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