Sunday, January 31, 2016

Steal Their Hearts

Friday three of our boys were transferred to a different care center. I was able to ride in the back seat of the truck with them on the way to the new center. It was a crazy fun time. As we pulled out of BG, one of the boys crawled onto one of my legs so he could see out the window. Another boy saw thought this was a good idea and crawled unto the other leg. In that moment, I really wished I had three legs, because the third boy was too short to look out the window. I grabbed some blankets and made a seat for him. He quickly slide it next to me, so that my arm could wrap around him. He looked up at me with his bright eyes and gave me a huge smile. My arm holding him was more important to him than sitting next to the window and I agreed. The boys loved everything we passed, yelling at every cow, sheep and horse. They even yelled hello to the people that were walking along the road. It was a very enjoyable ride. Before we pulled off to the new center we stopped so the boys could eat lunch. Their house mothers prepared a feast for grown men. The boys quickly grabbed the sandwiches of thick sliced polony (similar to bologna) and ate the meat first. Then they preceded to lick the butter off the bread. They were so joyful with the simple sandwiches. One of them said, "Ausi Christina this is the meat of the mothers." I knew that this special treat was one last way for their house mothers to show them they love them.

After we dropped the boys off and said our goodbyes, my heart sank. I am going to miss these three. They brought so much fun and excitement to the campus of BG in the years they were with us. I wondered what their new life would be like. That night I curled into bed and turned on some music to try and shut my mind off. The Holy Spirit blessed me with a song that even though was on my playlist for a while, I am not sure I really listened to. The song is called "Steal Their Hearts" by The Neverclaim. A chorus and one of the verses says this...

Would you steal their hearts?
As you call their name? 
In a broken world, trying to do the same? 
Would you let then see the majesty of who you are? 
Oh, Lord, would you steal their hearts? 

That they will know your of mercy
And walk in all your ways.
That their days would overflow with peace and love.
May they sing of sweet salvation of your amazing grace, 
because one day I know I’ll have to let them go   

This song has served as a prayer for me for the past few days and especially for the three boys, but also for every child that has ever come onto BG's campus. I pray that the seeds that are planted here in their hearts, will take root and continue to grow, knowing that one day we will have to let them go and they will have a lot of other influences telling them what they feel "truth" is.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jesus Pursues Us Like A Fly In Africa

Good morning from a beautiful day in Lesotho. The first week and a half back at BG have been good. Getting back in to a routine feels great, but I am reminded everyday that my job is not routine. The past few days I have been soaking in so many moments. I have been leaving the office early so I can play with the kids in the afternoon. In the morning, when I see the kids walk to school and playgroup, I walk out to great them and wish them well for their day. Since it is my last year, I am savoring each moment, the good and the hard. I do not want to forget them, or take any of them for granted.

In the weeks leading up to my arrival, Lesotho was experiencing their biggest drought known to man. The lack of rain and high temps made life miserable. Since I have been here, it has rained all but 1 day. The temps have cooled down to a comfortable level and the grass is green. It really makes the campus of BG shine. The contrast between the green grass, red accents, tan buildings and beautiful blue sky paint God’s handiwork beautifully.

Sunday I was sitting in the grass with about 15 children all around me. We were singing, tickling and simply loving on each other. It was a beautiful moment. As I was there my heart felt a mixture of happiness and grief. You see for 6 months out of the year I get the privilege to physically be in these children’s lives, but there was grief. Grief that none of this is normal. There should be no children in care centers across the world or in the foster care system. There should not be ladies who work long days loving on children that are not their own in hopes to say good bye to them so that the children can have a family. There is nothing normal here. It just doesn’t seem right.

But in the not so normal life, there is SO much joy. The children have created families with their friends. They have found a place to belong and find comfort in. The volunteers that serve find a community in each other. Together they understand each other’s day in a way that is hard to explain to those that haven’t stepped on BG’s campus. Together you celebrate the extreme joys in big and simple ways and the feeling of lost and grief through each and every goodbye.

As I was sitting in the grass, there was a fly buzzing around my head. One that I couldn’t push away. Later that night another one was doing the same as I was laying in bed. I had to chuckle a little while I was laying there trying to swat this silly fly away. You see it hit me in that moment that like a fly in Africa, Jesus is pursuing us every moment of everyday. No matter what emotion you are feeling or what situation you are facing, Jesus is there buzzing around your head reminding you that HE IS PURSUING YOU. That he will not leave YOU. That He loves you so much He will not leave you alone. Everywhere you go He is there whispering in your ear, “I have been here. I understand. Yes, this is not normal, but one day it will be made right. Do not just do a task, serve me through it. Do not just show up, but BE fully present where you are.” What a comfort to know that the Creator of all is pursuing me and enfolding me in His arms of love.

So, here is my big theological epiphany this week: Jesus pursues us like a fly in Africa!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I'm Back!

I made it back to Lesotho on Saturday and it has been a great few days. The Lord has been good? There were no travel issues and I even had an empty seat next to me on the long flight from Atlanta to Jo'burg. Those that have flown in long flights know how amazing that is.

My welcome back on BG campus was so good. (I wish I could post the video.) Before I even got to play group, where the children were, you could hear them yelling my name and then I was mobbed by them. It is always a great feeling to be welcomed back by them. The staff were excited as well to see me and made it clear that I am a part of the BG family. Saturday and Sunday were full of time with the kids and my sweet roommate Emily. Monday I was back in the office getting organized and nailing out details for an upcoming team. It felt great to be back working and looking ahead to the groups that will be on our campus. Of course there were a few breaks throughout the day to play with the children as well as take one of them to the office for some one on one time. :)

The past few days have been great. I cannot wait for the next few weeks when the Geurinks, Tyler Robbert and others join the team here. A few people here have asked me if I am ready of the next 6 months. I can honestly say, that I feel most ready this year for whatever the Lord has prepared for me. The 6 months I had in the States was on of growth and joy. I feel like I have gained confidence and strength from the Lord through my time with Him and the amazing community He blessed me with. It is now time to make Him shine in Lesotho and I am so humbled and excited to be apart of it.

Please join me in continuing to pray for rain for Lesotho. They have had a severe drought the past month. Thankfully we have gotten some rain this weekend, but more is needed. Pray also for the children and staff here. It breaks my heart to see so many of the older kids still here and without a family. It also breaks my heart o know that there are so many families waiting as well to welcome them into their homes, but for some reason things are just not moving as fast as I want them to.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Let's Do This!

I am packed and ready to go!

The past week has been a true dream. I have been able to spend quality time with those I love and feel ready to go and simply do life in Lesotho and at BG. To be honest there have been many moments throughout the past few days where I though I was dreaming. It was just so good. I feel as though I am being sent out differently this year. It could be because it is my last year, or because of the changes the Lord has done in me, but I have a renewed joy and love and desire to go and simply be do life in Lesotho, just like I have the past 6 months in the States.

I will be honest, transition is usually not easy. A few days ago I was tell a friend that I feel like for part of the year, part of my heart is dormant and not functioning and for the other part of the year the other part of my heart is dormant and not functioning and the weeks of transitions where the one part stops and the other starts, literally makes my heart hurt. Please pray with me that when I get on the plane on Thursday, the transition continues to produce joy in my heart rather than hurt.

Today as I was packing, I came across an envelope full of very special cards. They were given to me in June and as I sat on my bed today, reading them, something inside of me just leaped up. Seeing the coloring and hand writing of the kids at BG, saying goodbye and was such a good reminder for me today. I needed to see their names and know that in it is because of God's love for them and my love for Him that I pack up one life to go to the next. Yes, there is pain. You see there were a few precious names on those cards that won't be running up to me on Saturday morning, because they are no longer at BG. The reasons why they are no longer there are irrelevant, they just are not there. Those names I still pray for daily that God is growing. Also as I say good bye to people here I realize the things I will miss. Yes there are big things, like birthdays, weddings and celebrations, but honestly it is the everyday stuff that I hate to miss, because that is what doing life with people is all about. The everyday adventures that just make you feel apart of something. But even in the pain there is joy. Joy in knowing that in a few days my arms will be full of beautiful children and people. Joy in knowing that the relationships I have here, even though we will a physically apart, will continue on.

All in all friends, the Lord is just plain good and I am blown away that He has chosen me for this crazy journey with Him. May He receive all the praise!

Please pray for the smooth flights...
I depart Thursday at 1:20p and arrive at BG on Saturday morning.