Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Week 20 - Papa Lynn


4TH OF JULY 2010

Dear President Poulsen, 29 June 2010

Today was not one of those usual missionary days. A couple of weeks ago Sister Morgan and I were hand delivered at the office a special invitation to attend the American Ambassadors 4th of July celebration of the 234th year of the independence of the United States. The actual invitation is red, white and blue in official card stock with a raised embossed seal of the United States in gold. The reception to celebrate the 234th Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America was held at the home of Mr. Stephen J. Nolan and Mrs. Judy Nolan the Ambassador and his wife to the United States of America here in Botswana. It was an RSVP invitation to notify his secretaries Natasha or Carla of our acceptance to attend.

Some of the Ambassadors important staff is finishing up there 3 year call of duty at the end of June and he wanted them to be a part of this wonderful celebration so he held it today. He and his wife and others of his staff greeted us personally as we entered his home. We were each given a lapel pin with the American and Botswana flags on it. We mingled the best we could and had to refuse drinks offered to us several times, we finally asked for a glass of fanta orange soda and Sister Morgan had a bottle of water and they quite asking if we wanted any wine or other alcoholic type drinks . Brother Peterson who serves on the Roodepoort Stake high counsel also works at the embassy and he did his best to make us feel welcomed, he even told us 10 minutes before the ceremony started where we could stand and be close to the speakers. I’m sure there were between two and three hundred people in his back yard which is very large and beautiful.

The ceremony was great with the U. S. Marine Guard presenting the Colors, and a talented local lady sang our National Anthem with all of us joining in. Ambassador Stephen J. Nolan spoke on patriotic things of 234 years ago and our great nation today. He ended with a toast to His Excellency President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama the president of Botswana. This was followed by remarks by the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs Phandu Skelemani with a toast at the end to President Barack Obama of the United States of America. The ambassador Nolan and foreign affairs Skelemani each made remarks of the U. S. A. soccer team. The minister of foreign affairs acknowledged the American team’s spirit and the heart they put into the game.

After the remarks we were all invited to eat. Many trays full of delicious foods were everywhere along with special severing areas of turkey, roast beef and ham. Again I had to grab an orange soda to avoid those serving the liquid refreshments of another nature. The celebration started at 12:30 and we left a little after 2:00, the party was thinning out a little but I’m sure others stayed until either the food trays were empty of the drinks ran dry.

It was an honor for Sister Morgan and I to be invited to represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at this special celebration.


Elder and Sister Morgan

Botswana Mission Office

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 19 - Papa Lynn

Mom wanted me to add some pictures: About each picture a short discription:

1st We always count donkeys but these three will not be counted again

2nd We see world cup bill boards everywhere it is BIG here

3rd Side cars in Ukraine and wheel barrows here in South Africa

4th Ezra and Ezra Construction just for Ezra Morgan

5th Almost all hair cuts are done in this buildings

6th Black and Lovely is the name of many wormen hair salons

7th Who is the white lady singing in Relief Society?

8th A hair cut in action

Dear Family and Friends, 28 June 2010

I hope this getting into the blog that Kricket set up for us isn’t too much of a bother for any of you. It is an easy way for us to communicate with so many of our friends. We truly enjoy your letters and e-mails catching us up on things that are happening in your lives. Sometimes it is difficult to add new things to our letters but it isn’t because a lot isn’t happening but a good part of the time it is the same things with just a little different twist. I think the most difficult thing here in Botswana is that when you think you have something down pat and feel you are ready for the same thing again you deal with a different person and that changes everything. As an example we try to deal with the same person when we do immigration things and when they are out to lunch are doing field work and not in the office it is almost a nightmare because they may tell you that you need four visa pictures with this paperwork or the Elders have to come themselves to do this. When you go through a border to go to Mafikeng for meetings in our branch in South Africa to come back into Botswana it is very different than when you come back in through a different border gate. Consistency is a real problem. We have to have each of our cars that have South African plates which is all but one (13 total 12 with South Africa plates) have to have road insurance to be legal in Botswana. When they cross the border and come back into the country they are automatically ticket for the insurance which is 40.00 Pula which is good for 3 months. The problem is that only two or three cars cross the border very often so I have to go out and back in just to get insurance on all the cars. Last time we were crossing from Mafikeng again so we decided to get the insurance when coming through that border gate. They said we couldn’t do that each car has to come and get the insurance themselves. Two days later we went out to our Tolkweng border crossing and we got the insurance for every car. I think the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing.

All of the above paragraph probably should not have been written but I’m not going to take it out because truth is truth and it is part of what makes life so interesting here. Elder Olson tried to explain it to me before he left and I thought he was exaggerating things but he wasn’t. When something is promised and you go to pick it up it is never ready. If you are dealing with a person from a different country like India or England than you stand a chance of it being ready of what your ordered being ready. I could write a whole two page letter on what we went through when we ordered our desks that we have in our new office.

Life is great and we are gaining a lot of experiences. We are settling in enough that we are putting our visits to each branch or ward on a calendar and the missionaries know when we plan to visit them a month in advance. We are even visiting each of the districts for district meetings and putting them on a monthly calendar as well. Next week we go to Francistown for our second visit. It is about a 5 hour trip so we try to go when they have baptisms on Saturday and then go to church on Sunday and then drive home. We stay with Elder and Sister Cardiff which are the couple serving in Francistown. They have four elders and the couple up there. This time we are going to their district meeting as well.

Today was a fun day and I will get to it in a minute but first I need to explain something. It is warm here in Botswana compared to winters in Burley but when you are ready to be baptized the water straight out of a tap is still cold for the candidate and the elder doing the baptism. So I got on the internet to see if I could find a tank water heater. I found plenty of them in the United States but couldn’t find any here in Botswana. I went to a hardware store and they couldn’t come up with anything for me but one store suggested going to an electrical store. I have thought of a water heater element but couldn’t figure out how to make it safe. At the electrical store they had a heater designed to heat small amount of water so I bought a couple of them. I took one to Kanye last Friday and told them to try it in their baptismal font. I told them to put it in several hours before the actual baptism so it would have a chance to work. Well they called me an hour ago and it isn’t large enough to do any good. I still think I will try to do something on the line of a water heater element. I’m sure I can get some kind of a container to cover the wiring or make a float that will keep the electrical part out of the water. I will work on it this next week or so. Now back to today. We tried one of these heaters in our font here in Gaborone West ward (G-West Ward as they call it) and it too wasn’t enough to help much. But the Sisters that were having the baptism were elated to think I would go so far to try and make their baptism so special. That was worth all the effort I put into it even if it didn’t work very well. Then also Sister Morgan and I were asked as the last minute to teach the Gospel Essentials class which is made up of new members and two investigators. There were 20 people in the class and it was fun to teach. After the meetings and getting ready for the baptism the Sisters told me that the ward mission leader wasn’t there today and asked if I would conduct the baptism. So you can see that I really felt needed today. It was a great day.

We have a few missionaries that aren’t feeling very well. They have colds or feel achy and just under the weather kind of thing so Sister Morgan fixed a huge pot of soup yesterday and we have had many takers today. We feed 17 missionaries today. It wouldn’t have so bad but they started coming after the baptism about 3:00 and the last batch come about 7:00 and there hasn’t been a moment between that some of them haven’t been here. It is fun but not a set down meal all at one time. Oh well maybe that makes it easier.

Last Thursday President Poulsen called and asked me to have a second interview with a lady in Kanye and I told him we were going the next day which was Friday. He said that would be wonderful as they would like to baptize her on Sunday if she is worthy. So Elder Cough set up a time for the second interview and it followed the district meeting that we had at 11:00 Friday morning. This is the third time I have been asked to do a second interview and I look forward them very much. They are very special and carry a very special spirit. It is a very important call to set in judgment of a person’s worthiness to be baptized a member of the church. It is just about the most spiritual thing I have done here in the mission field. I am very happy to say that all three have repented and was ready for baptism. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I love being a part of it. You gain so many special things in the mission field that you don’t have a chance to back home. Yes there are special challenges but they are worth it. I recommend to every couple that I come in contact with that they need to prepare and then serve a mission as husband and wife. It really draws the marriage closer together and the blessings of serving so outweigh the things you miss at home and that is because you are serving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with a calling that came directly from Him through His prophet serving here on earth as His personal servant.

I will close and send my love to each of my children and their wonderful mates. May each of you have the love and patients to be wonderful parents to our great and wonderful grandchildren (even our cute great granddaughter). Thanks Mike for your thoughtful Fathers Day letter to me.

With love OUT OF AFRICA, DAD and MOM

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week 19 - Granny

Dear Family & Friends,

Happy 2nd Birthday AVERY

It’s not my turn to write, but I have some thoughts I wanted to share tonight so I’m sharing them with all of you.

I’ve been thinking how blessed we are to be in Botswana serving this mission. Lynn and I talk all the time about how amazing it I that we are driving all over this country like two people who know what they are doing. We don’t actually, but we are getting more familiar with everything. We’ve been on the road a lot lately and we love having the privilege of working with such wonderful Elders and Sisters. They work so hard and teach so well that we are very proud of them. Lynn has had a couple of “second interviews” lately for President Poulsen and he never tells me about the actual interview but he always mentions the strength of the investigator and how prepared they are for baptism. Lynn is given a lot of responsibility here that normal Senior Missionaries wouldn’t have as we are so far away from the President. President Poulsen trusts him a lot and calls him about everything he does and thanks him so much for helping carry his heavy load. Lynn actually loves doing anything for President Poulsen and would try moving mountains if he was asked! It’s really fun to travel with him and our days are never boring. We have 6 Branches and 3 Wards that we are asked to visit so we just do a rotation and visit a different one each week. We can catch 2 Wards close to us on the same Sunday, so that makes it so every two months we can make the rounds. We also have 7 Districts in the mission so we rotate them the same way and visit a different District Meeting every Friday morning. They don’t hold District Meeting the week of transfers so it all works out the same on the 2 months schedule. This Friday we are making the big trip and heading up to Francistown which is 5 hours away. We will travel up on Friday, they will hold their District Meeting on Saturday morning so we can attend, they have baptisms on Saturday afternoon and then we will be able to attend church with them on Sunday before we return home that evening. Most of our trips aren’t that long, but we enjoy traveling together through the country side and we enjoy every minute being together. We will stay with the Cardiff’s, the other Senior Couple in our part of the mission. They are a fun couple and we look forward to staying with them and having someone to visit with that understands “life in Africa for Old People.” Elder and Sister Cardiff are both “self proclaimed” ADHD, he struggled with telling us the same thing over and over again, and she just stays busy with sewing projects, cooking for her 4 Elders, teaching piano and teaching Institute, and says “this is her husbands’ mission ( he didn’t go as a young man) and she doesn’t do Missionary work! We laugh a lot when we are with them, but they do an amazing job in F-town; they are just what the Branch needs.

We are also working with a young couple from our YSA Ward. We got acquainted with Kose (30 years old, actually born on Jan. 24th 1980, Bryce’s birthday and year) first as went to his tiny apartment a couple of times with the Elders. He joined the church 8 or 9 years ago as a teenager but has been inactive for a few years and made a few bad choices. He has gotten active again and is dating Moipello (25 years old) from the Branch who is a young lady that I’ve gotten really close to and been encouraging her to “not settle” for any guy and find someone who could take her to the temple and be worthy of her. She told me she had a boyfriend but that he had been less active for a while but was really a great guy. Then I find out that it’s Kose who we also love and were really trying to help him get active again. Anyway, they’ve come to the house now a couple of times and ask us all kinds of questions about “dating, life, temple, family, scripture study, and etc.” and we’ve given them a few hours of advice. I have to tell you their biggest challenge is that he lives in a tiny place (bedroom only and just big enough for a bed and a small dresser) and she lives with her mom (in “block 9”one of the projects) who isn’t a member of the church and is totally against her marrying Kose, especially in the temple. They said they have nowhere to go to even read the scriptures or study the Liahona’s we’ve shared with them. They can go to one of the Dance Clubs or to church and that’s about all there is for them to do together. We are going to take this to the Bishop of the YSA Ward tomorrow and see if we can’t push an Institute program going in this area. They actually hold an Institute class on Tuesday evenings, but that’s all they offer here. We need a place for our YSA to go to play games and hang out together and play Ping-Pong or board games and etc. We don’t realize how lucky we are when our families are members and we can hang out at our parents house or go to other friends that are members and do fun things together.

We did some Leadership training last week for one of our newer Branches. They had 7 Women show up, 1 R.S. Counselor, 2 Y.W. Leaders, and 2 Primary workers but only 1 Elder showed up and he is actually the Y.M. President. They are all so new in the church and haven’t quite got the “be dependable” thing worked out yet and so far “being on time” is something the whole branch struggled with. They are great people and when we asked each one when they were baptized, we got answers like; February 12th, the 28 of March, and one even said “last week.” It was pretty humbling to realize that these people are so very new in the church and they are accepting calls to “lead, guide, and walk beside” the other members who are even new than they are. We tried to really give them a “basic” training and not overwhelm them so they would stay active and be strong while their testimonies are growing. I can promise you that “This Is TheTime For Africa” and we can see the hand of the Lord on our people here. They are a beautiful people and they already love the Lord and they want to hear our message. They just see our name tags and they come up to us and say things like “I love Jesus” do you have a message for me? When we go to a business to pay the rent, the lady who takes the check asks “where is your church?” We ask “where do you stay” and then tell her where the closest building is and she smiles as big as if you had given her a beautiful yellow rose! They are good, kind, and they don’t always smile at us first, but when we smile and wave at them, they get a big smile on their face and wave back at us. That is when we are in our car and they can’t see our nametags. I think perhaps it’s the fact that we are driving in our nice white car and they are usually walking. They think we are probably “rich, white people” and that we are looking down at them, but when we are friendly first, they just get big smiles on their faces and wave right back.

I have to tell you about our trip into the center of town last week. We have one area of town that is really busy and we don’t go there unless we really have to. It is where the main post office is, most of the big “central offices” are though and we do end up going there all too often. Right in the middle of all of this is a big “African Outdoor Mall” and it’s really fun to walk through. (That’s reason enough for some of you to come and see us.) People are walking thick all over this area especially now with the World Cup going on and there are a ton more vendors than usual and they are all up and down the sidewalks with their wares laid out all over the streets. As we hustled across the street and up onto the sidewalk, I see this little girl about 4 years old setting on a bucket beside her mom’s booth eating some ice cream. She looks up and see’s Lynn and I and takes this big “breath in” and her eyes were as big as golf balls. She grabbed her mom’s leg and I realized that since we were the only white people on the street, she was pretty startled by just seeing us come towards her. We just smiled and kept walking, but we had to laugh and remember my story of having the young black man come to my door while I was running the Day Care and it had the same effect on me. We laughed and realized that we keep forgetting that we are often the only white people on the street, or in the bank, or at the restaurant. We have actually forgotten what color we are and think we look just like everyone else. Maybe we’ve just forgotten what color everyone else because we don’t see color anymore at all.

Well, these are my thought tonight. Hope you are all enjoying the World Cup, it’s pretty exciting to be here in Botswana with it all going on around us. People are pretty excited and very involved with the games. Our missionaries are having great success with their Soccer Parties at the church and seem to have new investigators to teach every night after hosting the 4 O’clock soccer game. People are coming to the church to see the games, but they are liking what they feel once they are inside. Some who live close to the church have come just by invitation to see the game but said they have always wanted to come inside but didn’t know if they would be welcome. They have made friends there and they are having some great experiences being taught by our missionaries. President still says our missionaries can’t go knocking on doors during game time so they are having to be very creative to make wise use of their time, but something is working because the baptisms continue! Last month we finally had over 200 baptisms (first time) in the mission, we’ll see how June turns out!

“We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, THAT OUR CHILDREN MAY KNOW TO WHAT SOURCE THEY MAY LOOK FOR A REMISSION OF THEIR SINS.” 2 Nephi 25:26

We love you and we know this is the only true church on the face of this earth. That why we are here!

Mom and Dad, Lynn and Lorraine, Granny & PaPa Lynn

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 18 - Granny


I hope you are all having some good summer weather by now; I have to say I think about you on our cold nights and also our short days. Roger sent me a copy of the Weather forecast for the past 10 days and it was actually pretty close. We did have a copy of days that were colder but it actually warms up pretty good during the day, it’s just those nights in the high 30’s and low 40’s that are difficult when there isn’t much heat in the house. I keep trying to tell myself I’m from Idaho and those temperatures aren’t that cold, but I’m actually freezing after 5 O’clock at night when it gets dark and I know there is no more sunshine or not much heat until the next day when the sun comes out to warm us up. It’s much nicer during the day outside than it is inside the house. We had a couple of small space heaters that helped warm up the house, but the Missionaries were freezing at night so we let them have ours as we at least have heat in our bedroom. Dad even wears a jacket in the house and he’s never cold. We are going to go out again tomorrow and try to find dad a sweater to wear and some more heaters, but the only places we know of are out and won’t be getting any more in this year. We actually turned on the oven and shut the kitchen door and sat in there for a while today and it felt pretty good. Anyway, Roger; thanks for the weather report it was good for me to see that it was actually up to the 70’s during the day and I kept wondering why I was so cold; it’s mostly the cement homes with cement floor, cold tile, and not heat that make it much colder than we are use to but we’d better not be complaining as we know lots of people here that have no heat at all, no electricity even, no windows or doors on their little shakes and I bet they aren’t complaining at all. I keep thinking about the young girl that came to our home a few weeks ago begging for food and was so cold. I gave her some food and some socks, but I’ve collected a sweater and a pair of boys pants that would fit her and I keep praying that she will come back so I can give them to her. It kind of haunts me that I didn’t give her more warm clothes when she was here, but I only brought two light weight sweaters and one pair of long pants to wear on our P-day, but I could have given them to her and I surely wished that I had. I’ve prayed that Heavenly Father would help her find her way to our house again, I hope she is all right and found someone else to help her more.

We’ve traveled a lot this week, visited a couple of branches since I wrote, did some Leadership Training yesterday and also received 8 new missionaries. We trained in a new branch in Kanye, about an hour and a half from Gaborone. It’s the village that we count donkeys when we travel there, but there weren’t so many out today; probably because there isn’t much green grass along the road side right now. We did see hundreds of goats though and lots of Brahma cattle. We did actually count over 100 donkeys still and figured we had to have seen at least that many cattle and about 5 times that many goats. People eat a lot of goats here and they even eat the donkey’s but we haven’t tried those yet.

Thursday was transfer day to Botswana and everyone got through the border without any trouble coming and going to South Africa; and our day at the Police station getting papers certified and at Immigration applying for 90 Day waivers for the Elders was perfect. Either we are getting better at it or last time was just a “big test” and perhaps we failed. Anyway, this time was much better and we are starting to feel like we might just be getting the hang of things here. We received 8 new Elders and as usual we think President Poulsen sends us his very best missionaries. They are all sharp young men and we are thankful to have them. It’s always hard to see the old ones leave and we lost some really good missionaries this time, but we have put the new ones to work and they are working hard already.

We have fasted today for our little Trey Garrett Barnum and we know that you have all joined us in this pursuit. It’s such a blessing to have a family like ours to join together to pray for and to ask our Heavenly Father to bless and protect. We are sad to be so far away while all this is happening and we ask each of you to look out for Kricket and Garrett and their family. Please call them for us often, pray for them daily (especially Trey) and we are assured that all will be well and soon their family will be at home together.

We love each and every one of you, we are also sorry about Shaundalee’s grandma passing and know that you will all keep in touch with her and help her through this difficult time for their family.

What a great family we have been blessed with; know that we love you and pray for you each and every day! We are safe, healthy and happy together servering the Lord. We have much to be thankful for; especially all of you. Thanks for being faithful and bring us so many blessings and so much true happiness. We are proud of you!!


Mom and Dad, Granny & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week 17 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family,
This is a big week or even month here in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission as the WORLD CUP is here in full force. At our last zone conference we were give instructions that the elders and sisters are not to make appointments during any of the games. The church has found out that it creates enemys to bother people during big games, so the elders and sisters have set up a screen in the relief society room and invite everyone they meet to come and watch the games at the church. It is working very well. So far they have had less active and non members to every game they have put on. It is a great fellowshipping tool and the missionaries can watch the games as well. If they don't have investigators or a purpose in being there then they have to go home or out and find people on the street to talk to about the church.
t is fun to see each missionary shine in his or her own field. We have had Elder Call from Boise Idaho help us serveral times with computer things and now we are enjoying one of our missonaries from Germany and he reall shines in the foot ball (soccer) lime light. He knows the flags by heart, he knows the teams, and even has pridictions as to the outcome of each game. He gets very excited and he makes sure he has investigators and less actives to each game so he can be there. They only average one game day where there are three but they are all excited to be at that one game.
I want to announce that usually resident permits are done in three months or the 90 days after you come into the country. Well Mom's and mine went over the 90 days so we had to hurry and get a waiver or extention for another 90 days. Just a week later which was last Wednesday we have been approved and can pick up our resident permits. A big YEA on our part. We can stay here until the end of our mission. We didn't really think that was going to be a problem but they kept us in stitches until longer than usual.
This week coming up is going to be a very busy week. We receive new missionaries from South Africa. We loose seven this transfer so that means that I have to get all the paperwork ready for the seven replacements. They are doing something different this transfer than they have ever done before here in is mission. They are not letting anyone know where they are going until the transfer meeting. We have had it that way in the other missions that we have served in but this mission has told them when they are being transfered and where they are going the Saturday before the Wednesday transfers. This time they know they are being transfered but do not know where they are going. Because I need to start the paper work ahead of time I know who is coming into Botswana but not even our zone leaders know who is comng. I don't know for sure what area they will be serving in but because of the need for drivers in some areas and they seldom put two local Africians together I have a pretty good idea where everyone is going.
Tomorrow will be an ususual day as two of the missionaries that are being transfered are being transfered back home as they are at the end of their missions. We have found a local golf course that has great rates on Mondays so four of us are going golfing. I am really excited and they are as well. I don't think any of them have played sense being here on their missions.
Today we went to Molepolole and the stake president came clear from Johannesburg and one of our missionaries that is being transfered has been the branch president and of course his transfer will release him. The branch was having there annual branch conference and that is the reason the stake presidency came up. Mom and I went and they put in a local man as the new branch president. He has been serving as a counselor to our missionary and he has been trained very well. It is a great move and I think the branch will do great. They have an average attendance of about 80 people every week so we hope this will give the missionaries more time to actually do missionary work. Mom and I travel and attend a different branch or ward every week.
We try and attend a different district meeting each week as well. It entail a lot of travel but we feel it is very effective. President Poulsen has given us a lot of leway to do as we see fit. We love serving here and feel that we are making a great difference. We keep busy and love the work. We know this is where we are to be at this time and miss the family a lot but we will be home when our mission is over. Congradulations to Bryan on his call to Argentine. He will make a great missionary and we know he has prepared himself for this time of his life. I think I was one of the closest guessers as I had him in the southern hemisphere. Don't you think that is close enough?
Well I will close for this week and we want everyone to know that we pray for you individually every day. Those having babies, those in school, those finishing up thesis papers, those that have jobs, those who are mothers of our grandchildren and their husbands as well, those remodeling and those who are building their own homes, we even pray for those who are property assors. We pray for the grandchildren that they will prepare for temple marriage soon, hav their child sealed to them, those on a mission in Brazil, those still in school (taking the summer off at this time) and for all that need extra blessings from the Lord. We love you aaaaallllll very much.
With Love Out Of Africa
Dad and Mom

Friday, June 11, 2010

Week 17 - Granny

Dear Family and Friends,
Today is June 11th, the first day of the World Cup Soccer Tournament held in South Africa and Botswana has Soccer Fever! We had to run to Immigration early this morning and as soon as we went out of our driveway, we saw cars with flag all over their Windows, hanging from the antenna, windows rolled down with people honking those big long horns that make a huge low pitched HONK! The past couple of days have been pretty crazy, with people selling all kinds of "team' stuff from flags to shirts to horns to crazy hats, scarfs, and I can't even remember what all. People are dancin' in the streets and everybody is really happy and excited for the games. Businesses closed early today so people could be home by 4 O'clock to watch South Africa play Mexico in the opening game. We got to see some of the opening ceremony and it was fantastic, reminded me of the opening ceremony for The Olympics. Our missionaries can't go out knocking doors during the games, they have to have an appointment or just "street contact" to people on the streets but they can't bother people in their homes for the next month. They are trying to organize parties at the church so they can invite investigators and non members as well as members to come and get together to watch the game. They have it in the RS room and use the church satellite system and it works pretty good. There is a member here that brings in a bunch of receivers and decoders or something, I don't understand it all but we did get to see the opening and the first game today and it was pretty fun to be with the people here in Botswana as they watch their home team (actually the closest thing they have to a home team) involved in the World Cup. We had about 70 people in attendance and us and the missionaries are the only white people, 3 from America and 1 from Germany. The people were a little wound up today and they were really talking crazy and in their native Setswana language and I certainly felt like I was on a Foreign Mission. They got so excited when South Africa scored their goal and were literally dancing around with their chairs up in the air and just couldn't step smiling and hugging each other; it was really exciting. I wish I could have made you a video of 65 Crazy Africans just loving life and "letting go" of all their inhibitions and yelling and screaming"; it was quite a sight and I would love to have shared it all with you. They are a delightsome people and though they don't seem friendly at first, they certainly are accepting of us now and they are our true, dear friends. Then Mexico scored and that's how it ended. Dad and I left and came home as the room was so full there weren't chairs for everyone to even set down, but the missionaries came over after the game and cleaned up all the dirty dishes and etc. at our place so we got a chance to visit with them and they felt it was very successful and they plan to do it again tomorrow for the Nigeria versus Argentina game at 4 PM. It may not be as successful but a lot of people here are from Nigeria and they also say that Argentina is one of favored teams so hopefully the missionaries will get good support and it will be good for the ward to have such a great activity together.
I hope you get a chance to watch some of the games; it exciting to be so close even though we aren't actually in South Africa. I know they closed the office in Johannesburg and had a Braii (Bar B Q) at the STake Center next to the Mission Office. People are pretty happy and excited here and our office supply store said we couldn't order anything from JoBurg for the next month as there wouldn't be any deliveries from there until after the games. Life might get interesting around here as Botswana gets EVERYTHING from JoBurg. Usually it's only a few days, but a month might stretch things a bit, we didn't get any warning and didn't stock up much so we'll see what things are running like in one months's time.
It's transfer week this coming Wednesday and Thursday and we got a bulletin from the Embassy telling us of the heightened security at the borders and to limit our travel across borders during the next 30 days; last transfer was a nightmare and we thought this one would be easy but we'll see. We won't have Sister's traveling this time so I'm thankful for that. We don't get any new Sisters until December but we do have 6 Elders coming up here from JoBurg so we'll just wait up late and make sure they get through.
We got our Residency Permits though today. We fasted and prayed about it on Wednesday as that is the day the committee meets and our 90 days was up on Wednesday but we couldn't find out until today if the committee finally decided to pass us or not. We are so relieved and thankful and have thanked our Heavenly Father for helping us to finally get approval to stay in Botswana for our 18 months. When our new Elders get here on Thursday Dad will start the paper work on them so we can get them approved to stay in the country for 6 months. Sisters stay 18 months as our mission only has the Sisters serve here in Botswana. The Elders serve most of their time in South Africa and only the "lucky and the chosen few" get to come and spend 6 months in Botswana. They just come in on a 90 Waiver and then Dad get's them another 90 Day extention and then they have to leave. Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork, that's our middle name here, but we are learning the ropes and if they don't change the rules on us again, we are getting it down better and better all the time.
Well, enjoy the World Cup, we certainly will when we get a chance and we love the theme "Once in a Lifetime, 24/7". We are actually having Zone T-Shirts made up with that theme written on them and then with a map of Africa and all the Elders and Sisters signature on it. Enjoy!!
Bucket's of Love,
Mom, Granny, Lorraine

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another "Bad Hair Day" in Africa - Granny

I just had to write this while I'm thinking about it. I didn't think the guys would appreciate it, but thought you might.
Actually when I sent the other pictures of the "outdoor barber shops and Hair Salons", I thought you might get a kick out of it, I certainly have and I see them everywhere and they are often busy and I've even seen a line up waiting to get in so I'm sure they must be very reasonable and fairly efficient. I haven't braved going into one though.
Sister Olson showed me one salon in the mall near us that she uses but I haven't gone there either. I'm in one of those, I don't want to cut of my perm because somedays the curl it gives me is the only thing that keeps me looking decent at all. I'm also just stubborn enough to think that this might be my chance to grow out my bangs like I've ALWAYs wanted to do but never can get the job done.
This last weekend I did find some hair color though that I thought I'd try just to get rid of the drab gray and brown effect that I have going. All of my pretty "highlights" are gone and I've gotten a little desperate. If you can just imagine with me, all of the heads of hair that I see are Black, braided, twisted, or covered up with a wig. The ladies here wear lots of wigs and there are wig salons at every corner and lots of little stands all over (under every shade tree) where they will braid it for you and they turn out really beautiful; at least on the African women. The women here are very beautiful and their hair-do's match their lovely faces. There are actually a lot that just pull it back in a pony tail and the pony tail is about 1 or 2 inches long and sticks straight back. They have very difficult hair I am told and unless they can grease it all up and afford to have someone braid it for them, they just pull it back or wear a wig. Anyway, the advertisements on the salon's are quotes like this; "Black and Beautiful" or "Shimmer and Shine" and when I look for hair products in the store they all say things like "Oil Down" or "Heavy Geased Looked" or I can't actually remember any more, but you get the idea that when I'm in the store looking for hair products, I can't quite decide what to buy. They don't have to color their hair and nothing that I have been looking for was to be found anywhere. Well I did find some color that was actually called "medium brown" and I bought it and put it on. Everyone is telling me that they like my hair dark, so I'm sure it doesn't look exactly "natural" but it does look better and I feel better also. I haven't gone for the cut yet, but I'll see how long I can stand it before I either cut it myself or have Dad trim it off a little, or perhaps I'll have to give in and actually go for a hair cut.
You can only imagine I'm having the same problem with make-up. The shade's that I'm looking for are not to be found, actually make-up is not to be found. We have a store called "Game" and it's Botswana's answer to Wal-Mart but it just doesn't carry everything like Wal-Mart does. I've ask for make-up and they say "we don't have", I asked for some Nail polish (just a simple clear coat) but "they don't have" and I've tried to find lipstick and "they don't have."
When I was in the Doctor's office with our new sisters this last transfer (they have to go in for a physical when they come) a white lady came in and was talking to the receptionist there and I worked up my courage to ask her where in Botswana she would go for make-up or nail polish. She proceeded to take me to her "back room" where she actually does nails and sells make up and her client came in just as we were talking. I was actually thankful for the client and the fact that she had to go to work because she showed me some nail product that she said my nails and cuticles needed, and also her line of makeup and the receptionist was going to sell it to me. The nail stuff was P250. which is about $35. for one bottle and the other product to strengthen my nails was $50.00 so I told her I'd have to pass for today because I didn't have that much money on me. (It was kind of embarrasing, but I wasn't really clear out of the make-up (Thanks Lori) and I just went home and found the time to take my nail tips off and use the stuff I brought from home. (Thanks Sherrie)
Life is great here, but there are those unusual days that make me laugh and wish you were all here to experience the "little things" that keep
life interesting for Dad and I.
Have a great day; and I know Wal-Mart is not everybody's favorite store and it wasn't mine before I came here but I think it will be when I get home. I get tired of running to a different store evertime I need anything. We buy stuff all the time to keep the missionary flats stocked, and every day is adventure just trying to find what they need. One day I might find it and the next time it's not there anymore and their answer to that is "it is finished."
I actually do love it here, it's an adventure and you all know me well enough to know that I enjoy an adventure. We are trying to love every day so we don't have any regrets. We only get to do this mission once and we want to do it well!
I love you all.
Mom, Lorraine, Granny

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 16 - Granny

Dear Family,

It’s been a good Sunday today; Dad and I went to Lobatse (about an hour away) to church and enjoyed the drive. They have a nice little Branch there probably about 50 in attendance; they have a Branch President and they meet in a Pod-Space building which is basically a double wide trailer for their chapel and another double wide serves as class rooms for Relief Society and Primary )and bathrooms. Priesthood and Gospel Doctrine meet in the chapel and the other classes just meet outside. It wasn’t too cold today so with their chairs in the sun, they did alright but I’m not sure what they do when it is so terribly hot in the summer which is about 10 months of the year here.

I think dad already told you, but our Zone Conference dinner turned out really successful and the missionaries were very grateful for the delicious food. We went through 3 crockpots full of hamburger and mushroom gravy and 75 potatoes, 60 rolls and 4 loaves of bread, 50 ears of corn and 5 gallon of ice cream and 5 two liter bottles of Iron Brew (closest substitute for Root Beer). I was so happy though as we plugged all the crock-pots in the cultural hall and we didn’t blow any fuses, the oven worked the whole time on the potatoes, and we borrowed a huge pot big enough to cook all the corn. Next time it will be easier as I now know how to use the appliances at the church, and we are lucky to have such nice facilities to cook with. The kitchens are small and don’t have much in them, but there again it is so much better than when we were in Ukraine and only had access to a Crock Pot when we finally found a way to smuggle them in through Russia from Germany.

When we travel we see people cooking along side of the road in dutch ovens and huge kettles. They build up a big fire and cook up dinner and people stop along side of the road and eat. It’s Botswana’s answer to fast food. There are lots of little “stands” where people set all day under an umbrella and sell everything from chips to cookies, fruits (mostly oranges and bananas) and lots of penny type candy. They call the candy shops a “Tuck Shop” and there are lots of them everywhere but especially in town here by all of the bus stops and outside of all the bigger stores. Sometimes 4 or 5 are set up right next to each other. Elder Olson said that if one shop is successful, several shops set up right next to him and then you have to wonder how much money one person could make in a day selling penny candy and chips and maybe a banana or two. Lots of people that work in town though do go outside to them during break or at lunch; it’s kind of like the “local lunchroom” and they are very plentiful around all of the Universities and Colleges here in Botswana. The University of Botswana is a very big college of Engineering and there are several smaller colleges and Universities in Botswana as well as in most of the smaller towns that we visit. Lots of people are walking everywhere and there are “combies” (white mini vans) transporting adults to work and children to school. There are no school buses here, just these white mini vans with a sign that says “Children in Transport.” There doesn’t seem to be shortage of cars though, traffic is so bad sometimes that we creep through the town at about 15 miles an hour and people are pretty patient and let people in front of them or let the combies get through if they just toot their horns. We’ve decided the people here are really very patient and they are actually pretty courteous drivers; Dad is trying to learn to be like them!!! I do drive once in a while but this driving on the left side of the road isn’t easy for me to get used to. I’m doing better all the time, but when someone darts in front of me, my natural instincts take over and I go the wrong way. I usually let Dad do the driving and I study the maps and pick the best route through town depending on where the traffic is the heaviest. I have to admit though, I still get turned around in the middle of town as the streets go every which way and sometimes even in circles; Dad on the other town very seldom gets confused and gets me safely home every evening. He even struggles some with the North, South, East West, though and sometimes the Sun is just coming up in the West or setting in the East and we can’t get ourselves turned around for a few miles or curves in the road.

One day last week we had to go across town right in the middle of rush hour traffic though so we took a road that is kind of through “the wrong side of town” and it was very educational. We saw lots of young kids out playing in the dirt; a big group was playing soccer on a flat area with sticks up marking their goal and most of them weren’t wearing any shoes at all. A little ways farther along we saw some little boys out playing with some old tires. They had a stick in their hands and they were twirling the tire and running along side of it and probably racing. It looked like they were having a great time and getting lots of exercise. Around the next corner we saw about 10 or 12 kids all waiting their turn to jump on an old box spring and mattress that was substituting for their trampoline. I told dad that this is when you’d like to go to Pine Tree Sports or ????????????????? and buy 20 soccer balls, 3 trampolines and a couple of big swing sets and set them in the middle of their part of town. We’ve only gone through that part of town a few times, but it’s hard for me to drive through there without realizing how unfair life can be. Their homes are tiny, old cement shakes, clothes hung out on the fences for drying, women washing the families clothes outside in tubs and big areas where there are several big pots outside where they all seem to do their cooking together. I don’t think our missionaries can even go in there tracking but I sure wish we could take them the gospel of Jesus Christ; it would bring a ray of sunshine to their lives and give them so much hope for a better life. I wish I knew how to make a difference for even a few of them. Perhaps Heavenly Father will help us to find a way. In the mean time, we will pray for them and when we drive through their area, I will smile and wave to everyone I see.

We still haven’t won our battle with immigration. We have been back out to their main office twice more this week and they still will not grant our Residency Permit which allows us to be in the country. We have a 90 day permit, but it runs out on June 9th so we are praying that this week when they meet on Wednesday, that they will grant us our permit. Otherwise, we have to apply for a 90 day extension and then we have that much longer to keep trying. We can only get one 90 day extension though so pray for us and we have fasted and prayed today for that also. Our Elders only stay in Botswana for the 180 days as that is the limit of time you can be in this country without a Residence Permit. Our Sisters stay in Botswana their entire mission (18 months) so as soon as they get here we apply for their Residency Permit just like we have had to. We always get theirs in the 90 days, but somehow they have chosen to make an example of Dad and I and they are very suspicious of what we might be doing here so they are checking us out really good. They told us that they might visit our church to see what we were actually doing here and we invited them to please come; that we would love to have them visit. I think they are afraid Dad has this harem of young women here or something! Anyway, hopefully we will soon have it all sorted out and be legal for our entire 18 months.

This letter has gotten long enough and I think I’m out of news. We love you all and we pray for you constantly. We fasted for those of you that have been sick, for those of you who are studying, for the future missionary, for those preparing to go through the temple, for our new Grandbaby to be, and for all of you as our children, and each and every one of our grandchildren by name. We asked Heavenly Father to keep you in His tender care and to protect you and help you to look after each other. We pray that you will have love and harmony in your marriages, happiness and goodness in each of your homes and that the gospel will ALWAYS have a central spot in each of your hearts. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that as we live by it’s teachings, we too will be happy and find the joy that our Heavenly Father PROMISES to his faithful children. The Book of Mormon is true and as you study it in your homes, it will help you to know and to understand our Savior Jesus Christ’s role in our lives and it will testify to you and to your children that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. That knowledge will build strength in your homes that will last through all time. There are also PROMISED blessings to those who faithfully hold their Family Home Evenings, please live for and earn those blessings. You are all awesome and we love you so much and we want to be with your FOREVER!

Love, Mom and Dad
PS. It's one of two cold months here right now and I actually am freezing in the house. We have two wall units that are air conditioners and heaters but only the one in the bedroom works. We bought two small portable heaters yesterday though so today it's better and I'm sure we will get by for only two months. It's actually warmer outside and we usually get sunshine during the day so it warms up a bit. Dad isn't usually cold even in the house, but you know me I'm always cold. The missionaries are all calling to see if they buy heaters too so it's not all me, but we never know what temperature it is here as there isn't a thermometer to be seen anywhere. We've tried to buy one but have had no luck. I'm sure it's just one of those "don't where where to shop things"; but we just don't have Wal-Mart here or anything that resembles it so you just have tofind specilty shops and we haven't located the right one yet. We've tried the local "Game" store which is the closest thing to WalMart but they don't have one, we tried the little local Hardware store and they don't have one. Oh well, if I looked it up on the internet you'd all think I was crazy to be cold here, but I actually am. I think it's the cinderblock houses with cement floors that just make things seem colder when their is no heat. However, we are comfortable, happy, healthy, and living in a nice home, in a fairly safe neighborhood and behind plenty of security. I'm sure I'll get climatized soon and by then it will be getting hot again. I hope you soon get some really beautiful summer weather and enjoy the time together with your families.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Pictures from our Home in Botswana

Week 15 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends,

It has been a hectic week and this weekend is going to be even more hectic. Today is Friday and we are doing a second interview with a Sister up in Kanye and then after that we are doing a Fireside for couples in the Kanye branch. It will be mostly on Family Home Evening but I expect to open it up to a question and answer time as well. Mom will do a spiritual beginning part and I will follow with some remarks and then the questions. On the way we will be going through Lobatse and deliver some church logo signs with an arrow showing the way to the church building. Lobatse gets two and we are taking another one to Kanye and then one for block all around the church building. We just picked theses up this morning and we also picked up a project that President Poulsen assigned to me shortly after we got here in Botswana. He asked me to work out some wording and a plaque that we can attach the tithing boxes for the 6 branches we have here in our two zones.

It is now Friday evening after our trip to Kanye. The second interview went really well. She will be baptized the next baptism in the branch. Mom and I spoke at the Fireside the branch had put together for us to talk at. Mom really prepares for things like that and she did a great job. There wasn’t a lot of people there and the elders went out on the street as it was getting started and got a young couple with their son to come in and they had never been to the branch building before and they really enjoy themselves. Mom talked about families and watched this couple all during her talk and they took it all in. I talked about the basics in the church and tied my remarks in with Mom’s and we both think we did a good job. Mom asked the young family after the meeting if they enjoyed what was taught. They were very impressed and we sent them home with a Book of Mormon and a family home evening book and the handouts that Mom prepared. I think they are very interested in the church. The biggest problem is that they live over 400 kilometers away and Kanye is only their home village which they visit about once a month.

Tomorrow is our preparation day for the President and his wife along with their daughter and her husband to come to dinner Sunday night. We will have Elder and Sister Cardiff a couple from Francistown here as well. There will 8 of us. That along will be a challenge to put together a nice meal but the next day is Zone Conference and we are preparing super spuds along with corn on the cob. This weekend will be crazy but when it is all done it will be worth it.

A few weeks back I told you of a boy that was about nine years old that I meet on the street and told him when I was 8 years old I was baptized and we asked him what church he went to and he told us the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Well his sister is a mini missionary with us here in Botswana but the interesting thing is that he and his older brother were baptized last Sunday. We enjoy attending different branches and baptisms as well. All in all we love serving here in Botswana.

The weather is wonderful. I go out every day in a short sleeve shirt and only one time have I wore a jacket and then in the afternoon it was very worm and I had to take it off. But it isn’t so hot that I can’t wear my suit jacket on Sundays and I will at the Zone Conference this coming Monday. We are suppose to be getting into the winter months but we feel comfortable but most of the people are dressed up in warm coats and even then they say it is cold out. I guess we are used to Idaho weather and the nice days here seem wonderful. I’m sure that later we may need a jacket but not yet. Tonight coming home from Kanye we watched a full moon and it sent my thoughts back home to where all of you can see the same full moon but you will see it hours later.

Well I need to close for now but I want to tell you that I love my companion. She is the greatest and we love missionary work. I’m not saying we don’t miss home but we feel a real purpose here in Botswana. I love serving and I love the strength I feel in increasing my personal knowledge of the scriptures. I have spent much time reading and studying the Gospel. I love it and hope this habit will stick with me for the rest of my life. We pray for each of you every day, that your jobs and means for support will continue. Thanks for being who you are and we love your e-mails to us.

Today is Saturday the 29th and tomorrow we go to church in the Broadhurst ward and then attend a baptism with 7 being baptized. I think most of them are the sisters that serve in G-West ward. After that we have 5 of the sisters coming home for lunch and then when they leave we need to jump into high gear as I mentioned above the other guests arrive and we feed them as well. Before I send this I will add a few things about Sunday and even the Zone Conference.

I took some pictures of what we have done to the house it really looks nice and Mom says if you send them the pictures they won’t feel sorry for us any longer. Things really are looking up. We are getting into a grove and our health is great and we feel quite safe and secure. We don’t want to be over confident as it only takes one mistake and we would be in real trouble. The people are very friendly and I feel they are honest people. As in every country in the world you have the few that make life bad for the few. We received a text message on our cell phone from the G4S security people that we deal with wrote that there are more gangs in Gaborone than there used to be and everyone should be aware of them and don’t have anything to do with them. (I didn’t plan to.) We love the office in the front part of the house. We can do some work when the elders and sisters come over. We still lock the house completely and we sleep behind one door in the hall locked and then we lock our bedroom door with two locks and then set the alarm for the interior of the house and the fence alarm is on all the time.

You will be getting this letter in bits and pieces. We just got back from the Broadhurst Ward meetings, we visit different wards and branches each week. I just can’t x1cpress to you to you how wonderful it is to be on a mission and be able to speak the language. The meetings today were especially great and I understood each word that was spoken. Maybe the dialect is a little different than we speak back home in Burley but I get much more than just a drift. Every day I realize how hard it was to serve in Ukraine. If I had it to do all over again I think I would have put forth much more of an effort to have learned the Russian language so I could have at least understood what they were talking about. Sometimes I raise my hand to make a comment and I can feel everyone and I do mean everyone listen with great interest to what I have to say. They look up to Sister Morgan and I as though we are the authority on whatever subject we talk about, even the Bishops. I know that the people of Ukraine were the same way but I couldn’t feel that closeness because we had an interpreter for everything we said and heard. I am so glad we went to Ukraine first and now to Botswana. We came home to put a few things in the oven and are heading out in a few minutes to go to a baptism, then back home to feed 5 of our sister missionaries. We haven’t had them in for an official meal sense we have been here but today we actually have a dinner scheduled with them. I will write more later

It has been great to be able to kick back for a day and collect our thoughts and get out of the kitchen so to speak. The meal for the President and his wife along with his daughter and her husband fail through. The president called as we were leaving Broadhurst ward and the two zone leaders were there when I told Mom they would not arrive until after 10:00 PM. One of them asked what we were going to do with all that food that they weren’t going to eat. Sister Morgan said I guess you will have to come and eat it because we don’t want it to go to waste. At that time one of the district leaders that was training a new missionary come up and got in on the conversation. He had been transferred here to Botswana his last two transfers from being an assistant to the president just before going home. Of course we had room for them as well which made it for missionaries instead of the President, his wife, daughter and son in law. It was a great meal and you could say we almost didn’t miss the President. Elder and Sister Cardiff were with us as well and they didn’t miss the President as well.

The next day was Zone Conference and it was a wonderful day. The super spuds were great and we also had corn on the cob. To finish everything off we had root beer floats. It was a meal that the two zones will never forget. President Poulsen came up to Mom and I and said it had been a long time sense he had enjoyed such a feast. The messages in the conference matched the meal as they were great as well.

I will close as we have had a couple of normal days come and go and I haven’t finished this letter until now. I am attaching some pictures of the house both inside and out. Again you won’t feel sorry for us any longer but you don’t need to. We are doing the LORD’S work and we love it. We pray for each of you every day. We love your letters to us. Dax is getting close to coming home. All the remolding and house building is going great as well for those involved back home. We pray for your jobs that you can be support your families. We pray for Harold back in school, Garrett that he can finish his thesis and always for every ones health.


Pictures are coming! -Kricket has to figure out how to download them from a zip file.