Thursday, January 30, 2014


Perseverance is defined as "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement" ( Everyday at BG, I see pictures of perseverance.

A child with cerebral palsy, who fights through everyone's opinions of what their life should look like and learns how to walk.

A house mother who continues to do everything she can to make sure a child who struggled with sickness, stays strong and healthy.

A volunteer who everyday works with the younger children, making sure they are stimulated and reaching their milestones.

I read emails from families who desire their children to be in their arms, yet sit and wait behind paperwork and appointments.

For me, perseverance is the ability to look past your current situation and focus on a better outcome. Each day I am here I pray...

For the children to see themselves not as "fatherless," but as a precious gift that deserves to have the world.

For the staff members and volunteers to fight through the exhaustion and see how important they are.

For the families to know that one day their arms will be full and they will hear the voice of their child or children.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "By perseverance the snail reached the ark." SERIOUSLY, just think about that. A snail is an extremely slow moving animal. It is easy to overlook them because they are small. Can you imagine the busyness that was happening while Noah was trying to get the animals into the ark? It had to be chaos. But through it all the snail made it!! The snail didn't give up, even though all the other animals were passing them and maybe overlooking them because of their size. The snail made it to the ark and because of that we still have snails today.

I heard this quote last week on a day when I was tired. Nothing major was happening, I was just tired. A group of older boys were circled together looking at the ground. One of them grabbed my hand and took me over to the place they were at. There in the middle of their huddle was a snail, moving every so slowly, but moving none the less. It was a great reminder to me that we all need to be more snail like.

Be a snail today. Persevere through what you are facing and be prepared for how God will use it to bring hope to the world.

"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5, NIV).

Friday, January 24, 2014

2 Worlds

Today I laid on the sidewalk as the cool rain hit my body. It felt so refreshing, because let me tell you, it is HOT here. I laid on the hot sidewalk and felt the cool rain. With each drop I realized that, just like my body was experiencing two things at once (hot and cold), my heart was as well. I live in different worlds and it is hard for me to explain each of them to the other.

A friend of my said it best in an email, "I am terrified that the distance is not just in miles but in worlds. We are worlds apart now." The email went on to describe how God was going to use each of us in our different worlds, and when we get back together it will be a time of celebration, because we both are committing to journey with each other through our respected worlds.

Right now, my heart is so pensive. I feel like everyday I experience every emotion possible. There are times of great joys. Times when I know my focus is good, because it is on God. But then there are times when my focus turns and I am filled with sadness. The hard thing is most days, I am not sure what I am sad about. I just feel sorrow. Last year when I was at Beautiful Gate, I learned how to stuff certain emotions away. I learned that there is a time for certain feelings and there is a time for other feelings. I feel like by going back to Michigan and then coming back to Lesotho, I have lost the ability to stuff emotion. I am feeling everything so very deeply right now. 

When I was at home, people would say I was the "Mother Teresa" or "Katie Davis" of Zeeland. I laughed at those comparisons, because I am far from those two ladies. Since being here, I feel like I am letting people down if I do not strive to do what they did. Who doesn't want to be known as compassionate, hard working, loyal, obedient and passionate about what they are doing? Who doesn't want to abandon themselves in order to serve those around them. I feel as though I may have painted my role at Beautiful Gate wrong. I love that I can experience life with the children and staff. I love that God has me here working on projects and connecting with people who will add to the joy here at Beautiful Gate. I love that I get to do life with dear friends who are family to me. But to be honest, the ones here who are the "Mother Teresa's" or "Katie Davis'" are the staff. The house mothers work very long days cleaning, cooking and caring for the children. Yes I go and offer help during the day, but I am not the one who these kids see as their mom. The office staff, work hard to make sure everything is running well. The maintenance staff are constantly working on the buildings and grounds to ensure a high quality of life for these kids. I don't want you to think that I feel my role isn't needed, I just want to make sure that I give credit where credit is due. Just like at home, I am the "aunt" who comes in loves on the kids, teaches them songs, reads stories, gives hugs and then goes home.

I write to you all today, because lately I feel like I am missing something. Am I doing enough? Jesus said that when I see someone in need I should help them. As I sit behind my house each day, I see people naked, hungry and thirsty. I see people in need and I am paralyzed in how to help. I want to reach out and make sure everyone on the earth has weight, that they know they matter, but I don't know how to do that. I am ashamed I challenge you readers, to tell people they matter, but step out of BG and do the same. In Matthew 4, Jesus calls His disciples and tells them to "follow me." Immediately, they dropped their nets and they went. They didn't make sure they had enough support money. They didn't say goodbye to their family and friends. They left. They gave up everything to follow Christ. Am I willing to do that?

Here is where my two worlds don't line up. One world thinks I am dropping everything and doing great things. But I have to ask myself, "Am I?" Am I giving up everything so that God can be glorified? Am I standing in front of Him with open hands offering all of me, or do I have one hand closed around the things I love? How do I explain to the world who thinks I am saving lives, that today I spent most of the morning scrubbing windows on the new volunteer house and then in the afternoon, I road in a van with the older children at BG (Friday tradition) singing songs and making them laugh. Is that following Christ? Am I a disciple maker, or am I a justifier, believing that by going to Africa I have played my part? Do I fully let go of the desires of my flesh to seek out those that need clothes, food and water? There are so many people around me whose needs are so massive. It is overwhelming. Where does one begin?

For now I will continue to be an "aunt". I will sing songs and hug children and staff. I will scrub windows, laugh with volunteers and pray that is some way I am sharing Jesus.

I live in two worlds. One thinks I am a super hero, the other sees my daily actions. I want and desire to love my neighbor in each of these worlds. I desire to shine Jesus.

I desire to follow...

Monday, January 20, 2014


If you have followed this blog for awhile you will know that last year we experienced some tough times at Beautiful Gate. Children's deaths and other centers closing were some of our challenges. There were moments I, like Jesus in Gethsemane, cried out to God for this to be taken away, because it was just too much. I felt very tired. One song that seemed to explain my feelings was Worn by Tenth Avenue North. The chorus of the song says...

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I want to know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
Cause I'm worn

It is with great joy I can write you all and tell you redemption is happening. Last April I sat on the side of a mountain with 2 scared girls on my lap. They were suppose to be reunited with family, but because of some events, that didn't happen. That evening they came back to Beautiful Gate, instead of going back to their family. On Friday the girls were in my arms again, but this time we were driving around town getting their adoption physical completed.

The struggle ended...REDEMPTION WON!!! These girls will be adopted. They will have a family.

I was so overwhelmed on Friday. Tears of joy flowed freely as I Skyped with a friend from Michigan and told her the news. The pain was over, they will belong to someone.

I have been seeking out more redemption moments since Friday. They are small, but their impact on me is huge...

The smile and hug of a child that was once terrified of people.
The way a child's eyes light up when I walk in their room and say their name.
The sound of JOYFUL music sung by the children echoed throughout the campus.
A cool breeze that gives relief to the heat.

Friends, all around us is redemption. Do you see it?

Luke 21:28 says, "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke was talking about the Son of Man coming in His glory. I believe each day, God is revealing Himself to us. He is giving us moments of redemption, so that we crave more of these moments.

Do you crave moments with Jesus?
Do you yearn to be with Him and see His plan?
Do you want nothing more than His promises to be revealed to all?

The Lord is coming. He is showing Himself to us each day. Do not overlook it? Do not miss the redemption that is taking place around you?

And when you experience, stand up, lift your hands and praise God!!!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way n the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Friday, January 17, 2014


Everyone wants to know they matter to someone. I think that if everyone is honest with themselves, they enjoy it when others tell them the special role they have in other's lives. We all love to know that to someone, we are special.

The same is with children. Every child needs to know they matter. Every child wants to know that they are special to someone and a part of a family unit where each person has a part to play. Every child needs to know they have weight in this world. At Beautiful Gate, we see a lot of children who were treated as though they had no weight. They did not matter to anyone. They were worthless. They are weightless. But the second they come into our care, they are given their weight back. They are given worth.

Being back at Beautiful Gate has reminded me how much people need to know they matter to someone. During this past year, both in Lesotho and in America, God gave me relationships that were true blessings. Women in each place who wanted to spend time being together. In these times I felt I had weight. I mattered in each setting. I know how much that grew my confidence and joy. When I see these sisters, or get a message from them, my heart feels joy, because we are connected on a level that is deeper than just the traditional small talk people do. The great thing about these relationships is they pointed me to the One who gave me weight. They encouraged me to develop a deeper craving for the only One who could fill the weight.

I want you readers to know that you have weight. You all matter to someone. God created everything in this world for you. In fact, when he created it all, He thought of you. What a humbling thing to think of, that the creator of all stood over the empty space we now call earth and thought of us. He knew I would someday be in Africa and He knew that exactly what your life looks like. What a comfort to know that the One who is Sovereign is loving and cares for us His children so much that He gave us weight.

Who in your life needs to know their weight? Who needs to be reminded that they matter to someone? Is God placing them in your path so that you can go and give them their weight back? Everyday in Lesotho, either in the late afternoon or evening I walk through each house and high five, hug and/or kiss each kid. Why do I do this, because they have weight. They matter to me. Not only do I do this for the children, but I try to do it for the house mothers as well.

Today, ask God to reveal to you who needs to know they have weight. Be open to who He reveals and then GO and give them weight. Tell them they matter.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back in Sunny Lesotho

Hello readers,

What a joy it is to let you all know I am back in sunny Lesotho. It was a long week, with delayed travel plans due to weather, but God is good and knew when I needed to be back. My friend, Grace and I left Michigan on Thursday and got to BG at 11:50pm on Friday. What a joy it was to see Bryan and Anita at the airport and enjoy the car ride from Jo'burg to Lesotho with them.

Since we arrived so late, I could not do my traditional sprint to the houses and see all the children and staff. Saturday morning Anita and I went together. It felt so good. Before I walked into the first house the children saw me in the window and started yelling my name. I can't explain to you how could it felt to know I wasn't forgotten. There were a few children who were on their potties, but decided to scoot them out and laugh as they saw me. 6 months is a huge time in the development of a child. Babies that were in a crib when I left are walking around in play group and playing with the older children. While I was in the afternoon play time with the kids, some of them came up to me singing, Trading my Sorrows, which I taught the kids last year. The house staff greeted me with hugs and dancing. Such a great feeling to know I made an impact last year, while I was here. They wanted to tell me about they children, grandchildren and then of course all about their BG children.

I can't thank people enough for the prayers and support during Grace and my travels. A dear, dear friend of mine set up a prayer calendar, for people to sign up and pray during hour long slots while we traveled. What a humbling experience, yet such an honor to know that people were sacrificing time in their day to approach God's throne on our behalf. I can't thank all you prayer warriors enough for that. Other than being 2 days late, we had no travel issues.  

My goal is to update the blog 2 times a week. It is my prayer that through this blog, people will see the realness of God's journey for me and strive to be obedient in their own.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13).

Khotso (peace) and Tsepo (hope) from sunny Lesotho.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I am loved.

It is great to be loved by so many people. God has placed people in my life that make it more fun, more full and more impactful. I am blessed, but it also means saying goodbye is tough. BUT I go with the faith that these relationships will grow and become richer, because in six months we can come together and share how God used all of us to further His Kingdom.

So, let's talk about the major hurdle I face...THE WEATHER!!! I am at a lost with what to do. As of right now (Sunday night) Grace (my travel partner) and I will be driving to Chicago tomorrow and hopefully we will be able to get out. Please join us in praying that the huge storm that is hitting the mid west will still allow us to get out and get to Beautiful Gate.

Lord willing, my next update will be from Lesotho.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13