Hello to ALL;
This has been a pretty busy week as we had transfers and we lost 8 of our Missionaries and received 8 new ones. The biggest problem was that 5 of the ones that we sent back to Joburg were out of time on their passports but we were told that we didn’t have to worry about it anymore as Immigration was working on it and we would be given extra days now until they could get their paperwork processed. We have been just going along, not worrying, and thinking all would be alright. At 5:30 AM on Wednesday morning, we did breakfast for the departing missionaries and sent them on their way by 6 AM. About 7 O’clock we received a call from our Zone Leader at the Border saying they weren’t allowed to leave Botswana because their paper work was expired and they were going to have to pay fines for each day they were delinquent. We tried to call our Immigration Specialist “Stix” that the church hired, but of course, he works on normal hours and only answers our calls when he want to anyway. To make a really long story short, we had to meet our Missionaries at the Police Station to pay the fines; but the Police Station didn’t have the receipts the Border Patrol wanted so we all had to come clear back into Gaborone to the main Police Station only to be told that the lady we needed to see was headed to a meeting and she would see us when her meeting was over. We waited (no other choice) and then we got the receipts signed and sent the Elders back to the border and we came on home. About an hour later, we got another phone call that two of our Missionaries that are from Kenya and Uganda needed proof of immunizations before they would be allowed back into South Africa. We tried to fax them to the Border Office, but their Fax wouldn’t work so they told our Elders to go back into Botswana and ask if we could fax the information to their office, but their Fax wouldn’t work either so we had to scan it to one of the Elder’s E-mail address and he opened it up and got it off for them. It is not 11 AM so it took us 5 hours, but we did get them through the border. Of Course, they missed their training meetings in JoBurg, and also the transfer meeting, but they arrived about 4 PM, just in time to meet up with their new companions and go to their new areas. About 5:30 we got a phone call saying that the Elder that drove one of the cars down to JoBurg had taken the keys to his new area way up North, was driving with an Elder that had turned off his phone during the transfer meeting and we couldn’t reach them at all. So we decided to have all 8 of them stay in JoBurg for the night as they would be traveling all the way in the dark and no one had ever been to Botswana before. They spent the night with Missionaries there in JoBurg and by 9 O’Clock we still didn’t know where the key was so President Poulsen made the decision to have Dad fly to Joburg the next morning at 7 AM and take another key to the car so they could all drive up to Botswana together. We got up at 5 AM again and I drove Dad to the airport and he flew to Joburg, rescued the stranded Missionaries and they all made their way up here by late afternoon. It was quite a big day for Dad but he did get some quality time with our new Missionaries on the way back to Botswana and I was able to have dinner ready for all of them when they got here. Life is an adventure in this mission and I guess we’ve just endured another “experience.”
We were able to visit our YSA Branch today as it was their Ward Conference so we spent a wonderful day with our wonderful Bishop Motswagothata and with our Stake President, President Hall and his counselors. They are all dynamic men and they each gave excellent speeches today in Sacrament meeting. Last night they actually called a special meeting with all of the Auxiliaries of all the Branches and Wards here to discuss “tranditions and customs” and it was too interesting to tell you all about on paper; but we had some really good discussion about how the members of the church need to take a stand against “traditions” like feeding all the relatives for 8-10 days when there is a funeral and also the “witch doctor” practices that go on at the burial sites and a few other strange things that are happening at their funerals. The second half of the meeting was spent discussing the “Labola” or Bride Price traditions that are making it absolutely impossible for our young adults to marry at all. It was two very touchy subjects; but President Hall handled things extremely well considering he and us are white and everyone else in the chapel was not. He was careful to identify everything with a Gospel Principle and try to teach the people that it wasn’t a matter of “Our Church against Their Traditions.” It’s a matter of not doing anything that goes against the Laws of God and to always identify what the Principle is and how to always try to help their families (especially non-members, but not always) to keep Gods Laws. It was a very difficult situation, but our leaders did an excellent job and things never got heated and hopefully everyone went home with good feelings.
We also had a couple of visitors over the weekend from two different missionaries that have served with us up here in Botswana, but are now finished with their missions and are touring a bit with their parents. They had each been gone for about 10 months, back serving in other areas in South Africa so it was really good to see them and see how much they have grown in their missionary work and their over-all attitudes and life skills. Both Elders had delightful parents and we could definitely see why they had been such good missionaries. One was Elder Bryce Michael Call and he lives in Boise so hopefully we might get to see him again sometime after we get home.
This next week we will be traveling on assignment clear up to Francistown (5 hours) on Thursday we will drive on up to Kasane (another 5 or more hours) for training on Saturday, Priesthood business and attending their little “group” of about 20 on Sunday. We will pick up the Riser’s from Francistown and make the rest of the journey together. Lots of work to be done there, but hopefully a little time for maybe a boat ride on the Chobe River or a little 2 hour game drive if we are lucky. We aren’t looking forward to all the driving, but we’ve been told that when we get that far up North we will see some “wildlife” and even elephants crossing the road and etc. We’ll see if we are lucky! This is the same area that we had the couple’s conference last December, but we flew to Kasane last time and this time we are driving. I’m always a little nervous about the training part and hope we can understand their needs and be able to help them see a bigger vision of the church for themselves someday. I think dad sent you a KSL news-clip of the Kasane Branch a couple of months back of something that was televised and run during the break between Conference Sessions. I’m not sure if you could down load it or not, but it was done well and told of their secluded little Branch clear up in the Northern most part of Botswana and all they are doing to try to do missionary work and bring their friends into the church.. Anyway, we will write next week and tell you how it went and what we got to see (if anything).
Time is passing too quickly and we are enjoying our work here. Every Day is an Adventure in Botswana and I think everyone of the other couples in our Mission wishes they could serve up here with us. Actually, we could use a little Adult company once in a while; but we love what we are doing and we are doing it the best way we know how. Thanks for all of your prayers and your support. We absolutely could not do what we are doing without your help. Tell all of your kid’s thanks for their prayers too; we feel their prayers in everything we do.
We Love You ALL,
Mom and Dad, Grannie and PaPa Lynn, Lynn and Lorraine