Friday, May 23, 2014

Light hearted post on my HAIR!

For the past 5 years, my life has been on a journey. Also for the past 5 years, my hair has been on a journey. My first trip to Lesotho, I loved the ease of the short "messy" look. The reddish highlights added personality and spunk. Over the years my hair has gone from the "fun, messy" look to now a long natural look. On days when the water pressure is low or I woke up late, I miss my short hair. It took less than 2 minutes to do. It was easy and very low maintenance. For a few years now I have been a short haired person living with long hair. Because of this, I have made some mistakes. Here are a few...

1. I have learned while brushing my teeth, I must hold my hair back. Toothpaste in hair is not a good look.

2. I still don't know how this happened, but the other night I actually closed some of my hair in the closet door. (It was a long day, okay! Don't judge). Seriously I don't know how that happened.

3. Eating sometimes has it's challenges. The moment when you feel hair in your mouth and get grossed out that someone else's hair is in your food and then you realize the other end of the hair is still attached to your head.

4. One of my favorite things to do is drive with the windows down in the car. Now I need to make sure I have a hair band with me at all times, otherwise the windows must remain up, to avoid accidents.

5. Saturday was a beautiful day. As I rode in the car with the windows down, I saw a cloud of dust ahead. I quickly shut the window to avoid dust in the car and in doing so, my hair got shut in the window as well.

6. 9 out of 10 times I pick up a BG child, my hair becomes their handle and toy.

7. The amount of head bands, pins and other accessories is overwhelming. The sad thing is whenever I need one, I can't find it.

Each day I am learning and each day my long hair is growing on me (pun intended).

Memory Lane
The messy look hair
Puppy love hair
Ice Cream eating hair

Team leader hair
Braided hair

Lion training hair

December 2013
The 80's are back!!!!

Superhero hair!

Frog catching hair!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


There is a war going on all over this world. The war is one of power, respect and creating "names" for ourselves. Each day some people strive to become better, bigger and achieve more. The war is all over. It is in Michigan, California, Lesotho, South Africa and beyond. The only outcome this war will have is one of heartache and false power. I have to confess, I am a part of this war, but each and every day I desire to surrender my personal pride and cling to the Name that is above all other names.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the power a name can bring. Based upon your name, people can be influence positivity or negatively. Based upon your name people know your family, your tribe, your culture. A big part of my job is making connections for Beautiful Gate. I am amazed at how if I use someone's name people respond. When meeting people, it is often I hear about mutual friends of Beautiful Gate or past volunteers or people who have been to Lesotho before. Names are good. Names are a frame of reference.

But the war starts when the name becomes your "god."

I was reminded of this yesterday as I picked up a baby from the Department of Social Welfare. This little child had a name, but not many people knew it. His name carried no power or fame. As I held him in my arms waiting for the reports, I wondered what his journey looked liked. I wondered how many people heard his cries and acted. Instead of thousands of people flocking over him, like the children of royal or political families only one person acted when they heard the cry. Instead of placing him in a crib or car seat to keep him safe, he was put in a trash bag and left in a village. His name isn't one of fame or power, but to me, he is great. To the family who will raise him and care for him, his name is great. To the people he may one day impact for Christ, his name is great.

When I think about names, I realize there are pressures placed upon people because of their name. If your family is great, you to should be great. For me, I want my "name" to reflect my Abba. I eagerly desire for His name to be great. I feel completely dirty because sin creeps into my life and causes me to want respect and a place because of what I do. I desire to say like Paul, “'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). I am weak and have a lot of weaknesses. I desire for those weaknesses to shine through, so that the joy of Christ may be present in me. I want others to look at me and not see me at all. I want Jesus name on my lips every second of every day.

I confess there are moments in my life when I want to feel important, but yesterday as I held a child in my arms whose was placed in a trash bag, the need to feel important fades and the desire for everyone to know that there is only ONE NAME that matters in this world. And that name is Jesus. He is better than every thing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I remember, shortly after accepting God's call to serve at BG, a time where I was concerned I wouldn't be able to fill 6 months in the States and Canada with speaking and advocating for the children and staff of Beautiful Gate Lesotho. I prayed that if it was God's will, I would be able to accept any opportunity to shine Him to those I meet, by sharing what He is doing in the lives of the children, staff and families that are being formed through adoption and reunification. As I prepare for my second trip to the States, I am humbled by the faithfulness of the Lord.

A few weeks ago I start getting nervous about my speaking engagements for this fall. There were multiple on the calendar, but not the same amount as last year. I was nervous that this year would not go well. As I laid in bed one night, I asked God to show me His faithfulness. He put on my heart that I would not focus on a dollar amount, but that He would provide opportunities to simply share Him and His faithfulness. When I dreamed of sharing my heart, with no monetary goal in mind, I felt so my peace and joy.

Through all the teams and volunteers that I have met, I continue to see the goodness of the Lord in Lesotho. I am discovering that Beautiful Gate is not for the volunteers, the staff or even the children. Beautiful Gate is a place to experience the faithfulness of God. Yes, we serve approximately 70 children and 45 staff as well as many volunteers. Yes, we take people desiring to be family and introduce them to the child God created for them, but above all, Beautiful Gate is a sanctuary, a safe place where people can meet God. That is what I want to share this fall. Beautiful Gate is a place to fellowship with the Lord and His people.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 says, "He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."

I no longer worry about the fall calendar, because the Lord is filling it up. The past two days I have had two separate emails from people who heard about the faithfulness of the Lord at Beautiful Gate and asked if I would come and share. The Lord is faithful. He provides the right people at the right time that need to hear His story of hope and adoption.

To Him be all praise and honor!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Danforth's

I dislike goodbyes. This is an issue with my calling, because I feel like I say goodbye a lot. Every six months I say goodbye to either my United States family and friends or my Beautiful Gate family and friends. While in Lesotho, I say goodbye to a lot of children, volunteers and teams. With each goodbye I feel as though I am learning how to face them. Each one is different, but they all remind me how big the family of is. He created all of us different and we all have different roles in His Kingdom. Last year, I decided that since I was saying goodbye so much, when I was at BG I would just put my head down and do the work, in hopes that I would not meet to many new people thus avoiding the goodbyes. Sounded good to me, but I realized how much of a hermit I had become. This year I planned to be a hermit again, but that didn't happen.
Anita does a homeschool co-op every week with a few missionary families around Maseru. One of the moms and I started talking one day and a friendship formed. It didn't take long for Anna and I to get past the superficial conversations and talk about things that really matter. We recommended scripture, books and movies to each other and spent time talking about the Lord's journey for each of us. Over the past few months the Danforths, Geurinks and I have been able to get out of Lesotho and enjoy God's creation in South Africa. In those trips, I saw their hearts and was encouraged by their love for the Lord and their desire to know Him more fully.

The Danforths truly strive to dwell with those around them, just like Christ did. From Soccer ministry to MAF to ministry at the juvenile correction center to weekends in the mountains, they dwelled with the people they wanted to share Christ with. I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 6:16 which says, "I will live with them and walk among them." This is how the Danforths have brought the truth of the gospel to Lesotho. I have been challenged by their openness and encouraged by their hearts. A few weeks ago, Anna and I were able to share our past journeys and see how God has made us "a new creation." What a joy it is to share in each other's brokenness and see the hope of Christ shine through.

The Danforths are leaving this week to dwell in South Africa and share Christ with those they meet there. I am so excited to hear the stories of how God will use them in their newness and allow the story He has written to influence those they meet.

Speaker Shelly Giglio once said that our "yes" to God is extremely important, but it is less important for us and more important for the people whose "yes" depends on ours.

Sam, Anna, Elania and Sawyer, I know the Lord is going to use you to impact the "yes" of other people. He will take your brokenness and allow God's hope to shine through. Thank you for dwelling with the people of Lesotho and showing them the goodness of the Lord. My prayer for you is from 1 Thessalonians 5. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it" (23-24). Above all I pray you continue to dwell in the truth of God's journey for you, so that you may see His faithfulness everyday through each sunrise and sunset.

Even though goodbyes are not fun, I am so glad I stepped out and said hello to the Danforths.

Friday, May 2, 2014


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
The other day Anita and I were talking about the past few months at BG and how it is so different than last year. The Lord places seasons in our life to bring us closer to Him. Time when we cling tightly to His strength, love and peace to get us through the moments of pain and confusion. It is in those moments that you feel God's strength filling you and His mercy directing your steps. We called last year's journey winter. Winter is a season that brings cold temperatures and dark skies. Last year at BG we definitely experienced winter, but through the winter we experienced Christ in very real and intimate ways.

This year at BG is it is Spring. I rejoice in the joy that I see everyday. The children's laughing and singing makes my heart leap. But I am finding a problem with this "spring" season. I feel as though I am not relying on God for everything like I did last year. I have developed a sense of false confidence as I go about my daily duties. Yes, children come in and their stories can be sad and then children leave and it is a bittersweet event, but for the most part this year has been easier than last year. But I feel as though I am not fully experiencing Lesotho, because I am not fully relying on God's strength to get me through each day.

There are many times that I sit down to write on this blog and I have no idea what to say. How do I write about my everyday life. I know it looks a lot different from life in America, but to me it is every day things. In Michigan people get up, get ready and go to work. Your work may be in an office, in a church, in a home or in a restaurant. Everyday I get up and I go to work. My work looks different from that of Michigan, but to me it is a job and calling that I enjoy doing. I am blessed that this year I have had moments of getting away from the everyday stuff and see God in the mountains and hear His voice through a conversation with a friend and remember that even though it feels like everyday stuff, I need to serve with God's strength and mercy.

Friends whatever season you are in, trust and rely on God's strength. If you feel the coldness of winter, become wrapped in His warm embrace. If you are experiencing the warmth of spring, reach out and feel God's joy as He directs the path in front of you. It is all too easy to only rely on and seek out God when you feel the coldness of winter, but it is just as important to do so, when the warmth of spring is beating on your face.

With every season, God has more of Himself to show you. Don't overlook it.