Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week #50 - Granny

Dear Family and Friends,
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
new couple.
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

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