Today I’ve been here 6 months. I haven’t set foot on American soil in over 6 months (other than going to the US Embassy here in Lesotho). It feels like I just got here, but than again it feels like I’ve been here awhile. I’m still learning things yet I know a lot more than when I first got here.
6 months is a quarter of the time I’ve committed to stay in Lesotho. It has been quite an adventure. I’ve learned greetings in Sesotho and commands for the children. I still have a lot to learn. I’ve experienced a funeral for 3 children and the adoptions of so many more. I’ve seen true hunger and the joy of new families formed. It’s been an amazing journey so far and it’s just getting started.
It hasn’t always been easy. Losing three children in four days was heartbreaking. Seeing children go in and out of the hospital is hard and you worry about them. We have a child who is currently in the hospital who is extremely malnourished. My roommate was giving him night feedings before he went to the hospital. He’s 6 months old. Fortunately they figured out part of his problem and he should be returning to Beautiful Gate today or tomorrow.
Seeing children crying because they were hungry at another orphanage and not being able to do anything about it was extremely hard. Now, the joy is they have moved to a better facility since. Seeing 12 children arrive late at night, taken from the only home they’ve known and brought here breaks your heart. But you see the joy on their faces now as they’ve settled in here and they know they will be fed and loved where they are.
The joy of a smiling child running up to you for a hug almost makes your heart burst. I want all these children to have good homes and to be in a loving family. While we take good care of the children here at Beautiful Gate, the best place for them is in a loving family, either their biological or adoptive family. My prayer for each of these children is for them to have a loving family and to not have to live their lives in an institution.
During my time here I’ve said goodbye to children I’ve come to love. It’s often bittersweet, as you know going to live with family is the best thing for them, yet you will miss them. I remember an adoption ceremony about a month after I got here where there was not a dry eye in the house. The child was 6 and had been here for many years. He knew he was saying goodbye to everything he had known; yet he was excited to go to his new home in the United States. It was bittersweet for the Beautiful Gate staff and volunteers.
The Lord has been teaching me so much over the past 6 months. There have been times where I’ve questioned His choices (the death of children who never got a chance to live). He’s taught me He has a reason for everything. I may not know what the reason is, but He does and as Job 14:5 says “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” God knew before those three children were even conceived how long they would live. And those children are in Heaven now.
Jeremiah 29:11 says ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” God knows the plans for my life and yours and He continually teaches me this each and every day. The way He called me to Africa, breaking my heart more and more over a number of years is amazing. He keeps showing me how His hand has been guiding me to this moment over the years.
God has also been working on me teaching me to forgive and to trust Him with things in my life. He’s showing me so many ways I haven’t been giving my whole life to Him and He’s breaking down those barriers one by one. It’s not the easiest thing to go through, but it’s pretty amazing to experience. He’s also breaking my heart for what breaks His. He’s breaking my heart with each hug, smile, tear, and laugh. These children are pretty amazing!
When I first got here, I asked God to put people in my life that would be local support and accountability. I now attend a ladies Bible study on Thursday mornings with ladies from all over the world. Some are missionaries, some are locals. I also attend a Bible study on Tuesday evenings. He’s given me friends from a bunch of the different ministries, some are my age and some older or younger. Some are single, some are married. All are people He’s put in my life to provide support and to help me learn. I’m also meeting so many people here at Beautiful Gate. We have teams and volunteers come from all over. I now know people in Australia, The Netherlands, California, Michigan, Florida, Canada, England, South Africa, Lesotho, and probably other places I’m forgetting.
It’s been an amazing experience and I’m excited to see what the Lord has planned for the next year and a half! May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you peace.