This week has been a little more of a slowdown as President and Sister Poulsen were here last Friday for him to do interviews. Then Friday afternoon they flew to Francistown leaving there care here at the airport. They went to Francistown and Kasane another 5 hours farther with the Risers and had a family home evening Monday night then drove back to Francistown and flew back here to Gaborone on Tuesday evening. They arrived late and tired so we didn’t even see them. They left about 7:00 the next morning from the hotel so again we didn’t see them. I have a presidency meeting by phone at 3:00 this afternoon so we will get the results of their traveling.
We have spent a little time this week in trying to find a school for Mariah to go to. After not coming up with any good schools that could help her we didn’t know what to do. Later that same evening Melissa and Mariah called us on skype and Mariah wants to go to the GIPS school which she signed up for before she left. I think she will most likely go here in Gaborone instead of Kanye which will be lots better for her. It will keep her away from her family which isn’t good for her. They leech off of her every time they see her, especially after she has spent time with us. They ask her for money and anything else that they think she has. We are always careful not to give her money or anything but sometimes when she takes a bus back to Kanye we help her with a ticket and what is left over they ask for. It is very sad because Mom and I know as you do that family is so important and it is fun to get together and just have a good time. Her family doesn’t work (she has an aunt that has a job in a chicken factory) and she must provide for most of them. As hard as I try I can’t understand how her family functions. Mariah says there is no love in her family at all and they hate each other and they don’t share a thing. Well enough about Mariah’s family she is coming home Friday night about 8:35 and we will pick her up and have her stay the night then of Saturday Mom and I are doing some leadership training in Kanye and while we are doing that she will visit her family and come down to the church when she is done and join us and then come back to Gaborone with us so we can go to the YSA ward the next day. We are doing all we can to find her some place to stay here in Gaborone to keep her out of Kanye.
Last Saturday on the way down to Mafikeng we stopped in Lobatse and I had a second interview with a lady by the name of Sophia that was baptized two days later in their branch. Tomorrow we travel to Mochudi and I have two interviews that are second interviews that if they doing well they will be baptized this coming Sunday. I will close for now and write more later.
This is now Sunday the 1st day of May and it was just last Friday that we picked up Mariah at the Botswana airport. We were concerned that the Atlanta to Johannesburg flight might not give enough time to catch the one to Botswana, but she showed up when we went out to the airport to pick her up. We had a nice visit that night and we all went to bed. I set the alarm so she could use the bathroom and the missionary office but told her not to go out of the hall door that would be locked. The next morning after both Mom and I had a good night’s sleep we found out Mariah didn’t sleep very well at all. The next day which was Saturday Mom and I had a training meeting up in Kanye. Elder Oketa one of our full time missionaries serving as the branch president had more than 90% of his leadership for the branch there at the meeting. The plan was to take Mariah to Kanye to visit with her family and we would do the leadership training and then he would walk down to the church at 2:30 to 3:00 so we could bring her back with us to Gaborone. All went wonderful at the meeting but 3:30 came and still Mariah hadn’t called or come to the church. Finally at 4:00 we had to leave so we went up to her grandma’s place and she wasn’t there. Finally two young girls about 10 and 11 years old said they could take us to find Mariah. She was at a wedding with several of her friends and when we saw her she said I’m ready now. Then she walked away. I holler to her and she said in a minute. I was parked in the middle of the street so I had to move and so Mom and one of the four Gaborone that helped in the training walked back the couple hundred yards and found her again.
Much to my surprise she told Mom that her Mother was sick and she wanted to go see her and two of her friends wanted to go as well. We found out it was a long way away in the opposite direction so Mom told her that she would have to get there on her own. We had planned to have Mariah go with us to the Young Singles Ward this morning but she didn’t show up. She send us a text message on a friends phone this morning and said she wouldn’t be able to make it home in time to go to the YSA ward. We text her back and said tomorrow is a holiday so just plan to stay with your family and come home Tuesday and we would see what we can help with.
We have been worried and prayed about what schooling she needed like redoing her Form 5, or going on with the program that she signed up for in Kanye or have her take a class offered here in Gaborone with the same company. We have worried and prayed about where she would live either here in Gaborone, or in Kanye with a friend or with her family. It seems that everything blew up in that few minutes when she decided to go and see her mother. I was very frustrated and when we were on the way home it didn’t take long for us to just decide to let Mariah do her own thing. We will help and offer advice where and when we can but we are backing way off and letting her do her own thing. I think she learned some independence in the States and she wants that same freedom here. After all she is almost 19 years old and can make decisions on her own.
This is not meant to be cruel or uncaring but we must face reality and need to back off. Again we will keep the family informed as to what she is planning but for now we just don’t know. We have to much missionary work to do to baby set someone that doesn’t want help. We will see. The Gospel is true but the people in it make it difficult. I love serving and we feel we make head way each day but sometimes we get to take a couple steps backward. Usually we can only blame ourselves. We did what we felt was under the direction of the Lord. We felt good about doing all for Mariah because that is what she wanted. She wanted to have her baby adopted by our family and she saw many miracles happen to have this happen. We don’t owe Mariah anything for what has happened but we want to help her to make her life the way she wants it to be. We will continue to help when she wants help but I don’t want to force anything on her.
Tomorrow or Tuesday when she comes to see us all may be changed back to her wanting us to help. We will see.
Love Out Of Botswana,
Dad and Mom
P.S. Braxton we can't open your letters.