Goodbyes are a constant reality for us at Beautiful Gate Lesotho. Children who we’ve come to love dearly, who we’ve poured our hearts and souls into, are matched for adoption or reunified with biological family members. Sometimes they must be transferred to other care facilities. Occasionally we even have to say farewell to a child who has passed away. We say goodbye to staff and volunteers who pass through our lives fleetingly, but definitely not meaninglessly. Goodbye is a notion we are all too familiar with here.
Yet, in spite of how often we say goodbye at this place, some goodbyes still hit hard and break your heart. These goodbyes aren’t necessarily bad, oftentimes they are actually very good, but they hurt. They hurt because God has blessed us so richly through those relationships, has changed us for the better in so many ways, that it seems unlikely we can move forward without those relationships in our lives on a day to day basis.
It is this kind of goodbye that we recently had to experience with the Geurink family. For those who don’t know, the Geurinks were our former directors here at Beautiful Gate Lesotho. Bryan and Anita came to Lesotho to serve back in 2010 along with their three children, Elijah, Faith, and Mercy. They served faithfully in Lesotho for seven years. Throughout that time they touched many lives, encouraged many people, and helped provide hope and futures for many children. They practiced their ministry personally when they adopted two beautiful girls, Polita and Nthabeleng, into their family. Not only were they a huge blessing and a source of strength and growth to the Beautiful Gate community, they humbly allowed this community to be a blessing and a source of strength and growth to their family as well. After seven years of faithful, committed service, God has called them back home to the USA. He moved mountains in their last months in Lesotho to help make acquiring visas for their adopted girls smooth and quick. There are not words to express how intensely we are praying that God goes before them as they begin this awesome new chapter of their lives.
Because I know them well, I know Bryan and Anita would cringe if I neglected to mention God’s hand in their faithful service. And it’s true that He alone was the source of every good thing they were able to accomplish and participate in while they were here. Our God is so faithful! He is the example of faithfulness the Geurinks followed every day in Lesotho. And it is God’s example that all of us who remain at Beautiful Gate will continue to follow as we seek Him to help us care for the children He’s blessed us with. It is this same God who continues to show His faithfulness to us as we walk through the grief of sending our beloved friends home. As I said before, these kinds of goodbyes can make it seem like we cannot move forward without those relationships in our lives. Because our God is faithful, though, we can experience this season of grief while we continue to move forward in His will.
Thank you, Geurink family. Those words seem so small in comparison to all that you’ve done for and with us. We already miss the life, laughter, and love you brought to this campus. We pray that you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we will always love you, always cherish the time you spent at Beautiful Gate, always be grateful for allowing us to be a part of your life, and always honor the sacrifices you made along the way. May God’s Presence go before you and be with you always and in every circumstance.
Until we meet again, beloved ones.