Sunday, December 05, 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
We have had such a busy week that I’m going to hit the highlights and get some sleep. If I don’t write tonight, I won’t get a chance for another week.
This past week has been transfer week and we got 10 new missionaries from JoBurg. Four of them were brand new Sisters, straight from the MTC so we had to drive to JoBurg on Tuesday morning early to pick them up. Our Bakki (PickUp) that we usually take with a trailer to transfers is broke down (been in the shop for 5 weeks now and won’t be ready for 2 more weeks) so we had to take 6 cars to transport missionaries and luggage. When we got everyone gathered at our house to travel to Joburg, we realized we didn’t have enough drivers so I had to drive one of the cars all by myself. Dad had to drive with another Elder so he wouldn’t be alone. My driving experience has been limited here as I’m usually with Dad and he always drives, but I have done it a few times when necessary. I haven’t quite gotten use to driving on the wrong side of the car and on the wrong side of the road, but I said “I can do it” and off we went. It’s a 5 hour drive and it wasn’t much fun by myself, but except for getting sleepy once in a while I did fine until we hit the outskirts of JoBurg. It’s pretty much country and desert until and we were in a caravan with Dad leading everyone and watching out for all of the cars and making sure no one got lost. Just as we hit the JoBurg traffic, we came upon a car accident and a T junction and , you guessed it, we got separated. The Elders all went one way and me and the Sisters car went the other way and we couldn’t get back together. I followed behind the Sisters until I realized they were going to the Mission Home and I knew Dad would be going to the Mission Office and I forgot to mention that my phone is the only one that doesn’t have roaming so I couldn’t communicate with anyone. I had been back and forth from the Mission Office to the Mission home a few times 9 months ago when Dad was in the hospital so I knew the way, so I talked to the Sisters at the stop light and told them I was going to the Mission Office to find dad and the Elders and that I knew the way. I actually made it to the Mission Office without a glitch, only to find out that Dad and the Elders were not there yet and didn’t arrive until over an hour later. They got on a wrong road after the accident and someone had messed with the GPS and it had the Area Office address in where the Mission Office should be and they ended up clear across JoBurg by the temple and in the middle of 5 O’clock traffic and couldn’t get back FOREVER!! Dad was pretty frustrated and mostly worried about me because we couldn’t communicate. I finally had the Assistants call him and tell him I was safe and at the office and then at least he quit worrying and so did I. We had planned to go to the temple with the Sisters and the Poulsen’s, but that didn’t work, but we did wait and go to a later session by ourselves, and we had a wonderful evening at the temple and went out to dinner at “Mike’s Kitchen” our favorite place in JoBurg. (Probably because it’s the only place in JoBurg we’ve ever gone out to dinner, but it is a nice place.) We ran into the Mission Doctor at the temple and made arrangements to see him the next day in his office as dad is having some trouble with Fungus under his toenail and he said he would look at it. We also ran into our new Sister Missionaries at the temple and also the MTC President and his wife so that was nice also. We got asked to be the witness couple and the session was so small they had to have people come in to be in the prayer circle with us, but it was a wonderful evening and we quite stressing over the trip in to town and chalked it up as “another experience.” I actually knew that Heavenly Father had looked out for me and guided me to where I needed to go and it was actually a huge miracle in my life.
On Wednesday after the Doctor appointment and 3 hours driving around town trying to find a bank (the 4th one actually would do it for us) that would take our Credit Card so we could pay for a Game Drive we are taking the boys on when they come to see us in February, we loaded up all the cars and were ready to drive back to Botswana. All was well except that none of the 4 Sisters had ever driven in JoBurg before, one Sister was from New Zealand so she knew how to drive there, but one was from Uganda and couldn’t drive and the other two were from Utah and Idaho and weren’t excited at all about having to drive. We put them in the cars with Automatic transmissions and said “follow us” and don’t get separated and only one of them started crying. She was actually scared to death and drove so slow that we had to keep pulling over to let the rest catch up. We had so many cars that we could only have 2 in each car so the Elders had to drive with Elders and the Sisters had to drive alone with another Sister so we had no choice. The worst part was the getting out of JoBurg as it takes almost an hour to just get out of the busy part of downtown before we get out into the country headed to Botswana, but once we got that far everything went fine. It took us 6 hours to caravan home and we were all hungry and tired by the time we got there, but we were all safe and we drove everyone to their apartments and came home and FELL into bed.
The next day was Immigration and its usual nightmare, but you’ve heard all that before. We got them to the Police Station for Certification, to the Photo Shop for Passport Pictures, to the Doctor for Physicals and then to Immigration and turned them over to our new Immigration Specialist where they spent the next 3 hours, but we got to come home during part of that. I got lunch ready for everyone and when they returned we got them to their new areas and they went to work. The next morning we had to do the same thing all over with the new Zone Leaders as they stay in JoBurg for an extra day of training meetings so they aren’t here for our normal scheduled Immigration Day. This was an easier day though as they aren’t new missionaries, just new to Botswana so they are a little more independent, but they don’t know where anything is in Botswana. As soon as we got them taken care of, we headed to Francistown (5 hours North) to drive two of the new Sisters to their new area. It’s a pretty comfortable drive and mostly desert and country between small villages, so no “wrong side of the road stress” and they are getting more comfortable with it by now, so off we went. We actually spent Saturday and Sunday there and went to church with them and got to visit with the Saints there. They love us and we love them and they get really excited when we come to see them, so it’s really a fun couple of days for us but we are so happy to be home and in our own beds tonight.
I just thought you’d all like to know that your Mom is now a Foreign Driver and I can Zip through the “Round-Abouts” like a Pro and I even drove about 1/3 of the way home from Francistown today. I’m quite comfortable with driving on the wrong side of the road and it almost seems normal to go to the right (wrong) side of the car when I’m going to drive. Dad and I still get confused once in a while and take turns laughing at each other when we head for the wrong side of the car and once in a while even get in and set down and then realize the steering wheel isn’t where it should be!
Our week this week is going to be really busy also, but you are going to be jealous to know that President Poulsen planned a couple’s conference for us and we get to fly to Kasane (top of Botswana) for 3 days. We fly on Wednesday morning and arrive in Kasane which is the biggest game reserve in Botswana. We stay at the Chobe Safari Lodge for two nights, go on a cruise on the Chobe River and we get to travel into Zimbabwe on Thursday and spend the day at Victoria Falls. We will probably have a Fireside with the Kasane members (about 20) and then go on another Sunrise game drive in Chobe National Park on Friday morning before flying back to Botswana that evening. It will be a quick trip, but we are excited to get the privilege of seeing Victoria Falls as I guess it’s pretty amazing. Look it up on the Internet and I’m sure you can find pictures. It is in Southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Falls are some of the largest in the world.
Well, it’s late and we haven’t recovered by our busy week and our trip home from Francistown and we have about 5 days worth of work to do in two days before leaving for the Chobe trip, bit I’ll close and we will write again next weekend when we are home again and have more time. We love you all so much and we love the letters, the e-mails from the kids and the pictures. We did get a letter from Jenna and Cooper in the mail this week and that is always fun. Thanks Jenna and Cooper for the letters, we loved your drawings and notes; and thanks Izzy for sending us your pictures that you made in church through the e-mail. We miss you so very much and think about you every day. Families are Forever, and we have been blessed with the BEST family in the world. Thanks for being who you are and for your love.