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