Tuesday, May 28, 2013


These past 5 months have been a very hard journey for me to experience.  It is a journey that honestly I am not really sure how to put into words, but I was reminded yesterday and today about how great this journey is and how grateful I am for EVERY second of it.   

Yesterday, we as a BG family, celebrated the adoptions of 2 precious children.  Each family came from different backgrounds.  Each family had different stories and different perspectives on life.  Each family has a new daughter to love and cherish.  I can't share the families personal stories on this blog, but I will say that hearing one of the stories made tears of joy fill my eyes.  Seeing the love that radiated from their eyes, knowing the heartache they walked through to get them to get their daughter, was an overwhelming experience.  I am grateful for these two families.  I am grateful for their steps of faith, to go against status quo and love children that in the eyes of the world were thought of as garbage.

Today we welcomed a 2 month old baby girl into our the BG family.  She came to us, because her mother was too sick to care for her.  When helping the nurse check her in, my heart was upset at the mother.  How long has she been too sick to care for this child?  How long has this child been neglected?  From the child's chest to her knees, her skin was completely raw from a diaper rash.  She was is so much pain.  We tried every cream, oil and salve that we had at BG to try and comfort her.  In the end what stopped her crying was when I wrapped her in a blanket and snuggled her in my arms.  I am so grateful that BG exists.  I am grateful we are here to accept these children and love on them in ways their families cannot.  I pray this child's mother gets the proper care she needs to get better, so that once again they can be reunited and grow together as a family.

I know I have spent a lot of time "venting" to you readers on this blog about the hard times at BG.  I want to thank you for your kind words, they were received with love.  I also want to apologize for speaking so much about the hardships I have faced.  Yes we have buried 5 children and walked through many painful moments, but not a day goes by when I don't lay my head on my pillow and am grateful for my time at BG.  The children that are in our care are not mine, but I love them as though they are.  They are complete gifts from God.  Today as I sat and played with the older kids for a while, my heart was overjoyed in the laughter and energy that they have.  Above all, they are children.  Children who need love, food, a playground and snuggles.  They are children who need to know that they don't need to worry about life, because their family is taking care of them.  We are a family at BG, but unfortunately we are not the family they deserve.  I rejoice when a child is matched and adopted into a family that will be able to care for all their needs.  I rejoice when a child is reunited with a family member that will love and care for them.  I rejoice that God has this all worked out and that I don't have to worry about tomorrow.  I rejoice that I can take time each day to be grateful for the journey I have walked through the past 5 months because it is shaping me into the person God has created me to be and it is showing me the love and compassion that God has for all His people.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sunny Saturday

Hey all,

It is a beautiful sunny day in Lesotho!! I decided to work today, because I am going on a Holiday Thursday and want to get a project done before I take off.  I have to say it is a great thing to work from the front porch.  The sun is shining and I am loving it!!!

My little guy came home from the hospital last night.  The doctors still don't have any answers as to why he is so sick, but it is good to have him back at BG.

I have had some strange feelings the past few days.  July 1 is coming very fast.  In some ways I am ready to be home and see my family and friends.  In other ways, thinking of home brings anxiety and fear.  How will I answer your questions?  How will I explain what I have walked through?  Will my relationships with people be the same or different?  If they are different, will people accept me and my brokenness?  My heart races thinking of everything that is going to happen.  The anxiety of living in two very different cultures and communities brings anxiety.  I try not to get overwhelmed in my feelings and take things one moment at a time, but my "western" mind sometimes goes ahead of that plan and then my heart starts to race.  I just keep praying that with every day, God will provide me the strength and grace to be able to fully experience life wherever I am.

I am blown away how God is providing for the second half of this journey.  I have multiple presentations plan to share BG with others.  He has provided a brand new apartment for me to live in.  He has provided people ready and willing to talk about the journey once I get home.

I am blessed.

Now off to go play some Cricket with the Geurinks. I hope you all can enjoy your Saturday as well.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for the little guy in the hospital.  We have no answers as to why he is sick.  The doctors have done numerous tests, but none of the results show any abnormalities as to why he lost so much weight and isn't gaining any.  He currently has a feeding tube and we are hoping this will help him gain some weight.  Please continue to pray for strength and health for him as well as an answer as to why he keeps getting sick.

Yesterday was on of those days that I had to remind myself that what I do here is a job.  We were contacted on Monday by social welfare about a baby boy whose mother signed her rights away right after he was born.  The child was at the hospital just waiting to be picked up by someone.  Tuesday morning, myself, the social worker at BG and the PR director drove to the hospital to pick up the child.  Because I know these staff members well, I can ask them any questions I have about Lesotho.  I have to say they taught me a lot in our 3 hour drive about the culture, the current rise in prostitution and child abandonment.  I feel like I learned a lot from them to include on the presentations I do this fall.  We picked up the beautiful 2 day old baby from the hospital and them drove back to BG.  My role in going was to care for the baby.  It was really easy.  Since his mother had already left and the nurses were busy with the patients, this child was all alone in a hospital room.  I cleaned him up, wrapped him up in a blanket and then we drove back to BG.  Along the ride he just snuggled into my arms.  He probably hadn't been held much at the hospital, so he was soaking up the attention.  I thought to myself multiple times, "this is my job? Snuggling babies?" It sounds silly, but with all the stuff I do at BG, some times I forget that I am here to snuggle babies.  I think I can do this job.

We received another baby yesterday also a few days old that was found in the mountains.  I am grateful BG is here to be a family to these children.  Currently we are at a point where we can't accept more children until some adoptions or reunifications happen.  Join us in praying we can make more room for the children in this country that need to be snuggled.

Friday, May 17, 2013


On everyone of my trips to Lesotho, I pray that I would not get attached to any specific child at BG, but love them all the same.  Every trip, my pray goes unanswered.  I don't pray the prayer, because I don't want to love the kids, I pray that prayer, because I feel my heart cannot take anymore goodbyes.  I have been attached to a lot of kids since 2009, some more than others, but each has had their own little spark that has grabbed onto my heart with a death grip.  Some of these kids I have been able to see with their families, others I haven't, but my heart still loves them and prayers for them.

At the beginning of this trip I was doing really well with the attachment stuff.  I loved all the children at BG and loved their own individual personalities.  I loved how some loved to tackle me and others loved to just cuddle.  I loved how some sang every song very loudly and how others just stared off into the distance during the singing.  But then March came...

During March one of our little guys was very sick.  He was in the hospital twice for pneumonia and had lost a significant amount of weight.  No matter what any doctor or nurse tried, he couldn't get better.  By the middle of March, the nurses at BG came up with the idea of giving the house mother a break from him during the nightly feedings.  He struggled to eat and it took a long time to get him to eat and keep down the appropriate amount of food.  I volunteered to take him over night and work on his feedings.  The whole month of April, I was very sleep deprived.  Feedings every 2 hours, which took about an hour to get him to keep the food down and then get him back to sleep, only to wake him up in 45 minutes to get him to eat again.  When we started the program he was 3.9kg (8.5lbs) at 5 months of age.  After a month of feeding and new medications he was up to 4.5kg (9.9lbs).  With every 100 grams he gained we celebrated.  He did get sick during April and was in the hospital again for a few days, but he was able to get the right medications and it seemed to help.  Every night his hand that out portioned his body would wrap itself around my fingers.  I knew what to do to calm him down.  I knew when things were not right with him.  I knew when he was fussy, a little guitar playing could calm him down.  Around campus some of the staff have changed my name to "mother of" and then his name.  A few times I would snuggle him inside my jacket or fleece vest and walk around campus with him.  He loved it and so did I.  On Monday, I went in to snuggle with him, (since we don't do the nightly feedings anymore) and I knew he wasn't feeling well.  His big bright smile that would light up the room when I walked into it, never appeared.  My little guy was sick again.  Today the BG nurse took him in to be checked.  In a matter of a week, he had lost a lot of weight.  He is now back down to 4.0kgs.

Friends, my heart is so full of fear right now.  This little man that has woven his way DEEP within my heart is sick and there is nothing I can do.  The hospital says he is dehydrated and after a few days of IV treatment he will be better.  When I heard the dehydrated word, my heart stopped.  The last child we buried was in the very same hospital for dehydration.  I hate that my mind has been spinning all afternoon with fear and doubt.  I fear his casket will be the next one I see at the bottom of a hole.  I fear it is his name that will be etched onto a black plaque and placed on the wall.  Please pray with me friends that God will prove my fears wrong!!! Please pray that he will not only get the care he needs to get better, but someone, a doctor, a nurse, anyone will have the answer we need to the questions about his care.  Why is his body failing him?  Why has he been hospitalized 5 times since February?  Why can't he gain and keep on weight? 

Father please heal and protect my boy tonight.  Please bring him back to BG, to the family that loves him and cares for him.  Lord even though fear and doubt are screaming in my ear, please prove them wrong and heal his little body.  Lord may he be a HUGE witness to your power and might.  Lord if it is your will that his life will be short here on earth, please give me the peace to know that my little guy is with you and is more alive than he ever was here on earth.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You have done for us!

The past few days, I have been blessed by people's love and support of me.  I am humbled that friends of mine are remodeling their house to include an apartment for me.  During this process someone stepped up and donated the building materials for the project.  I can't wait to get back to Michigan and have a place of rest.  While Skyping with a friend this weekend, she told me she had planned a surprise trip to come and see me in Lesotho, but do to work complications the trip had to be canceled.  I am pretty sure I would have had a heart attack, for that surprise.  My family sent me a message letting me know that there is a care package coming my way.  All I can say is I am blessed.  Thank you all for your emails, prayers and encouragement.

The past 10 days at BG have been full of laughter and more laughter.  We have had 2 volunteers from West Michigan working at BG.  Let me tell you, that when you live with nurses, there really is no boundaries of what you talk about. ;)  Sara and Caitlin have been a complete joy to have around.  From the moment they stepped onto BG's campus their arms were full of children.  They never wanted to take a break, but instead embrace the kids at every moment.  Our nights were full of Disney sing offs, sunset adventures, exploring the mountains and conversations about everything under the sun, including love languages. 

Sara and Caitlin you are beautiful ladies whose heart is focused on helping others.  Thank you for all the laughs, conversations and smiles.  I am going to miss you guys a lot, but it is good to know that it won't be long until we are in Michigan having sushi.  You have left am imprint at BG that is clear to see.  In your short time here, the children have grown to love you.

Yesterday, Bryan and Anita were in Jo'burg, picking up their friends who are adopting from BG.  We had an adoption ceremony celebrating a new family of Canadians.  Since Bryan was gone, I was given the opportunity to bring God's word during the service.  What an honor and privilege to speak about adoption (Eph 1:5) and love (1 Cor 13). 

Tomorrow friends of Bryan, Anita and myself will be picking up their new daughter from BG.  Yesterday I had the privileged of showing their daughter pictures of her family and giving her a gift from them.  Her face lite up and could have powered the whole country of Lesotho with electricity.  She ran around the campus showing everyone the book and grinning from ear to ear.  What an honor for me to introduce children to their family that loves them and has been waiting for them.

When I think about this Leap of Faith, I think about Isaiah 26:12, "LORD, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us" (NIV).  No one can do anything right with their own strength and power.  One may feel they are making things good, but in the end it will be temporary.  God has given us peace through the times when we doubt His power.  He has gone before us and accomplished everything we need to do, so that at the end of the journey we can look back and see His face.  I praise God for the journey He has put me on.  I praise God for the people on the journey with me, either physically or not.  I praise God for His plan that happens only in His time!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in this world.  I have been blessed with a great mom who does so much for me to help me follow God's call.  I couldn't do it without you mom!

Beautiful Gate has a lot of moms.  The house mothers care for these children as their own.  When I was at BG in 2010, my roommates and I made homemade cards and brownies for the care staff.  I really wanted to do something special for the ladies again this year, especially because of all the hard times we have faced, but I wasn't sure what to do.  One night Anita and I were talking about how the women here love to sing and when they love and appreciate you some of them show it by putting your name in a song.  So that night Anita and I wrote our own version of the song "Hallelujah" (otherwise known as the "Shrek song") for the house mothers and care staff.  We have two ladies from Michigan here with us this week, so they along with Kristen (our operations manager) made homemade cards with the lyrics of the song on the inside. 

Since we have so many house staff that work at different times, we started celebrating on Friday.  It was so much fun going into the houses with the guitar and singing the song.  The ladies were a little scared at first, seeing all of us walk in with silly grins on our faces, but once we started to sing, they all loved it.  It was great to see them dance around, and even start singing the song.  The ladies then all got their cards and some sweets.  I was blown away by how grateful they were for a simple candy bar.  They were all dancing around celebrating with their Africa trills echoing throughout the walls.

I am so blessed to be a part of the BG family and watch these beautiful women love and care for God's children.

Here are the lyrics of the song...

Happy Mother’s Day

We know you change 50 nappies in a day
And wipe all the tears away
But you don’t really complain about it do you
You cook the food and you clean the clothes
Wipe the snot off of their nose
And you keep on singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
You took the job despite the pay
And the blue stick means you stay
But you don’t really complain about it do you
You deal with hardships that make you cry
Fall in love and say good bye
But you trust in God singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
We are grateful for you each and everyday
We’re so glad you choose stay
Your dedication makes us sing Hallelujah
We see your love and your faithfulness
Open arms, a hug and a kiss
And for you we tell God Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Friday night, the Geurink's went to a friend's house and while they were gone, Sara, Caitlin, Kristen and myself wrote our own song for Anita.  We couldn't leave her out with everything she does at BG.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Blessed Be Your Name

In church today we sang the song, Blessed Be Your Name.  It is a great song that is full of so much truth.  There was a time back in Michigan, when I didn't like the song.  It wasn't that I thought the words were not true or I didn't like the tune, it was because I had sung it so many times, that I was done with it.  While singing it today, that was not the case.

"You give and take away.  My heart will choose to say, 'Lord Blessed Be Your Name'"

My time here at Beautiful Gate has been one of giving and taking away.  While I was singing those words today, I needed to stop and reflect.  With all the giving and taking, was my heart saying "Blessed Be Your Name?"  Or was I just singing the song, because it was projected on the screen?  I want to live my life in a way that no matter what happens I can raise my hands and praise God.  I want to believe the words I sing!!!  There may be moments when I raise my hands high in celebration for what God has done.  There also may be moments when I put my hands out through the grief and pain.  I may not understand what I am facing, but I pray that I can rely on God's love to get me through. 

I was helping Anita today in her Sunday School class.  We were talking about trees.  Isaiah 55 talks about how the trees rejoice and clap their hands.  Anita talked about how sometimes wind and storms are hard on trees, but they don't move.  They rely on their roots to hold them down and as they stretch their arms to Heaven.  They may sway a little with the wind.  They may get hurt, and loose some branches, but they do not move.

I want to be a tree.  I want to be able to stretch my arms to Heaven no matter what is beating on me.  I want to reflect His love in my life and CHOOSE to live His joy.  I know life is hard and there will be moments when quiet reflection is what my heart will need.  But I pray I cannot only sing, but believe and proclaim the words "You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, "LORD BLESSED BE YOUR NAME!"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life Lately

Thank you all for your prayers for Beautiful Gate, the staff, the children and the volunteers.  The past few months here have been full of many emotions that are hard to explain in words.  I am grateful for the encouragement and prayers from the body of Christ all over the world.  At times it is hard to catch my breath because of the situations I have faced, but I am focusing on the 68 children that we care for each day and the many events that will happen this fall when I am in Michigan. I am choosing to claim the promises that God gives us as His children.  Promises full of hope, love and grace.  With each day God shows me more and more of His face, through walks with a friend, the laughter and trust of the children, the fun times with the staff and the moments of worship while living in community. 

Last night I was hanging out at the Geurink's house, and taking in the amount of love and worship that we have as God's children.  Some people were playing games on their iPads, the children were running and playing games, some were doing the daily duties that needed to be done and I was playing guitar.  It was great to hear people sing along while doing whatever they needed to do in order to unwind from the day.  Community living is a good thing, because honestly I don't know how to describe my feelings about the things I have faced, but I live with people who walked through the exact same thing, and they understand it without me even speaking.  It is nice to have people around that know exactly what you are feeling.

I can't believe I only have two more months to go in Lesotho and then I will be back in Michigan.  My time here has flown by and I know the next 8 weeks are going to fly with the amount of work needs to be done as well as some moments of play too. 

My fall is already filling up with trips planned to Denver, Vancouver, California, Ohio, and many places around Michigan as well as possible trips to Florida, Minnesota and Texas.  Also, there is a 5K event in Holland, Michigan on September 21 that I am currently organizing.  I don't want to miss anyone while I am home, so if you would like to hang out, please contact me and we will get a date on the calendar.  Also if you would like me to do a Beautiful Gate presentation at your church or to a small group of people, I would love to try and make it work.  My email is christina.terpstra@gmail.com.