Friday, August 23, 2013

Trip Reflections

On August 2, my friends (and directors of BG) the Geurinks and I headed out on a 3 week long trip to promote BG.  I was excited for the journey.  I couldn't sleep much the night before we left, because I was so ready to just get out on the road and share what God has done at BG.  There are so many stories to share, that I don't know where to begin.  Instead of telling you all of them, here are a few highlights...

1. Road trips are awesome.  Driving to Topeka and then to Denver, allowed for a lot of fun conversation.  I feel as though I know the Bryan and Anita a lot more because of the talks we had.  I am so blessed to be able to work with them as well as be friends with them.  They are my brother and sister.  Many times in our journey we all looked at each other and said, "Like it or not you are stuck with me for the rest of you life."

2. Adoptive parents are so amazing.  Hearing their stories of how long they had to wait and how the process went for them, was good to hear.  We at BG see and experience the other side of adoption.  We have waiting children that need homes and love.  All too often I forget the other side of adoption, which are the waiting families, who have an empty space in their home and love to give.  My eyes and heart were opened up to their stories and the way some of them choose to have a family through adoption, not because of infertility, but because they knew there were many children around the word that need a family.

3. People are so giving.  From the very first day on the trip, we were given great places to stay in.  So many people opened up their homes to us and their lives to us.  The late night conversations, the meals and the games, proved to me that there are many people in the BG family and many people who are fighting for the fatherless children around the world.  To the Brower's, Willet's, Wilde's, Domonkos', Kozak's, Baker's and Spykstra's, thank you so much for making the trip incredible.  Your gifts and time were so appreciative.  Thank you for conversations full of joy and encouragement.

4. To Sun Rise, CrossRidge, CrossPoint, The River, Ontario Christian, Capistrano Valley, The Grove and any other school church or organization I may have missed.  Thank you for taking time to hear about BG and for being willing to take the next step in partnering with us.  The road ahead will be a great adventure full of God's plan.  Hang on, we are in this together.

5. To all the individuals that met with us throughout our journey to hear about BG.  Thank you for taking time to stand out above the "norm" and doing something to make a difference in the world.

6. To the Geurinks...Thank you for being such good travel partners.  I couldn't have done this journey without you.  Your joy, encouragement and love were a blessing.  Remember you are stuck with me no matter if you like it or not.  To infinity and beyond. :)

Thank you to all who made the trip possible.  It was a great 3 weeks full of God's promises.  Many times throughout the trip the only I could do was smile.  God is so good.  Everything I have faced in life has led me up to this point, so that God could use me for His good.  I know that I am right where He wants me to be.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I have made it to the last stop in the trip.  California is beautiful.  I am looking forward to a great week of sharing BG with many people as well as some fun stops along the way.  The Geurinks and I have been separated.  They are staying with the Baker family who have led trips to BG multiple times with APU.  I am staying with my friends the Spykstras.

My prayer this week is that God opens doors for people to embrace His story at Beautiful Gate.

Oh Canada!!

I know it has been a few days since a photo or a post, but that is because Canadians know how to have a good time. :)  In the past six days I have hiked through beautiful landscapes, played at lake, gone to a water park, biked around Stanley Park in Vancouver, been reunited with a number of children that were very special to me along the journey and had many conversations with some really cool people.  I also have spoken at Sunrise Agency, CrossRidge Church, had a meeting with the directors of The Mohale Project and participated in a 5K run/walk (that actually was a 6K).

When Bryan and Anita asked me to come on this trip so that they could introduce me to the supporters of BG in Canada and California, I was very excited.  We called it the "Triangle Trip" because our route of Colorado, Canada and California for a triangle.  After spending the past 6 days in Canada, the "Triangle Trip" has new meaning to me.

Through all my trips to and from BG, I have fallen in love with the staff and the children.  I feel as though they are a part of who I am and will always have a place in my heart.  This week, I have discovered the other aspect of BG and that is the adoptive families.  They are my heroes.  Talking and laughing with them this week has shown me how special they are.  They are parenting to the extreme.  They are welcoming children into their lives as their own and loving them as if they never were apart from each other.  They face struggles, like any other family does, but they face them with a determination to overcome.  It is as if their child or children's desire to stay alive, through whatever life they lived before joining their family, is the desire they family has as well.  Some of the people I have met this week have chosen to have a family through adoption, not because of a medical condition, but because they believe it is right.  I applaud them for going against the status quo and loving their children with the love every parent should have for their child, no matter how they became a family.

My Triangle...
~ The children at BG live to be innocent no matter what conditions they have faced.
~ The staff at BG work to keep the children healthy and help them grow happy and strong.
~ The families strive to find ways to welcome these children into their lives, so that they can become all that God created them to be.

To every one that I have met this week, THANK YOU for showing me how beautiful Vancouver is.  It is beautiful not because of the mountains, rivers and lakes, but because of the people in it.

One of the cool families I had the privilege of getting to know this week.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 8

During my 4 month stay at BG in 2010, I was able to help welcome 2 pretty cool kids into the BG family.  Tonight I got to hang out with them again.  I really have nothing else to say.

Love these two and their parents.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 7

I have so many highlights from today.  I had multiple times today that I had to remind myself that this is my job.  This morning I went hiking to one of the most beautiful places I have every seen.  Taking time to enjoy Vancouver with families who have adopted from BG is a priceless gift.  Seeing their lives and the love of a family for the children that have a special place in my heart is something I don't think I will ever be able to describe in words.

Tonight Bryan and Anita and I presented to a room of people that are in the process of adopting to Lesotho.  The room contained people who are on different parts of the journey.  It was so cool to sit back and hear the questions they asked us as well as the other parents on the presentation panel.  At the end of the night a couple came up and told me the name of their child whom they were just matched with.  What a special moments it was for me to be able to tell them about their child.

My heart is overflowing with the goodness of God that I have experienced today.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 6

We have made it to Canada!!!

I have to say that with each day of this trip, I am finding new ways as to why I love this job.  Meeting and hanging out with families who have adopted from BG is an amazing thing.  I have always felt that God gave me a huge gift through in the children and staff at BG, but tonight I am realizing the other aspect of the gift, which are the families.

Tomorrow the Geurinks and I will be touring and presenting at the Canadian adoption agency.  It will give us an opportunity to see the facility, meet the staff as well as the people who are in the process of adopting from Lesotho.  I can't wait to meet everyone. 

Photos of the day...
This photo was actually taken on Day 5, but I needed to include it.

Flying over the mountains

I am enjoying hanging out with these four as they play Settlers.

Blog shout out to Candise Wilde!!!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prayer Request and Day 5 pictures

Yesterday was one of those days in which I needed a lot of grace.  My attitude was not good.  My conversations with others were focused on me.  Pretty much I was struggling and I didn't know why.  Those that were around me were very gracious towards even though my actions were not focused on the body of Christ.  I would like to think that everyone has days like this, but maybe I am wrong. 

Yesterday was a day to relax.  I didn't have any meetings or presentations to do.  One would think that I would be very excited about this, but I wasn't...I was agitated.  Nothing seemed right.  Simple jokes that normally would make me laugh stressed me out.  It truly felt that something came and over took my emotions and I wasn't me.

Today I had a meeting in Denver, which is about an hour and a half away from where the Geurinks and I are staying.  When I got in the car, I prayed.  I asked God for some type of explanation as to why yesterday was so bad.  I pleaded for an answer, because I didn't even like myself yesterday, so I can only imagine how much I frustrated those around me.  After some time of just speaking out loud, I have come to the realization, that I no longer know how to relax.  In fact the thought of having a day with nothing on my agenda brings up a lot of anxiety.  I know that God desires us to have Sabbath days and take time to relax.  I know that my calendar sometimes has very full weeks and sometimes does not, so I should not feel guilty for taking a day off.  I know that because of everything I have experienced, my emotions are not the best.  I also know that I always have a hard time turn off the processor on my brain.  Yesterday was a day in which God designed for me to rest in Him, and I blew it...BIG TIME!!!  All I could do was think about the stuff that I could do to prepare myself for the next week.  When I thought about just sitting down and doing nothing, I got extremely anxious and that is when my attitude and demeanor changed.  Friends, I am struggling.  I know I need to relax, but I physically and emotionally can't.  Please pray that God will give me peace when I have days to relax so that God's desires of a healthy body, mind and spirit can occur.  Also pray for those around me, because if I can't get along with myself, I am sure they are struggling with it as well. 

Now for what you really want... DAY 5 PICTURES...

My meeting in Denver today was with Michelle Pitts.  Michelle contact me in in March of 2012, when Bryan was in Michigan on his fundraising tour.  Michelle has a great story of how she became connected with BG.  Her heart wants to help the children and staff and it shows with the things she does.  Recently she put a jar out on her desk for her co workers to put their loose change in.  Today she handed me the jar.  She had raised $26.22, by simply putting a jar on her desk.  What a great thing.  Thank you Michelle and co-workers for your service to BG.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 4

Today was a pretty low key day.  I took some time to get ready for the presentations coming up as well as read almost a whole book.  I recommend "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman.  It is a great read.

Here are a few photos of the day...

Fun on a playground

Peanut Butter Bacon shakes...No thank you!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 3

This morning we said goodbye to the Coopers and headed to Colorado.  It was a fun day of driving and getting to know each other.  One of the reasons I love road trips so much is because your time on the road is full of conversation.  Today we talked about a lot of things, laughed a lot and enjoyed each other.

Day 3 Photos...
Anita has MAD skills.  She cut up 2 apples with a plastic knife and made 6 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches without making a mess or spilling anything at 75 mph. 

Best 50 cents ever spent

The mountains of Colorado

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day 2

The Geurinks and I had a great day today with Josh and Jaclyn Cooper.  The Coopers just moved to Topeka, Kansas from Zeeland to start a church.  It was great hearing about their past 2 weeks of learning another culture and lifestyle in Topeka.  Also Josh, Bryan and I drove past the Westboro Baptist Church.  I had so many emotions driving past it.  Please pray for the Coopers as they reach out to the community around them.  It is estimated that over 60% of Topeka do not believe in God.

Photos of the day...

Building IKEA furniture

Nerf Gun War!

Chicken and Waffle Chips...


Friday, August 2, 2013

Triangle Trip Day 1

Depending on Internet access, I will try to post photos from each day.

Day 1

Driving over the Mississippi River

Front seat photos

Back seat photos

This is hard to see, but this truck was full of "inedible fat: not for human consumption."

Dinner at Chick fil A, a first for everyone. 

Today my Coast 3 shirt and I traveled through
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas!

Coast 3 Partnership Fund Rasier.

Hey Friends,
I am very excited to announce a partnership for the month of August to raise money for Beautiful Gate Lesotho.  If you're in the Holland area maybe you've heard about a new business called Coast 3.  It was started by some good friends of mine from Haven Church.  In a nutshell, they offer all kinds of outdoor adventure equipment for rent and also have a very cool monthly membership program that is really starting to take off.  I have had the opportunity to hang out at the store and the staff and equipment is top notch.  Coast 3 not only provides great opportunities for people to go and enjoy the outdoors, but they provide opportunities for families to come together, put away all the things that distract them from each other and make memories that will last a lifetime. 

The promotion they are offering is that for every person, couple, or family that signs up for a membership in the month of August, they will donate the first month's membership dues to Beautiful Gate.  If we could get 100 people to take advantage of this great deal we'd raise between $5,000 - $10,000!  It's a win win win: we support a new local business, you get a great deal on outdoor gear, and together we support the children at Beautiful Gate!
For more information on how to take advantage of the year round membership and in turn support Beautiful Gate Click here.  By getting outside and enjoying time with your family, you are helping us feed, clothe, care for and bring hope to the children and staff at Beautiful Gate Lesotho.

Thank you so much for giving to the lives of the children at Beautiful Gate Lesotho. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"The Triangle Trip"

For months now Bryan, Anita and I have been talking about the "triangle trip."  Tomorrow the journey begins!!!  Friday morning we drive to Topeka, Kansas and are there until Sunday.  Sunday we drive to Denver, Colorado and are there until Wednesday.  Wednesday we fly to Vancouver, Canada and we are there until the following Tuesday.  We then fly to California and are there for a week before flying back to Colorado.  Once in Colorado, we separate and I fly back to Michigan and the Geurinks go on a much needed vacation (because anyone who has spent that much time with me in close corridors deserves a vacation). :) I am excited about this trip for a number of reasons...

1) We begin the journey as a road trip. I LOVE ROAD TRIPS!!!!!! I love driving for long periods of time, seeing different parts of the country and all the fun road trip activities that happen along the journey.

2) We will be talking about the children and staff at BG. I don't think I need to elaborate anymore.

3) I will be spending time with the Geurinks.  This produces a lot of fun emotions and I am sure will also produce some pretty cool memories.

4) In Vancouver, we get to spend time with some of pretty awesome children who once lived at BG.  I can't wait to hang out with these families and just experience life together.

5) We will be able to see some friends in California that I have met along my BG journey.

6) We will be talking about the children and staff at BG. (I know I said this already, but it is an honor to represent them to the world.)

7) I am sure God is going to bless us more than we can ever imagine through the interactions with each other and with the people we meet.

Please pray that this trip is full of God's mercies.  We know they are new EVERY morning and it will be a joy to explain the way God has shown His mercy to BG.  Also pray that we have opportunities to talk to the right people.  God knows who needs to be a part of the BG family, wither through adoption, financial support or prayer support and by volunteering.  We pray that He directs our trip and makes it very clear who we need to speak to.

Keep checking the blog and Facebook.  We are going to try and post at least 1 picture everyday of our highlights on the journey.  Thank you for all that have made this trip possible!!!!