Our first team of 2018 has come and gone and how incredible it was to do life with them and experience God’s blessings together! This team was unlike any we’ve hosted before. While most groups we host tend to be outreach and service teams, the one to kick us off this year was a conference and vision trip for a group of pastors and leaders from all over the USA.

The gathering was titled the Stepping Into the River Conference, and what an apt name it turned out to be. Though we at Beautiful Gate played host to the group, they did not only serve on our campus. In addition to participating at BG they also experienced other ministries around Lesotho, including the Good Shepherd Centre where they interacted with teen moms and their kids; Semonkong Children’s Centre, another child care facility further out in the mountains; Baylor University’s children’s HIV/AIDS clinic; and an individual man living in Lesotho reaching out to local street children. All in all it was a very full and busy “river” that the team stepped into over the course of a few short days.

In regard to their time at Beautiful Gate, some of the most meaningful times were those spent hearing (or re-hearing for some of us) the stories of how God brought BG about in the first place. We were blessed to also host Beautiful Gate Lesotho’s founders and “grandparents,” Ray and Sue Haakonsen. We were all encouraged as they shared the stories behind how God led them to start BG and how He provided for their every need. It was incredible to hear those stories and then look around us to see how God has continued to be the source of a “river” of blessing that has brought forth life, blessing, and growth.

As we reflected on that river image, we were drawn in Scripture to Ezekiel 47. The chapter reveals the vision of a river flowing from the temple, bringing forth and encouraging restoration and new life wherever its waters touch. Because it has been a difficult season for us here at BG (recently losing a child, losing a staff member, and enduring both a child and a staff member suffering injuries) we were so blessed when God took the image of the “river” the team was stepping into and made it a reality. Due to an incredible storm that dumped a deluge of rain on our area, the three ponds on our campus were connected by a swiftly moving channel of water - a literal river! “Where the river flows everything will live” (Ezekiel 47:9b)! It felt like a promise to us of the restoration and life to come. God is so good!

We extend our utmost gratitude to the conference participants. Thank you for your service to Beautiful Gate and to Lesotho as a whole. We invite our readers to join us in praying for the conference participants as they return home. We pray that God will give you all quality time to process your experiences in Lesotho and clarity and guidance for the next steps He has planned for you!