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!
Mom and Dad