Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week #44 - Granny

Dear Family,

Well, Botswana doesn’t do Christmas! There isn’t a tree up in any house that I’ve seen; no lights up in anyone’s yard or anywhere around town; and very few signs of anything about Christmas in the stores. No Santa in the Mall, no street decorations in town; I even asked in a couple of stores if they have a Chrismtas section and they just look at me funny and say "no". There is a Mall near us that has a store called “Game City” and it is the closest thing to a Wal-Mart that we can find in Botswana and they actually had a end-cap with some Christmas Napkins and Paper Plates (no cups) so I bought enough for our Mission Christmas Party and for the YSA Activity that we had tonight. We also took plates to three of our neighbors and sang Christmas Carols to them. Most of the YSA said they had never gone Caroling before and really thanked us for the experience. We had a little Christmas Program first with scriptures mingled with Christmas Carols and then we went caroling and came back for refreshments. We had nearly 50 here again so we did the refreshments outside but we did “Pack” everyone in the living room and dining room for the program, all on small stools or on the floor. It was fun but our neighbors didn’t get much out of the singing as they all have their tall fences and don’t open their gate or even come out for you to sing. We did catch one family down the street a ways that had company leaving so we hurried down and sang to them and gave them a plate of goodies. They looked at the goodies with a little suspicion though and I’m not sure they will eat them as they really didn’t know who we were and you can imagine this white couple marching down the street followed by a really nice looking group of 50 YSA Adult aged people and you might be suspicious too. But we did have a good time and it’s starting to feel a little bit like Christmas. Many of our YSA group have wonderful voices and can really harmonize and they sing out. It was fun to go caroling with them and they all looked so sharp; they had come right after church and their Institute Class so they were still dressed in their Sunday Best.
The Sister Missionaries came over yesterday and helped me revive an old artificial tree that was in the back corner of the servants quarters in our house. Dad uses that area for a work space, but there is actually a tiny kitchen, a tiny bathroom and one other room back there and low and behold, there was a “dead” tree we thought we sholud use. The Sisters literally taped it together with a tape gun, took green thread and wound it all around the branches to hold them up and the lights are absolutely impossible to revive so we just have a “daytime tree” but it doesn’t look half bad and from a distance, you can't see the tape or the green thread. There were some red balls in one box in the closet and another box that had a bunch of gold balls so we put all of them on and added some plastic white snowflakes and wrapped a white mattress cover around the bottom and it actually looks like Christmas in the Mission Home. We strung a garland that was also in the box, put a plastic tablecloth on the table that was cutsie, but Christmasy and what really saved the day was a tiny Nativity set that Aunt Carma sent and some snowmen made out of syrofoam that look really cute under the tree and a Merry Christmas sign to hang on the front door. Thanks Aunt Carma!

Sue has been sending an Advent Calendar with a Spiritual picture and a scripture, song, and something to do each day. I print these off and put them on the front door and all the Missionaries that come and go read them and do the activity for the day. Thanks Sue!

Dad and I had to speak in church today and we poured out our hearts to the people of Kanye and told them how important it is that we “Follow the Prophets”, Keep Heavenly Father’s Commandments, and “Share the Gospel with All of Our Neighbors.” We love the people in t hat branch and they really love us too. They treat us like we ARE the Prophet and his wife! They hug us and beg us to come to their activities and want to meet with us afterwards to ask personal questions and have us help them with all of their problems. Actually, our little Mariah that is 18 and pregnant is from that Branch and she calls me every few days just to tell me that she is doing fine and feels really good. She asked for some pictures of my family so I took her some today and showed her and she asked to keep some of them just to look at. Another little girls saw me give her a picture so she wanted one also. She begged for the picture I was carrying of Kinli and it was actually the older one when she was only a few months old. I have the new one that Danielle just sent me so I told her she could have it and she went around church showing it to everyone and kissing her picture. There isn’t a white person in their Branch anywhere, but they treat us very nicely and love us even if we are different! I’m learning a lot from them and we love them! They begged us to come to the “Almost Christmas and Nearly New Years Party” on the 31st and we told them we would come and they were all so excited that we will be down there again. It is an hour and a half drive, but we make it there when we can and their party will be in the middle of the day so it will be something fun for us to go to.

This year will be the Mission Christmas Party. President and Sister Poulsen are flying up on Tuesday, doing interviews on Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning, and then the Christmas dinner and program will be Wednesday afternoon, with interviews finished up on Thursday morning. They will then fly home on Thursday and be home for Christmas and we will have Christmas here in Botswana by ourselves. Some of the missionaries will probably come over, at least the ones that serve here in Gaborone, but they all have to be in their flats by 6 PM on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Most of their areas aren’t safe for them to be out any later on these holidays so it will be pretty quiet around here.

We will be thinking about each of you and know that you will be having some wonderful family time and enjoying being together. We are grateful for each of you and pray for our Heavenly Father to bless each and everyone of you during this holiday season. May you FEEL of His love for each of you. May you COUNT your blessings and thank Him for them. Sing some Carols for us, remind your children how much we love them and how we pray for each and every day. We hope everyone of you can feel our arms around you and recognize how proud we are of you and the wonderful job you are doing of being wonderful companions to your spouses and amazing parents to our fantastic grandchildren. We FEEL BLESSED!!! Thanks you for being exactly who you are.

We’ll be in our flat by 6 PM each of the evenings that I mentioned, if you have time to call us. We usually go to bed by 10 O’clock; we can’t wait for the 10:30 curfew as we are too old and tired by then. Our 6 PM is about 9 O’clock in the morning for you so anytime between 9 AM and 1 PM would be a good time to try to call us. (For the Vegas and Eugene family, members the time is one hour off from what I’ve said but I think you can figure it out; I get confused so I won’t try to tell you exactly what it is.


All Our Love,

Mom & Dad, Granny & PaPa Lynn

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