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