I’ve realized I haven’t blogged about a lot of my last adventures in Lesotho. Today, I want to talk about the amazing love shown to me by the staff and volunteers at Beautiful Gate.
The day before I left, I had a farewell. I don’t even know fully how to describe it, but it is a beautiful ceremony. I had seen many done and participated in them in the past, so I knew what was coming. But it was so much more.
During my ceremony, some of the staff spoke to me, thanking me for my service. It was so special. Representing the housemothers, Mme Judith, the matriarch of the housemothers and the longest serving staff member, spoke. She truly blessed me with her words. She also joked a little saying next time I come, I should come with a husband. Mme Judith has a huge heart and she has always been so welcoming and loving to me.
Mme Matsukulu, the Program Manager and one of our longer serving staff members, leads the ceremony. I worked with her throughout my time at BG, as we served together on management team and also our jobs overlapped often. She is one busy lady and she does an amazing job. She has a beautiful heart for the children and staff. She spoke a bit about our work together.
Ntate Bokang represented the maintenance guys. The maintenance guys do a wonderful job keeping Beautiful Gate working. They also love to play with the kids and it always made me smile to see them taking a few minutes to kick the soccer ball with a few of the older boys.
Mme Mataeke is the nurse. She was hired about half way through my time at BG. During her year, we had a few adventures together taking kids to the hospital or picking up medications. She is so good at keeping track of the children’s health and she has a huge heart.
Mme Makatleho spoke, bring with her one of our special needs children who has my heart. This little boy is such a bright light on campus. During my time there I saw him go from having fits or issues quite often to being put on the right medications and having few fits. I rushed him to the hospital twice, but I also got to see him go to school. He was so excited to go to school and learn. His English improved so much and he graduated preschool in December.
Mme Makatleho is Beautiful Gate’s social worker. She is one busy lady, as she works hard to get the children into families. She has a very hard job, because she sees some of the worst, but she also gets to see some of the best things. Her name before she married meant sunshine and she almost always had smile on her face and light shone from her.
Ntate Hlony, our driver, sang “In the Garden” and it was so beautiful. He has an amazing voice.
Anita spoke next and presented me with a gift from Beautiful Gate of a Basotho blanket, one that matched my new seshoeshoe perfectly. Mme Matsukulu helped me put it on properly and told me I was a Masotho now.
Then I got to speak and going into it I had no idea what I was going to say. To try to put into words what my time at Beautiful Gate meant to me, there weren’t enough words to be sufficient. I thanked the staff for welcoming me and loving me. I thanked them for the amazing work they do for the children. I can’t even remember all I said, but my time at Beautiful Gate changed my life.
Bryan always gets to close these ceremonies and he read a Bible verse and spoke a few words then had everyone gather around me and pray over me. The staff and volunteers gathered around me with hands raised and prayed for me. I can’t describe how that felt. It meant so much. During the prayer, the little boy I mentioned earlier came and stood with me. I have a picture (which I can’t post) of him standing with his arms crossed and eyes squeezed shut in prayer. It was that picture which broke me today.
It wasn’t the kind words spoken to me and about me that meant so much to me. It was the love shown to me by these amazing people. During my time at Beautiful Gate, they taught me what it means to love like Christ loves. The children at Beautiful Gate have such open hearts, welcoming anyone who will show them love. It reminds me of Christ’s love. He loves us no matter what we do. All He asks is that we love Him in return and trust Him.
The staff and volunteers at Beautiful Gate open their hearts to each other and the beautiful children of Beautiful Gate. They love unconditionally, loving each child that arrives without question. No conditions are on their love, in fact they often have their heart broken as they say goodbye to the children. Yet they still come to work each day and love the children and those around them with open hearts. They show the love of Christ in their actions every day.
These amazing people gave me so much over the past two years. They were my teachers, my friends, my family. And I said goodbye in the best way I knew how, with a hug and a gift. I love each of them and miss them dearly.