As the last of our 5 day visit back to Beautiful Gate Lesotho draws to a close, I try to search what my heart for what it is feeling.
In October 2011 we (Sue and I) attended the 10th anniversary of the ministry we had started and at the same time, handed over the baton to Bryan and Anita Geurink. This trip is the first time we have returned together, with our 2 girls Maleteka (turned 15 today) and Lineo (12), both of whom were residents at Beautiful Gate, but before we moved to this new property.
So many thoughts, feelings, memories, joys, challenges, victories and defeats in battle come flooding back. I know this place intimately, having walked on it for the first time early in 2004 when it belonged to an old farmer…..barren….with 3 nearly empty ponds and a lone Willow tree. The next 6 years we oversaw every aspect of its development, building, staffing, children, volunteers, etc. into an amazing place of love and care for vulnerable children. But without Him it could not have happened.
God had given us a promise that He would expand out tents and we buried that promise next to that lone Willow tree and placed an altar of stones just below that to remind ourselves of God’s goodness. So many memories, too many to include here, but coming back now revives them all…my mind awash with pictures, words, encounters.
Being here with my dear wife Sue, who in 2001, was the one with the compassion and vision to care for 7 abandoned babies (5 of whom had tested HIV positive) neglected in the hospital, has been special. Just as special has been bringing our daughters with to remind them of what has been done here and where their roots are. Whilst we had adopted both before we came to this property, the DNA of the original Beautiful Gate is here!
“So how do you feel being there?” more than one person has asked me. Wow…how do I answer that? As the co-founder and ex Director, with no other title now, my overwhelming emotion I feel is THANKFULNESS!
Im thankful to God for calling Sue and I to stretch ourselves and risk believing in Him and his love for children.
I’m thankful for the way He ‘showed up’ when we, as two ordinary people, chose to believe Him.
I’m thankful for His provision for our ministry over those 10 years, including the building of the Center and all we needed to care for hundreds of vulnerable babies and staff who faithfully and diligently ‘loved on’ them.
I’m thankful for the multitude of lives moved by this ministry including very special volunteers (short and long term), donors, visitors, who had/have such a profound impact on the growth of BGL.
I’m thankful to God for bringing an unlikely but very committed and loving couple in the Geurinks, (with their 3 dear children Eli, Faith, and Mercy), to carry on what we had built, physically, emotionally, spiritually and with love for those mentioned above.
I’m thankful for what I see and experience here as our original vision has not only been followed but added to…talk about expanding our tents!!!!!
I’m thankful for the love, laughter, celebration and fellowship I see in the eyes of the staff and children.
I’m thankful that our original vision of providing the best care and facilities for children who began their lives so harshly continues to be strived for.
I’m thankful mostly for the Handprints of God being ALL OVER this place, bringing glory to Himself, who originally called us to be His hands and feet to the ‘least of these’. He is such a great God!
Not everything is perfect and there’s a part of me that wants to point out what I think needs attending to, but I agreed with God before I returned here, to let go and release my own expectations of where Beautiful Gate Lesotho should be.
I believe we as a family have had a God-ordained time here and have been so blessed by so much of what we have seen and experienced. Our girls, graduates of this ministry, were able to help out with loving on, feeding and interacting with babies and toddlers who are where they were 12 years ago. Maleteka got to celebrate her 15th birthday here today…significant for us! My wife Sue has been able to catch up with some babies she knew, cuddle those new ones she didn’t (72 babies and toddlers in residence!) and interact with the staff she always regarded as her ‘çhildren’ too.
We left in October 2011, as ‘Grandparents of Beautiful Gate Lesotho’. We both walk away this time, with that sense that we still carry the position of Grandparents, and do so with pride, knowing that this thriving ‘teenager’ (now 14 and a half), is in very good hands, but more importantly in God’s hands!
I’m thankful, in closing, for the wonderful way we have been hosted by Karen Boersema, the Operations Manager, embraced by the staff and loved by the kids (they do it automatically) and for the break Bryan and Anita are able to have with their children, having done such an awesome job of something that is definitely not easy.
God’s compassion, provision, love, Grace and strength be in abundance with you special couple and all those serving here as staff at Beautiful Gate and those involved in various ways to ensure continued top quality care and love for the vulnerable. Sue, the girls and I love and appreciate you all for loving God enough to be involved here.
I leave you with this word; “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up!” – Galatians 6:9