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