Sunday, August 22, 2010
Today as I write I have several things on my mind so I will start with the worldly one which is that tday the 22nd of August is our 6 month mark so we only have about 12 months left. I don’t want you to think we are getting trunky but of course we do miss each of you so much. The training for the two zones here in Botswana went really well on the 11th which Mom and I taught and then Thursday was the Mission Tour and President Poulsen along with Elder Dale G. Renlund the area presidency 2nd counselor (a General Authority) taught lessons 1 and 7. This next week on Wednesday Mom and I teach lessons 4 and 5 with the final two to be taught on the 1st of September with lessons 6 and 8.
We had a great evening Wednesday the day before the Mission Tour as President Poulsen (his wife has swine flu so she stayed home), Elder and Sister Renlund along with Elder and Sister Cardiff and Mom and I. We fixed a pork roast along with all the trimmings for an evening meal. It was a great meal and I didn’t think President Poulsen was going to stop eating. I know he took roast off the platter 5 different times. Not big helpings but 5 times is still a lot. We really enjoy visiting with everyone for a couple of hours after the meal and then as a couple of missionaries came President Poulsen talked with them and Elder Renlund asked if he could talk to Sister Morgan and I privately. After we got seated back in our bedroom he said, “The area presidency has received clearance or permission from Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Twelve Apostles to call you to be a counselor to President David Poulsen your mission president.” He made it clear that it was a calling and not a request. When through he asked,”You will serve in this capacity wont you?” I told him how humbled I was but I would do my very best and yes I will serve in this new calling.
The next day which was the Mission Tour Elder Renlund was giving his opening remarks and in a very nice way he announced that President Poulsen had request to have a new counselor and the name approved by Elder Jeffery R. Holland is Elder Oren Lynn Morgan and during the break you can congratulate him on his new calling. May I say that Sister Morgan and I have really felt loved by our missionaries but I know it wasn’t just Mom as they all seemed very thrilled and congratulated me with much love.
President Poulsen said I will be involved in presidency meetings that take place monthly and because of the distance from the Johannesburg Mission Office it will be done by conference calls. He has one counselor close but another one is up in the northeast part of the mission so conference calls will work out the best. I was told that I will still handle second interviews and from time to time I will most likely be interviewing missionaries as the need arises. President Poulsen is a great man and I will learn a lot from him.
Friday was a great day as we took a loaner car to our missionaries in Lobatse because their new car broke down almost two weeks ago and the warranty called for a loaner car. Then we headed back up to Kanye and I repaired two showers and hung a shower curtain, put in a new toilet seat and hung a mirror. We also meet with a man and woman that have four children and they aren’t legally married yet. They want to get married but the Labola which is money that the man owes to the womans family is always a problem here in Botswana. They are going to work it out and get married so they can join the church. They both have great testimonies and it will all work out in the end because they have four children and they need to be married.
We attended church in Gaborone West ward today which we call G-West ward. Right after the meeting we headed over to the other side of town as I was asked to conduct a baptismal meeting. Sister Barker put President Morgan conduction on the actual program. I guess the new calling will get out some way. However President Poulsen said he will e-mail President Hall the stake president to the stake we belong to and also the rest of the missionaries in the South Africa part of the mission. Elder Renlund encouraged the missionaries to call me President Morgan and suggested that Mom does the same. It will be new for everyone but we will see. President Poulsen said he will get me a couple new name tags with President Morgan on them. He said he hasn’t told anyone on the South Africa side because it was just approved shortly before they came to Botswana.
We are home now and have eaten lunch and are having some missionaries coming over at about 8:30 this evening for a nicer meal. Mom still cooks but I don’t think quite as much as she did in either of the Ukraine Missions. She likes to do it but it got a little carried away in Ukraine. We are spending time preparing the next series of the new missionary training then after Wednesday we only have two more but they are both in the same day as this time we do two as well. We are very busy as we still have to pay the bills, do the banking, pay rent and take then to different places and banks. I have missionaries bring in flat tires, damaged rims, need new lights on bikes and the list goes on and on. We love being busy and we seem to do better if we are kept busy.
I don’t remember if I told you about the work we did in Lobatse the other day or not. But I don’t think I did so here it goes. We went to Kanye and came back through Lobatse. The two towns and Gaborone make a triangle with each leg about 100 kilometers and going to one is bad enough but to hit the other on the way home is hard but it saves another trip the next day. After Kanye we had a church sign that has the church logo in it with an arrow point the direction to the church that I told the Elders I would help put un and cement into the ground. We tried to go to a Builders World (like a lumber yard) and get a few things. A shovel, cement, paint brush, some paint, a garden hose connector and a few meters of garden hose to make our hose longer. Well I could fill up two pages with the story of Builders World. We couldn’t find anything without asking for each item. Shovel were not by any other yard or garden tools, they were clear in the back corner of the outer building or shed and I’ll bet there was 200 or more. We found a ¼ bag of cement and they would not sell it to us. I offered them twice its value but because it isn’t in there system they couldn’t sell it. We could not find a short piece of hose anywhere they sold 25 meters or longer. It is probably a good thing we didn’t because even though our hose was about a ¾ “ diameter hose all there connecting fittings were for 3/8” flow so we would have lost over half our flow in the connection. We couldn’t find anything except oil base paint and a dinky brush so we made do. We had to make a second trip down because of the cement. We couldn’t find any secrete here in Gaborone either so I found a church member that is building a house and gave me some cement and gravel mix.
In Lobatse to get into the outside green tank they use as a baptismal font they climb the fence next to the font and step down on a small desk submersed in the font. They have been promised a ladder for over a year so the same day I got the cement mix I found a ladder. The next day we went down and had a great day competing everything with the Elders help. I’m not sure how much of this is the duty of a counselor to the mission president but we aren’t going to change our life style. We know what the missionaries need and we just do it for them. They are very busy teaching the gospel and are busy all the time. We teach a couple nights a week with them but we do so many other things that they don’t and can’t do.
The Gospel is true and we love serving here in Botswana. We love each of you and pray for you every time we get down on our knees (several times each day). We love our family which includes our extended family very much. I will close for now. DAD and MOM
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Hello! From Botswana,
It’s been a very busy week and we are still learning from our experiences here. We had our 8 hour training meeting on Wednesday and I think it went reasonably well. We had a few glitches in setting up all the equipment and that didn’t go exactly as planned, but we compromised and got most of the teaching done the best we knew how. The Missionaries have been very complimentary and said they loved the teaching and felt really inspired to become better teachers because of the things the Brethren have sent for them to hear. It was a full day, but we loved it.
We’ve had lots of car problems lately and Dad has to deal with all of those. We are working very hard at getting our Lobatse Elders back in their car, it’s been in the shop since last Saturday night. We finally gave them permission to hire a Taxi to run them around as they are really in a rural area and their appointments have been cancelled two or three times because each day the garage promises the car will be ready and it never is. They’ve had to order parts from JoBurg twice because they can’t figure out what it wrong, we drove down to Lobatse this week to help the Elders with their appointments and we thought to take them to get their car, but………….. When we got there, we saw about 8 people trying to push it backwards up a hill to get it out of their way so they could work on someone else’s car. They just couldn’t get the car to go back in the direction they wanted as no one knew how to back it up around a corner. It was quite a sight and somehow we knew right away that we were not going to get the car AGAIN! They had to come into Gabs on Wednesday for the training on a bus and after the training we drove them back to their area. We hope they get their car back before the training this week, which is on Thursday. This week will actually be our Mission Tour, which means the President and an Area Authority will be coming up to do the training so we are quite excited about that. We are planning a dinner for the President and Sister Poulsen, our General Authority President Renlund and his wife and the Cardiff’s from Francistown and ourselves. We don’t have 8 plates alike, or even have 8 bowls, but somehow we are going to try to make this a nice dinner here at the Mission Home. I plan to cook a Pork roast and potatoes and carrots if I can find a large roaster, if not I might do it in two crock pots (thank goodness for the crock pots) they save my life when I cook for the Elders and I remember in Ukraine when we didn’t have them at all.
We had a lady that caters on the streets fix our dinner last Wednesday as I didn’t think I could be one of the two speakers for the day and pull of a meal with only a 30 minute lunch break. She fixed all Afrikan food and it was pretty good. She fixed the stuff I told you about that is called “pop” and is staple that looks like stiff mashed potatoes (or over cooked rice) and another dish just like it that looked like it had some specks of something in it and I didn’t care of either of those, but she had a chicken platter that was great, a shredded up beef (their beef tastes like wild game to me) but pretty normal and then she had several other dishes that were like salads or macaroni only different than we have at home. I tried them all and thought they were quite tasty. There was, However, one dish that I’ve seen the Elders eat before and I can’t bring myself to even put any on my plate to eat. It looks exactly like a big Cow Pie, and I’ll just leave it at that!
We all got full and I didn’t have to do a thing except bring the paper products to serve it on, my white sheets to use for table covers, and the juice to drink. Easiest Missionary Dinner I’ve ever been involved in so I thought it was great. We are going to have someone like that do each of the meals for this training as I can’t be in two places at once and perhaps I’ll enjoy it so much that I won’t ever cook for the dinners again. Probably not! But it’s nice to have the option.
Today we went to church in Mochudi, the closest Branch outside of Gabs. Our Stake President came up to Botswana today and wanted us to travel with him. He is such a great speaker that we love to be in whatever Branch or Ward he is in so it’s nice that he likes us to be where he is. Afterwards, we hurried back home to put the finishing touches on our talks for a Fireside in the Young Single’s Ward this afternoon. They invited all the YSA people from all of Botswana, even if they have children, so it was a big crowd. The chapel was really full and they are a really sharp group of Young Adults. The guys are Tall, Dark (of course) and Handsome and dress really sharp. The girls are beautiful and dress really stylish and have their hair all done up in every configuration of braids; it’s truly a sight to behold. We love to be involved with them and they truly seem to love it when we come to anything they are having. I felt like our talks went well and we are both just happy to have them over so we can continue work on our next two sets of training for the missionaries. By September 2nd, we will be finished with all of our training sessions and I have to say it will be a BIG relief to have them done. I’m sure there will be some follow up, but the hardest part and the preparation will be done by then.
I know this is a big week for everyone at home with Kricket coming in with her new baby Trey, Mike and DiDi and family coming up and we are excited that Bryce and Melissa will be home from tour and together again with their little family, Alex and Morgan will be home from tour also and I’m sure everyone that was on tour will have so many adventures to relate to us. Elder Greener will be returning from his mission for all of you to see, hug, and especially to hear all about his experiences in Brasil. Also, Dallyn will be turning 12 and receiving the Aaronic Priesthood; what a busy-but wonderful weekend you should each be having and we are so proud of you all. There could even be more than I’m not thinking about right now, but I hope it’s a great weekend and we will certainly be looking forward to hearing all about it. I also know that it’s about time for all the kids to go back to school and another summer is almost over. I’m so proud of you for the things you do with your families and we love hearing about all of their activities. (Hint, Hint, we would love some more letters) We miss all of you and we pray for you constantly. We feel so blessed to know that you are all doing such a great job as parents and that our Grand Children are receiving all the blessings that can come to them as they are raised by righteous parents in homes with all the blessings of the gospel and the Priesthood of God. THANK YOU
I’ll close by sharing something I read in my Book of Mormon Institute Manual this week while I was preparing for training and for speaking. It’s in Jacob 3: It was a real reminder to me about how blessed Dad and I are by each one of you. We recognize our blessings every day and we truly thank our Heavenly Father.
Jacob 3: Example!
Children constantly learn from the examples set by those around them. Elder McConkie Quote: When we violate any commandment, however small, our youth may choose to violate a commandment later on in life perhaps 10 times or 100 times worse and justify it on the basis of the small commandment we broke.”
Elder Holland admonished: “I think some parents may not understand that even when they feel secure in their own minds regarding matters of personal testimony, they can nevertheless make that faith too difficult for their children to detect. We can be reasonable active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints, but if we do not Live lives of gospel integrity and convey to our children powerful, heartfelt convictions regarding the truthfulness of the Restoration and the divine guidance of the Church from the First Vision to this very hour, then those children may, to our regret but not surprise, turn out NOT to be visibly active, meeting-going Latter-day Saints or sometimes anything close to it.
“Live the gospel as conspicuously as you can. Keep the covenants your children know you have made. Give Priesthood blessings and bear your testimony? Don’t just assume your children will somehow get the drift of your beliefs on their own.”
I know Heavenly Father loves our grandchildren because He sent them to YOU!! Please give each of them a hug and kiss for us this week and try to remind them how much we love and miss them. Thank you for living the gospel so conspicuously!!! Keep up the Good Work.
Love Ya, Mean It!!!
Mom and Dad, Granny & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Dear Family and Friends
What another week it has been here in Botswana. A young sister we meet in Molepolole branch a few months back has been assigned on the Pease Corp to serve in Nata which is a city up north. When she can she comes into Francistown to attend church services. Her sister is getting married back in Boston and she came as far as Gaborone by bus and stayed the night with us and then on Wednesday we took her to the airport where she made connections through Johannesburg to fly to Boston. I think this next Thursday she will make the reverse trip. We will most likely take her to Francistown as I have been asked to do an audit on the Francistown Branch financial records. We will most likely pick her up at the airport and head straight up and do the audit Thursday evening and stay overnight then come back Friday sometime. That is about a 5 hour drive each way but when the area office calls us to do something I want to get done before they need it. We are to do it in the month of August and have it turned in before the 30th of September. Well they should have it before the 20th of August back in their office completed.
Friday was a great day as we had the Broadhurst District have district meeting here in the mission home. It was a good meeting and we talked about having the missionaries do 2 hours a week of working with less actives. They asked me to go to Bishop Tembo’s office and ask him for two names of people less active that they can work on for each of the companionships. Mom and I went and he was thrilled to think we would help in that way. He said he will be happy to get us some names.
Saturday which was our preparation day I watered all the plants and washed the car and did the vacuuming around the house and then we studied for the coming up mini zone conference where we are to train the two zones except for Francistown. Elder and Sister Cardiff will take the four elders from Francistown and train them up there. We will have 30 missionaries from Gaborone, Molepolole, Mafikeng, Kanye, Mochudi and Lobatse. They will come in about 8:00 AM and watch a two hour DVD then we start the training from 10:00 – 12:30 with a half hour lunch. Then in the afternoon we start at 1:00 – 3:30 and then send them back to their areas to practice what they have just learned. This is happening throughout the mission. President Poulsen will have the biggest group from the Johannesburg area and then ours will be the next biggest with about three other couples doing like the Cardiff’s are doing in Francistown. I don’t know if we are up to it but we will do our best. After we studied for the training we went a Cottage Meeting that was held in the Broadhurst Area. It was fun and the missionaries had about thirty out but most were members. After that I took mom out for dinner at the Red Lantern which is a Chinese restaurant, that was all last night.
We went to Molepolole Branch today and were asked to teach two lessons on preparing for some of the members to go to the temple. It was a great experience. Sometimes I wonder where we even get time to prepare lessons but we seem to get it done and again today we truly felt the spirit directing our thoughts and words. After the block of meetings the missionaries had a baptism.
Well I will close for now. Thanks to each of you that write.
LOVE OUT OF BOTSWANA, DAD and MOM
Monday, August 2, 2010
Hello from Botswana!
This was our very busy week with new missionaries arriving and then the weekend was so hectic that I didn’t get time to write. We got 9 new missionaries on Thursday and we always have piles of paperwork to do before they come in and then even more when they get here. This time was especially hard as we ran into “new rules” at Immigration again which totally change how we have to do things. They never give you any notice, you just show up at the window with all the forms filled out and then they say “it’d different now.” It’s so bad this time that President Poulsen wants us to start having the Elder’s apply for Permanent Residency instead of just having them be able to be in the country for 6 months. President talked to us about some new plans from the Brethren that will affect the mission and how it is run, so he was actually planning to leave our missionaries in their companionships longer and was wishing he had that option here in Botswana. Until now, the Elders could only stay 180 days and then they had to leave but if we apply for different status for them, they will be able to stay as long as he wants to leave them here. It costs a lot more money to do things this way, but in the long run it will probably be easier for us and better for President. Zone Conferences will be every quarter instead of every transfer (6 weeks), Zone Leader meetings will be held more often and will include District Leaders and Trainers part of the time; and Specialized Training will be as needed and when called for by the President.
Things are actually changing in the Missionary Program from Salt Lake and we have a bunch of new training lessons on how we use Preach My Gospel so we just received a DHL package from President with our training DVD’s and lesson outlines; and during the month of August we will actually be training all of our Botswana Missionaries on the new program. The training meetings will be held each Wednesday and last all day long. There are 8 lessons and we teach one in the morning and one in the afternoon on each of the Wednesday’s starting with August 11th and ending on September 1st. I’m actually very nervous about teaching these Missionaries who are already trained on Preach My Gospel and trying to train them to be better teachers. Please include us in your prayers; those of you who know us know that we are better with organizing and finances than we are at teaching or training!! It’s WAY out of my comfort zone!
We’ve been going out with the missionaries more and more. We’ve been going to all of the District Meetings and discussing their families and investigators and then volunteering to help where we can with the people they are teaching. We went across the border into South Afrika again last weekend and were able to go out with the Elders there. We actually went with them to a couple they have been teaching for 4 months but could get them to come to church. They are from India and are very Catholic, (but don’t go to church) but our visit went really well and we bore testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel and the important of attending church on the Sabbath and I explained to the lady of the house about how our meeting schedule went and how much she would love Relief Society and she said she would come the coming Sunday. I told her we wouldn’t be there again for a couple of months but I’d check to see how she enjoyed the meetings. The Elders called me today to say that she was at church and that she loved the meetings. Her husband didn’t come, he stayed home with a grandchild that they are raising, but he said he would come next week. We’ll see! We are going with the Sisters again tomorrow to our little family, Makesure and Balimoji with the 3 girls. Balimoji and the 2 older girls came to church again Sunday, but Makesure stayed home with the youngest daughter (about 2)who just cries a lot and they are afraid to take her into the church. They just haven’t realized how important it is for him to make it to church. He thinks he has to work all the time (actually he probably does) just to make ends meet, but he reads the scriptures and understands them and ask great questions, but send his wife and daughters to church alone. He came once though, so we’ll have to keep working on them.
Kgosi and Maipelo came over again last night for Family Home Evening. They can’t come on Monday evening anymore as Kgosi is now going to school for 2 hours each evening (6 days a week from 6 pm to 8 pm) after he works from 7 AM to 5:30. They are making plans to be married in January and couldn’t wait to tell us that Kgosi was able to bear his testimony on Sunday and give a prayer. He has been going through the repentance process for a long time as he was inactive for 7 years and has a 6 year old son. They are trying to get custody of his boy before they get married, but that again costs a lot of money. He said he has to pay his x-girlfriend P8,000 and then she will let him have custody. Kgosi has actually raised him most of the time already, but that’s the way the law runs around here. He has to give the money to the girls parents and then they will sign the papers for him to be part of Kgosi and Maipelo’s marriage agreement. So before they can get married, he has to come up with P8,000 for the child custody and P16,000 for the Labola. He has a good job, he actually is the Human Resource Manager for a Pie making company here called “Pie City.” I have no idea what kind of money he makes, but it can’t be too great as I know he lives in a one room apartment behind some peoples house right close to us. I think I told you, we went there and there is a bed, a dresser and not even enough room to put two chairs for us to set on while we visited him. He shares a kitchen with another one room tenant on the same property. We’ll just keep having FHE with them and give them any advice and help them along in the gospel and we know that Heavenly Father will help them work out the rest if they are faithful. They sure are great people though and we love them a lot. Kgosi is 30 (same day as Bryce) and Maipelo is 25 and just got a job working as a receptionist for a big lumber yard called “Lumber City.”
Also, new in the mission; President is trying something tomorrow by holding Zone Leaders training in more local places to avoid so much travel. The Zone Leaders from the 2 Botswana zones will come here tomorrow and all the Zone Leaders will be taught on Skype by President. Last week when our missionaries came in, they were stuck at the border until after mid-night so President didn’t want them to have to try that again so soon. It’s been coming as each trip through the border get’s more difficult but Dad worked with the border people by phone, the Elders did everything but “beg” and they just wouldn’t let them through without going through all of their stuff. They had a trailer full of the 9 new missionaries stuff and some copies of the Book of Mormon and some “Helping Hands Vests” for a big service event being done all over Afrika on August 21st. They wanted the Elders to pay a bunch of money for these items to go across the border and last month they said the Elders couldn’t take any RAND (South Afrikan Money) across the border so they all cashed it in before they came here for PULA (Botswana Money) and the border people wouldn’t accept their Pula. The South Afrikan Border side was the toughest and took all the time, but by the time the missionaries got through the South Afrika side, the border was closed on the Botswana side (it was 12:15 AM and they closed at midnight) and so the people were leaving and wouldn’t check their trailer and let them through. They let the missionaries actually show their passports and go through, but made them leave the trailer til morning so they could go through it and charge their customs fee’s also. The missionaries had to go back at 6AM the next morning and get the trailer. Anyway, border problems and immigration problems seem to be our lots and we get on our knee’s a lot about both of these. We try to get it right, but it just keeps changing and we know Heavenly Father is helping us or it would be impossible. We love the work, feel the challenges, but also recognize the guidance and direction of the Holy Ghost and we know that the Savior knows we are doing our best. We love Him and we will continue to serve to the very best of our ability.
Please know that we love you and we hope you are all having a great summer. WRITE!!
Love,Dad and Mom, Granny & PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine