Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vanished part 2

A few posts ago I wrote about an incident at BG when a mom showed up at BG and wanted help for her newborn child. We did what we could by giving her formula, diapers and dropped her at home. When our staff went to give her a bottle she had vanished. For days I would look for her when I went into town. After a week I stopped she was gone. Two weeks ago, I walked into the office at BG and there she was, but this time she had not only the baby but a 2 year old as well.

She came asking for more formula and told us if we didn't give it to her she would abandon the two children. My heart broke. I wanted to help her, but knew that BG cannot serve as a hand out facility for formula. Honestly there are months when we wonder how long our supply will last for the children that live at BG. After talking to our social worker, we decided the best thing to do would be to drop the woman and her children off at social welfare. We hoped they could help her, because we couldn't. So in the midst of leading a team from Michigan, I jumped in the car with a staff member and we brought the woman and children to social welfare.

When we arrived we asked her to sit in the waiting area, while we talked to the social workers. I thought it would be a quick visit, but I was wrong. The social workers asked us to stay and listen while they talked to the mother. They wanted it to be made very clear that BG is not a place to go and ask for whatever you need. When the mother came in the environment changed. The social workers knew this lady and they were tired of her empty threats. They had tried to reach out to her themselves, but she would never uphold her end of the agreement. There was a lot of yelling and stern conversation. It was all in Sesotho, but even though I only understood about every fifth word, I knew exactly how the social workers felt. A few times myself and the BG staff member stood up to try and leave, but we were quickly told to sit down. It was a very hard thing to sit through. The social workers asked the mother to step out for a minute while they made a plan with us. During this time they spoke in English and filled me in. The women was a liar. Everything that was coming out of her mouth was false. The governmental social workers could see through the lies. This women was trying to use BG for free supplies and not only did sage have these two children, but three more at home.

This whole situation broke my already broken heart. This women probably needed help, but the only way she knew how to get it was manipulating those around her. She lied to BG. She lied to the government. And I am certain, she lied to herself. As the BG staff member and I left we walked past her and the two children. The 2 year old boy looked at me and smiled, my heart sank again. This little boy and his siblings were the victims in this situation. They did not deserve to be raise this way. They did nothing wrong to warrant the way they were being treated. They should not have had to sit in on a meeting and hear what I heard.

There really are no words and feelings for how I am feeling about this situation. I feel sorry for the children. I feel bad that BG and the government tried to help this women but she only used us to get what she wanted without doing the work. I feel bad for the woman, who obviously does not have a lot of self worth and cannot find a way to help herself, unless she creates a lie. I also and angry that she used BG to fulfill her need. In my opinion, she stole from us and that just hurts.

Keep praying for friends, because there are people all over the world who feel the only way to do life is through hand outs and they do not take any personal pride in working for what they have.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

All the Poor and Powerless

There is a song that is near and dear to my heart. We sing it a lot at Beautiful Gate as well as my home church in Michigan. The first verse says...

All the poor and powerless
All the lost and lonely
All the thieves who come confess
Will know that you are holy.

Yesterday I went and visited friends who are serving in South Africa. They took Anita and I to a township that they have been doing outreaches in. The "houses" are made of mud and stick. The roofs  are scrap pieces of medal, garbages bags and anything else they can find to provide some type of shelter. Townships have been around for centuries. They are where the black people have been sent to live, because they are not good enough to live in the white communities. Townships are not places of hope. The smells of poverty and sights of depravity are overwhelming. As we drove I just sat in the back seat and took it all in. Children running around naked or only in shirts. Adults staring us down as we past their homes. I could only imagine their thoughts. "Why are white people coming here?" We went into one of the houses where a family lives, that my friend is working with. A room much smaller than an American bedroom, was home to 16 people. Four generations of women, doing live in really rough conditions. Four generations of women who have been told they have no worth because of the color of their skin. Four generations of women who think the only way to make a living is to have more children, because then you can get more governmental funding. When people try to tell them they can do more, they refuse. From generation to generation, they have been shown that their worth is to lay around and allow others to provide for them.

When we entered their house one of the children grabbed a bench for us to sit on and one of the women wiped it off with a clean shirt. I felt so dirty. They did not know me, but because I am white they made sure I was comfortable as they sat on the unleveled ground in their home. Along the wall was a pile of blankets, that served as the family's beds. They rolled them up every day and night so that they could have a place to sit during the day. A little metal ring which held charcoal, that they made from dust and mud, served as their heater and stove. All around the room, there were little reflections of light that streamed in from the whole in the roof. My friend told us that when it rains, their houses crumble, because it is only mud and sticks that hold it together. My heart was so overwhelmed. I couldn't even form a proper sentence to say. We spent just a few moments with the women and then left. As we drove away we passed another community. The homes were nicer, still nothing that compared to homes in West Michigan, but they were made of concrete and had windows, doors, electricity and water. I thought for sure that this was the community of white people, but my friend told me otherwise. The people in this community were black as well, they just found pride in themselves and wanted to make something of themselves. They didn't lay around having babies only to get more funding, but instead went to school, found skills and got jobs. They were not poor. They were not powerless. They are rich and empowered.

On the drive home I kept thinking about the song that I love. Sometimes it is your culture and history that makes you poor and powerless. If you see no hope or way out, you continue to fall in to the trap of relying on the government to help you. But if you see the tiny specs of light shining into the darkness, you see the hope that you have. If you decide to better yourself and not allow those around you to tell that you are powerless, you will find pride and turn you situation around.

Sometimes others make you powerless, other times you convince yourself you are powerless, either way, you are not. The Lord has come to give light and hope and life in our darkness. He wants us to claim Him and shout to Him so that all throughout the world, everyone can see they have the mightiest power within themselves.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

breathing amongst the heaviness

About a month ago, I led an IF:Gathering in Lesotho missionary women serving here. It was a great 2 days of seeking God's face and accepting the many promises He has for me. Through the speakers and times of prayer, healing and renewed strength was given to those attended. One thing I have discovered about hosting the weekend is that satan was pretty ticked off. Leading up to the event there were a few situations when fear and doubt filled my heart and mind due to conversations with others. The fears were never about the IF weekend, but about my personal mission. Ever since the weekend, there have been more things that have occurred that have caused confusion, anger and hurt about the path God has me on. It seemed wherever I turned there were moments of spiritual warfare and I wasn't prepared for it. Because of everything that was going on I decided to take some time over the past 2 weeks and try to relax in God's presence. Above all I needed to soak up the promises He has for me. I needed to believe again. I needed to fall in love with my first love, because He seemed so distant from me. To put it plainly, I needed to start listening to the words I was using to encourage others and believe them for myself.

The first promise that I kept praying for was to know and believe that even though He felt distant, God never has left me. He is always with me and has His arms of loved wrapped around me. Even though I felt so alone with the things going on, I wasn't. I pictured God sitting on His throne, holding me in His arms, like a Father holds a child.

The second promise I needed to embrace was that the attacks I was feeling were not just happening to me. I pictured Christ standing before me and all the fiery arrows that were hitting my heart went through Him first. Even though the situations hurt me, they took His life, even though I felt like no one understood the pain, He was there bleeding with me, gasping for breath and desiring to have it finished as well. Yes the arrows hit me and they hurt, but He trusted me with the pain knowing that it would only deepen my faith in Him. 

The past few weeks haven't been easy and I haven't reacted well to the spiritual and emotional hurt that I was experiencing. Instead of clinging to the promises and seeking joy for the freedom they brought, I clung to old sins. Because of old sins, I struggled with relationships. Because of relationships, I struggled with trust. Because of trust, I struggle with God.

I will be honest, things have been heavy since IF, but there has never been a moment that I didn't doubt that the weekend needed to occur. There has never been doubt that God didn't use it to show Himself to the ladies that attended. The past week, the heaviness is becoming less. It is still there, but I am learning to breathe again. Each day things get a little lighter and a little more joyful. I feel like I am facing the arrows with more bravery because I know I am not facing them alone. I feel like they don't hurt as much because I know God feels the pain before I do.

Spiritual attacks just suck. There is no way around it. But the truth is, that if you feel them, you must be something right because satan is pretty ticked off.

Romans 5:1-5 "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 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 out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Hope is what we need to cling to when the arrows seem to never stop. Hope in tomorrow. Hope in moments of breathing amongst the heaviness. Hope in a day when there is no need for armor and we can sit at the Lord's feet and just soak Him in. That is what keeps me going. 


(For those who have been around me the past month. I apologize for the way I have been acting. Today I am choosing to seek joy. Today I am choosing to breath through the heaviness.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


A week ago a mother showed up at BG with her new born child. She had gone to the government and explained she could not care for the child. Instead of the government just taking the child, they talked with her and then gave her some advice (of which I will not share on this blog). The mother left upset. She came to BG knowing that we care for children and tried to give us the child. (This was not the advice of the government). She told our staff member that if we didn't take the child she would abandon them. Because of the laws and regulations that we have to adhere to, we cannot just take a child from someone without the proper forms and documentation. Our hands were tied. To say we were stuck between rock and a hard place would be an understatement. If we take a child without proper paperwork and the mother vanishes, that child will be forever stuck in the system. If we sent the child with her, we feared she may follow through on the threats she was making. Our staff members talked the mother and asked her to make right choices for this child. We knew we couldn't take the child in without getting in trouble with the government. Instead of just sending her on her way we gave her some diapers and formula and then drove her and the child to her house. When our staff left her, they realized she had nothing and even though we went above what we were suppose to by giving her diapers, formula and a ride, she had no bottle to make the formula in. Our staff then decided to get a bottle from BG and bring it back to the mother. When they got there, she was gone. The following morning our staff went back again and the mother and child were not there.

She vanished.

I can't get the face of this mother our of my mind. In fact I find myself, when going into town, looking for her. I want to know if the child is okay. I want to know if she followed the instructions of the government. I want to know where the baby is and if they are okay. I will never know what happened or ever see this woman again, but I continue to pray everyday that she didn't abandon the child somewhere.

My only hope in situations like this is that God knows right where they are. He knows the mother. He knows the child. He knows their pain and He will work to bring about good in this situation. He has to! My hope is that even though people vanish, God will never vanish from them.

He has them in the grip of His hand and won't let go.