Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week #57 - Papa Lynn

               Today we have something to announce however I am sure Roger has already made it known.  Our dear friend and like a daughter has received everything she needs to go to America and she has arrive in Salt Lake City airport yesterday afternoon and Roger and Shaundalee has meet her there.  By now I am sure she is in Burley and getting ready for church.  Just so the family knows it was a series of miracles that had to happen to get Mariah a Botswana identification number, then her passport, and then the United States visa.  All of this was very difficult and had to happen in the proper order.  We had many people say it was going to be impossible and others said it would be possible but with many trials and errors.  It seems that all were correct as it was almost impossible but with the help of some key people it finally did happen.  I think mom has taken some notes of what needed to be done and the difficulties in each task.  It really did take many trips back and forth to Kanye to get Mariah’s identification number.  We had to have her tribe involved along with her mother and grandmother and the immigration department.  Then she had to get her birth records which proved to be a different date than she thought was really her birthday.  She is about three weeks older than she thought she was.  Older and more mature at her age isn’t bad but at my age who wants to be older (I could be more mature and perhaps it would help).
               After the identification number she needed a passport and with everything else in line it was the easiest part of this whole process.  In the middle of all of this Mike, Roger and Bryce came and took us away from all of this for about a week.  Well some of the time while they were here we were still involved as they went with us and meet some of the Kanye members and went up to Mariah’s place where she stays and meet many of her family.  We took many pictures and had lots of fun.  Mariah come back to Gaborone with all of us and she stayed at her cousins place here in Gaborone as the next day we went to Madikwe Game Reserve.  While we were gone there she actually got her identification number and applied and received her passport.
               We applied for a visa to visit America and the man she dealt with in the interview was a real jerk.  I know we are very careful who we let come to America but we should at least have the courtesy to read the complete application and the documents that go with it.  The man read the information about Mariah’s planned schooling and said she didn’t have enough reason to return to Botswana and rejected her application.  Because Mariah is so shy and bashful she didn’t say anything about not reading the documents.
               It was very hard on both Lorraine and I and we had worked really hard to get everything in order and then for him not to even look at all the preparation work was very disheartening.  We did even more during the next week.  We got letters from Bishop Matswagothata, and the magistrate judge stating that Mariah has no intention of staying in America and she has a family that is relying on her return.  She has a Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother along with Uncles, Aunts, Cousins plus a sister and 3 brothers all in Kanye.  I think their letters really helped, and I typed up a cover page in big letters asking the interviewer to read the following documents and then I listed them 1 through 7.  We aren’t sure what made the difference but I think it was a lot of everything.
               The proof of the pudding is that she is now in America and has a round trip ticket to return back here to Botswana the last half of May 2011.
               Mom and I have done all of this in our spare time.  Well I guess a lot of it has been done on the many preparation days that we have back logged during the past months when we didn’t get any.  But we are not complaining as all is well here in Zion.  We love serving the Lord and this next week is exciting as President and Sister Poulsen come up for Leadership Training and he wants us to be there.  We will be having dinner with them tomorrow night and then the meeting will be on Tuesday.  He picks up Elder and Sister Riser who will be serving in Francistown the next morning in Johannesburg airport and they fly up here to Botswana on Friday and Sister Morgan and I will pick them up and show them Gaborone and take them to dinner and then stay here in our mission home/office for the night then we will drive them up to Francistown early Saturday morning.  I have two 2nd interviews there before the baptisms in the afternoon and we need to get them settled into their flat before that.  Another busy weekend but it will all be possible with the help of the Lord.  We rely on His help all the time and He makes things happen as they should and when they should.
               If any of you know of some couples that need great blessings please have them contact us by return e-mail so we can tell them how great serving as couple missionaries really is.  We need someone as soon as we can so we can get replacements for us.  Seriously we need someone within the next month to put in their papers so they can be called and be ready to go to the MTC so they can arrive here in the mission field on the 20th of July and be here in Botswana on the 22 or soon after so they can learn the end of the month bill paying and learn the things necessary for transfers.  It is a great job and we get very high pay for the work we do.  The Boss is a wonderful person to work for and we feel His influence in what He wants done.  We talk to Him several times each day and feel of His presence.   Let us know if you know anyone that wants this great job.
Again as always Love Out Of Botswana,
Dad and Mom

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still Alive in Botswana! - Granny

Dear Family & Friends,

It’s been so long since I’ve actually written a family letter that I don’t even know where to start.
I know I haven’t written since the boys were here and I have to tell you we had a really great time while they were here.  They arrived an hour late and we were so happy that President and Sister Bricknell were there at the airport with us so we could visit and catch up on each other's families and lives.  We love them and every minute with them is a treat!  Because the boys arrived late, we were really cutting it close to get back to Botswana and get across the border, but we made it and we didn’t have any trouble; it just takes a while to do all the paperwork at the South AFrican side, and then on to the Botswana side we have to do it all over again.  We got through with about 10 minutes to spare and headed on home to our place which is another 45 minutes or so.  We talked all the way; couldn’t see much as it was pitch black outside; but we enjoyed the journey and Dad and I just loved being in their presence and feeling the excitement they brought.
We stayed up until about 2 AM and then we all crashed and got up in time to go to church at the YSA Branch where we loved introducing our three great sons to many of our leaders and young people in the branch. 
After Church we had dinner quickly and then headed South about 90 minutes to the small village of Kanye where we (counted donkey’s all the way) and gave the boys a feel for Botswana country side and also we arrived just as their baptism was getting over and they got to meet lots of the members of the Kanye Branch also.  We drove on up the hill from the church to where our friend Mariah lives (you will all soon know her) and the boys had the privilege of getting acquainted with many of her family that live there in several small homes close on one property.  We took lots of pictures of grandma, Aunts and Uncles, and Cousins and I’m not even sure everyone that came running for a picture was even related to Mariah.  It was fun and the boys really enjoyed the little kids and kissing the babies.  It was a fun experience and we brought Mariah home with us to Gaborone to stay at her cousins home so we could do some business with her the next morning in Gaborone. 
Monday at noon we check into a game reserve called Madikwa that is just back outside the border into South Africa for an experience of a lifetime.  We stayed in little cabins placed up above the ground to keep us safe from the grazing animals.  There was no running water, no electricity, but our meals were all cooked for us and we were drive out for a 3 ½ hour game drive each evening and each morning.  The camp was set up super convenient with lanterns placed along paths to the outdoor toilets, the outdoor showers, the hot water being heated in a “donkey boiler” and extra water to carry for any other reason or need.  They had laterns in our rooms which they lite for us each evening, and we would just blow them out when we went to bed.  Our cabins were close to each other and all were very close to the kitchen and everything else that adjoined our accommodations.  The safari vehicles arrived each morning at 6 AM and again each evening at 4:30 and took us all over the bush to see the wild animals.  We saw an amazing amount of Zebra, Giraffe, Kudu, elephants, Impala, rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, Lions, Ostrich, Baboons, Wild Dogs and several other species of the smaller “deer” family as well as many beautiful birds.  We could get so very close to them and it was pretty exciting to take lots of pictures to share with all of you.  I’m sure the boys will share their pictures and tell you about all of their experiences before we get home, but we will do it again when we get home. 
     We stayed there in the Bush Camp for 2 more days and the rest of the time was spent just showing them around the mission and doing the kinds of things that we do as Missionaries.  On Sunday night they got to meet our favorite Bishop Matswagothata and his family and also Kgosi and Maipela that we went to the JoBurg temple with in mid-February. We also had the missionaries that serve here in Gaborone come over for cookies and ice cream and a fun visit.  The time went all too quickly and soon it was Thursday and we packed up and headed for Joburg to spend the evening with President & Sister Bricknell.  We had a wonderful evening with them, they are such dear friends and they are always so good to us.  We spent the night at their home before spending the last day driving through another Game Park in South Africa and then doing some fun “Flea Market Type” shopping at a huge outdoor market close to the airport.  At the Game Park, we got so close to some lions that Roger tried to reach out the car window and touch one of them and he got a “growl’ that would have made your hair stand on ends and he quickly pulled his hand back into the car window.  We all set there thinking about how “not smart” that was and were more careful from then on.  We got extremely close to some Cheetah’s, a whole pride of Lions, a pack of wild dogs as well as visiting a caged area that had lots of different baby animals and etc.  The boys all took advantage of that spot and paid to go inside the pens and pet the baby lions, cheetah, and I can’t remember what else.  It was a really fun day; but the shopping was a great experience also.  I found out that all three of the boys really love to shop and find souvenirs to take home for their family.  It was fun to watch them see what would be “just right” for the journey home.  It truly was a fun, fun week and from there we headed straight to the airport where we just actually dumped them off and headed directly home so we could again reach the border before it closed at mid-night.  We actually don’t have a very good GPS system and there were a couple of detours on the way home and we ended up lost along some small road going through every little town and village along the way.  We did make it to the border just before it closed though and that was all that counted.  When we picked up the boys at the first of the week, we used Bryce’s GPS on his phone and it over-road our GPS and found our way much better; but we did make it home on our own.  Usually when we travel to JoBurg we don’t get close to the airport and we know that way, but the airport was a new experience for us but worth every minute we spent with Mike and Roger and Bryce.  Thanks boys for coming and we hope you all get to see what they saw while they were with us.  Africa is truly an amazing country and we loved getting to see everything while they were here also.  When we are just being missionaries, we see exciting things like donkeys, goats, cows and an occasional baboon. 
Since the week the boys were here we have been catching up on immigration and finally got the 4 Sisters to get their Residence Permits so they don’t have to leave Botswana.  We’ve also been able to secure a ID Card, a Passport, and a Visa for Mariah so she can come to America to visit with Roger and Shaundalee’s family.  You’ll all have to check with Roger for that story but it was no small task and has definitely involved the Lord and many Tender Mercies for our family.  The Miracle began last October and our part will be finished when we drive Mariah to Joburg on Friday and put her on an airplane and fly her to America for all of you to meet.
It’s late and we are going to try to get some sleep tonight.  The last two nights haven’t been very successful at that, but tonight we are ready for Mariah’s journey and exhausted so hopefully sleep will come.
We love you and love your letters.  They keep us going and make it possible to do what we do.
Mom and Dad, Grannie and PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We are in Francistown

Dear Family and Friends,
     We are Francistown for few days as President Poulsen has asked us to spend two days in Francistown each week between the time that Elder and Sister Cardiff left and until the time that Elder and Sister Riser from Rosevelt Utah arrive.  I think we will be driving them up here on the morning of the 27th just in time for me to do some interviews for baptims before the baptism service that early afternoon.  We are excited to meet them and help them get aquainted with Botswana.  Hopefully everything will go good for them.  We hope they get their residence permits quickly.
     No new news about Mariah yet but we have faith that we can put everything together to help her be a little more agressive.  I am making up a sheet that in fairly large letters says please read these documents, then list the documents or letters they should read.  We have a young lady from the YSA ward coming to help her and practice with her.  We are going to the Francistown district meeting this morning which is also the Zone because they only have 8 here which is the zone and district as they have 4 elders and 4 sisters.
     We love each of you very much.  We know we are doing the work of the Lord and it is He that called us to serve here in the South Africa Johannesburg Mission under the direction of President Poulsen and to serve here in the Botswana part of the mission.  We have been blessed and we feel of His spirit in the work we do.  We have seen miracles, many of them, some large and many small but never the less we have seen miracles.  We love serving and it keeps Mom and I together and that is wonderful in its self.   l love Lorraine more and more each day and she is a great help mete to me.  She inspires me and helps me and in turn I do my best to inspire and help her.  We feel the love from each of you and we know that you are very busy in your lives (because many don't have time to write to us) and we understand because we raised a wonderful family and love them to bits.
     Will write again more later.  By the way we are planning to catch a plane on the llth of August heading for America.  Well arive sometime on the 12th, at least that is the plan for now.  Hopefully that will work out alright for all of you.  When we get closer to that time we will have Barney see if we can report our mission on the 15th of August but lets wait and make sure there isn't any changes.
Love Dad and Mom (Out of Botswana)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Million Thanks from Botswana

DEar Family,
I'm so sorry that we just have not had time to even write, but life here has been so hectic for the past month and this last week was such a delight that we just haven't stopped long enough to think about how much we are going to miss the boys now that they are gone. We drove to JoBurg to get them and got back after midnight and we haven't stopped for a minute since. They dumped their suitcases that night of all the wonderful things that you all sent and most f it is still on the kitchen cabinet. You all know me well enough to know that I normally don't do things like that, but we didn't want to waste a minute while they were here.
I just sorry that I haven't taken the time to THANK all of you for the wonderful, individualized things that you sent us. We loved all the cards, notes, and pictures from the kids. Please tell them thank you and that Granny is going to hang them up in her house and leave them there until we come home. It made us miss all of you even more but it's nice to know that we have your support being here in the Mission Field because we know that we are supposed to be here right now and until August.
Thanks you for chasing down all the make-up items and curling iron that I asked for; it is perfect and I appreciate all of your trouble. Thanks for all the "favorite" candy that was sent, the carmel corn, the banana bread, the caramels (wow! all that work). We actually devoured a whole box while the boys were here, but Dad put the other box away for when we are alone again. It was fun to open my Mother's Day packasge that you sent (Harold and Sue) and I will enjoy the book. The pictures of the heart cookies from the kids were fun, all the cinnamon candy will be great to enjoy as we travel. We don't share them very often, but perhaps we have enough to share once in a while because the missionaries do love them too. Thanks for all the new pictures of the kids, they are growing up so fast and we miss them so very much. Kricket, all the items you put together for our Branches is absolutely wonderful. I didn't pass any of them out yet because I want to take the time to divide them up just right, but I will take some pictures and let you know how much they appreciate them. I told the Primary President in Mochudi today that I had some things for her and she is so excited. She has about 12 primary kids and she told me today that they don't even have plain paper for them to draw on. I'll get busy and get them passed out; the kids are going to love it all. The scripture bags are awesome, the bookmarks are really great and we'll put together some great packets for each Branch to enjoy. Be sure to tell your friends and your ward how much they are appreciated. I'm the lucky one because I get to see their happy smiling faces when we give them out. Thanks a TON!
Gay; I"ll include you in the family letter so I can thank you for all of the pictures and bookmarks you sent. They will make wonderful gifts for us to give as we leave the people here. We are growing so close to many of them and a lot of it comes from working so closely with them and trying to help them strengthen their testimonies so we can grow and become a Stake here hopefully before we leave. Bishop Motswaghotata and his family have become dear friends and they have the two cutest little girls; they will absolutely love the picture you sent of the Savior and the little girl. I have the picture of the Savior holding the little baby on my cell phone and I also was given a wallet sized picture of it and everyone wants to know where I got it. It will be fun to start tiving them out before we leave. Thank You!!
I'm sure I've forgotten some individual things and I'm sorry about that but it's late and I'll write more at a better time.
We had one of our YSA young ladies come over tonight and help us with the VISA papers for Mariah. It took them 4 hours on the computer but they got them all ready to turn in and we were able to secure an appointment on-line for 8 AM Tuesday morning. Tomorrow we have to get a PassPort type picture for her (again) and also go to the Gaborone Branch of the school she will be attending in Kanye when she returns so they can give us a letter verifying that she is enrolled in school and then I think we'll have everything we need to go for the appointment on Tuesday. Pray for us please; she will have to go up to the window herself and answer any questions they want to ask her. We are WAY nervous about that because we have no idea what they will ask her and she is so shy and quiet that we hope our coaching and the coaching of Celeste (our YSA Gal) will be enough to warrent them giving her the Visa. Celeste was a nanny here for a family that worked for the US Embassy a few years ago and they bought her a ticket to Kentucky where they live and she stayed with them for 3 weeks. She was our best bet for help with the Visa and we are trying to answer every prompting we get for help. We have lead and guided thus far and we just have one more hurdle to get over and then she will be able to get on that plane. We will let you know as soon as we know anything- but huge hearfelt prayers will be appreciated. We know if it is Heavenly FAther's will, it will happen and we have FAITH that if He could heal the sick and raise the dead; then He can get Mariah on that plane and safely to America so her baby can bless the lives of all of our family and we as a family can bless the life of that sweet baby and also of Mariah.
THank You for everything. We felt like it was Christmas in March and it was absolutely amazing to open it all up. We will still be enjoying it until it's time to come home. We love you
Mom and Dad, Granny and PaPaLynn, Lynn and Lorraine

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week #55 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week has been the best week sense we have arrived here in the mission field, the reason is we have had three of our sons to visit and spend the week with us. We drove to Johannesburg on Friday the 25th to attend a mission presidency meeting at the mission office (the first time I was able to attend in person, I usually am on a conference call with the speaker phone). We visited the area office, and also had a meeting with Elder Martineau a member of the legal department in the area office. I was privileged to meet with President Poulsen and Elder Bricknell in a different meeting as well. It was a good day for me and Mom and Sister Poulsen went shopping. That evening we stayed with the Poulsen’s at the mission home.

Saturday we traded our Nissan Tiida for the mission van so we would have more room for Mike, Roger and Bryce. Mom and I wanted to make preparations for the boys a week later so we found the Bruma Mall and put the co-ordinates in the GPS. While there we shopped a little and then headed for the airport to have a fun time and had a meal with Colin and Jenny Bricknell as they wanted to be there when the boys arrived. The plane was about 30 or so minutes late but it was worth the wait when we say the boys come into the big waiting area. We visited with them and the Bricknells for a few minutes and then we headed out to Botswana. We got back to the border about 11:30 and the border closed at 12:00 so we made it on time.

The next day was Sunday and we had planned to attend sacrament meeting in the Young Single Adult ward where Bishop Matswagothata asked me to talk because one of the speakers wasn’t going to show up. I really think he just wanted an excuse to have me talk but it was fun to be able to make a few remarks in front of my sons. The next morning we needed to get the 4 sisters who’s 90 days were up to the immigration office with their passports and proof of applying for their residence permits. Later we found out they got 7 more days and was hoping to get their permits during the week which didn’t happen. Now they will be illegal come this next Monday but Stix and Brother Thebe say it will be alright. When I suggest they can stay after their extensions they all say we have to obey the law. Oh well it’s not my place to criticize. I got kicked out for doing what they get away with.

About 11:00 we did a couple of last minute things that we needed to do and then headed for the border to go to Madikwe the game reserve we planned months ago to visit. It was great fun and we enjoyed every minute with the boys. It was a camp without running water or power. They hauled in water in large (about 500 gallon) containers on wheels with a specked in the back. We filled a bucket of water and poured it into a donkey boiler which put hot water into another bucket and then you adjusted the temperature by adding hot or cold water for your shower. In the shower area you put the bucket of water into another bucket that had a shower head under the bucket that you hoisted using a rope and pulley system. It worked really well. We didn’t have to prepare food or do dishes so the time was very relaxing except when we were on game drives. We did a game drive early each morning and late in each afternoon.

We were not disappointed in the drives as we saw many African animals of every kind. To name a few: lions, giraffes, wilderbeests, zebra, Kudu, warthogs, impala, elephants, ostriches, baboons, rhinos, wild dogs, hyenas, genie fowl, and many others like rabbit, rodents, many species of birds. We really enjoyed being together a having a relaxing time. The food was good the nights most of us slept well (except Roger “jet lag”). We got back into Gaborone about 2:00 Wednesday afternoon and that is when Mom and I did a fast catch up on many different things. I did the monthly kilometer report for the mission vehicles here in Botswana and the boys went through the many pictures we took while at Madikwe. That evening we decided the next day we would leave for Johannesburg and do some shopping and see the White Lion and Rhino Park. It too was great and then we headed for Bruma Mall to let the boys get some African things to take home. We let them off at the airport about 6:00 and we headed back to Gaborone Botswana. We got to the border about 10:30 and got home and into bed about midnight. We have been watching the clock and trying to guess where the were in their travels back to their families.

Today I had a second interview in Molepolole at 10:00 this morning and then we picked up a few groceries and did some catch up on book work. I headed to Mochudi this afternoon and helped get one of the mission cars started and left the jumper cables just in case they will need them again tomorrow.

Well I will say goodnight and we will go to bed.

WITH LOVE OUT OF BOTSWANA. (I’m not really shouting) DAD and MOM