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A Piece of our Hearts

 

Sometimes there are people who are brought to a place, and those people make that place so much better. Ron and Karen are such people. They came to Beautiful Gate on February 1, 2015, and they just left on January 31, 2017. They left Beautiful Gate a better place because they came and fully invested in the lives of the staff, kids and volunteers. They took time each day to go into the houses and not only visit the kids, but they visited the staff. Praying for them, encouraging them, offering a warm smile, and always showing the deepest, heartfelt care. There is not one person on our campus who was not touched by their great love or their peaceful presence, and so many hearts are heavy as we have said our farewells. 

Despite the loss, our staff were able to send them off with a warm and heartfelt farewell. They shared stories, offered words of encouragement to them as they return home, and gave meaningful gifts to show their love. It was beautiful. One of the comments that Karen made to me really struck me as an honest truth. One person asked her if she felt really loved by all the comments and gifts, and Karen said, “I don’t feel any more love today than I did any other day because they have always shown their love.” Wow, what a statement of the kids of amazing people that we work with here at Beautiful Gate, and also of the way God brought just the right people here.

Ron was our chaplain for 2 years and he started a Sunday service for the Bo’me who work weekends and never get the chance to attend church. He also led time with God (chapel time for kids, staff and volunteers) and a volunteer bible study. Ron cared for the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs of our staff. He was a good listener and very intentional about checking in with the staff. His daily check in visits are already missed in the houses.

Karen was our operations manager and came alongside Bryan in running the day to day operations of BG. She helped lead teams from July-December, took care of volunteers, ran meetings, helped in the playgroup and did countless unseen but supportive things to keep BG running smoothly. She became a sister to many of our staff, and they knew they could depend on her. Her friendly smile and easy laughter are already missed in the office.

We know that God’s timing is perfect and so we send them off with our love, our blessings, and a piece of our hearts. We are grateful that God saw fit to send us such a great couple for 2 years, and we look forward to the ways He will continue to use them in West MI or wherever else God calls them in the future.

Written by: Anita Geurink

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Haven Family

We thank God for another team that has come to serve the children and staff at Beautiful Gate. We enjoyed 2 weeks with a team from Haven Church in Michigan, which consisted of both adults and young children. The families served here together for God’s glory and to be open to what God wanted to show them during their stay here. What an impact this place has been for both the adults and children who saw what God is doing here.

The team helped in the baby houses and at playgroup, they helped with the maintenance department, they planted flowers at Beautiful Gardens, and one of the men, who was a mechanic, helped service our Beautiful Gate fleet, which was a blessing and a big need for us. These are just a few things among many they did while they were here.

Beautiful Gate is also very thankful for their donation of good quality kitchen knives and can openers! The housemothers were so happy that their job was made a little easier!

But, above all the physical tasks they accomplished, what stood out was the deep love and care they had for the staff and children.  They were serving as Christ in all they did

Thank you Haven Team for your service and the love you have shown!

May God bless you as you have blessed us!

James 1:27

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

 

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December~ a month of new families!

Adoptions are the most amazing experiences at Beautiful Gate!

This past month we were blessed to witness 3 adoptions!

Two wonderful little boys and a sweet little girl.

 

Every time we see an adoption we are in awe of what God is doing. He has a plan for each child here and each family who adopts. It is a joy to see how God has matched these families and how quickly the bonding happens between child and parent.

It seems as if the child knows that they are now where they belong.

What a joy! We celebrate these new families and we praise God for His work in their lives!

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God's Story

There are certain moments when you realize you’re witnessing substantial history being written right before your eyes. Those moments are often humbling and incredibly emotional. That was the case for all of us here at Beautiful Gate Lesotho last Friday (20 January, 2017). It was a day where we celebrated the handover of Beautiful Gate Lesotho’s directorship from Bryan and Anita Geurink to Peter and Lindiwe Kirstein. It was a highly anticipated day, charged with a full gamut of emotions, laughter, joy, singing, tears, and camaraderie.

We were not only celebrating a change in leadership, though. We were also celebrating the rich, deep history of Beautiful Gate Lesotho. We welcomed people from all over the world who have had a hand in making Beautiful Gate what it is today. We were especially privileged to have Ray and Sue Haakonsen, the original founders of Beautiful Gate Lesotho with us. They shared the story of BGL’s modest beginnings, of how God worked through their hearts, and how their humble “yes” to God’s call in their lives set in motion a project that would affect children and families the world over.

We were blessed to relive the Geurinks’ and the Kirsteins’ stories of how God brought them to Beautiful Gate as well. We remembered the innumerable ways that God has walked with us, has provided for our every need, and has given us all abundant life in this place over the last 15 years.

We had the pleasure of sharing this experience with people who have and continue to support us at Beautiful Gate Lesotho in so many ways. Leadership from Beautiful Gate South Africa and International came alongside us to commemorate the event. Friends from businesses, churches, government, adoption agencies, and the local community surrounded us to help commission this next phase of Beautiful Gate’s history.

Ultimately, we celebrated God and His incredible work in and through Beautiful Gate Lesotho. From the very beginning Beautiful Gate has never been about its leaders and participants or their stories. From the very beginning Beautiful Gate has been about God and His story. He has raised up incredible, visionary people to be a part of that story. He has allowed so many individuals to come into His plan for this ministry in Lesotho. He has written their stories into His greater one. He has brought together people from different backgrounds and nations, with different sets of gifts in order to further His design. He placed people exactly where they needed to be exactly when they needed to be there. He has been faithful for 15 years and our celebration last Friday reminded us of that in the best way imaginable.

As we move forward now into this new era for Beautiful Gate Lesotho there is a great deal of change ahead of us. As always, people come and people go. But we have a renewed strength and hope that the One who never changes continues to lead and guide us in this mission. No matter how much Beautiful Gate Lesotho continues to grow and change, it will forever be God’s story and a testimony to the great love and faithfulness He shows to His children.

 

- Tyler Robbert

****Click on the picture below for a beautiful slide show of the days events

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Belated Christmas Blog!

Christmas Time is such a great time for our children!

They start their day off by getting new Christmas clothes and shoes.

They each also get one toy and a small stuffed animal. We had a donation of dolls for our older girls, they even came with their own bottle. What a hit that was!

Each year we have a couple of jumping castles set up for them. After opening gifts and getting dressed in their new clothes, we took some photos. This year we attempted to take a group shot of all 65 children. You can imagine how difficult it was to get everyone to look at the camera!  Then it was back to play clothes and then jumping and playing in the castles. Because of the heat, we put out the sprinkler and hose for a place to cool down. The children had a blast playing and laughing, jumping and running!

Our local KFC donated chicken for our children’s Christmas dinner so they enjoyed chicken and finished their meal with an icecream cone.

The children were all smiles on Christmas Day!

Our desire is to give them everything for Christmas, but most of all, a family that knows Jesus, the one who came at Christmas time, for each precious one!

 

 

 

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Amazing Love

Beautiful Gate celebrates the joining of a new family through the adoption of a precious little boy. The love between them already is evident and we are so thankful that they were committed to adoption; and adoption from Lesotho!

 

The bond has formed between parents and child and we can see how wonderful this family is. Their love and care for him will no doubt help him to flourish and grow into a wonderful young man.

 

Congratulations to this new family!

We praise God for His work in their lives and pray for God’s continued leading in the lives of each of them.

 

 

 

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Thank you Lighthouse Family Church!

We want to thank the team from Lighthouse Family Church in Port Elizabeth, South Africa who served Beautiful Gate for a week in December. They arrived with an eagerness to serve and love the children and what a blessing they were! This team was so helpful in so many ways!

The women served in the baby houses; feeding and caring for the children with such patience and care.

One of the ladies even gave foot massages to our housemothers in the afternoons! They felt loved and blessed!

There were some men on the team with some plumbing and painting experience so Beautiful Gate benefited greatly from their services as well. They painted the administration building kitchen and bathrooms. And they repaired and replaced many plumbing issues. What a service to the Lord and much some needed help!

Thank you team also for your donations for the clinic and for the baby blankets!

We enjoyed your presence on campus and we are quite sure you enjoyed Beautiful Gate as well!

Thank you Lighthouse! You were a pleasure to serve with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Volunteer Love

Beautiful Gate would like to express our deepest gratitude for the memorable service of our  recent volunteers.

4 amazing ladies from around the world arrived around 3 months ago and all just recently left to go back home.

These ladies served with all their hearts!

They were hard working, committed, gracious, humble, positive, loving and kind.

All attributes that make serving together in this place a joy for all of us.

They were kind to one another, served one another and became great friends through it all.

They each expressed that they learned so much by their experience serving these children and housemothers and how much they enjoyed their time at Beautiful Gate.

Ladies, we thank you for your time, your love and servant’s hearts.

May God continue to bless you as you go on from here. We love you all!

 

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:3-5

 

 

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Celebrating another Adoption!

Last week we were blessed with another adoption. This beautiful family comes from Canada and has been longing to adopt a child for a long time. God in His perfect timing saw fit to place this precious little girl into their loving arms.

This sweetheart also has two older brothers and loving grandparents and many other friends and family who are celebrating with them!

The ceremony was emotional and sincere but most of all, God was praised and given the glory for this perfect union.

Beautiful Gate is always very blessed to be a part of these beautiful adoptions. We pray God’s blessing on this new family and give Him all praise and honor and glory, for He has done great things!

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Thank you Laura!

Yesterday we said farewell to our Australian volunteer, Laura Gibson.

Laura served in the baby houses here at Beautiful Gate for 3 months. She enjoyed caring for the children and supporting the housemothers. She also spent quite a bit of time learning the Sesotho language. This meant a lot to the staff as it showed that she cared so much for them to learn their language.

Laura always had a smile on her face and was positive in everything she did. And one thing that everyone noticed about her, was that her life in all ways, truly reflected a life that honored God.

Thank you Laura for your service here, we will miss you!

 

I Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

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Giving Thanks: FRCZ Team

First Reformed Church of Zeeland Team

First Reformed Church of Zeeland Team

 

We had the joy of welcoming a team of five wonderful individuals from First Reformed Church of Zeeland, Michigan earlier this month! 16-year-old Kameron joined his mom Becky, as well as Nichole, Sara, and Nancy to serve for a week at Beautiful Gate. What a brave guy! It has my pleasure as a year-long volunteer to share in this experience, just three months into our time here.

My husband Andy -also a year-long volunteer- and I picked up the team at the Bloemfontein airport on Saturday. Having been a member at First for less than a year, I didn’t know anyone very well. I was pleasantly surprised and blessed to be received with excited greeting and hugs! Anyone who’s traveled a long series of flights and drives knows the magnitude of showing kindness and joy even after days of travel! After some humorous confusion regarding the presence of the rental van’s emergency brake, we were on our way to Beautiful Gate. After all those in-flight hours with the ladies, we weren’t surprised when Kam decided to join us in the truck!

After a tour of the grounds, the team began their service in the houses on Monday. There were no particular projects this week, just a chance to be helping hands to the house mothers and children. The team members arose early to feed and dress the children and then divided into mini-teams to help babies in the soft playroom reach milestones and provide special activities for the children in play group. In the afternoon and evening, it was back to the houses to help feed and bathe children and get them into their pajamas for bedtime.

Nancy playing with our little ones in the soft playroom. 

Nancy playing with our little ones in the soft playroom. 

 

These days can be long, loud, and challenging as team members work through the daily tasks of caring for 12-15 children and navigating this task cross-culturally. We were so thankful that the team was able to embrace this task wholeheartedly and respectfully. They made an effort to learn both the children’s and house mothers’ names quickly and Kam even took it upon himself to communicate as much as possible in Sesotho.

The most beautiful thing about this team was their servant hearts. Lindiwe commented during their first evening here that we don’t always know exactly what to expect in terms of tasks when we come along on a trip like this: “Who knows- one moment you might think you’re caring for babies all day and then we might tell you we need you to paint the office!” Although no painting of the office was actually deemed necessary -due to other previous hardworking, helpful teams- it was clear through the gracious actions of this team that they would have taken on anything that was asked of them with a servant’s heart and no complaints.

On the way home from afternoon playgroup- so many people to love our children!

On the way home from afternoon playgroup- so many people to love our children!

 

One team member commented how many many mission trips are service projects with a particular goal in mind: paint these houses, clean up this building, sand and re-finish these walls. These projects are important and also easy to understand; folks know the job and the directions and they are ready to dig in and work, start to finish. She went on to say that this kind of trip was different; it required a willingness to step in wherever need, to be ready for various tasks and directions during the day, and to have enough flexibility to serve each child and housemother with compassion. Throughout this week, the compassion of this team was clear.

Kam getting down to the kids' level to play (and enjoy the allure of the clover, a favorite of the children).

Kam getting down to the kids' level to play (and enjoy the allure of the clover, a favorite of the children).

 

We, as staff and volunteers, experienced the compassion of this team, as well. Part of their ministry included toting extra suitcases to transport items from the US that are difficult or expensive to purchase here. There were new shorts for staff kids, scrapbooking supplies for the adoption scrapbooks, quality new resources for the school here, and a carry-on of necessities and early Christmas gifts for Andy and me. When one is far from home, things like this really warm the heart, especially when one isn’t yet used to living in a new place. We have never been so happy to see Reese’s peanut butter cups in all our life! This gesture of love meant so much.

This team was so fortunate to be able to experience an adoption ceremony! Many tears of joy.

This team was so fortunate to be able to experience an adoption ceremony! Many tears of joy.

 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we give thanks for the First Reformed team. From their expressions of laughter and joy, to Kam’s first dirty diaper change, to a daring trip up Lancer’s gap ending in torrential downpour, this team was a blast to host. Although we feel terrible that three of the team members left with food poisoning (!) we trust that their time here was meaningful and we praise God for their safe travels home. We give thanks that they were able some ‘home’ here and for their cheerful servant hearts to all of the Beautiful Gate family.

Kam's initiation to diaper-changing. What a champ! (Don't worry...Nancy swooped in for assistance).

Kam's initiation to diaper-changing. What a champ! (Don't worry...Nancy swooped in for assistance).

 

Kam, Becky, Nichole, Sara, and Nancy- thank you for answering God’s call and showing his love. We also thank God for Cyndy and Jackie; though they were not able to be physically present, we know that their prayers and support helped to bring you here and sustain you. We praise God for your willing hearts and pray that God continues to shape you through your experience at Beautiful Gate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~Carlie Shults

 

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.  And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"

2 Corinthians 9:7-8 ; 12-15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adoptions

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated a beautiful adoption ceremony for a sweet little girl!

God had planned this special day from the beginning and we rejoice with her and her new family.

The staff at Beautiful Gate sang songs of joy and covered the new family with prayer. The housemother of the child shared her thoughts and blessings in the customary handover from housemother to adoptive mother, which is always a meaningful moment in the ceremony. It was a wonderful time to see God’s hand and goodness!

Beautiful Gate is so thankful for parents who feel called to adoption and we pray God’s wisdom and blessing on this new family.

 

Also, last week we celebrated another local adoption of another little girl. This couple was so thankful for the privilege to adopt a child who needed a family. What a beautiful picture of our adoption as Christian’s into God’s family.

The love and bond already shown between parent and child was beautiful to see and we are thankful that this little one has a wonderful home to grow up in.

Praise God for answered prayers and more adoptions!

 

Matthew 18:5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.” 

 

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Art Prize Reflections

Over the years we’ve had many cool opportunities to share about the work God is doing in Lesotho at Beautiful Gate. This year is no different! In addition to hosting volunteer teams from all over the world and traveling to meet with different churches, schools, and individuals, our North American Ambassadors were able to engage in a new and unique awareness-raising opportunity!

For those who are savvy in the art world and familiar with Southwest Michigan, you’ve probably heard of ArtPrize. For those who haven’t, it is a massive art competition in Grand Rapids, MI, USA in which nearly 1,500 artists are able to share their work, ranging from paintings to sculptures to music. For two weeks this event takes over the greater Grand Rapids area in over 140 different venues.

This year at ArtPrize there was an exhibit featuring many of the children at Beautiful Gate! Mary Westrate, a phenomenal local artist from Holland, MI, painted 14 breathtaking canvases from photographs she originally saw on our BG website and Facebook page. Her artwork absolutely captured the heart and soul of what life is like on our campus. Her paintings featured bright colors, reflecting the bright hope and joy the kids and staff at BG have. Several of her pieces showed the children holding hands and hugging, emphasizing the importance of relationships so inherent in the Basotho culture. Displayed as a playground, the exhibit expressed BG’s mission to provide a place for kids to just be kids.

We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to share the good news about what God is doing in Lesotho at Beautiful Gate in this way! Beautiful Gate’s Ambassadors were able to share stories about the staff and children at BG, as well as have many meaningful conversations about adoption and the great depth of God’s love for all His children. Not only was this an opportunity to bring awareness about Beautiful Gate’s ministry, it was also a wonderful opportunity to bring glory to God and make His name great!

We say thank you to Mary for the beautiful work she did on the paintings. We also thank ArtPrize and First (Park) Congregational Church for selecting and exhibiting the pieces.


~Tyler Robbert

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Andrew's Service

Beautiful Gate has been privileged to get to know and work along side of Andrew Pimm for the last little while!

We are so grateful for the love and time Andrew put into everything he did and into everyone he interacted with. 

He was very good at seeing what needed to be done and just jumped right in. He helped in the baby houses with the daily care of the children, in playgroup, in the library, and helping wheelbarrow food across campus with multiple trips.

We also saw him several times jump up from what he was doing to assist a housemother with her arms full of children or give up his chair in chapel for a housemother. 

Thank you Andrew for sharing your caring heart with the staff and children of Beautiful Gate! We can't wait for your visit again!

Andrew and his housemother in Khotso

Andrew and his housemother in Khotso

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Thank You England Team!

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Last week we enjoyed the presence of 10 women from England who came to give of their time and hearts to the staff and children of Beautiful Gate.

They served in whatever way was needed. They helped: feed babies, change nappies, hang laundry, wash dishes, play with children, read to children, and they took children for walks, just to name a few!

Another task that needed to be done was to clean our last 2 newly constructed houses at Beautiful Gardens. 5 of the women worked tirelessly for days to get these houses ready for someone to move into. We are so grateful for your help ladies on this huge job!

 

What many of us noticed about this team was their joyful willingness to serve and for their gracious hearts while serving.

 

Thank you team for all you did for Beautiful Gate. Thank you too for the amazing donations for our children, they will certainly get used!

 

We pray that your time here was blessed and that your hearts are forever changed for the least of these!

 

 

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An amazing testimony - One year later

I would like to share an amazing story from a family who adopted from Beautiful Gate one year ago. Their story was very unique, and was filled with "mountains" that they needed to climb in order to bring their precious boy home. Please take some time to read their story because it is an encouragement to all and a testimony of perseverance. We at Beautiful Gate are so grateful that they persevered because another of our precious children has a home and a loving family. Please click the link below in order to read the words from his new mother.

http://laughingonthewater.blogspot.com/2016/10/mohale-one-year-later-beautifully.html?m=1

 

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The Power of Prayer

When our children pray at Beautiful Gate, they are asked to fold their arms and close their eyes...this sweet boy is ready to pray. 

When our children pray at Beautiful Gate, they are asked to fold their arms and close their eyes...this sweet boy is ready to pray. 

 

Prayer is vital in the life of a Christian and also in the life of a Christian organization. Many of us have experienced the power of prayer and seeking God’s face with deep sincerity and we have seen God respond to the cries of His people.

Beautiful Gate has been privileged to have a prayer team in past years. This team has gone through some changes and we are hoping to jump start a prayer team again.

We know there are some of our readers who have a passion for prayer and maybe belong to prayer groups that are faithfully and fervently interceding on the behalf of others.

We are asking if anyone would like to be on a prayer team for Beautiful Gate Lesotho.

If you are interested, please send an email to Karen opsmanager@beautifulgatelesotho.org

Karen will send prayer updates, praises and requests periodically to your emails as well as periodically on our blog page.

Thank you for considering this and thank you to those who are already praying for Beautiful Gate!  May God receive the glory!

Here are some items that we humbly ask you to pray for..…………

Ongoing prayer items:

  •     Health for our children
  •     Forever families for our children
  •     Emotional and psychological health for our children
  •    Salvation for our children
  •     Strength, energy and health for our care staff

Current prayer items:

  •       For the little one who was reunited with family last week and is old enough to understand and experience the unknowns and fears.
  •       For the adoption ceremony that took place on Friday and for the bonding process to be strong and healthy.  We praise God for this new family!

Thank you again for your prayers and support of Beautiful Gate!

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

 

           

 

 

 

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Working at the Car Wash

We want to extend a huge thank you to the Youth Confirmation class and all who helped them from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Grand Ledge, MI, USA! After hearing about Beautiful Gate Lesotho and our mission to care for abandoned, orphaned, and other vulnerable children, some of the youth at Good Shepherd decided they wanted to do something tangible to help the kids at BG. In order to raise some funds to send to Beautiful Gate the Good Shepherd youth and some other generous volunteers put on a car wash where they were able to raise $700 (~R10,000)! Thank you so much to our brothers and sisters in the Good Shepherd Lutheran community! We are so grateful for your generosity, your compassion, and your partnership!

 

- Tyler Robbert

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"Lemonade For Sale"

Beautiful Gate has friends all over the world. Sometimes these friends do the most beautiful and unexpected things. Recently, we were given a donation from Evelyn (Evi) Hulls, who is a missionary middle schooler in Lesotho. She went on furlough during our winter (her summer) and while she was there, she and a friend decided to have a lemonade stand. It was not just a way of making money to go buy ice cream or make-up, but it was a lemonade stand for a cause. They took their time and sat in the hot sun to raise money for the children at Beautiful Gate. They raised M1550 for the children at Beautiful Gate! That was a pretty successful lemonade stand.

As volunteers, staff and children at Beautiful gate, we are so touched by such a sacrifice by two young teens. Giving up a day that could be spent doing all sorts of fun things, and spending it raising money for those who don’t have parents to provide for their needs. What a gift! Thank you Evi and Carly for your thoughtful gift to Beautiful Gate. Thank you for being a friend to children who really need a friend and advocate. May you both be blessed for the love you have shown to God’s little children in Lesotho. I hope others will be encouraged by your thoughtfulness, and even inspired to find ways to bless the kids at Beautiful Gate. It does not matter what age you are, you can always do something special for a child in need.

 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

Here is a picture of their lemonade stand as well as a picture of Evi handing money to our office assistant, Thato, and Evi and her brothers meeting some of the BG children.

~written by Anita Geurink

 

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Welcome To This World

Welcome to this World

You probably have no idea
how special you are.
For years and years you
will carry a scar.
Unwanted, unloved, abandoned
at birth,
People will tell your story with
careless mirth.
Was it a pit toilet, a garbage bag, 
or buried alive?
Unwanted, unloved, until at our gate
you arrived.
Our eyes well with tears as we
hear your story,
Knowing you will be safe now-
we give God the glory.
It breaks our hearts that you came
to us this way,
Unwanted, unloved, and abandoned
until today.
Welcome to this world, my sweet
little child,
This day of your birth has been
anything but mild.
We will give you love, care, and even
your first meal,
As you wait for your new family,
we hope you will heal.
                     Anita Geurink

 

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