When I arrived in the tiny airport in Maseru three weeks ago and the men unloaded everyone’s luggage, it didn’t take me long to realize that mine was not there. I remained calm even as the customer service lady told me that all of the belongings that I had for the next year “might arrive tomorrow, they might not” and that we should just “think happy thoughts.” That did not sound promising. That night before I went to bed,  I took inventory of what I did have with me:

– Passport (thank God)
– Clothes on my back
– Salt packet AND plastic spoon from the plane! ha
– Toothbrush (no toothpaste)
– Skittles flavored chap stick
– Journal and pen
– Encouraging note from Dave Toms
– Bible

When I spoke with the lovely Betsy for the article in the Wheeling newspaper before I left, I mentioned that I was looking forward to simplifying my life because “When God is all you have, you know God is all you need!” I laughed out loud at myself as I thought of it (that’ll teach me) and then I did the only thing that seemed appropriate—I picked up my Bible and I prayed. I thanked God that Donna and Allan took me in, fed me and gave me a warm bed to sleep in. I fell asleep praying for good news the next day. The next day, there was no word from the airport. I felt like God was testing me. He forced me to feel for a short time like I really didn’t have much of anything, and I had to depend on the kindness of strangers.  This is what it is like on a regular basis for so many, but I had never experienced it before. After God let me sweat it out for a few days though, I did finally get word that my luggage arrived unharmed fortunately.

I’ve mentioned sweet little Millie before in my writings also. When she first came to Donna and Allan, she was underweight and clearly depressed. She would sit for hours on end with a frown on her face and her head tilted to one side as if she couldn’t muster the strength to hold it up and was generally not very responsive. In the short time since I’ve been here though, there has been a huge transformation. She has gained weight, learned to walk, laughs and smiles regularly, makes noises like she’s trying to sing, plays with toys, plays with other people, kisses and hugs and is a generally happy, healthy and beautiful little girl. Isn’t it amazing what some good food and a little lovin’ will do?

In the short time I’ve been in Lesotho, I’ve seen Millie grow strong; three abandoned babies adopted into loving families; dry, brown land turn into shades of green and pink, and strangers become friends. Despite the hardships that have become a part of everyday life in places like Lesotho and are evident by the fact that a place like Beautiful Gate must even exist, there is still so much beauty and growth and love, and God is at the center of it all. “The God who said ‘Out of darkness the light shall shine!’ is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Out of the darkness, there is certainly light in Lesotho. I came here with hardly anything, and I am leaving feeling as if I’ve gained everything. To all those who have become friends, I pray that God blesses you abundantly for your kindness and love.

Ahhh…yet another great experience in the pursuit of discovery and renewal!

Uganda, here I come!

Love is contagious.