Saturday, January 29, 2011
Life in Gaborone is anything but boring these days and this week
hasn’t been one of our easiest, but we’ve made it through to Saturday
which was the big day for our wonderful YSA couple that got married
today. Weddings here are a bit different, but beautiful and Kgosi and
Maipelo have done their best to do the Labola and pay all their
tributes to the families in respect and also prepare to go to the
temple on Feb. 15th when it re-opens. The temple is closed for two
weeks so they are required to go to the temple the day it opens or
wait a year so they are going on that day and we plan to attend with
them and be their escorts. We got through day and we’re really
excited about their day at the temple; it will just be us and them I
think as no one else is able to go clear to Joburg to be with them.
They were married in the chapel by our local wonderful Bishop
Motswaghothata and he did a great job. He calls an “Ace” and “Ace”
and doesn’t miss any punches. Today he even called some of his YSA
members to repentance from the pulpit for not dressing in their church
attire to attend the wedding, since it was in the chapel. He told
they them were not attending a picnic and shouldn’t be there in their
casual attire. All the non-member family members were there in their
traditional attire complete with blankets tired or pinned around their
shoulders and some hats, but at least the ladies were all in dresses
and the men were dressed up nicely so it was unfortunate that some of
our YSA chose to come in casual wear and Bishop chose the moment to
teach them about it. I was a little embarrassed, but he hit it hard
and then went on with the ceremony. He gave a wonderful talk to Kgosi
and Maipelo about cleaving to one another and not turning to their
family for advice and asked that the family members not encourage them
to come home for council when they had any disagreements. He ask them
to honor their religious beliefs and to not push “old and traditional
customs” on them as they have been taught differently in our religion.
He knows their whole situation and that neither family is happy about
them belonging to the church and would pull them apart if they got a
chance, so I’m sure he felt prompted to council EVERYONE about how to
help this marriage last for Eternity. He’s a wonderful Bishop and we
could use more like him around here that are strong and don’t
apologize for what we believe. We were proud of him!
But, actually today was the easiest day of the week. Monday started
with a vengeance as we had all 6 of the Missionaries that were sent
out to Joburg last Wednesday return on Saturday being told (by Stix
and Joseph) at the border that they could get 3 days, and then go to
Immigration on Monday and get another 30 days. They came to the
office early Monday morning and spent the whole day here waiting to
hear from Stix (our Immigration guy) when they could come out and get
the extra days put on their passports. Dad called several times to
Stix as well as Joseph from the Area Office who was also working on
the case and we got the “run around” all day and by 3:30 we got the
word to send them all back to their flats and re-pack as they had to
be out of the border before mid-night. I was about to cry and I think
most of them were about as “rung out” as they could be with the whole
mess. They did as they were told and were back at the office by 6:30
for their Passports, Paperwork for the border, Pizza, a prayer and we
had to send them off again.
Tuesday morning we found out that our Molepolole Branch President had
passed away (he is only 47, but had some health problems for years)
and his Branch is one of the ones that just lost two of their four
Elders to Immigration. We made arrangements to come down on Wednesday
to meet with the family for “Prayer Hour” at 5:30 and see how we could
Wednesday morning about 6:30 we got a call that our Mochudi Elders has
been broken into and their car stolen. By 9 O’clock the Police had
found the car, it was abandoned on a dirt road and had hit a cow and
was in terrible shape. It took til Thursday, but the Missionaries got
it back and could actually drive it and brought it to town for an
estimate of the damage. When I saw it, I was in shock as both fenders
are missing, the hood is totally rippled, the front door was caved in
and the cow’s horn went through the rear door and made a 8-10 Inch
tare. We still don’t have the estimate, but it will be substantial
without a doubt.
Later that day we drove to Molepolole to attend the Family Prayer for
Bishop Moloi’s family and that is an interesting experience in itself.
When someone dies here, the family, friends, neighbors and etc. all
gather at the home for a week. Each night they sing songs and say
prayers and eat. It is up to the family of the deceased to furnish
food for everyone and even if they are absolutely destitute, it’s
their responsibility to feed everyone. Sister Moloi has absolutely
nothing, in fact they have a 3 room cinderblock house with no
furniture, no running water, and she was sitting on an old mattress in
the middle of an empty living room when we went in to greet her. She
was dressed in an old tradition type dress, a piece of cloth draped
over her head and barefoot and we were told that we could approach her
and speak to her but we couldn’t touch her or hug her. We talked with
her a bit, and paid our respects, but there were lots of really
Elderly looking people around that weren’t members at all and it was
very uncomfortable. Sorry, but they all looked to be 100 years old,
sad faced and no one spoke English so there wasn’t much conversation
going on. They sang some songs in their Tswana language and that was
neat to witness, but all in all it was tough and we weren’t sure if we
were any help to the family at all. Sister Moloi has 3 children, the
youngest being 6 years old. Her husband worked for the Government so
hopefully there will be some kind of benefit for her, but I’m sure her
husband didn’t make much as he’s pretty crippled up himself and
probably just received a minimal wage at best. At one point, the
members that were there sang a couple of hymns and they had a member
give a talk in Tswana which we didn’t understand at all. In fact he
spoke for about 10 minutes about the church and what we believe and I
caught two words “restoration” and Amen; I can usually catch the name
of the Savior when it is said in another language, but not in Tswana
and honestly we had no idea what he said so when they called on Dad to
say a few words to the audience (with a translator, of course) it was
pretty hard for him to know what to say but he did an excellent job
and I was very proud of him. He always fills in at the last minute
and they always call him without any notice. I forgot to mention that
Bishop Motswaghothata did that today at the wedding also and again Dad
did an excellent job talking about family and giving advice to their
Anyway, after Dad spoke at the Prayer Service, we tried to slip out
but we were informed that it would be rude to leave without eating
some “Tea and fried bread” so we made sure they served us Roiboise Tea
(which we were assured was legal) and stayed a few more minutes. The
wife of the 1st Counselor come up to me and asked if she could talk to
me and see if I could help Sister Moloi with her concerns. We went
back into talk with her and this time I was allowed to sit just off
the mattress next to her and hear her concern. She said that a High
Councilman would come from the Stake and bring the temple clothes for
her husband to be buried in, but that she didn’t have, nor could she
afford her temple clothes for her to wear to the funeral. I was taken
back for a moment, but quickly helped her to realize that she did not
need to wear her temple clothes at the funeral. She and her husband
just went to the temple about a month ago and were sealed. They
actually hadn’t taken their kids with them as they could only afford
for the two of them to get passports and travel by Combi to
Johannesburg. Anyway, I made sure that she had her garments and knew
she should wear them all the time, but that she only would wear her
temple clothes when she attended the temple unless it was for the
actual funeral burial. She was relieved and I told her she could just
wear her Sunday Dress as though she was going to church. She is a
sweet Sister and so new in the church that we pray that she will be
able to stay strong in the church and raise her children in the
Thursday, President and Sister Poulsen came to town for meetings all
afternoon with the Missionaries. The only news there was a new
assignment for us. The Cardiff’s who are the only other couple in
Botswana (in Francistown which is 5 hours North) with us actually go
home the end of February and President doesn’t have a couple to
replace them for at least a month if at all. He asked us if we could
spend a couple of days each week in Francistown until he can get
another couple up there and of course, we said yes. Dad looked at me
and I looked at him and we both knew that we had to do some real
adjusting on our schedule to work that in, but we also know if the
President is asking, there has to be some way for us to work it in.
We since have decided that we just have to stop going to a District
Meeting each Friday and we won’t be able to go to as many of our
Branches on Sunday, (we rotate 8 of them by the week) but we will just
spread things out a bit and we will work it out. The Lord will
provide a way!!!
Friday was Zone Conference all day and it was wonderful to be with
President Poulsen. He is a great teacher and a wonderful and patient
man. He and Dad have a few meetings about the Immigration situation
and he still isn’t sure what he is going to do about the 6 (now 7 as
we lost another one today) Elders that we have lost but he will try to
do some Emergency transfers this coming week and get them replaced for
us. He wants to give the Immigration Office a few more days to see if
they won’t approve some more of our Permits, but we are not even
hopeful at this point so we hope he just sends us some new Elders so
we can get back to normal before it’s time for another normal transfer
That brings us back to today with the wedding and etc. and now we are
planning our day for Kanye tomorrow for church and hopefully a good
talk with our little Mariah who is 19 and pregnant and wanting us to
find a home for her baby that is due in April. We hope to meet with
her case worker and even a Magistrate Court person who we are told
will help us with knowing what the laws of Botswana are and what her
choices are. She wants her baby to be raised in an LDS environment
and she has nothing to give this baby. She was raped and her father
is dead, her mother has never been in her life; she lives with an Aunt
in a two room house with 8 other “cousins or ………………..” and no one is
able to help her with a baby. She is desperate and we are so willing
to help her, we just don’t know how to do that. Bishop Motswaghothata
tells us that people in Botswana don’t actually adopt babies, they
just give the baby to someone in the family who is willing to raise it
and life goes on. Every other young girl that we see walking around
the streets has a baby tied on her back and that is just the “norm.”
When young girls have babies it makes their Labola price go up because
they are worth more if they are fertile. So the parents encourage
them to have babies as soon as they can so they can charge more when
they marry. Most young couples don’t marry at all as they can’t pay
Labola, so they just live together and have families and the parents
are just fine with that. If they ever want to marry, they have to
come up with the money to pay Labola and also to pay for EVERYTHING
for the wedding, including feeding all the family for a week, having
several traditional get togethers and transport to get all the Aunts
and Uncles to the festivities. The Uncles all get together and
actually help decide how much Labola to charge, all depending on if
there are babies involved, if they have an education, etc. etc. etc.
CRAZY and very hard to deal with. It’s no wonder the young people
here don’t get married. The church really has it’s work cut out, but
we are trying to change some of their traditions and help them to see
how to do it the Lord’s way. It will take time, but we are really
trying hard to influence their lives for the better through the
On the lighter side, I actually found a CAN of Campbell’s Cream of
Mushroom Soup this week on our grocery shelf. I was so excited until
I saw that it cost P32. Which is equal to almost $5.00
We saw Kellogg’s Corn Flakes the other day and it was P75. Which is
about $10. And we passed on that also, but we did “bite the bullet”
and pay almost $10 for a box of Kellogg’s Frosty Mini-Wheat’s and we
have been enjoying them all week for breakfast. We also found Bagels
at a grocery store close by and I bought them off a “specialty table”
but I actually can’t find the receipt to see how much I paid for them.
They weren’t marked and I wanted to know how much they were but I
didn’t pay attention when they went through the checker’s hands.
Anyway, I bought them and we will enjoy them. They are “Raisin
Cinnamon” so Dad is happy. Don’t think we are starving, there is
tons of good food here, it’s just fun to tell you about the USA things
we hunt for and once in a while we find. Banana’s here are about
$3.00 for a 1.2 Kilogram box which is about 2 pounds (plus), oranges
are about $3.00 for a bag of 608 depending on the size. Apples are
plentiful right now and I even found Fugi’s from Cape Town this past
week and they are about $2.50 for a bag of 15 small apples, and they
are really good. Grapes and nectarines are available and even peaches
right now, but these are quite expensive and dad doesn’t like any of
them so I rarely buy them as they are pre-packaged and spoil before I
eat them. Lettuce is cheap, carrots are cheap when available and
cucumbers and tomatoes are probably about the same as home. Tomatoes
are scarce right now and usually only green in the store. Meat is
expensive and the Mince (hamburger) taste a little “wild” to me and
the steak and beef roast are really tough. We prefer the pork roast,
but can rarely ever find ham. Chicken is readily available and really
good. We usually eat chicken and occasional a pork roast and we do
use a lot of mince but haven’t fell in love with the taste yet. We
have two Kentucky Fried Chicken places in Gaborone and 2 different
Pizza’s places in town but only a Wimply Hamburger place and I don’t
like their hamburgers so we don’t go there. Also,EVERYTHING closes
early on Saturday afternoon, even the grocery stores are closed by 4
or 5 O Clock and so is the Mall, but they are all open again on Sunday
and stay open all day. If you need anything on Saturday afternoon,
forget it; but just wait until Sunday and you can find most anything
We are busy, happy, healthy, and looking forward to another week. We
certainly hope all of you are the same and we love hearing from you,
especially when you tell us about each of the kids and what they are
doing. We know you are busy, but we do check the e-mail each morning
and see if there is any news from home. We love it when we see your
names on our e-mail list and we open them quickly and read them even
if we don’t have time to respond. Thanks for writing to us everyone,
family and friends. We love news from home!!!
Bryce and Jenna had birthday’s this week and we finally caught up
with both of them.. Abrahm has one on Sunday and we will try to catch
him, then Kricket on Monday and Sherrie and Carter on Tuesday. This
is birthday week, we’ll do our best but everyone PLEASE know that we
remember you and we love you and will try to be by a phone at the
right hour to catch you when you aren’t in bed, at school, or gone
somewhere else celebrating your birthday’s. This 9 and 10 hour time
difference is difficult for phone calling.
We Love You ALL so very much and you are in our prayers daily.
Mom and Dad, Granny and PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine
Saturday, January 22, 2011
22 Jan 2011
Today is suppose to be our preparation day but the only thing that even looked like a preparation day is that Mom cleaned the house which she does some everyday and I vacuumed the carpets. Other than that we had the 6 missionaries that were transferred back into
Botswana as they had to leave last Wednesday because there 90 days was up. They each received three days on their passports and we need to try and get an additional 30 days this coming Monday. I hope we can because that will take them to the next regular transfer day. Today is another special day as we have served on this mission for 11 months day. I hope and pray that Lord will except the five years we served in the Idaho Pocatello Mission as the executive secretary to two mission presidents and then served in Ukraine for two years while the mission was split and served under two mission presidents as a councilor to the last one for a year. Now we are serving this 18 month mission here in Botswana in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission as a councilor for over a year of that time. We love to serve and I do not regret any of our service we have given in any of these missions. It will be 8 ½ years all in all covering the span of 10 years from August 2001 through August 2011. We took 9 days between the Idaho Pocatello Mission and Ukraine and then about 1 ½ years between Ukraine and here in Botswana. It is very difficult for me to say but I hope the Lord will except our time served as we are planning to do other things when we get home. Meaning to serve Him in whatever capacity He calls us to do back on the home front.
This is now Sunday afternoon and I almost feel like blotting out the last part of the paragraph that I just finished but it is how we feel so I guess I will leave it. We went to G-West 1st ward today as it is their ward conference. It was really good and our stake president that comes out of Johannesburg a lot for meetings here in Botswana is a great and wonderful man and so are his two councilors. We are trying to study and catch up on some bookwork this afternoon and keep the Sabbath day Holy. We are going to take the group that came into Botswana on the 1st of December to Lobatse and have them apply for their residence permits there as they have a different committee so perhaps we can get them. It is a new immigration office for us so I hope all goes well for us. It wouldn’t hurt for some extra prayers in behalf of things going well.
Mom and I are healthy and still love to work hard. We go to bed each night between 10:00 and 10:30 almost every night and sleep pretty well. We wake up between 5:00 and 5:30 so we get up and do some exercise, get ready for the day and study the scriptures and then dive into whatever we have planned for the day. Sometimes we head for the bank or take a care in for repair or head out of town to do an apartment inspection or whatever. We love the opportunity to serve together. We get brain storms and talk about them and in some cases we talk to President Poulsen and he says to go ahead with what we have prayed and talked about. He tells me almost every time that I am his councilor and he relies on me a lot. It is fun to have him as our mission president. I hope I will always be able to comply with the Spirit and offer him good council. We are changing a missionary who is serving as branch president in Kanye and he is probably leaving next week and I suggested that he send his replacement up a couple days early to learn things relating to the branch and he loved the idea. Things are always in an uproar here in Botswana because of the immigration office of the border officers but we deal with them the
best we can.
While making a decision as to what border we were going to have our 6 emergency missionaries come back in through Mom and I went out the Mochudi border gate to check the dirt road between that gate and the Tlokweng border. We decided that the road was impassible for a car. We were glad we barrowed the bakki (pickup) from the zone leaders and it made it fine but a car wouldn’t have made it. The road follows the Madikwe game reserve fence for about 30 kilometers and we saw several Kudu, a wildebeest, and an elephant. So it was a good day.
Well I am about all written out so I will close with a Happy Birthday to Bryce out youngest. I just thought as I was writing about driving along the Madikwe game reserve that each of you boys coming to visit us should bring a pair of binoculars. We don’t have any but on the game drive up in Kasane some had them and it was great to barrow them for more close up looks.
I will close with my usual comment. Love Out Of Botswana,
DAD and MOM
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
This is more like a journal entry for me to read in the future but it is very interesting, which is about funerals. In every country there are customs that have evolved from many years past and some develop in recent times as well. I have written about the weddings here in Botswana and the traditions that accompany them with the Labola which is common in most countries here in Africa. Because of it many couples just live together and don’t get married. The Labola is the price paid by the groom to the family of the bride to show that he loves her. It originally was set that you give cows to the family so that if anything happened to you and you couldn’t support their daughter the family would use the cows to support her. If they got divorced the family is suppose to give the Labola back to the daughter so she would have an income to live on. That has all changed and the family and I mean the extended families all take of the Labola as personal income and use it how they like and none is ever returned to the bride even if her husband dies or divorces her. Many single men cannot afford to get married so many live as couples never married.
There is several types of marriage here in these countries (of course we speak mostly of Botswana because that is where we are serving) one is when they place their banns or intentions to be married in a public place for three weeks so all can see and even object if they would like to. If anyone objects it will go before the magistrate judge to decide if the objection is justifiable or not. Legally after the 3 weeks of the banns when they pick up the papers they are married (1st marriage). If they so desire which most do the magistrate court will council them and perform a marriage (2nd marriage). Those that have a religion they prefer will be married by their minister or Bishop in the case of our church (3rd marriage). And after all this is worthy the couple will go to the temple within a short period of time and be married for time and all eternity (4th marriage). We have a couple that we have had a hand in activating the man back into full fellowship in the church (Kgosi) and his bride Maipelo have placed their banns and will soon (about the 25th pick them up and be legally married but custom is having them have the magistrate marriage as well. Then on the 29th they will be married by Bishop Matswagothata and then because the temple is being closed for improvements they will wait until the 15th of February to have the 4th and most important marriage. We will be at the magistrate wedding, church wedding, and they have asked Mom and I to be their escorts for the Temple Wedding.
Now back to the funeral traditions that Bishop Matswagothata said is a fairly recent or a new tradition. Rather than take cookies, cakes, and a meal in to help the family of the deceased it is almost the opposite here. Yes the neighbors and family come in to console the family but they stay all day and come back every day until the funeral, which is usually a week after the death. They stay for at least two meals each day and just set in the yard, porch or wherever and visit and then they eat the meal that the family provides. I mean the family pays for it and they fix it and the funeral guests just eat it. Bishop Matswagothata said if they don’t like beef they will ask for chicken or goat and expect it. This family that is having the funeral of a 27 year old return missionary is very poor and they are already in some debt and the income from the 27 year old recently returned missionary was going to help the family eventually get out of debt but he just got a job a few weeks back and doesn’t even have a pay check yet. This family because of tradition will have to borrow money not only for the funeral expenses but also for feeding the neighbors and extended family for a week. This just about makes my blood boil but of course I can’t say or do anything about it. Bishop Matswagothata is very opposed to this tradition and rightfully so.
How grateful I am for our founding forefathers that broke free from the traditions of the world and came to America and we a free people are not bound by these traditions. I am sure we have some and many of them are good traditions but I hope we have the foresight to turn loose of those that are for the benefit of man only. Let’s look and see if we are creating a burden on anyone as a culture or someone individually and if we are let us have the gumption to make the changes needed. Some traditions are great if they are uplifting and are beneficial to others and ourselves then we need to look at them and make sure they are not selfish just for our own benefit.
I can fully understand Elder Oaks talk in the regional conference that was given to all of Africa when he spoke firmly about traditions such as the Labola. He is speaking for the generations past and the generations yet to come.
Maybe I got carried away today but this is the things that are in my heart and I haven’t even mentioned the immigration department and I best stay away from this subject as I will be writing about it next week as things are coming up again.
With Love Out Of Botswana,
DAD and MOM
Saturday, January 15, 2011
We had a very busy transfer week and we received 11 new Elders. Dad is so busy on this week that I just try to be a support to him and remind him of things that need to be done each day. He has forms, forms, and more forms to fill out and try to remember which Missionaries need which, depending on which Country they come from and that also determines which Immigration Office they must report to. Transfer day has been moved up to Tuesday so late Tuesday night they arrived and we had Super Spuds ready about 10:30 PM when they got in. They are an awesome group of young men and we are so happy to have them arrive safe and all get through the border with 90 Days stamped in their passports. That gives us time to try to get their Residence Permits. The next day was spent at Immigration, but JoBurg forgot to send us one paper they needed for their application, so all of them were refused on Wednesday; they had to stay in Gaborone for an extra day instead of going to their areas so we fed everyone again and they spent the night with other Elders. The next day we went through the whole process again and they got their applications in by about 3:30 in the afternoon (about 5 ½ hours).
The rest of the sad story is that we are probably loosing another 6 missionaries this week as they cannot get Residency after their 90 days in the Country. The Immigration has decided not to process any Permits until they do a thorough investigation into all of the Churches in Gaborone as some of them send people into the country as volunteers and then they get jobs here and take money out of the country. Because some of them are working dishonestly, all of us must suffer. We are very concerned as we just got 11 new Elders and within 10 days we could have to send out 7 more and have them replaced with brand new missionaries. Soon we won’t have any missionaries that know the Areas and we are trying soooooooooo hard to do extra work with our investigators to help Botswana become a Stake. We know that Satan doesn’t want this to happen and he is working “overtime” to see to it that our missionary work is cripples. We are having a special fast tomorrow for all of our Botswana Missionaries and pray that we can find a way to not lose this next group. We are going to try to send them out of the country on Wednesday, the last day they can be here legally, and then hold them in South Africa for 3 days and have Joseph from the Area Office try bringing them back into the country and see if they can get their passports stamped for another 90 days. We’ve heard that once in a while it works, but Dad and I are afraid that 7 Missionaries are pretty conspicuous coming through the border and we are really afraid it won’t work. We don’t want to be negative, and we do have faith, but I think we are getting really tired and don’t know what to do next. President Poulsen is sending us more and more missionaries all the time as Botswana is really having more success than most of the areas in our mission. Just shortly before we came into the Mission, there were 16 Missionaries in Botswana, now there are 40 Elders and Sisters plus 2 couples and he plans to give us 4 more next transfer. Right now we have to trade them out every 90 days so it is a lot of coming and going and a lot of work to try to keep them longer, but we will keep trying. Occasionally one of our Missionaries get’s his Residency Permit so we actually have 4 Sisters and 4 Elders that have their Permits and will be able to stay in Botswana as long as President wants to keep them here. But that’s not very many when we are trying to keep 40 Plus missionaries up here working. We’ll keep you posted and please keep us in your prayers this week as we really need lots of faith and prayers in our behalf. Wednesday they go out and Saturday Joseph will try to bring them back in. If it doesn’t work, they will have to return to Joburg that same day and President will have to quickly send us 7 new Missionaries to take their place. CRAZY!!!
You’d probably like to hear about something besides Immigration, but that’s about all we have done this week. It seems like it does engulf most of our time lately, but we do still visit a different Branch each week for church. We will go to Mochudi Sunday; they meet in a school and it’s not the best of circumstances as they have to haul in their lesson books, song books, sound system, keyboard, nursery toys, and etc, each week and haul them out again after church. We are trying to get a closet somewhere there that we can leave some things in, but so far they haven’t found any place they will let us use and lock our own things up in. We’re hoping tomorrow when we visit we can help the Branch President and the Missionaries work a few things out better so it isn’t so hard. Mochudi is about 45 minutes North and they have about 60-80 people attend each week. They have only been a branch for about a year now and seem to have a lot of baptisms, but have a retention problem that we hope will improve. They have 4 Missionaries serving there and they are losing 2 of them this week with the Immigration situation and 1 of them just arrived on Tuesday so that doesn’t leave much Missionary experience for the area, but we told the ones leaving to work really hard and make sure our new Elder knows the Area as much as possible and where the investigators live. They share one car and 2 bikes and it’s a huge area out in the country with lots of dirt roads and little huts around. We like Mochudi and they have a great Branch President.
We had a group of members and 4 Missionaries from Kanye (about 1 ½ hours West) go to the temple in Johannesburg today. They have to take a Combi (Public Transport) and it cost each person about $30 to make the trip and it is very hard for them to come up with that much money. They were all going down to Baptism’s for the Dead as none of them have been members long enough to go for their own endowments. Kanye has only been a branch sin last February, but they now have over 100 members. Anyway, the Missionaries went in a car and somehow they got separated from the Combi in the Joburg traffic and nobody’s cell phones would work to contact each other as the phone system is different in Botswana when you cross the border into South Africa. The Elders called us and we spent an hour on the phone trying to contact everyone we could think of that might be able to help find them, but eventually we told the Elders to just go to the temple and hopefully someone of the Combi would be able to stop and ask for directions to the LDS Temple. We all could only visualize who in the world they might be able to find on the streets of Joburg that could direct them to the temple, but we all prayed and prayed that they would be able to find it and that all of their time and money wouldn’t be in vain. About an hour later we checked with the Missionaries again and the Combi had arrived and they were rushing into the temple as they were late for their appointment and the temple had kept the baptistery open for them as it was past closing time. We still haven’t heard the results as to how they found the temple and who helped them (other than the Holy Ghost) but they did make it and they were able to complete their temple session. We’ll get all the details from the Missionaries in the morning as it will be really late when they get back in the border tonight.
Life is interesting here and there is never a dull moment. We have Missionaries coming and going from our home and office every day and we love it. We get to know they very closely and we love every one of them. We feel that we have the best calling in the mission and Dad feels that President Poulsen trusts him completely to run this end of the mission. Dad has to make so many BIG decisions every day and he does such a good job. The Missionaries come to him about everything and he handles every situation with care and prayer and does an excellent job. We’ve had a sick Sister Missionary this past week. She had trouble with her back and we took her to the Doctor and the Doctor gave her some pain medication and some muscle relaxers on Friday. By Sunday night she was in the hospital emergency room with extreme pain and could hardly get in or out of their car. We were in the ER with her until 2 AM and they finally released her and changed her medication and said basically the same thing as the Doctor had said that she just had a pulled muscle. To make a long story short, she was so sleepy that night and the next day that she scared me and she didn’t know anyone, didn’t know where she was and just kept sleeping. I told her companion to cut the medicine in half which she did and she still kept sleeping and didn’t know anyone or couldn’t even walk. We took all of her medication away and only gave her Tylenol. I called the Area Doctor in JoBurg and the Mission President and reported her condition and the Doctor told us to not give her anything unless she was laying on the ground pounding her head for some pain medicine. It took until Friday, but she finally started coming out of it and yesterday she was actually acting like herself again. We took her and her companion out to dinner and spent a little time with her and she is feeling much better. She says she still has a “heavy head” and her speech is a little slow, but she is so much better. She is from Uganda and probably never had any medication before and believe me, we won’t be giving her anything ever again. So, as you can see, we’ve had a very full and eventful week. Today, we just did some delivering of fans, toasters, dishes, extra silverware and weed whackers, and etc. that the missionaries had asked for. Two of the Flats had previously housed 2 Missionaries and now they will be having 4 in them so more items were needed. It was actually nice to just get in the car and drive around to some of their flats and deliver and have a “no stress” day. Tomorrow will be relaxing just going to church and then we have our Sunday with the YSA coming to our house (approximately 50 of them) to play games and have ice cream and then Monday it all hits again. Pray for us this week, we will need it and we know that our Heavenly Father is in charge and this is His work we are trying to do. We just want to do what He wants done, we just need to figure out exactly what that is.
We love all of you and we really need e-mails to keep us going right now. Sometimes, that is the only bit of good news we get in a day and it sure is nice to hear from you. We are so proud of you and we pray for you always. Take care of our Grandkids! We miss you ALL.
Love from Botswana.
Mom and Dad, Granny and PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
I thought before the week end hits with coming up transfers I would drop a line and tell of a couple of things that have happened this week. Let me start off with our Master Card fleet cards that have been turned off. When they were started back in the last week of September 2010 I was told that it should be me that runs the review of each purchase on the paymentnet account. I agreed to do so and tried to get into the program many different times and each time I would write a letter to our local Johannesburg gal in the finance department with a copy to Salt Lake. I never got any answers as how to go into the account in paymentnet to review the charges. Well the 30th of December they cut us off and no one could purchase petrol. I made a couple of phone calls to a few people and they reinstated all of them until the 21st of January. In the mean time they have set me up and I have gone back and review enough that we are in good standing at the present time and I think we will be changing to Visa Cards because almost all the cards come through with between 5 and 9.5 percent added to each purchase and my Visa Card that is a church card never has any amount added. So Salt Lake and I think it is the Master Card as some stations don’t even want to take it and some of our missionaries can’t purchase petrol with it. So Salt Lake has written to me a couple days ago and they are getting each of us a new Visa Card.
Now about this past Monday we spent most of the day in Serowe or at least close to Serowe. We went to the Rhino Sanctuary just out of Serowe. I hope to send some pictures attached. President Poulsen is a great man and realizes that we work very hard. He want us to be able to relax a little when we can and Elder and Sister Cardiff from Francistown have been asking us to come and meet them at Serowe and go to this game park. We didn’t think we would ever have time but because things were a little slower between Christmas and New Years we had a chance to get caught up on everything so when they asked again we took them up on it. We were only gone from about 11:00 AM and got back a little after 9:30 PM that same day. It rained like crazy the last half hour just before we got to the game reserve and then it rained really hard for the next 45 minutes. We decided to wait it out because we had traveled for about 3 hours getting there. We are glad we did as we saw lots of Rhino the most that the Cardiff’s have ever seen there. We saw giraffes, warthogs, impala, wildebeests, zebras, water buck and many other animals. It was a great day.
On Wednesday we were rewarded greatly. A couple months back we taught with the sisters a man that had been baptized about 10 years before but was inactive. I think he wanted to come back to the foal but just couldn’t commit at that point. Well as I was studying I got a phone call and I didn’t recognize the phone number but I answered and he said his name was Ishmael and he was coming back had a question about tithing. He wanted to know if he should pay on his wages or on his gross wages. This phone call is all a great indication that he is serious about coming back to church.
We went to Lobatse today and had good meetings. Mom and I spoke and Mom did a great job and took about 10 minutes. There was about 20 minutes left and I was able to talk on different items and tie it all together, it was perhaps my best talk so far.
I love to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I pray many times each day that what I do is in his favor. I pray for the Holy Ghost to be a constant guide to me and Mom and I pray it is in each of your lives as well. We are all working hard to be a family and live with our Father and Mother in Heaven once again. May the blessings of the Lord be with each of you.
LOVE OUT OF BOTSWANA, DAD and MOM
Sunday, January 2, 2011
We’ve had another emergency transfer as we still haven’t gotten the Immigration thing worked out. We had 5 more Missionaries that President had to take back to South Africa and this time he replaced them with some local ward (and Branch) missionaries. The local Bishop’s here furnished the names, President Poulsen issued the call, and the rest was up to Dad. President just sent an e-mail telling him that he would receive a call from Bishop Thebe and Bishop Matswagothata giving him the names of 5 young men who would serve and then he could plan the Transfer meeting and pray about which one to assign to serve where and that it was all up to him. Dad took over (this was on Tuesday) and by Thursday evening the transfer meeting was all planned and the departing missionaries came into Gab’s alone with the new missionaries and we held a transfer meeting, gave out the assignments, instructed them from the white handbook about a few Missionary rules and then we started delivering them to their new assigned areas. We drove two of them to Molepolole (about 1 hour away) and the other 3 were taken by their new companions and the departing missionaries spent the night with the Zone Leaders awaiting their bus ride back to South Africa Friday morning at 6 AM.
We met the departing missionaries at 6 AM at the bus station, gave them a sack lunch containing some banana bread, fruit, and juice that would last them until they get to Johannesburg which is about a 5 or 6 hour bus ride. They had to weigh their luggage and we paid all their weight charges as they can’t take much on the bus without paying extra, but all of that went pretty well and they were soon on their way. Less than an hour later, however, we received a phone call from Elder Kolonji (From The Democratic Republic of Congo) who was stuck at the border and they wouldn’t let him through. They said he didn’t have something right in his Passport and we actually knew that but had already struggled with Immigration over this issue and they said he had the stamp that he needed. But………………after 2 hours of working with the authorities at the Border, they accepted our 500 Pula “bribe” or whatever, and they finally let him through. We made an emergency trip to the Border and did the necessary paperwork, the “please” and “thank-you’s” to all the right people and they finally let him through. He had to take the paper work and make a mad dash to the South African side and luckily the bus had even waiting for him. We were sure they wouldn’t wait at all, but we kept calling to some lady with a cell phone and she kept our missionaries and the bus driver in touch with us and the bus driver cooperated and waited until he got through. We collect all the cell phones before they leave on any transfers’ but I think we are going to have to re-think that and get an emergency travel phone because our transfers never seem to go quite as planned and then we have no way to communicate with our missionaries. Once they reach the border, the phones don’t work anyway, but dad has finally been given permission to put roaming on their phones even though some of the “powers that be” don’t think it’s necessary. Lots of unnecessary things are necessary in Botswana! We can’t seem to stay one step ahead of the problems; they come at us faster than we can catch them; but we are learning! We are humbled each day as we keep trying to do the work of the Lord in Botswana. We know that he wants the Missionaries here and for the work to go forward and we will continue to fast and pray that we can do His will and keep the church legal in Botswana. We feel His help every day and we just need to get better as listening and reacting faster. We actually had talked about Elder Kolonji having trouble getting through the border, but we dismissed it as “we just worry too much” and we should have followed the bus to the border and been there when he arrived instead of the missionaries all having to pitch in and come up with the 500 Pula before we got there to even start the paper work for him to get through. By the time we got there, they were all on the South African side (except Elder Kolonji) and we couldn’t talk to them or get them their money back, but we called ahead to the office in Johannesburg and ask them to have the money to repay each of them that had contributed with their allotment money. We’ve just got to learn to listen to the Still Small Voice and react accordlingly. We will do better! We’ve fasted and prayed today for Heavenly Father to help us learn to do His will and we ask that all of you fast and pray for us each month so we can do ALL that we are required to do here. I constantly ask my Heavenly Father each day “Am I doing all that you want me to do here?”
We loved getting to talk to most of you on Christmas. We had lots of Missionaries here calling home and it was a happy time in the mission. We hope each of you are prepared for a wonderful New Year and that the blessing will be even stronger in your homes this year than they have in the past. We are blessed to have the Priesthood of God in every one of our homes. We are blessed by ancestors who were strong and struggled so that we could have all the blessings of the gospel in our lives, every day of our lives. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and we are so blessed to have it in our lives. We are so blessed to be lead by a Prophet of God who talks with our Heavenly Father and knows the things that we need to know to bring our families back to live Eternally with our Heavenly Father. WE have local leaders who also are lead and guided to know what each of our families need and who serve us with all of their hearts. As we support and sustain our local leaders, Heavenly Father can bless us even more with constant information that will keep us in touch with The Spirit. When we study the scriptures individually and as families, we are PROMISED that our families will be righteous and will stay close to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that our children will testimonies that will help them to hold fast to the iron rod. We pray for each and every one of you every day and we know that our Heavenly Father is blessing you and watching out for you for us while we are gone. We miss you, We love you and you are our greatest blessing. WE are so thankful for each of you and your goodness and your example to each other. Enjoy the New Year; keep the commandments and be worthy of all of the Promised Blessings and “Let There Be No Empty Seats In Our Heavenly Home.” We’ll be home with you in 2011; and we will be trying to thank our Heavenly Father for all of His blessings by doing our very best work until then!!! BE SAFE
All Our Love!!!
Mom and Dad, Granny & PaPa Lynn, Lynn & Lorraine