This blog post was written by a team who has come from Canada to Beautiful Gate for the first time. The leaders of this team and several members have been supporting Beautiful Gate through a 5K run/walk for the past 6 years despite never having come to Lesotho. I wanted to share their letter back to their supporters because they shared their first impressions of Beautiful Gate, and I thought it is so interesting to see what parts of Beautiful Gate affect people the most in their first impression.
Greetings from Beautiful Gate March 21, 2017
The Team: Idy and Christine Ema, Elliott and Joanne Wong, Ralph and Anna Irwin, Belinda Poon, Chyrlle and Michael Dunne.
We arrived safely in Johannesburg March 17 and with God's help passed through South African Customs. Idy and Elliot were asked what they were bringing with them and they provided the letter from Discipleship International and the customs officer, looked at them and said they were honest looking and then cut open a box looked at the content exposed and immediately sealed up the box and sent them on their way. When we arrived on our flight, we were asked what we had and we said some meds for Beautiful Gate. He then x-rayed our boxes and suitcases and told us to enjoy our stay. On March 19 we journeyed through South Africa to Lesotho and had to show our passports which were stamped and approved by Lesotho Customs, our driver and Van also passed through without incident.
Praise God for His response to your prayers and ours.
How can I describe our feelings? Until arriving Beautiful Gate was one-dimensional, this far-off place within Lesotho in South Africa. Since leaving you, we have been filling in other dimensions in our experience here. We have been on Safari, and up close to four of the big five: lions, elephants, rhinoceros, and cape buffalo, we did not see the leopard. We also saw giraffes, warthogs, zebras, impala, eland, kudos, springbok, wildebeest, porcupine, ostrich, etc., along with many birds, and vistas of the Southern Cross after dark. God's works are declared by the heavens, and His creation.
Now since arriving we have been helping out in baby and child care, preparing and delivering the Children's Bible Lessons with stories, puppet show & crafts, and Discipleship Training. We have been hearing testimonies from those at Beautiful Gate, and sharing ours. Bryan and Anita Geurink are transitioning back to the USA by the end of this year, Lindiwe Kirstein has replaced Bryan as Director. With Lindiwe are her husband Peter, and foster son Simphiwe, a special needs child. Tyler Robbert has been our immediate host, and mentor, and great to work with.
Today the nurse, Mme Mataeke was back on Campus and we were able to present to her the medicines provided by HPI Canada, Dr Amy Weber, and donations received from supporters. The joy we saw in her smile and delight in seeing 300 lbs of medicine was beyond value. God is amazing. Beautiful Gate will be able to meet many needs for the children, and staff. By God's provision medicines will also be used in other clinics in Lesotho to care for those who are ill.
As mentioned Beautiful Gate has 5 children's houses, Khotso 1, Khotso 2, Pula 1, Pula 2, Nala. We have met the house mothers, their assistants, and full-time volunteers serving here from Lesotho, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Each of the team have consented to share their impressions, or highs and lows over the past two days.
Joanne: My low for this trip (besides all off the bugs), was when Tyler shared about the Basotho culture, and how traditionally the men must prove themselves by raping a women. Since the Basotho culture place a high value on their familial bloodlines, once the girl has been raped (through no fault of her own), her family considers her blood tainted, and her and her unborn child are banished, which is how many children end up at Beautiful Gate. My highs have to be from spending time with the children and seeing the beautiful smiles on their faces from being shown love.
Elliott: Since arriving it has been encouraging to see faithfulness of the staff directors in that it is evident that at the centre of their focus is to see God glorified. It has been encouraging to hear and see reports of how Beautiful Gate has been relying on the providence of God to provide for some of desperate needs in Lesotho.
Christine: My highlights for this trip is the children they are all so welcoming and happy to see you everyday, even though they have been put in this situation they still have so many hugs to give. My low is probably when we have to leave and say bye to the kids, I hope they can find a family to love them.
Idy: My highs and lows come from the same place - the tour of the orphanage given by Tyler. On the high side, there is a great need for this orphanage and it serves a great purpose especially given a better understanding of the culture, people, and bad conditions at other orphanages. On the low side, the various conditions, situations and stories that result in children ending up at the orphanage can be very difficult to accept or digest. All in all, this has been an eye opener and a great reminder of the unconditional love that is required of me, just like the love that Christ has for us.
Chyrlle: The highlight, so far, for me is just being here at Beautiful Gate. We have been working with them for 6 years now raising support with the Beautiful Run run/walk. It is such a blessing to be here, see the complex, meet the people and interact with the children. Another highlight has been presenting some of the Discipleship tools to the staff. They are so appreciative of our efforts and have embraced the teachings we have shared with them. Today, we had a visit from the nurse, who enthusiastically shared how much the donation of medical supplies meant to her. It was an abundance for Beautiful Gate so they will share it with their associate clinic, Baylor, which will benefit the whole community.
Anna: My high of this time here so far was today with the little children. It is a silly thing but when I saw all the little children sitting on their potties in the bathroom it was so cool and I was amazed to see the kiddies putting back their bath containers in their places it was so cute. My low today was struggling to clothe a little girl who did NOT want to get her clothes on.
Ralph: My high - I had a vision at home before coming to Beautiful Gate of me holding a infant. On my first day of serving the initial job I was given was to hold a two month baby the same as in my vision. This confirmed God had a plan for me to come here to Beautiful Gate.
Belinda: Beautiful Gate is truly a Christ Centred and God glorifying place for the Lesotho orphans, from the well maintained grounds and houses to the welfare of the orphans. It was such an amazing time with the children who are so heartwarming and loving. Another highlight was the answer to prayer about giving some discipleship training to the staff, who were so enthusiastic that they have started to memorize Assurance of Salvation already! All glory be to God.
Below are a few photos from the donations we received from Health Partners International. Not only did they donate some very useful medications and supplies, but they also blessed us unexpectedly with some knit dolls and animals. We added the animals to our library along with some new book donated from this Canadian team.