Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Week 24 - Papa Lynn

28th July 2010

I can’t believe that the week has flown by so fast. I should have written on Sunday but we were in South Africa in Mafikeng to their branch conference with the Roodepoort stake president. It was a great conference and the elders are working hard in their areas there. We have to sets of elders there and we met with both sets and talked about their investigators. They have great potential with several baptisms coming up soon. We stayed overnight and came back Monday. Sunday night we stayed in a place the elders lined up for us and it was reasonable nice. We can’t afford the Ritz so we were happy. When I went to pay the following morning they said we don’t charge people of the church. We were totally surprised. We don’t know if they are members of the church or just really nice people. We told the elders and they were surprised as well. The border crossing going into South Africa always goes well but even coming back into Botswana went well Monday on the way home.

We were in a hurry to get back as I have 5 elders that need a 90 day waiver extension to finish their time here in Botswana. Well the immigration department did it to us again. They have change the rules again. We now have to have each elder there with us and have a picture and fingerprints along with all the other things we have done before. It keeps life interesting here and we never fall into a routine because routines are things that happen the same way all the time. It doesn’t work that way here.

This is transfer week and both Mom and I work long hours. I have tons of paperwork that I have to get ready before transfers just to get the old missionaries transferred out with passports and waiver papers and all that goes with it. Mom has food for them to eat when they come. They usually leave in two groups, one on Tuesday morning and the second group on Wednesday morning. The new elders come back all together on Wednesday night. I expect them with the next hour or so. It is 9:00 PM now and I hope they are here before 10:30 as I have about two hours work to do after they arrive to be ready tor them to come back and do paperwork for them to take to the police station with me to have everything certified as real copies of everything. The two hours tonight is to make three copies of their passports and ministerial certificates, and stamp when they arrived in the country which is today. I have in the last couple days prepared letters for the immigration and then tomorrow they have to take all the things they fill out along with a photo that we will have to get and a doctor’s report that we have appointment for them at 11:00 AM. What a mess up day but we hope to get it all done. We need just another small miracle and to be guided each step tomorrow to be able to do it all and have everything go as it needs to.

Well I will close for now and write again in less than two weeks. Mom will write next week.

Love Out Of Africa (Botswana)


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week 23 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends 22 July 2010

I am going to write a short note before I usually write just so I don’t forget what I want to write. On the day after our Zone Conference President Poulsen went to Mochudi and Sister Morgan and I went to Kanye. They had asked me to speak in sacrament meeting and then after the block they had a family of five (one still a baby) that were baptized. I think I mentioned this is the last letter. After the baptism President Poulsen his wife and one of the mission assistants came to Kanye to pick up the other assistant that went back to the Kanye elders so he could see the branch that he had served in just before becoming an assistant. While we were standing around talking one of the elders was telling President about another family almost ready for baptism however they weren’t legally married yet. The president turned to me and said “Elder Morgan you ought to find out what it takes for you to become a marriage officer here in Botswana. I asked him if he was serious and he said he was in South Africa but didn’t think he could here in Botswana because not being a resident.

Sister Morgan and I went to the immigration building (the one down town) and talked to the lady over the “Change of Surname and Marriage Department”. She said if the District Commissioner approved and I prepared by studying the marriage handbook she thought I might be able to do so. I bought a marriage booklet for 5 pula and studied hard for several days. Bishop Matswagothata took me and introduced me to the District Commissioner and we set up an appointment for a few days later with her. That gave me a couple more days to study. Well yesterday I passed the test so now I am an official “marriage officer” here in Botswana.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Week 23 - Granny

20 July, 2010 Tuesday

Hello! To ALL

This has been such a crazy weekend that I forgot it was my turn to write. We’ve had the privilege of going out teaching with the missionaries, talking at firesides, teaching lessons at church, doing Auxiliary training in another one of our branches and helping with a U-Nite, which is a new member’s missionary tool being used here.

I’ll just tell you about our missionary teaching opportunities, I think they will be the most interesting. On Friday evening the Sister missionaries asked if we could come with them to teach a family (dad, mom, and 3 girls ages 10, 7, and 3). They have been working with them for a while but just couldn’t get them out to church so they thought we could be of help in that department. We picked up the Sister at 6:50 PM which is pitch dark here by then. We drove into the area of town that this family live in and there weren’t any lights in the neighborhood and we thought “oh no, power failure” only to be told that there wasn’t much power used in this neighborhood as most of the people couldn’t afford it. We got out of the car and held each other’s hands so we wouldn’t trip on anything that we couldn’t see and made our way to a nice little cinderblock step path and found our way behind the main house and to the little tiny house behind. We knocked and they opened the door and invited us into their humble one room with a bed for them to set on and a bench for us to set on beside the bed. The dad (his name is Makesure) went outside and brought in two plastic chairs for he and Dad to set on and the room was lit by a small little bedroom lamp with one probably 25 or 40 W. light bulb and no lampshade. The mom’s name is Balimoji and the daughters are Anna, Notando, and Mpho and they are all pretty quiet, the dad did most of the talking. The Sisters had given them some scriptures to read and be prepared to talk about. Makesure had read all of them and was prepared to compare everything he read to scriptures in the Bible and had a whole page of very well written explanations of the whole thing and all were quite correctly understood by him. We were amazed and thought he could have given it all as a talk in Sacrament meeting. We were able to bear our testimonies of the truthful of the gospel, about Eternal Families, and dad did a wonderful job of explaining the need and the rights of the Priesthood and bore his testimony of the Restoration of ALL Things. The father said he knew everything Dad said was true, and that he could feel the Holy Spirit testifying to him that it was true. We then asked if we could pick them up at 8:40 for church Sunday morning and they said “yes”, they would be ready. I forgot to mention that right in the middle of our discussion, the power went off so we just continued in the DARK!. The mom hasn’t been participating very well before for the Sisters so we were afraid she wouldn’t come on Sunday, but when we pulled up at 8:40 she and the two oldest girls were waiting outside for us and they ran back and got Makesure and ran their little 3 year old to their relative living next door and the 4 came to church with us. We really aren’t suppose to give people rides in the mission cars, but Dad felt like it would be helpful this first time to help them find the church (a 15 minute drive from their house) so next time they can take public transportation or walk. They said they will probably walk as they don’t have the money for transport! We asked how much the Combie (public transport) would cost and found out it is about 3 Pula (or 50 cents) each for them and I’m sure that is a lot out of their weekly budget.

Last night we went to a U-Nite for our Mochudi Branch and we met the missionaries at the local grocery store and followed them to some members home way out in the village. We drove for about 10 Kilometers to their home, and again it was pretty dark out in the village, but they did have electricity in their home. It was a fairly nice home too and had a living room (with cement floors) big enough to fit a couple of sofa type chairs, a love seat, and several plastic stacking chairs which they had all set up. I took the two Wacky Cake’s for dessert and the missionaries brought the juice, we never ask members to furnish anything and this is the first time we have gone to any branch activity that wasn’t held at the church. Anyway, they showed the “Together Forever” video and had a few of us bear our testimonies of Eternal Families. Two families there have been married in the temple and even they had interesting stories to tell. One young couple have been married 3 times: first a traditional wedding where they have ceremonial type dancing, a feast, and pay the Labola (Bride Price) and then a week later they got married civilly, and then just earlier this month they went to the temple and took their tiny baby girl and were all sealed. The Branch President has only been a member since 2006 and he is married to a lady that has been a member for almost 10 years and has a 16 year old son that is not active, they have 2 young children together and they have been married 3 times also. We actually gave them a ride home from the activity and the Elders took the other people home. No one had cars and it was FAR out to their activity. Anyway the most interesting thing about the house is that when we went into the kitchen to cut and serve the cake, it was just one big room with a long narrow table (church type) with a fridge and propane stove inside. There was no sink and no running water, just a tub with a little tiny bowl of water for us to clean up with. Needless to say, I packed up my soap, my dish cloth and dish towels and all the dirty dishes and we just stuck them in the box and came home. There wasn’t a crumb of the wacky cakes left, one young man kept asking for seconds and he actually ate 4 pieces and would have had more if there were any more. It’s fun to take the treats and the ladies always ask for my recipe.

One more thing, this past Saturday we did our Auxilillary training (also in Mochudi) and Dad and I taught the first part for everyone together on “Teaching”, then we divide off the women and the men and we each teach our people all we can about Presidency meetings and how to function in our different areas and then I actually take 2 Sister Missionaries with me. One take the Primary ladies, one takes the YW leaders and I meet with the Relief Society Presidency. In my department with the Relief Society, they asked for ideas for their week-day activities (better known by their old name of Homemaking Day’s. I had gone with several ideas like getting back to the basic and teaching the sisters how to bake bread, make casseroles, share recipes, sew simple things like apron, and several ideas of how to save money by canning and etc. They loved my ideas but then told me they don’t have a oven, stove, a fridge, or ANYTHING in their church kitchen (they just meet in a house). I just assumed since there was a kitchen in the house that they would have a stove and fridge. But so much for my assuming mind, I was brought down to real humility fast. I asked them if any of them had a kitchen large enough to invite the Sisters to their homes to do some demonstrations; only to find that one of them lives 23 Kilometers away (out in the toolies where there is no public transport so she Hitchhikes to church and back), one lives 20 Kilometers (she does have public transport) and the other one has no kitchen in her home at all. I also discovered that the Branch President’s wife that asked me for my Wacky Cake recipe doesn’t have an oven, she wondered how long it would take in the microwave. I wasn’t really sure what to say, but I’m sure she will experiment and make it work.

Well, it’s time to start into another week and I’m sure this week will also bring some humbling and interesting things for us to learn from.

We are thinking of all of you constantly and we praying for those of you who are moving, taking care of a new baby, “on tour”, those of you who are enjoying a great summer with your kids, those of you are studying hard in school, and those of you who just work, work, and do more work. I’m sure the “work” part is more real than anything for all of you, but we thank you for being such wonderful examples of strength to us. We love our Heavenly Father and we are trying to do our best every day. This is Africa’s time and we are thankful to be involved in the work of saving souls.

I have a thought for the day: “Learn how to live so that a weakness that is MORTAL does not prevent us from achieving the goal that is ETERNAL!

Also I want dad to attach a picture from my camera that I thought you’d all enjoy. Quite often around here you’ll see a person sitting along the roadside selling small bags of chicken manure. They usually have a sign that says something like “Chiken Karral Manyur.” We’ve chuckled about a few of these but just lately this one (picture below) has appeared just around the corner from our house. I’m not sure exactly what they are selling, but I don’t think it’s an advertisement for our favorite Chinese food, “Mandarin Chicken.”

The picture of the donkey’s and carts we see quite often as we travel in the different village. If they don’t have a donkey and cart, they usually use wheel barrows! I’ll send one of those sometime, they are amazing as to what they can haul with a wheel barrow!

The other picture is of Kgosi and Maipelo, our friends that just got engaged and come over for Family Home Evening (or any other excuse they can come up with, usually just for advice) quite often. Kgosi is exactly to the day, the same age as Bryce. They are a great couple and we love them. They plan to marry in January, but have a Labola problem (!6,000 Pula) and Maipelo’s mother is insisting on payment before she will let her daughter marry Kgosi!

Have a great week!

Love Ya, Mean It!!!Mom & Dad, Granny and PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine

PS Remember “Happily Ever After” is NOW!!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week 22 - Papa Lynn

Sunday 11 July 2010

Friday which was two days ago we had a great meeting with President and Sister Poulsen, Elder and Sister Cardiff and Sister Morgan and myself. President talked of some changes that will take place throughout the complete mission system of the church worldwide. At the present time we are not suppose to say anything so I will report more later but it will be exciting for Sister Morgan and I because we will be responsible for teaching the two zones here in Botswana.

The zone conference was wonderful as it usually is. President Poulsen is and wonderful man and has a great gift in teaching and motivating the missionaries to do good and work hard. His wife is great as well. Sister Morgan is just like a mission mother here in the Botswana part of the mission and I try to match her. The lunch was done by Sister Morgan and Sister Cardiff again and next time they have both agreed that it will be done as it always has been before the last two conferences. I hope they let someone else do it as I think they work to hard. I know that the clean up that I help with is a lot as well. Somehow Elder Cardiff doesn’t get involved in the fixing or the clean up but I guess that is his way.

Today has been a very special day as the Elder and Sister Cardiff left at 5:45 this morning heading back to Francistown with two elders. They stopped in Serowe where a group of the church meets in a home. They aren’t an official meeting group but they are about an hour and a half south of Francistown so they like to go to their meetings some of the time.

President Poulsen went with Sister Poulsen and went to Mochudi and one of the assistants went up with the Molepolole elders to go to church with them and the other elder went home with the Kanye elders. We had already planned to go to Kanye because they had asked me to talk and then there was a family of 5 that was planning to be baptized. Four were baptized as the other one is still a baby. It was a very good day and we enjoyed the meetings very much. We took Sister Odongo a sister missionary from Kenya that goes home this next transfer. She is in a threesome so she asked if she could go with us. The family members that got baptized bore their testimonies after being baptized and it was so good to hear them and how well they were taught.

It is now Sunday evening and both Mom and I are worn out and looking forward to hitting the sack tonight. Right now we have a sick elder with us for the evening as his companion is with a ward mission leader teaching. He will leave in an hour or so then we will be alone. I will close for now but we send our love from OUT OF AFRICA.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Week 21 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends, Week 21 Monday 5th July 2010

Let me start off with another small but great miracle in our mission lives. We spend Friday the 2nd, 3rd and the 4th of July in Francistown which is about 5 hours away to the north. We visited and stayed with Elder and Sister Cardiff. We enjoyed being there for a district meeting Friday night and then a Braii and a baptism on Saturday and took the Cardiffs out for dinner Saturday night. Sunday we went to church with them and then travelled home Sunday afternoon with Sister Cardiff. She spent the week with us to get ready for the zone conference dinner coming up the 10th of July. We arrived here in Gaborone about 5:30 in the afternoon. We opened the gate and the garage door and drove in and unloaded everything into the house. When I put the suitcase of cloths on the bed I noticed the bedroom clock was blinking 15 minutes meaning the power had only been on for 5 minutes. While I was looking at the clock it suddenly went blank as the power went off again. It was off for more than 3 more hours. Going out front where it was just getting dark we saw our neighbors over the fence standing in his kitchen and he said the power had been off sense 4:00 AM this morning. We felt so blessed to have had the power on for those 15 minutes to get us through the electrically operated gate and the garage door opener and into the house before it went off again. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways in our lives serving here in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission in the Botswana Office.

This Saturday is Zone Conference and President and Sister Paulsen come up to preside and interview the missionaries. If he arrives in time we go out to dinner the evening before the conference. This time they arrived in the early afternoon as the assistants that travel with him want to be here for the two zones activity. Other than that he usually leaves us alone to do our own things here in Botswana. We feel good that he knows he can rely on us and if he has anything extra for us to do he calls and we find a way to get it done. He calls once and awhile to have me do what is called a second interview. This is a person ready for baptism but have some serious problems that they need to have cleared up that the district and zone leaders don't have the authority to handle. After the interview I call the president and we talk and he asks my feelings and then we go ahead with my decision. So far they have been great and I have felt the feeling of repentance and wanting to live as they should if they were baptized. It is a special sweet spirit that I get when they are repentant and ready for baptism.

I have worked on a special project on tithing boxes and explanations on a plaque for each branch. He liked what I did and we tweaked it a little and I went and got them printed and put on all the tithing boxes here in all the branches in Botswana. A week or so ago he asked for some for branches in the South Africa and I will give them to him at zone conference.


Week 21 - Granny

July 5, 2010 Monday

Dear Family,

We’ve had another busy week which included a trip to Francistown, 5 hours North of Gaborone. We went on Friday so we could go to the Elders’ District Meeting, attend their baptisms on Saturday and then visit their Branch on Sunday. We had a great time with the Cardiff’s, Sister Cardiff cooks a lot and stays busy sewing crocheting or cooking all the time. Elder Cardiff loves to putter, does some teaching with the Elders and stays busy telling us stories (the same stories over and over) but we love them both.

I thought I’d do something different this week to make my letter a little more interesting. I’ve decided to start asking questions of some our Missionaries that are from the different countries on the continent of Africa. This week I’ll tell you about Elder Musembi.

Elder Musembi is from Kenya, Africa and he is 23 years old this Wednesday. He is actually serving in our small branch of Kanye (90 Min. from here) so he says he feels like he is almost home when he tells people where he serves. Elder Musembi told me that in his small village of Kyetongu in Kenya it is hotter than Botswana. He has 6 sisters (5 older and 1 younger) and 1 brother. Only his brother is a member of the church and he is 46 and the Branch President. His father died when he was 14 and his mother was left to raise all 8 children and she didn’t have a job. She raised her family doing “piece work” which is basically where they go knock on doors and ask for a job for the day. I actually have ladies ring the bell on our fence and ask me if I have a piece job for them to do. Elder Musembi’s mom is taking the missionary lessons right now and he is really praying that she will join the church while he is in the mission field or at least when he gets home. In their village, they have no electricity or running water. They walk down to the stream and carry water home to drink and to cook with, they bathe in the stream. His family has about 50 cattle, but it was his job to herd them and to take care of them and he says the Masie Tribe are known for steeling other peoples cattle, so he doesn’t know if he will have any cows left when he gets home. I asked him if his brother wouldn’t watch out for them and he said his brother is a very busy man working and raising his own big family and probably wouldn’t be able to look out for his cows and his mom is quite elderly and couldn’t go up to the pastures where they graze.

There are no schools in his village at all; when he was in grade school (1st-8th grade) he walked 1 hour to school which started at 8 AM and went until 5 PM. All the children walk as there is no public transportation. If the parent have money, they can stay at the school for the week (like a boarding school) and only have to walk each way once a week, but most of the kids’ parents don’t have enough money for that so they walk each day. When he got in High School, the school was almost 2 hours away and again he would walk each day. He would leave in the morning at 6 AM and not get home until 7 PM. I asked him if they had lunch at school or if there were little ladies outside selling stuff they could eat for lunch and he said, “no” so I asked if he would just then pack his lunch and he said that lunch wasn’t a necessity and he would just fast until he got home. When he was in High School, he worked for a neighbor 3 hours at night so he could help earn money for his mom and younger sister. Now all of his Sisters are living with their boyfriends because they can’t afford the labola (Bride Price) which is required before you can get married here.

The Labola comes from old traditions when most of the families were farmers and had cattle or goats. The price to marry the daughter was set at 8 cows and has now been established to amount to P2,000 per cow which totals P16,000. We were talking to our friends Kgosi and Maipelo (correct spelling this time instead of what I sent in my last letter) the couple that we are trying to work with in the YSA Ward.

They said that Botswana does have a minimum wage and it is P3.55 her hour (about $60 Cents) or P795. Per month which is about $135.00. I know they have to live on a different system than us because our rent here is P6050. Per month and they don’t have nice homes like ours, but when we go to the grocery store every week I spend at least )P400-P500 and they have to shop at the same stores that we do. I have been kind of sick this morning thinking about how in the world they can even live on that kind of money. Perhaps that is why we see so many little shanty type communities around here, but they sure look nice when they come to church. I’m proud of them; they know how to “do with what they have.”

Elder Musenbi also said they just heat their homes with wood that they gather in the outlaying areas and they do have some charcoal available to them for cooking.

Back to the Lobola, it is such a big deal here that we have found out that why so many of our YSA age kids are not married. If they cannot afford to pay the Lobola, they just don’t date or get serious with a young lady as it is an insult to ask her to marry if they don’t have the money for the Lobola. Not in the church, of course, but in the culture here; if the young girl has a child, she is worth more money so the price is even higher. If she is educated, she is worth even more Loloba and that also is paid to the parents. Hence, our missionaries teach many young couples that can’t get married and join the church. It’s crazy, that many of them live together and the parents don’t seem to mind, they just have to save up and pay the Lobola before they can get married. Elder Musembi said some of his olders Sisters have children 18-20 years old now and they still have never been able to marry because of the money.

Life for us is great here in Gaborone, we are healthy and happy and enjoying our days together. We never know what each day will bring, but it’s always hours full of work and amazing experiences that keep us humble and striving to do more.

In my reading this week I came across a wonderful quote from M. Russell Ballard that made me think of my family and just HOW VALUABLE YOU ARE. “Our family-centered perspective should make Latter-day Saints strive to be the best parents in the world. It should give us enormous respect for our children, who truly are our SPIRITUAL SIBLINGS, and it should cause us to devote whatever time is necessary to strengthen our families. Indeed, nothing is more critically connected to happiness—both our own and that of our children—than how well we love and support one another within the family.”

We love you all and we know that this is not just a really nice church that we belong to; it is the Church of Jesus Christ and He is at the head. The Priesthood we have in our homes is truly the power to act in God’s name and we are blessed to have it in our possession. We are grateful to all of you for your goodness and for your example to us. We strive to be worthy of all the blessings we already have and pray that we can live worthy to receive more of our Heavenly Fathers watchful care for each of you and also for us.

Have a wonderful week; enjoy your summer!


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