This last week my wife Sue and I were privileged to have been invited to join a group from the USA, organised by Pastor Tim Spykstra and Mike Verkaik of Oceans Ministries The theme of the retreat in Lesotho was ‘Stepping into the River”, a totally pertinent subject at this time.
The key scripture for the retreat was from Ezekiel 47 describing a river flowing from all directions, bringing Life to all in its path. The scripture calls for faith to step out into the River and flow in the Living water it brings. This description and the whole retreat was an apt reminder to Sue and I of how ABBA Father has indeed brought abundant life from a simple act of faith and obedience we both put into action on 25th June 2001!
He had spoken to us to take what we thought were 6 babies (turned out to be 7) who had tested HIV + from terrible conditions in a struggling hospital, into a small house just big enough for 5 cribs! With no funds in our account and a belief He will provide, we took this step as we felt it would be what Jesus would do in the same situation.
During the retreat, including folk who have been key partners with us since 2004, particularly Pastor Tim, his Mom Harriet and step-Dad Pastor Bill Bierling and others who have since become part of the journey of Beautiful Gate Lesotho we were able to recall how “The River of God” has overflowed through our land and into the hearts of literally thousands of people world-wide since we started the ministry nearly 17 years ago!
The evidence of God’s glory and provision over the years were tangible in our time together this week. 70+ babies being loved on and cared for by precious dedicated local staff, committed young volunteers from different nations filling gaps in care for the children aged 1 month to 9 years, this excited team for the retreat, one of many that have come from churches in the USA and other countries, the vast ‘Campus’ that is now Beautiful Gate and rows of photos of children from BG who have gone into ‘forever families’ around the world, all speak of the magnificent flow of the River of God.
Listening to testimonies of those who have been ‘caught up in the River’ over the years, some from years ago and some from the team who are fairly new to Beautiful Gate and Lesotho, was a beautiful and deep experience for Sue and I. The challenge for us all during this time, was to intently take our focus away from our strengths and weaknesses, letting go and letting God lead us into the River by His Spirit. Our times in His presence together were so sweet and a reminder of where He wants us…with and in Him!
Thank you, Tim, Mike and team, for allowing us to wade into His River with you all
Written by Ray Haakonsen