We have been so blessed to have Sarah Munson from England serving with us at Beautiful Gate for the past five months. She was such a source of joy, humor, hard work, and love during her service. We are privileged to share a summary of her experience in her own words.
In October 2015 I came on my second trip to Beautiful Gate Lesotho with a team, including my Mum and my Sister. I had already fallen in love with Lesotho and the children from BG during my first visit back in 2014, but coming back that second time really changed something in my heart. I started to feel as if this place was a home away from home, a place I belonged and a place I needed to be. As we left from that trip, we had a long drive back to Johannesburg airport from Maseru. Watching the beauty of Africa pass me by from the car window really got me thinking about how much I love being here and how much I wanted to stay for longer so I could really learn to understand the culture and the people better. As soon as we arrived at the airport, a lady traveling with us, who is my mum’s friend and a woman I admire and love a lot, came up to me and told me that she could really see me coming back to Lesotho again for a longer period of time. She suggested I should come during a gap year between school and university. She confirmed everything I was thinking. I saw that as a sign, God telling me this is my next step.
I emailed the university I had applied for as soon as I got home and deferred my place and contacted Beautiful Gate. A year later I was arriving at Maseru Airport to begin the next 5 months of my life.
I can be a very anxious and nervous person, especially in a new environment with new people, but as soon as I arrived on campus I felt none of those feelings. I only felt comfortable and content. I knew this was where God wanted me to be and I trusted that He would use this time to help me get closer to him.
Seeing how much some of the kids had grown up since my last visit was amazing. I wasn't shocked to see that many of my babies from the previous year had turned into cheeky, sometimes naughty, adorable little toddlers. It was very good to be home.
I was assigned to serve in Pula 2, which I was nervous about at first as I'd always been in Pula 1 and knew how the house was run. I can see now however that Pula 2 was exactly where I needed to be. I fell in love with my kids and my housemothers almost immediately and they continue to teach me new things about myself everyday.
I have learned that I can be strong when I need to be but weak when I'm allowed to be and that trusting in God and His plan for my life will only bring me toward amazing people and experiences. I can see how God has used this time for me and I am eternally grateful for BG for giving me this opportunity.
There have been tough times during my stay at Beautiful Gate. Having to go through the pain of losing one of our children was definitely the hardest, but the support and love we have as a BG family and the love of God we share helped us all through that tough time. I am so thankful to have fellow volunteers and mentors to lean on in times of pain and upset and I will be forever grateful for my housemothers for caring for me and making me feel part of a family whilst being away from my own family.
Any tough times I've been through here are completely outnumbered by the amount of amazing moments I've shared with people here. From seeing a stubborn child stand up for the first time, to getting surprise hugs and kisses from the kids. Whether it's hearing the children laughing as you play with them or experiencing the beauty of Lesotho with friends. They all add up to 5 months of amazing memories I can never forget and I am so thankful to God for allowing me to go on this journey with Him by my side. I truly believe that my time in Lesotho has brought me closer to God. Everyone I meet here is so full of love for their Saviour and they have taught me so much about loving and worshiping Him.
The kids here have such a big place in my heart now, I'm not quite sure how I will go back home to my normal routine after this experience. One thing is for sure though, I will be back as often as I can. I want Beautiful Gate and these kids in my life forever.
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your heart with us. We will forever miss your Christ-like love, kindness, and generosity. May God bless you richly wherever He leads you next, and we pray that occasionally it will be back to Beautiful Gate.