Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week #37 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends: 31 October 2010 (31 Halloween 2010)

I know we are in the hands of the Lord and it is his mission and we only do what we can do but this past week was a disaster. I would apologize to each of you about your prayers but perhaps your prayers were a little more open minded than mine. Of course we wanted everything to work out great and wonderful for our 4 missionaries to be able to stay here in Botswana and prayed very hard for that, but again we know we are in the hands of the Lord and His was is to take them out and put them back in South Africa to finish their missions. It is so impossible to tell you how it is to work with the immigration department here in Botswana. Even though it is very, very difficult I do not loss my cool. I may not smile all the time and I get very disappointed but I hold my temper and try my hardest to be kind, friendly, and in some cases compliment them. You might ask how I can be complimentary to them in the problems I have with their department but I tell them that when you make a decision based on what you know and understand your department is very strong and stick together and I admire that. They were very nice and asked how many days we needed to get these four ready to leave the country. I lightly asked for the 1s of December when we have or next scheduled transfer and they declined. I asked if we could have until the 15th of November and they declined. Finally we wrote a formal letter and asked for 10th of November and they excepted but charged us P100.00 for each application. So all in all the application for residence permit was P500.00, passport pictures P30.00, Doctors exam P157.00 and now the P100.00 and all the time of waiting to apply and waiting for to see if ready and then waiting for results all adds up to much money and time.

Now that I have unloaded all this information you won’t think that I was really quite nice to the immigration department in person. I guess the interesting thing is that President Poulsen has chosen to move them tomorrow instead of the 10 days that would have taken them to the 10th of November. That doesn’t bother me because as far as I’m concerned the sooner the better. So again we get 4 new elders tomorrow afternoon. It will be a completely different schedule than regular transfers because there will be no transfer meeting in Johannesburg at 1:00 for two hours.

This is our conference weekend meaning General Conference weekend as the local wards and branches meet as though they were in Salt Lake City attending all the meetings. Of course very few come on Saturday morning or afternoon and a medium size number of Priesthood holders for the Priesthood session. Today being Sunday the morning session at Broadhurst was attended by about 100 people. I think most of them think General Conference weekend is a holiday and they don’t have to attend. We left a little early to head up to Mochudi for 3 baptisms and arrived as they were still in their wet cloths but didn’t get a chance to see the baptisms. We stayed for their testimonies and closing and had a chance to visit with everyone. Then we head back to the school they are using for a church for the last session of conference. All in all we got to see all five sessions of conference.

We thought this week coming up would be easier but with 4 new missionaries the first half of the week will be busy as usual. We are changing apartments of flat for the zone leaders and the set of elders living with them and hopefully this will be finished by Tuesday. Next week the elders (two sets) will be moving apartments (flats) as well. It is a never ending marry go round. We are keeping busy and that is what we like the most. Wednesday we travel to Kanye and put in some white boards (meaning me) and deliver a refrigerator and stove for their new building as well. Then at noon we have an interview with a young 18 year old single girl that was raped and is expecting. I pray for the spirit to be with me in consoling her and knowing what to say. I was asked by the area mental health person (Elder Scott) to visit with her. The main thing he wants me to find out is was she really raped or was it through consent. It makes a lot of difference as to how to advise her about abortion or keeping the child or putting it up for adoption. I find myself in some unusual circumstances but with faith, and strong prayers the Lord blessing me to make decisions that I would hesitate under different circumstances.

We have one flat that 4 sisters used to live and another flat across town where the other two used to live but now we only have 2 sisters here in Gaborone and 4 in Francistown. I asked President Poulsen what his intentions was going to be for the 1st of December transfers as two of the six go home and we get four brand new ones. That will put 4 in Francistown and 4 here in Gaborone. Where ward or wards does he want them to serve in. He said President Morgan that will be your call because you know Botswana better than I do. So prayerfully I have a big decision to make about the sisters here in Gaborone. The 4 in Francistown will stay in the two areas that they are currently serving in. Francistown is really growing and they are now meeting in two different buildings and have split the 2 sets of elders and the 2 sets of sisters up so each building has 2 elders and 2 sisters in them. I think Elder and Sister Cardiff have their hands fuller than they planned. Two buildings and 2 sets of elders and 2 sets of sisters with getting a new apartment for the sisters has been a lot of work for them.

This Sunday evening and I think I will finish this letter and relax for a couple of hours before going to bed. I hope everything is going well back home. We got a letter from Charne Adams and Rohan is engaged as of past weekend. She is from back east someplace like Philadelphia and Charne said they are really in love and plan an April wedding so Elder Colin and Sister Jenny Bricknell can be there with them. As you can life continues to progress. I’m sure Dax and Melissa are getting excited about the up coming date. We wish we could be there so please keep us informed each step of the way. Braxton and Daniel we are excited for you taking the temple preparation classes. We will be excited to hear when you plan to go and be sealed in the temple. We love you both and that cute great granddaughter as well. Drop us a line sometime and tell us about your lives and what you are doing.

I challenge anyone to write we love letters and it keeps us going. Thank you for you that do write and some of them are very regular, Melissa is the top of the list.

The Gospel is true and we love our Savior Jesus Christ and we do this for Him. We can feel good about not being with our wonderful family only because of our love for Him and serving Him We receive endless blessings from Him and the greatest of all it the Atonement.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Immigration in BOTSWANA!!!

Dear Family,
We do appreciate all the prayers that have gone up in our behalf, but today we found out that we lost the battle. Yesterday was our missonaries last legal day in the country and for 2 days we've been hearing that everything was probably going to fine and to not worry. The 2nd in command told us that the head lady was too busy to meet with us but that it wouldn't be right for them to make our Elder's leave as they hadn't done anything wrong and they had discovered they actually had a copy of the Constitution of the Church here in Botswana and that is what they said we didn't produce. So last night we decided not to worry even though we wished we had something in our hands that made our missionaries legal in the country. We knew if they got picked up for a traffic ticket or anything else, they would be deported but we talked to each of them and told them be extremely careful and we would probably be able to get new paperwork for them soon which would extend their stay here.
But this morning we got the phone call that the committee had met and we have to bring all four of the Elders in to Gaborone on Friday to appear before the committee and they would grant them 10 days to be out of the country. We were in shock and so are our Elders tonight, but we called President Poulsen and he is preparing an emergency transfer and.....................................
We've been on the road all day with the guy from the Physical Facilities from JoBurg assessing the needs for our Branches in Lobatse (1 hour SW of here) and then to Kanye (1 1/2 hours from there) and then to Molepolole (1 hour from there) and then on to Mochudi about 1 1/2 hours again.) All of them are meeting in homes or in schools and their conditions aren't the best so hopefully he will see what they need and get them in better shape. Kanye just moved into a building that the church has remodeled, however it still doesn't have a ceiling or any air conditioning and none of the doors shut, little lone lock and the toilets leak so bad that all the doors are swollen and won't shut. This is a NEW remodel job; so needless to say he wasn't happy there but the land lady came and she said she would get the things fixed soon. Mochudi has outgrown their house and we have found a school that is willing to try letting us use their big hall and 3 classrooms on Sunday. They would only contract for 5 months so we just have to try to make them happy and hopefully they will let us stay longer. Molepolole also meets in a school but they only let us use their hall and we have no classrooms so everyone but the Adult Sunday School class and the RS meets outside in the heat and it's not the best, but.............The Elders live next door so some of the classes have been going over to their place for class but that is not really according to the rules, so we've got to find them something.
So, everyone apprecaite your buildings, even if they are several years old and the ball park isn't very green or as large as you would like. When we came home from Ukraine I thought our building was so beautiful and I wished we could send it to Ukraine. Now I have the same feelings about the Branches here and just wish we could transport it over here! We love you, we love America and we are thankful for everything we have; especially each of you!
THanks again for all of your prayers. We can always use them!
Mom and Dad, Granny and PaPa Lynn, President & Sister Morgan

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week #36 - BOTSWANA BULLETIN! - Granny

Sunday October 24, 2010

Dear Family & friends,

Well, our whirlwind finally came to a close without any new information from Immigration. We actually spent at least 15 hours there this week and didn’t get the job done. We did get Residence Permits applied for for 5 of the 6 new missionaries that came in on Wednesday night. The 6th one is from South Africa and has to be done at a different Immigration building and the lines were clear out of the building by the time we got there so we gave up and he is coming back in from his area on Tuesday at 7AM so we can try again. Then we had 2 others arrive on Thursday night so we started the process with him. We did the Police Dept for Certifying documents, the mall for the passport pictures and then to the Doctor Office for physical and then to immigration. We thought things were going well until he spent 1 ½ hours at the window (after 1 ½ hours in line) and their system kept malfunctioning and they couldn’t get his fingerprints taken so we were told he’d have to come back on Monday. The other new Elder only has 90 days left to serve his mission so we won’t actually have to do any paperwork for him. This was all we could do for our new ones, but while all of this was going on President Morgan was working with legal help and a member that serves on the Board of Directors for the Minister of Religion trying to get an appeal for the 5 Missionaries that have been refused Residency. We have been told they have to leave the country by Tuesday at midnight while we go through the appeals process which will take up to 3 months. We are working with President to be ready for an emergency transfer, but we are fasting and praying we will be given permission to keep them in the country while the appeals process takes place. We’ll know Monday as two of the heads of the Department will meet and then call us so Dad and Brother Thebe (our member helper) can go into Immigration for a final meeting before their decision. Pray for us! We know it won’t be the end of the world, but one of these Elders is a Branch President, one is a Zone Leader and one is in an area where 3 of the 4 Missionaries have been recently replaced, one due to Immigration Emergency transfer already and one President had to move because he had a girl after him. FUN!

Saturday we just spent the day at home having a real preparation day, something we very seldom get. We clean the house together, worked in the little yard and did our grocery shopping. We had been feeding missionaries all week and there wasn’t a thing in the house to eat. When they come in across the border, it’s about 10:30 at night and they have been on the road fir 4 or 5 hours from Joburg and across the border so we always have a meal for them before they all decend on the Zone Leaders flat which would never have food for so many people. Dad gathers their passport and important information, takes their pictures and we send them to bed. Early the next morning they come back over for Banana Bread and fruit and begin the long process of getting registered here and we haven’t been getting finished with all of that until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon when they return to the mission home to retrieve their belongings and meet up with their companions. They come without Pula so until they get to their areas they have no way to buy food and there isn’t anywhere to get while we are at Immigration and that is where we land at lunch time. When we get done I just pull out whatever I can find and give them something to make a sandwich or some left-overs from their evening meal the night before. They are always grateful and never complain about the repeat and gobble up everything I put out. I try to have cookies, Wacky cake and lots of Banana Bread and we always get by. This time I fixed Bar-B-Q and that seems to go over well; it’s getting too hot to serve soup even at 10:30 at night so I’m buying lots of fruit these days and they help themselves!

We went to Mafikeng to church today which is 2 hours back across the border into South Africa. We’ve gotten pretty good at the “border thing” and didn’t have much trouble except for the wait sometimes. We got through really easy at 8 O’clock this morning but had to wait in line for 45 minutes this afternoon at 2:30 when we returned to Botswana. They had new forms to fill out the it seemed to be taking forever; hopefully they will get that worked out before we got again.

In Relief Society today we had a lesson on nutrition and on cooking good meals for our family. In the lesson it also talked about how important meal time was for our family and that it was a good chance for us to talk to them about their day and share some family time together just talking. Well, we got the message from one elderly lady that children need to be taught manners and that it was not proper to talk at the table. She said they could choke on their food or food might fly out of their mouths and hit someone and that wasn’t proper. She also said that if you’re talking at the table you might say something that would offend someone and they would have to leave the table crying or be all upset. That sparked a lively debate and I tried to give a little advice which might have been accepted by some, but certainly not all! The teacher finally summed it all up by saying that there were several different Tribes represented in the class and we all have different customs and upbringings and that we have to do the best we can for our families. She did say that in her family she was brought up the same way and that she had taught her children to “zip-it” while they were eating and not to talk. She was going to study and read about the things being taught by the church to see if she needed to make some changes. Time was up and that’s where we left things and I just sat there thinking about the trials and differences of our Heavenly Father’s children and how hard it must be for Him to teach us all the things he wants us to do so we are prepared to bring His children back together again. I do have to add that none of the ladies in Relief Society had ever seen a “Food Pyramid” chart before. There was one in the manual they were using and the teacher offered to take the book to her work and make copies for each of the ladies. I suggested they put it up on their refrigerators and try to use it as they shopped and as they cooked. They got into quite a discussion about eating meat and said they actually eat too much meat and mostly starches. They don’t grow fruits or vegetables and some of they said they eat Donkey meat and others stuck up their noses and said “really?”. One of the Sisters told me that Donkey meat was very good for you and was high in fat and that you could always tell the Sisters that ate donkey because they were nice and fat. I chose to stay out of that one and tried not to act judgmental in either direction.

We are back at home now, trying to gear up for our Monday at Immigration, Wednesday we will be traveling with the FM guy from Joburg to four of our villages as we try to access the needs for our buildings here in Botswana. They all just meet in homes that have been turned into meeting houses or one is in a new office complex that was suppose to be remodeled for a meetings house but they are meeting in it and there is no ceiling in the place at all so all the noise just goes everywhere. The landlady said she would get the ceiling done last month, but………….. and they were so crowded where they were that they went ahead and moved in. The toilets don’t work and had to locked up today so we’ve got to get some things taken care of there. Another is trying to get permission to meet in a school and it is looking promising but they won’t let us store anything there so the Elders will have to carry in chairs, song books, lesson books, primary items like nursery toys and etc. each week when they have church. We are hoping that we can talk that over and perhaps they will be a little more lenient and allow us to use a locker space or two and perhaps just store our chairs in their big hall if we let them use the chairs also. We’ll be working on that stuff on building needs on Wednesday and then helping two sets of Elders move into a new apartment on Friday and helping the Mochudi Branch prepare to hold church in the school on Saturday if everything works out for that to happen. We were traveling to Francistown on Friday (5 hours North) as we haven’t been there for 3 months but these other two things are taking precedence so we will have to put that off until another time. They are growing fast up there and just divided their branch into Two houses, one had 86 at church today and the other had 126 in a building that hold 85. We’ve got to do a little accessing there and see what else we can do for them; perhaps another division already but we’ll have to wait until we can reschedule our visit up there but it needs to be soon!

That about sums ups our week but I did read something this week that I wanted to share with all of you.

The Spiritual thought for the week from my Book of Mormon Institute Manual is:

I’m studying in Alma 41: about the Probationary Time. Elder William R. Bradford of the Seventy was quoted to say that “the purpose of mortality is to become like our Father in Heaven: “This life is a probationary period. It is a marvelous gift of time during which we can LEARN TO BE LIKE OUR Heavenly Father by following the teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ. THE PATH HE LEADS US ON IS NOT A CLUTTERED PATH. IT IS SIMPLE AND STRAIGHT AND LIGHTED BY THE SPIRIT.”

All our Love,

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No News yet!

Dear Family,
We don't really have any good news today, but we did feel of your prayers today as I only got to tears once instead of 3 or 4 times like the other days this week. We spent two hours getting our 6 new Elders (two more will arrive tomorrow) Certified at the Police Department, more Passport photo's taken and their physical's from the Doctor (a requirement for residency application) and then we headed for the Immigration Office. We spent 31/2 hours there with them applying and with us working at a different window on trying to get some relief on the group that have been rejected. We actually didn't get anywhere but we did get the official letter that we needed to begin our Appeal's process. We were told that it would take 2 - 3 months for the appeal and our missionaries had to wait out of the country until their appeal comes up and then they would have to appear in person before the committee. We called President Poulsen and gave him the bad news and he is almost as frustrated as we are but doesn't blame us.
Dad remembered the name of a church member that use to be on a political board and has helped us one other time. He came over and spent the evening with Dad re-writing an appeal letter and letters to the committe explaining why it would be so difficult to have our missionaries leave when their apartments and everything they own is right here in Botswana and that they come from many other countries to do this volunteer work here for the people of Botswana. This Brother Thebe is going to try to call someone tomorrow morning and get an actual appointment and then the two of them will try to see if they can get to anyone that will actually do anything for us. We are hopeful but trying to be realistic and realize that 'THE WORK WILL ROLL FORWARD" and THE LORD IS IN CHARGE!!!
I think it is just especially hard for Dad and I as we know President counts on us to keep everyone legal and we have been doing our best but we are beginning to think that our best isn't good enough. If we loose these 5 Elders, two of our areas will be left with no Branch President, No Zone Leader, and President just put new companions with them to train and so the areas will be completely "whitewashed" in Branches that are already struggling. Continue to keep us in your prayers, we are exhausted but together and fine. We are thankful that we have you to lean on and that you are "Forever Strong" in the gospel and in your family values. How blessed we are!
We Love You ALL so much!
Mom and Dad

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prayers needed in Botswana!

Thursday 21 October 2010

This week has been about the hardest week here and we are needing ALL of your prayers tonight just to help us get the work done. Just briefly here is the deal!

Monday we found out that after 3 months of meeting with people at Immigration and several new letters written at their request, Five of our eight missionaries from August have been refused Residency. Theee got approved (same paperwork, but different committee) and five got rejected. The “system” was down so they couldn’t tell us “why” just that they had been rejected. We called every half hour all day to see if the system was up and running, but on Tuesday it still wasn’t up and running until about 4:00, too late for us to get clear out there before they close at 4:30. We went our first thing on Wednesday, only to be told that they were refused because the committee wanted a copy of our church “Constitution” included in their packet tell them “how our church does business in Botswana.” We asked for a chance to actually talk to the committee but they said we needed a “form letter in writing” before we could have an appointment to talk to the committee and they would have this letter ready at 3:30. We went back at 3:30 and “took a number” and waited in line until 4:30 when they close their windows and announce that “you’ll have to come back tomorrow because it’s time to close.”

It’s now Thursday morning at 4:30, and we are preparing new paperwork for the 8 new missionaries we just got at mid-night. We still have 7 missionaries from September’s transfer with paper work at Immigration (in limbo) and we are a little unsure where they stand also, but the August group now have 5 days to either be legal or leave the country. With new missionaries just coming in last night, we don’t want to have to call President Poulsen and tell him we still haven’t been able to get the August group legal and we have to do an emergency transfer.

This transfer we had to send two Elders out 6 weeks early as we could not clearance for them to stay their normal 180 days, they only gave them extentions for 150 so we had to send them to Joburg early.

In the middle of all of this, on Monday we got a notice from the small local Post Office that we had a package to be picked up. We have a P.O. Box, so we actually picked up the notice on Monday evening too late to ask for the package. Tuesday was a blur and we didn’t get to the Post Office until about 4:30 only to be told that the package was actually at the Main Post Office in downtown and we didn’t have time to get there before they closed so we went in first thing Wednesday morning just to be told that they sent in back. They told us they had the package for a month and when we didn’t claim it, they returned it. We are assuming it was Cindy’s “birthday” package for me as they said in arrived in September. We told them we had never been notified until Monday, but they insisted they had sent an earlier notification and they were sorry we hadn’t received. We asked “why” they sent a 2nd notice and then two days later return the package, but they didn’t seem to have an answer for that. So, Cindy I’m sure the caramels are hard and the Cinnamon Jolly Ranchers are still eatable so we are sorry and we hope your family likes them. Actually, it just wasn’t the news I needed this week, but we’ll live and we don’t need anyone to send anything! We did get a Halloween package from Aunt Carma, I’m not sure how it got through except that she did put our phone number on it and it wasn’t too big and did actually go to our small post office instead of the main one in town and they seem to know who we are and call when our missionaries get a package. Dad wrote a quick e-mail to all of our missionaries and told them to be sure and have their parents send small Christmas packages in Priority Envelopes and to put our phone number on them and they might actually arrive.

The Sisters wrecked their car about a week ago and that has been a trial. The Elders in this area are on bikes, four of our Sisters got sent to Francistown (5 hours North) for a new trail run up there. The Sisters have always served here in Gaborone, but Francistown is growing so fast they needed more missionaries and President Poulsen got special permission from Salt Lake to send them up there. Previously the only place Sisters could serve in this mission was here in Gaborone. Actually, we have the only “white sisters” in all of the African missions serving in Botswana, the rest are native African Sisters serving from other countries. We are missing them and especially missing having 4 less missionaries to do the work here in Gaborone. Now we have 4 less missionaries, one set of Elders on Bikes and one set of Sister’s in a huge car area with no car. Dad has been trying to get some bids on getting it fixed, but……………….. Actually last night he got the car towed to a “panel beater” place that gave us the best price, only to find out that the guy who towed it from the scene of the accident charges us over P5110. Just to tow it and have it set at his business for the 8 days it took us to get anyone to help us. That is actually about $800 and I guess that is not terrible at home, but here it was shocking and even the guy that is going to fix it said they totally “ripped us off” and it should have been much cheaper. Anyway, it’s been a long week and it’s only Thursday morning early and we need your faith and prayers to get us through this one.

We will take our 8 new missionaries to the Police Station this morning to get all of their personal papers certified, to the mall for passport pictures, then to the Doctor for a physical and then to Immigration to “begin” their lost journey to try to get Residency. They each will have a folder full of papers including the “Constitution of the Church” we will did obtain by calling our wonderful friend Elder Bricknell that works in the Area Office; who in return contacted the legal department of the church and they faxed us this paper. We are taking them out to add to the list of papers in the previous 5 missionaries that we are most concerned about the need our families prayers for tonight.

We love you, we pray for you and know you will be praying for us tonight. Thank You!

Love, Mom and Dad

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Week #35 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends 17 October 2010

As you can see by the date it is Sunday and another good day. We visited Molepolole this week and all the meetings were great. During Priesthood meeting the elders arranged for me to do a second interview. Most of the second interviews are for people who have been involved in an abortion in some way or another, or homosexuality. I haven’t had any with serious crime problems yet, I am happy about that. After the block there was a baptism for 10 wonderfully taught people including the one I had the second interview for. We got home a little after 3:30 had a bit of lunch and we are getting ready for a meeting called YSA fireside at the Morgan’s. We hope it goes well and I hope we don’t have a giant turn out. It should be fun. Mom cooked quite a bit yesterday and made about four wacky cakes and I washed the car polished 5 pair of shoes (mom’s and mine) and cut out barometer boards for about 3 hours. We don’t seem to get any down time except for a couple weeks ago when the independence holiday was over a long week end. Oh well we didn’t come here to be on a vacation so who’s complaining.

We had a great time with Elder and Sister Bricknell (Colin and Jenny). They are wonderful people and we get along with them so well. We didn’t have a dual moment with them at all. I think Mom told you all about their visit and the places we went with them. While Elder Bricknell talked in the missionary fireside at 1:30 I had to leave as I and Elder Copans the branch president of Kanye with President Hall the stake president. He wanted each unit to bring their current number of Full Tithe Paying Melchizedek Priesthood Holders and what they were setting as a goal for the 26th of June 2011. We currently have 81 in the 7 units and they set a goal of 161 total in the 7 units by 26th June 2011. I pray that their goals are realistic and if it is met before that date I’m sure we will become a stake on that date. I hope they don’t put working on the goal off until just before June because if they do it will not happen on that schedule.

Monday was a little bit of a sad day for us as we had 4 sisters leave Gaborone and drive up to Francistown to a new field of labor for them. Two of the four go home on December 1st of this year and they have always wanted to go to Francistown to visit but now they are doing for than visit as they will finish their missions there. We already miss them as they dropped by quit often (more than the elders do) but we are so happy for Francistown as they have wanted sister missionaries up there for a long time.

They provided a ride for Elder Hope that was serving in Mochudi as the district leader. Last Saturday after the meeting with Elder Bricknell a 21 year old girl they were teaching suddenly wrote a text message on Elder Hope’s phone telling him that she likes him. He went into shock and of course didn’t reply to her. Half an hour later he got the second text message asking why he didn’t reply and another note saying she liked him a lot. He called me immediately and asked what he should do. I told him he needed to call President Poulsen as soon as he got through talking to me. This he did and in 20 minutes President Poulsen called me and we talked about an emergency transfer. I suggested he have him transfer to Francistown as he had could ride up with the sisters on Monday and his residence permit would let him continue to serve in Botswana. He said he wanted to pray about it and he would let me know soon. In about an hour he called me back and asked me to call him and tell him to get packed and be ready to ride to Francistown with the sisters. He asked me to interview him fully about the girl and make sure all of this is on the up and up. I didn’t think he would ask me to do something of this importance but I humbly spent the evening praying for help in the interview. Sunday afternoon Elder Bricknell with his wife Jenny and Mom and I headed out to Mochudi. The interview went extremely well and I was guided by the spirit and am positive that he was innocent of any wrong doing with this investigator. I assured him that he did the right thing in calling. I expressed that if he wouldn’t have he would be acceptable to the spirit of the devil and I was very proud of him. When we were through he thanked me very much and said he felt much better about leaving their many investigators because he didn’t want to run the risk of any problems his staying could cause.

Wednesday the 13th I went to Mafikeng in South Africa with Mom and I had an baptismal interview with an investigator and President Poulsen has a terrible time getting to Mafikeng to interview the four elders there because it is so out of the way. It is closer to Gaborone here in Botswana than to any other part of the mission. He had asked me to do this when he was here for the rest of the two zones about a week or so ago. I felt comfortable with the elders interviews and also the investigators interview. I am getting more and more use to President Poulsen’s requests even if they are sometimes very scary.

This coming week is transfer week again. Monday I need to get computer work ready and then get all the passports and legal papers ready for the leaving elders and then get things ready for the incoming elders. Then the big day is Thursday to take all of them to the doctor, get residence photos, get paperwork certified at the police station and then take them to immigration (not my favorite day because of the last stop). By the way we got another call from immigration and they want more explanations on the elders that want residence permits. They gave us a list of 16 questions that they want answered, most of which are in the original paperwork but they want them again. I can’t hardly keep up with them but I try.

Tomorrow morning we have a skype call with President Loveland and the youth which he is holding a special fireside with It will be 3:00 AM here which is 7:00 PM Sunday your time. We tried to get out of it because of the time schedule but the more we thought of it the more we knew we needed to be a part of it.

It is now 7:30 and we just had the last of 42 Young Single Adults come to our house for an Evening With The Morgan’s. It went well but it is just one more thing we need to plan for each third Sunday of each month. When we mentioned it to Bishop Matswagothata he was excited about it and wanted us to give it a try. It was a fin evening and a lot of the singles really didn’t know each other so we had a fun get acquainted session. Well it is a little after 7:30 and we need to get up about 2:30 for the Burley Stake fireside. Good night everyone. The Gospel is true and we love our Savior Jesus Christ and will do what he wants us to do. We will even spend 18 months in southern Africa to serve him. Keep the faith and serve Him back home and we will join you in less than a year.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Week #34 - Granny

Dear Family,

Such a busy week; No time to write, Sorry!

We are looking for new places for church services; we are out growing a couple of our houses. In Molopolole (I hour West of Gaborone) we are meeting in a school and we are trying to rent more of their facilities so we met with the Board Member this week. She told us that the Government just cancelled their funds and they only take care of children who are Orphans, have Aids or have tested HIV Positive. All of their older children are having to stay at home right now but they have 2 volunteer teachers who are still coming to take care of the 40 or so pre-school children. These teachers get vouchers for food for their service and that is all. The children are so cute and I was devastated with her news. We rent their big hall right now for our chapel but we are hoping they will allow us to move out some desks and use some of the classrooms. We’ve just been holding classes outside even in June and July when it was freezing cold and then during the rainy season, but I’m starting to worry that perhaps the next few months of heat might be the hardest time to meet outside. Hopefully we can work out something be we are having a hard time getting in touch with the right people that have any authority to allow us more space. I forgot to mention that they have no running water at the school, they haul it in buckets from the village with an old van. They only have outhouses for toilets (I went in once, but didn’t stay) and no way for hand washing; but the actual school buildings are in pretty good shape and the hall we use is just a big empty building but they have chairs and it works for us.

Later in the week we located another school in Mochudi (45 Minutes North of Gabs) where we are busting out the seams of the house we have rented for them to meet in. They are having close to 100 people out each week and they can only set about 65 in the area we use for a chapel. We have been eyeing this school for a while but we’ve been told that the Elders have asked before and Olsen’s that were here before us told us they tried and were told they didn’t allow any church to meet in their school. Anyway, our Elders have been fasting and praying for a couple of month’s and they went to the school again and they said they would sign a contract for 5 months and see how it works. Lynn and I went up to meet with the Head Master to get his signature on a small contract that we drew up and he let us take a walk around the school. They are a Secondary school with between 450-500 students. They have several individual buildings with from 2-4 classrooms in a strip with lots of shady spots where we could meet for smaller classes. Their biggest classroom would be big enough for our chapel so we were quite encouraged. We were there at lunch time so the students were everywhere in their gray uniforms with Navy ties for the boys and Navy trim on the girls skirts. I was quite interested in their lunch room where a few of the students sat on chairs, but most just stood and ate their lunch which consisted of what we might call “mush”. It’s white and reminds me of some kind of a bean cooked and drained and served up on a plate that they bring from home. They eat it with their hands and then they go over to a big watering trough and everyone washes their own plate and puts it in their backpack for tomorrow. Simply Huh? No dishes for the lunch ladies except these huge kettles they were scrubbing up that they had cooked the ????? in. Life is simpler here!!!

Many of the students live on campus, there are dorms out behind. I don’t know much about that yet, but hopefully I’ll find out more. Interesting!!!

President Poulsen flew up on Thursday evening and we picked him up at the airport and he took us to dinner. He’s a wonderful man and very easy to be around; he did our interview that night and then spent the day at our home “The Mission Home” interviewing all of our missionaries. It was such a busy day with a new set of missionaries arriving about every half an hour and I tried to have Raisin Bars and Fruit for them as they sat and waiting for their turn to be interviews. I fix a Chicken Stir Fry lunch for President, Lynn and I and then they were back to work. President asked Lynn to do part of the interviewing and gave him some information he wanted all the missionaries have so it made for a great day for Lynn and he is getting more comfortable with how President wants him to handle things with the Missionaries. Some things are changing and 4 of our Sisters are being transferred up to Francistown which is 5 hours North. We will really miss them. We have the only 6 Sisters in the Mission and they have always served only in Gaborone, but President got Security Clearance and permission from SLC to send them to F-Town for a trial run for 4 months. We will actually get 2 more Sisters in December and we’ll be up to 8 but for now we only have 2 left here in Gaborone. Our mission is the only mission in Africa that has white Sisters; some can’t have sisters at all, but a few Native Sisters are able to serve in some of the missions in Africa. We have 3 Sisters from USA and the other 3 are from Uganda, Kenya and Madagascar.

That leads us up to a very busy weekend. Elder and Sister Bricknell spent the weekend with us and we had two meetings on Saturday and 2 on Sunday with them and it was so great to reminisce about our 3 wonderful years together in the Idaho Pocatello Mission. They both spoke at our Missionary Meeting on Saturday and also at our huge meetings that afternoon with about 450 Members who had all come together to hear the latest about Botswana becoming a Stake and what we had to do to make that happen. Lynn has been working with the Stake President as best he can to build the Stake, but we are part of a stake in South Africa and it hard for the Stake Leaders and hard for our people to get trained and etc. Anyway, a goal has been officially set for us to try to be ready to become a Stake by 26 June 2011 and the meeting just solidified it in everyone’s mind. Lynn has been working hard on his plaque to show off the numbers of Melchizadek Priesthooding tithe payers as they increase; and everyone got the word from Elder Bricknell about the SAFETY that is provided when we live within a Stake. Try reading D & C 115:5-6 and be grateful for the Stake you all live in; Temples can only be built where there is a Stake. Ukraine has the only Stake in all of Eastern Europe, that’s why they got the temple.

I’ll close by asking you to read Alma 32: 37-43 and know how Dad and I pray for you. President Bricknell told our Young Single Adults that they need to “Prepare to accept the call to lead this church!” We know that our grandchildren are amazing and that they have strong testimonies, but as you start reading in verse 37, think of each and everyone of your kids. Nourish them with great care and make sure “They know what you KNOW.” Nourish your own testimony for studying the scriptures every day and teach them to do the same. Make sure they know how much you love your Heavenly Father; how thankful you are for our Savior Jesus Christ and that they can count on the Holy Ghost to be at their side every minute. Make sure their roots are deep in this wonderful gospel that we are so blessed to have in our lives. I am so thankful for my ancestors who came from Italy and England and Switzerland and embraced the gospel and held to the Iron Rod when things were tough. They KNEW and I KNOW that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on the face of the earth. I know that Joseph Smith was called of God to restore Christ’s church and that he translated the Book of Mormon by the power and authority of God. I know that Joseph Smith was God’s prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is our prophet today. I know that the Book of Mormon is true as I have read it many times throughout my life and The Spirit has born witness to me that it is true. I love this book and I love to read it; it helps me know what I can do better and how I can be stronger and strive to become more like my Savior. I know that Heavenly Father speaks to President Monson and gives him guidance and direction for you and me about our own personal lives and about our families. I know that that when we followed the Prophets and Apostles, we will be guided to light and truth and the understanding that we each need to bring our families back to live together with our Heavenly Father and that we will know more peace and joy and happiness that we can imagine. So, Nourish with great care; Because of your diligence and your faith and your patience, the trees will take roots and ye shall feast upon the fruits and reap the rewards of your faith. What a GREAT PROMISE!!

We Love You ALL, thanks for being our wonderful family. Thanks for your testimonies and your example to each other. Thanks for your example to us!

We miss you all so very much, but we are “about the Lord’s work” and it is marvelous!
I'll write again and tell you more about our fun time with the Bricknell's; it was really great; they are so inspiring and we loved listening to them speak to our people here. It was just like old times being together with them. We laughed at lot, spotted donkeys as we traveled getting to the different meetings(4 meetings) which made for a very busy schedule with only 2 short days to be together but we are so thankful they could come and pray they get to come again.


Mom and Dad

Friday, October 8, 2010

Week #33 - Papa Lynn

I think we have finally caught up with ourselves. This last three days has been so easy it is almost scary. Of course it has been a national holiday here in Botswana as it is their independence day on the 30 day of September and almost everything was closed. Because it was on a Thursday everything was closed on Friday as well. We have done a lot of catch work here in the office and I have been given a special assignment by President Hall our stake president from South Africa. I’m sure I have mentioned several times that we are close to being a stake here in Botswana and we want it to succeed when it becomes a stake so we are pushing hard to make that happen. Elder and Sister Bricknell have been asked to come to a special fireside this coming Saturday the 9th of October along with President Hall they are going to explain what needs to be done to become a stake to all the membership here in Botswana.

A week ago yesterday at the Broadhurst chapel President Hall called all his ward and stake leaders that serve here in Botswana and he gave us a time line. I was a little surprised because I thought it would be yet this year. But when you put the figures together we are now shooting for the 26 day of June 2011 which is very realistic. We only have three wards here in Botswana itself and we need five to become a stake. We have three strong branches two of which possibly could be a ward by then if they really prepare and work hard. His means that the leaders and members need to reactivate the less active members and get them to come back and be strong Full Tithe Paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders. It means that the missionaries need to find father lead families to teach to add to this number as well. Three other branches are not even close to being wards but they can add Full Tithe Paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders to their branches to help in their branches and they can serve in stake positions. If these three that are close to becoming wards by adding Full Tithe Paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders that will add strength to their ward and the stake, making Botswana closer to becoming a stake. We have a backup plan as there is a ward in South Africa that is very strong and when the time comes they will be in the Botswana stake as well (later in a few years dropping out of the Botswana stake and going back into Roodepoort stake in South Africa). All of this will happen as Botswana grows I hope this all makes a little sense to you. We are excited to be a part of this transition.

We are in the Roodepoort South Africa Stake and have been for many years but President Hall has made a commitment to make Botswana a stake of its own before he is released. In this meeting a week ago yesterday he went over all that needs to be done but the biggest need is for more Full Tithe Paying Melchizedek Priesthood holders. He has envisioned a large chart for each ward and branch to hang on a wall where each member can see the individual units’ growth and the stake growth as well. He said he wants to be approximately 600 MM wide by 900 MM high (2 feet X 3 feet). He wants each chart to be kept current each week. Someone will need to collect the information and feed it to each unit leader and have him change his chart in his building.

As he was putting all of this together in the meeting described above he kept looking at me. Finally he said “President Morgan I feel you are the person that can put this chart together for us, will you except this assignment?” I asked him why he thought I could do it and he came right back and said, “You invented and put together the font heater didn’t you?” I had no idea that he knew anything about the font heater. I accepted the assignment and have spent a lot of time thinking and putting together plans to make it work. I am sending an attachment to some of my thoughts and if any of you have any suggestions let me know. This next week looks a little slow so I plan to put them together the best I can. I would really like to have them ready except for the gauge and numbers (they will a this next Saturday afternoon when everyone turns their unit’s goals. I will have to add them up and make the gauge according to their goals.

Well enough has been said on the barometer. Life is good and we are finally getting some of the first residence permits for the elders. It takes two months and we only received 3 of the 8 but the other 5 should be ready the 11th of October. I will be glad when I can get into a routine that doesn’t keep me so uptight with the immigration department. I get nervous just passing their building even when I’m not planning to stop. I don’t think it should be this way but I don’t know what to do differently. I think the Lord helps us through our trials and I think I need this to be a trial so I can be helped through it. Mom and I love the work and it is always exciting. We love serving the Lord and know he blesses us every day. This mission is a wonderful place to spend time serving our Father in Heaven, we feel close to Him.

We pray for each of you every day and know the Lord is blessing you daily. We can feel it in your letters (from those who write). Keep up the good work and raise our grandchildren as good strong members of His church. Please keep in touch with us. We are excited to have Mike, Roger and Bryce coming to see us the last of February and the first of March 2011. We will try and make your visit exciting for you. We are looking into local game reserves and we will just show you what it is like in Africa. I suggest you barrow the 8 episodes of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency from Lori and each of you watch them before you come over. They are fun and would make a great family home evening. You can use them as an excuse to be closer to your grandparents in Botswana.

I close with Love Out Of Botswana, DAD AND MOM