Tag Archives: Botswana
This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak at my aunts church in Minnesota about Botswana. While speaking at churches is a regular occurance for a missionary during furlough, its usually done speaking to adults in the main service. Now, from a missionary perspective, this is practical in many ways.
1. Its the adults who support you financially and spiritually.
2. The adults can grasp the “big picture” of what your ministry is trying to accomplish.
3. Its just what you do.
….but sometimes we need to put practical aside and reach out beyond “practical”.
Sooooo, being that my aunt is the children’s pastor for her church, she also asked me to come back and give a presentation to the kids. I have to say, I was more excited about the prospect of speaking with children than adults (thats probably my teaching background coming out). I put together a slide show, I brought fun show-n-tell items for them to see, and we put together a “what they eat” segment where I actually cooked fried cabbage in front of them and they could taste it. (Most of them weren’t too thrilled about the fried cabbage, but they LOVED the fat cakes we made.) I also shared the differences between being a kid in the US verses being a kid in Botswana.
Overall, it was awesome! They loved the pictures, the food, the stories, and all the animals they saw. As I was leaving I realized how important it is to bring awareness to children about other cultures and areas of the world and how we can help them. If we are going to try to make an impact on our world, we need to start not only reaching out to those who can help us now, but also to those who will be out there doing the work in the next generation. Adults are important to reach, but lets not forget the children! As Whitney says, “I believe the children are our future.” hehehe
My home church, Res LIfe, is hosting the youth conference, Desperation, this weekend. My mom works at the church, and she asked me if I wanted to come help and volunteer. How could I say no to that? Today I was able to sit in on some of the worship time (which was awesome, I might add.) Jared Anderson, who is one of the leaders of the band, is amazing. Its one thing to rock out to his CD’s driving to a village in the middle of nowhere in Botswana, but its a whole other ball game to hear them live. Its one of the things I soooo missed in Africa…live worship! Needless to say, I was really blessed being able to enjoy some of the day and night listening and participating in the music.
Seeing the youth jumping around, singing, and dancing reminded me of our youth group, Fire by Night, in Botswana. We would sing and dance to music (CD’s) during our Friday night services. It made me realize how blessed America is to have these huge conferences, concerts, speakers etc. available pretty much everywhere. But, it also reminded me that God is the same everywhere we go. Whether its in a huge youth conference or under a tent in the Kalahari Desert, His presence is wherever we are and call upon Him. All the strobe lights, amps, musical instruments, stages, and sound effects are nice (don’t get me wrong; I love all that); but they’re not necessary. Thats what’s so incredible! You can experience God’s love through a loud, booming concert or the gentle whisper of the wind. Awesome!
I am already being asked by many what my favorite or most memorable Africa experience has been. As I sit and reflect back, its difficult to just pick one or two. There are so many wonderful, incredible things that happened, so I decided to pick my top 10. I have blogged about some of them, but feel free to go back and enjoy the memories with me again. Here goes… Letterman style:
10. My trip to Cape Town: Mountains, Ocean, Beaches, Penguins…awesome!
9. Grocery shopping with Rishelle for Teen Mania. 500 loaves of bread, kg’s and kg’s of rice, mealie-pap, and lots and lots of shopping carts. We had some great laughs.
8. Safari’s: elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras…I never get tired of seeing these amazing creatures.
7. Easter Conference in Namibia: traveling with youth on a mission trip…you’re only asking for awesome memories there.
6. The houseworkers asking for Bible’s: I will never forget the look on their faces and the bond we experienced that day.
5. Hungry, Hungry Hippos: If you don’t remember the story, click here. Personally, I will NEVER forget it!
4. My time at the Refugee Camp in Dukwe: It was my first experience at a Refugee camp, and one that changed my heart for refugees.
3. The summer of breakdowns: From the outreach trucks to R2, there wasn’t a moment that someone wasn’t on the side of a road out in the bush; while sleeping there in the middle of the migration pattern with Teen Mania kids had to top it off…. which leads me to #2
2. Rat in the gastank: This has to be one of the all time great stories of breakdowns.
1. Samaritan’s Purse Day: An image that will stay with me forever. Seeing thousands of kids opening up their shoeboxes filled with small tokens and the smiles on their faces. Priceless!
First and foremost I must thank everyone for all your prayers during these past 2 days. I know that I’ve been covered, and I must say it was the easiest road trip I’ve ever had (and that’s saying a lot driving here in Africa!). I left Sunday morning at 6:30 am and arrived in Harrismith around 2:30 pm Monday afternoon. I stayed overnight in Lobatse, a town located right at the border of Botswana and South Africa, on Sunday night. I woke up early Monday morning to finish the 2nd leg of my trip. I think this was the 1st time I’ve driven so far alone, which was quite the accomplishment for me I thought I would end this blog with some fun facts from the trip:
Total Distance in Kilometers traveled: 1667 K
Total Hours Spent Driving: 10 hours (1st day) + 7 hours (2nd day) = 17 hours
Total Amount for Petrol Spent in Botswana (Pula): P1028.85 = (US$158.28)
Total Amount for Petrol Spent in South Africa (Rand): R583.12 = (US$77.75)
Total Amount for Tolls in South Africa (Rand): R149.90 = (US$20)
Total Number of Donkeys/Cows/Goats Seen in Botswana: Too many to even bother counting
***I had a couple of photo moments, but since I was on a mission I didn’t stop to take any (sorry, mom)…but they do deserve mention:
1. Coming out of Maun, I saw the hugest male Kudo I have ever seen in my life on the side of the road. It was just standing there staring at me, and I debated long and hard about stopping to take a picture of him, knowing that I probably wouldn’t see one that large again. In the end, my indecisiveness won out, and I just kept driving.
2. Right after the Kudo sighting I saw a “Racing Stripes” moment. My nephew brought that movie when they came to visit, so I had just finished watching it days before. The scene I saw reminded me so much of a scene from the movie. On one side of a fence was a zebra and on the other were 3 horses. They were all facing each other, in what could only be described as being deep in conversation. It was too cute! Once again, I thought of backing up to take a photo, but again….nope! ( Watch the movie if you want a visual image. )
Not another snake story!!! (I know you are thinking) but here goes: Today Michael and Judah (his 13 year old son) killed a black mambo outside their house. The snake was up in the trees, and the birds were going crazy. Heather has informed me that this is one way to tell that a snake is near…the birds go crazy with their chirping. So Judah comes in the house and gets his pellit gun and is going back out when Heather stops him. He says there is a snake in the tree and Michael immediately goes out with him.
This thing is about 6 feet tall and it took 6 bullets to finally kill him. They they cut off the head and burnt it. The head has all the poison in it so they didn’t want any of the dogs eating it and being poisoned. The rest of the body they hung in a tree in front of their house. The ants will be having a feast in no time!
So here’s the deal: I’ve decided that the next step for me is to shoot and kill a snake. No more of this observing; I need to be a part of the action. I’ve seen my fair share now, and I am ready! No more of this relaxing and letting others have all the fun. I’m ready to step up to the plate!!!
Watch out Africa…I’m ready and armed, and willing to move up the food chain as well….who knows, maybe one day I’ll become a game hunter!!! (Well, probably not, but it’s fun to pretend. I did do quite well on my nephew’s African Safari playstation game Cheers!
When I first moved to Botswana, I read this book titled, “Pula means rain.” In Setswana, the word, “pula” actually has two meanings…money(currency) and rain. We use it for our currency here in Botswana, but it also means rain. The two meanings seem to be quite different, but this past weekend I found the common thread.
We haven’t had rain since mid-March, and now that its extremely hot, rain is what everyone is wishing for. If you didn’t already know, most of Botswana is a desert….70% to be exact. We have the largest percent of desert in all of Africa. That being said, not having rain affects us in a huge way.
This past weekend, we were blessed with our first rainfall on Saturday, and was it awesome! It was during this thunderstorm that I finally discovered the significance of the word “pula” and its dual meanings. In most societies, money is the root of all transactions and basically the economy. Here in Botswana, currency is not the only root for us…..we also depend on the rain, and since it does not come very often, we depend on it even more. If you live somewhere where rain is a commodity, you might not think twice about it, but here where its a rarity, its more precious than gold!
Pula….whether it be money or rain…either way, its precious and when it comes to you, it is appreciated even more! At least thats the case for me….let it rain!
Sunday was the official Botswana Independence Day. The country has been free from British rule for 41 years now. Even though the country is a free, democratic nation, there is still much work to be done, especially on the spiritual front. We awoke to a headline in the paper that 2 babies had been found dumped: one in a bag in the river and one on the banks of the river. As a mission, we are desperately trying to get the permission of the government to get our “baby house” up and running. We would be able to house these abandoned babies, until suitable families were found for them. This is a spiritual battle to say the least! We are so happy to celebrate the independance with the country, but we also know that its not over yet! The fight for lives continues, and that is why we are here.