Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall in Michigan

Fall in Michigan is one of my most favorite things on this planet.  Sunday I drove to Chicago to surprise a former volunteer at BG.  The drive was so beautiful.  The highway was lined with trees of green, red, yellow and ORANGE. It was such a peaceful drive just me and God.  The Geurinks and I met up in Chicago and Anita and I had a great overslept visit with Paige who was at BG for 8 months last year.  We had a great time together updating about each others lives and talking about BG.  The drive home was even better than the drive there, because it was filled with conversations about life between Anita and I.  After this summer, we have figured out that we are really good road trip partners. :)

Last night I had the opportunity to share BG with people at Drenthe CRC in Zeeland, MI.  I served as the Director of Student Ministries at Drenthe from July 1999 to January 2001.  It was fun seeing familiar faces and updating them as to where God has placed me.  It is weird for me to think how long ago I was at Drenthe and everything that God has done since then.  To put it into perspective, the high school seniors were 4 years old when I was at Drenthe and had no idea who I was.  My life and faith journey have grown immensely since 1999.  God has stretched my heart and outlook on a lot of different issues.  He has made me crave His Word and allowed me to reach out to children who some feel are not worth more than a discarded candy wrapper. He is so good!!

I can't believe how fast my time has flow by.  Before I know it, it will be January 6 and I will be getting on a plane and heading back to Africa.  I am so ready to see the children and staff again.  I had lunch yesterday with two volunteers that just got back from Lesotho.  It was so good to hear about the children's lives and the fun stories of what they are doing.  It definitely sparked in me a desire to want to run onto BG's campus and hug every single child and staff member.

My calendar has been so full since being home.  To give you an example, after speaking at Drenthe last night, I was able to book another speaking engagement at a church in Holland.  It has been such an honor sharing about BG to so many new people.  Because my calendar has been so full and I need to get prepared for Africa again, I will be taking the month of December off to spend time with my family and friends.  I want to invest in them, because they have done so much to invest in me. 

If you are still desiring a BG presentation, or meeting with me, please contact me soon so we can book something before December 1. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hidden Treasures

My trip to Florida has been full of hidden treasures.  I will be very honest with all of you and let you know the night before I left for Florida, I did not want to go.  I was having a pity party for myself.  I wanted to stay in Michigan and be with my family and friends.  I wanted to be able to enjoy the space I live in, instead of staying in someone's guest room.  I now know why I felt this way, Satan did not want me to be in Florida.

I arrived last week in Sarasota and was able to make some potential contacts there.  It was fun to share Beautiful Gate with people who did not know anything about it.  I pray that the relationship with those I met with will grow into partners in ministry.

Thursday I drove from Sarasota to Gainesville.  I love a good road trip, so I enjoyed being in the car alone and the down time it brought.  I knew that Gainesville was going to be full of appointments, so the car ride was a time for me to turn the radio on and get pumped up for what would happen.  I figured it would be an easy 6 days and I would be ready to fly back home after everything was said and done.  I was wrong.  During the last six days I have found some pretty sweet hidden treasures in Gainesville and because of that, I am sad that I am leaving tomorrow.

Here are a few of the treasures...

On Saturday I went to a 3 year old's birthday party.  The birthday girl was excited for the pirate party her grandmother had planned.  Part of the party included a hunt for buried treasure.  The treasure was presented to me as a gift for Beautiful Gate.  Yesterday I cashed in over $200 worth of coins that were in a plastic bag.  God is so good!

Throughout this week, I have presented to many different groups.  With each presentation, I pray that I don't loose the excitement of sharing stories of the children of Beautiful Gate.  With each presentation, God has grown in me the desire to make sure I am continuing to share the stories.  When I stand in front of a group of people and I watch the light bulbs go off and see them becoming affected by God's story, I know I did my job.  I am amazed at how many people have already stepped up to the plate and are supporting Beautiful Gate before I have even left town.  Last night when I asked if there were any questions to the group I was speaking to, they just starting brainstorming out loud how they were going to share Beautiful Gate with others.  At that point, I just quietly sat back in my chair and let the Spirit take over.  God is so good!

I am staying with some pretty cool people and when I say pretty cool, I mean amazing.  Some times, it is hard living in other people's houses.  You never want to do anything or not to something that could offend your hosts.  This week, I don't have that problem.  I have had great conversations out on the front porch with people that understand thinking outside of the box.  I have had conversations with people that are putting their faith in action in ways that I would have never even thought of in regards to Beautiful Gate.  I have met two ladies that I pray our relationship and conversations continue to grow, because being with them gives me glimpses of Heaven.  I never thought that when I left Gainesville, I would be leaving friends, but that is what has happened.  God has given me friends here that I enjoy being with and talking to.  He has blessed me with a family that loves the children of Beautiful Gate and for some strange reason, me as well.  God is good!

Thank you Florida for showing me what southern hospitality is all about.  Thank you Meringer and Heiberg families for hosting me.  Thank you to the numerous people that attended presentations and had your heart opened up to Lesotho.  Thank you to people who have caught the vision so much, that they wanted to attend multiple presentations, just to hear the stories.  Thank you to my new friends who hold a special place in my heart.  Our journeys are not the same, but our desire to love children is.  May God continue to bless you and shine His face upon you.  May He overfill you with His amazing hope, so that you can go out and share His hope to the world around you.