high school friends could have married someone so cool.  Dusty was a part of the drama team I led and Lindy would come to the practices and give me advice on how to direct her husband.  Needless to say, there was a lot of laughter and a relationship was formed.  I remember one evening the three of us went into Lindy's father's barn to get a wooden cross for church.  If any of you know Lindy's dad and the condition of his barn, you know how entertaining this adventure was. (Love you Mel!!!)  One afternoon Lindy called me up and asked if I would help her organize some new toys in the church nursery.  During that afternoon, we thought we solved all the world's problems.  As the years went on and our lives changed, our relationship didn't.  You see Lindy and I had a very similar sense of humor and that kept us linked together.  When Dusty and Lindy's twins were born, there were a few nights when I stopped by to lend a hand.  I am not sure if Lindy got any rest those evenings, because she would sit with me and our humor took over.  Seven months later the journey changed and Lindy started fighting to stay alive.

It didn't matter how sick Lindy was, she was always so supportive of me.  Her cards and emails were such an encouragement and a joy to always get.  I always laughed when she would show up to at hot dog/carnival when she didn't eat hot dogs, but that is just who she was.  Lindy served and as she fought cancer, her determination to tell people about Christ grew.  While fighting cancer she dreamed up fund raisers to help send her friends to Africa to serve for 5 years. 

Knowing Lindy, made me a better person.  She wasn't a saint, she was Lindy.  I will miss our El Rancho dates, her honesty and the way she could always make me laugh.  Lindy's obituary said, "Lindy left a wonderful legacy for her family and was an inspiration for thousands through her battle to live. Despite her earthly trials, she taught us how to live with faith, patience and a grace that could only come from God" I couldn't say it any better.

Lindy, your life is a testament to who we need to be as Christians.  We need to live in JOY and FIGHT to stay alive, so we can spread the love of Christ to those around us.  I can't imagine how great it feels to be cancer free friend.  You are whole, healthy and more alive than any of us here on earth.  We miss you so much.  You have touched so many people here friend.  I know that when you took your last breath here, you then heard the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" and fell into the everlasting arms of Jesus.  Breathe deep my friend, you are home and one day we will all be together again.  Come Lord Jesus Come!

Please continue to pray for Dustin, Brooklyn, Samantha and Maxwell who walk through their home without their wife and mother filling every inch with her love.  Pray for her parents Mel and Lois and her brother Claire as they crave to be with her again.  Pray for her dear friend Jill who never left her side through the treatments, appointments and long car rides.

I can't imagine what her embrace with God felt like. Well done, good and faithful servant!

Friday, August 31, 2012

"I Know"

On my fridge hangs a card and everyday I walk past it and smile.  On my trip to Beautiful Gate, in October of 2011, I was having an extremely emotional last day.  The whole trip I felt like I was sitting right in the palm of God's hand.  The second I got off the plane, I took a big deep breath of the African air and felt free.  While serving at Beautiful Gate, I felt peace.  Peace in going back and serving.  Peace in leading devotions with the team.  Peace in connecting with the staff at BG by hearing and seeing their hearts for these precious kids.  Most importantly, I felt peace in myself.  Peace that I was doing what I was suppose to do. 

The last day of the trip I had to say the emotional goodbyes.  I wasn't sure if I would ever be back at BG or when I would be back which children would still be there.  Saying goodbye to the kids is SO hard.  Unless you have done it, I am not sure you can know the grief that goes with it.  There was one goodbye that I did not want to make.  I did not want to say goodbye to my friends Bryan and Anita.  Throughout the trip the three of us had conversations that connected our hearts together in ways that we couldn't have imagined.  Anita, Bryan and I went to church together and knew who each were, but never really had a relationship until 2009 when Anita and I went to BG together for the first time.  It was then, that God broke our hearts for the things the break His and we became sisters in a journey.  Bryan joined the journey with us, when he visited BG while I was there on my 4 month stay.  Throughout the 2011 trip, we laughed, cried and lived a life that not many people understand or choose not to understand.  During our last morning together I did not want to say goodbye to the people who understand the brokenness of my heart.  As a team we gathered to pray, it was the first time of the trip I had to ask someone else to lead in prayer, because I couldn't get any words out.  We drove to the airport and then had to give each other that last hug.  As I started walking away, Bryan and Anita's daughter Faith handed me a card.  I didn't read it until I boarded the plane.  I opened up the card and written in the hand writing of a 6 year old who looks at life with God's glasses it said...

"Dear Miss Terp, I know you will be back to Africa. Have fun in Michigan. Love Faith."
I hung this card up to remind me that God has a plan and He spoke it to me through Faith's card.  At that time, there was no North Ambassador position for BG.  But through much prayer and dreaming by many people, His plan was formed.  Right now I am in a holding pattern, but in this time, I am taking Faith's advice to "Have fun in Michigan."  Right now I am raising my funds for the new position, but while I am doing this, I do not want to miss the experiences God has for me here.  I don't want to over look the conversations about life with people I have met along this journey. I do not want to miss the opportunity to make dinner for a friend. I do not want to miss talking with a friend whose heart breaks for the same things as me, but she serves differently by opening her home to children.  I do not want to miss the hours I spent this summer in a lawn chair laughing and dreaming about life with a friend.  I do not want to miss the moments of pure worship that I have with God, because it is in these moments that He is preparing me for things only He can. 
For the past 2 weeks, almost every time I get in my car, I hear the same song.  Sunday night in church, we sang that same song.  Today I prayed through the lyrics.
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Through God's grace, may I continue to sing like NEVER BEFORE, because God knows His plans and His plans are great!
Please consider joining me in singing God's plans, by contributing to my missionary support. The information is listed on the side bar of this blog.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Hello all, I am back to the world of blogging. I can't promise you how often I will post, but I want to use this blog as a way to keep my supporters and followers up to date with me and my new role at Beautiful Gate - Lesotho.

I just got back from a 2 week trip to BG with the girls varsity basketball team from Holland Christian High School. It was so amazing for me to experience Lesotho through 14 new pairs of eyes and stand in awe all over again of God's creation and the ways He continues to care for His people. While in Lesotho I was overwhelmed with the many things I take for granted in life. Everywhere I went I saw God's fingerprint and in those moments I needed to stop and thank Him for what He continues to do with His body.

I am grateful for the breath that fills my lungs and allows me to live life without being hooked up to an oxygen machine.

I am grateful for God's grace that takes away any sight of wrong and gives me the confidence to keep going.

I am grateful for new hearts that have been broken to God's plan of love and acceptance fro everyone He created.

I am grateful for families who desire to fight against child abandonment and welcome children into their family as their own.

I am grateful for clean water.

I am grateful that I am surrounded by people who understand my convictions and support me in bringing HOPE to these precious children.

I am grateful for missionary support that allows me to pursue the calling that God has on my life.

I am grateful for times of testing, because they make the desire to keep going on stronger and the joy of celebration richer.

I am grateful for laughter. Laughter through conversation. Laughter during board games. Laughter overflowing through life.

I am grateful for relationships that get stronger the longer they are apart.

I am grateful for the times my arms were full of children needing to be cuddled or played with because it just felt right.

I am grateful for you. I am grateful that you have taken the time to read this blog and join me in the fight to bring HOPE to so many people in this world.

May we all join together in loving on those around us. May we never forget how special God created all of us and gave us each a purpose and role in His Kingdom plan.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2 minutes

2 minutes...How much of a difference can 120 seconds make?

Until I reach my full funding goal, I have to continue to work at Starbucks. I started in 2007 and it has been a very interesting 5 years. One of the big points Starbucks pushes is "customer connection."  No matter what position you are working that day, you should have 2 minutes with each customer. In that 2 minutes you as the barista are asked to be friendly, enthusiastic and serving toward their needs. Now we all know there are moments when your patience is gone and it is very hard to but on the Starbucks smile, but when you put on the green apron, that is what you are to do. I never really thought about what those 2 minutes look like to the customer until this week.

Monday morning I was working my usual morning shift on the drive thru when I looked over and two of my co-workers had very shocked looks on their face. I asked what was going on and then someone said, "Glenn died." My heart sunk. All I remember is hearing the buzzer in my headset go off and I knew I was suppose to say something to the customer at the speaker box, but I couldn't remember what. Glenn and his wife Elaine are by far my favorite customers. (To all my regulars that may be reading this, you are all special, but they had a spark.) When I first started, Glenn and Elaine would come in together and get their drink. They always got the same drink, and to everyone at my store it is called "the Glenn." When they would walk in they would shine.  I always knew that God was the center of their life, just by watching them. As the years went on, Glenn would come in by himself and pick up a his order and then deliver it to Elaine at work. They loved each other with a love that goes beyond just a husband and a wife. They truly cared for each other with the love that comes straight from God's love to His children. Glenn and Elaine's life wasn't easy. They both lost their first spouse and maybe that is why they knew not to take one day forgranted. They were family to us. We knew when their children and grandchildren were in town and this past winter we all knew when their first great grand children were born twin girls. I remember telling Glen about my first trip to Africa and how I was so excited to get on the plane and go. His eyes lite up when I told him about working in an orphanage. Glenn told me that he went on a trip to Africa once and it changed the way he looked at others and life here in Michigan. I remember him warning me how much this trip was going to change me. When I came back from the two week trip, Glenn was always someone I could talk to about culture shock. He and Elaine were so excited to see me go to Africa for a longer term and sent me beautiful cards before I went encouraging me to surrender everything to God, so He could plan the trip. When I worked in another Starbucks after coming home, Glenn and Elaine still kept track of me.

Tuesday I had the opportunity to go and see Elaine. When the door opened, I saw my sister in Christ missing the love of her life. I saw the loneliness and the void. Elaine told me how much Glenn loved his coffee stops and how much he loved the staff. She encouraged me by saying how much he loved talking about Africa with me, because it helped him remember his trip.

This week I have been paying more attention to the 2 minutes I connect with a customer each day, but it goes beyond that. How are the 2 minutes you spend with your family in the morning? How are the 2 minutes you spend with the checkout employee at the store? How are the 2 minutes you spend with God on your drive to work each day? I never realized how important those two minutes were, until this week. After going to visitation tonight, it was clear how important they were to Glenn, because his children knew about his coffee stops.

Today Elaine walked into Starbucks without Glenn, but she wasn't alone. Because of all the 2 minutes we have spent with her, she is family and together we will journey through each day on earth until we get to see Glenn in heaven again.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Here I Am

There are moments in life that you want to slow down and take in every fiber of them.  There are also moments that you want to fast forward through and be done with.  Right now I am doing both, and the joy is I am finding God in both.

God has given me so much peace about my new role for Beautiful Gate.  He has shown me that every path I walked down in life has brought me to this place.  He has revealed Himself to me in ways that I have felt His provision and strength not only filling my body, but OVERFLOWING in my body. It is in these moments that I want to move slowly, so I don't miss any part of who God is and how is going to use me.

There are also moments I want to fast forward through, so I can be fulling working for Beautiful Gate, instead of juggling school, Starbucks and Beautiful Gate work.  I know the day will come when this will happen, and I am trusting that it will happen in His time, not mine.  But through juggling, I am able to share my journey with my classmates, co-workers and customers and through that, I am seeing God put more pieces in His puzzle of my life.

Above all, I want to make God smile. Psalm 40:7-8 says, "Then I said, 'Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll.  I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.'" This is where I am right now. I have said HERE I AM and now I desire to do God's will and nothing else.  

Today I had two fund raising events for Beautiful Gate.  One was a car wash and the other an auction/dinner.  My role was different in each.  The car wash was for my upcoming trip the the team from Holland Christian.  My role was easy...wash cars.  At the dinner, which was for another team from the Holland area that will be going in October, my role was to represent Beautiful Gate and share my heart by encouraging others to lead.  Tonight, I have to smile and praise God for the amazing day He has given me.  I still can't believe that this is the next chapter in my life and I am so honored to be a part of God's great plan.

Here am I Lord. Send me.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

North American Ambassador for Beautiful Gate Lesotho

In October of 2009, I went on a two-week mission trip to a tiny country called Lesotho. I had no idea that after this trip to Africa, I would be spending the rest of my life advocating and caring for the fatherless children of Lesotho. Spending two weeks at Beautiful Gate Lesotho Child Care Center not only introduced me to the needs of these fatherless children, but it introduced me to God’s will for my life. Since that trip in 2009, I have taken multiple trips back to Lesotho, some just for a few weeks, but also a four-month stay as well. Through every trip God revealed to me a little more of His plan and design for me. In each trip He gave me confidence by showing me how I can use the gifts He has given me, not only to bring hope to the children of Lesotho, but also to bring glory to His name. He asked and I said, “Use me.”

Because of this, I have accepted the position as North American Ambassador for Beautiful Gate Lesotho. This role will entail me living part of the year in Lesotho and part of the year in North America. While in Lesotho, I will be assisting the Director with the current day-to-day operations, working with teams that come to serve, and other public relation duties. While in the United States, I will be speaking at churches, with individuals and organizations, promoting and raising funds for Beautiful Gate Lesotho. I will also be hosting fund-raising opportunities for Beautiful Gate Lesotho as well as coordinating volunteer teams to serve at Beautiful Gate.

I am honored to serve the beautiful children in Lesotho, but I need your help to make this possible. The North American Ambassador for Beautiful Gate Lesotho is a faith-based salary. Please consider how you can help me defend and care for the fatherless children of Lesotho by supporting the mission God has given me.