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