Monday, October 17, 2016

Cool Spring Women's Team

We have had a partnership with Cool Spring Baptist Church in Virginia for the last several years. They normally send about 3 teams a year to work with us and especially to target the village of Ditshegwane (Dee-say-wah-knee). They just sent an all women's team and we just had the best time together. I will try to tell the story in pictures below but it just doesn't fully capture all of the many things the Lord did in the hearts of so many on this trip.
Bible study in Ledumang, a neighborhood right near our house.
This group meets once a week and were so happy to have visitors.

Going out and doing evangelism in Ledumang (Lay-doo-mah-ng)
Children's Friday ministry

Sunday School at Gaborone Baptist Church

We attended a Herero wedding for good friends-Hilda and Onks

All of the aunts at the wedding wearing the very distinct hats you
find in the Herero culture

The men also wear hats and walk with canes, so classy
We then traveled out to the village of Ditshegwane for 2 days and spent time with the ladies of this church. It was such a wonderful time of fellowship!
We started the day with jazzercise led by Tammy

We did crafts

Bible storying
The team brought reading glasses for the ladies, when 
one lady put on her glasses a huge smile came over her 
face and she said "I can now see to read my bible".
We taught the ladies some American recipes and they shared some
of their African recipes. It was so fun to learn from each other!

The church ladies and children meeting under the tree...this is the church
meeting spot.

This is the plot of land we will move to soon and put up a tent.
It was so awesome to pray over this land with the women from Ditshegwane
and the women at Cool Spring who have been with this church from the beginning.
We are so thankful for these ladies who came and loved on our family
and the people of Botswana! We were truly all blessed!

Beautiful Botswana

Here are some recent pics from a hike and ride around town. Love this beautiful place called Botswana!

Botswana's 50th Independece Day

On September 30, Botswana celebrated its 50th independence! We are so thankful to live in such a beautiful countries. I love the meaning of their flag "The blue represents water, the white-black-white bands depict the racial harmony of the people. They are inspired by the coat of the zebra, the national animal." Let's all live together in harmony no matter the colour of our skin! 

Brent went on a bike ride on Independence Day and got some great shots:
3 chiefs (Dikgosi) statues
The three chiefs traveled to Great Britain in 1895 to ask Queen Victoria to separate the Bechuanaland Protectorate fromCecil Rhodes's British South Africa Company and Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Permission was granted, and meant that the Batswana remained under direct British rule until independence in the 1966


Main Mall-outdoor market


Brent's new friends 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

AHA Moments

Do you ever have moments in your life when you say "AHA". This actually is a word that Webster's dictionary defines as "a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension." I know I have these a lot in my the realization that hits me sometimes that I am actually living in AFRICA and pursuing the DREAM that long ago the Lord put in my heart to be a MISSIONARY.

I have often asked you to pray for the Friday children's ministry at Gaborone Baptist Church. Sometimes it just seemed so overwhelming with so many kids (averaging 120 kids) and so little helpers. I would make a schedule for the year and leave blank spaces for teachers to sign up and I was always discouraged when I ended up teaching the majority of the time because no one had signed up. A few months back, one of the helpers recommended I make a schedule and just put peoples names in the slots. At first I was so skeptical that people would actually show up on their scheduled date, but I am here to tell you it is working!! I had my "AHA moment"...this is what works here! People are showing up to teach and more people are become vested in the children's ministry. So now we have enough people to schedule not only teachers, but also translators and song's awesome. I want to thank you for partnering with us in praying specifically for this ministry!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goodbye, Grandma!

Oh the memories I had with my grandma Martin growing up and I am so thankful my children got to know and love her as much as I did. As you can see below she was loved by ALL those who knew her.  I have poured over the many memories I have had with Grandma and at her house. It was always such a fun place to go and had all of our built in friend (aka cousins) to play with.  I remember being in her kitchen as a little girl, sitting on her counter and making biscuits with never went away from her house hungry or it was your own fault. Her love was so BIG!! She gave her great-grandchildren horsey rides on her back and never let her age hold her back from anything she wanted to do. Since being in Africa, I have received some rather interesting packages from her. She always sent me dish towels and sweet gifts for the kids, but one time when opening a package I noticed something a little strange. Inside was cheese...the kind that needs to be refrigerated and not the kind that needs to sit in a box for 2 months. In this same box, she literally gave me the clothes off of her back, I honestly don't think she meant to send them as she was a rather short lady who had things hemmed quite a lot. Needless to say I never asked her about it, but will treasure them always.

Unfortunately she had to have dialysis the last 3 years and finally My grandma Martin went to be with the Lord on Sunday, September 11. Sometimes being an ocean away seems so far, and oh how I wish that I could have been there to say a proper goodbye if there is such a thing and to mourn with my family the loss of this sweet woman.She will be missed!!

Scott Update-Chemo and Radiation

I want to thank you all for your continued prayers and all of you who have inquired about Scott since his surgery. They got the results from the tumor and it is Stage 2 Oligodendroglioma Cancer. The remainder of the tumor (20%) that is left can not be removed due to the placement around arteries and veins. Upon testing of the tumor, it carries 2 mutations (idhi and 1p19q) that make the tumor react better to chemo and radiation, so that is great news. Scott will start treatment on September 25 and will do chemo and radiation concurrently for 5 days a week for 6 weeks. We are so thankful for how he is doing. Keep praying for Scott and Sara!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Update on Scott-post surgery

Thank you all so much for your prayers for Scott, his family and the surgeons! They were able to remove 80-90% of the tumor and he is recovering nicely.
 Sara wrote: I feel like I've felt every single human emotion possible in this one day alone. Grateful to have amazing people help support and experience the roller coaster alongside me. Scott is doing absolutely incredible, to the point that it's hard to imagine that he underwent an extensive lengthy awake craniotomy today. We still have a lot of this road ahead of us, with lots of ups and downs, but beyond happy that my favorite human continues to exceed expectations, and continues down this road with me. 
❤️❤️❤️ Thank you all for your love and support.
Post Op

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Prayers for Scott

We are asking for your prayers for our brother-in-law Scott as he faces surgery on September 1 for a brain tumor. Please pray for him and his family as they walk down this road together and for wisdom for the surgeons. 

Below written by Scott's wonderful wife Sara (Brent's sister):
For the past six months, my wonderful spouse began dealing with anxiety/panic attacks, but these "attacks" weren't looking quite right. We scheduled an appointment and described symptoms, and thankfully were referred to a neurologist with concerns of seizures. An EEG later, it was confirmed that Scott was in fact experiencing seizures daily, and an MRI quickly showed us the reason for both the mood change and the seizures- a giant baseball sized tumor existing on Scott's right frontal lobe, spreading into his temporal lobe.
We have additional tests to clearly identify where Scott's speech center is (a concern because he's left handed and therefore his speech center is likely located on his right brain) and then we will schedule neurosurgery to remove as much as the tumor as safely possible (complications to due blood vessels throughout the tumor, speech center location, and temporal lobe impediment). We are expecting to be inpatient for a week following the surgery, then following up with chemotherapy/radiation treatment pending type of tumor (most likely glioma type 2 or 3).
Update: We officially have a surgery date, which is Thursday, September 1st at Stanford! We feel good about getting this on the books so we can start the long road to recovery. We continue to feel like we are in amazing hands after meeting the two neurosurgeons who will be preforming this.
The additional testing (functional MRI or fMRI) showed us some very good news, that's Scott's speech center is indeed located on the left side of the brain. So that is one less thing for us to worry about.
However, due to the tumor's location on the temporal lobe, the artery that the tumor has surrounded, and proximity to optical and motor function, they will do an awake craniotomy to remove as much of Scott's tumor that is safely possible. They are also choosing awake to protect the insular cortex (which houses a lot of vessels/feeders for the brain).
The neurosurgeon thinks they will be able to remove about 80% of the tumor, which would be considered a successful intervention. They reviewed the risks and benefits and believe that the benefits far outweigh the risks, and the docs like Scott's chances of making a full recovery.
We will know a few days into our inpatient stay exactly what type of tumor we are dealing with (lots of different possibilities) and that will dictate our plan of approach for follow up care (most likely radiation and chemotherapy) to treat the remaining 20% of the tumor. We will meet with the neuro oncologist once we have a diagnosis and have a plan in place by Scott's discharge home.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hiking with daddy

Brent and Bradyn recently went for a hike. This boy loves and looks up to his daddy so much...thankful for a husband who is a great example to his son. 

A boy and his dog

daddy and son

Their view from their hike

A boy who adores his daddy

Family visit

We were so blessed to have Brent's mom and dad (aka Grammy and Grandad) and our niece Noa come for a 1 1/2 week visit in August. Having family come and see where we live and what we do is so encouraging to us and I think it puts their minds at ease as well. Noa is just 3 months younger than Taylor and she had so much fun seeing Africa for the first time. What an adventure we are on and we are thankful when family comes to join us!
Welcoming them at the Johannesburg, South Africa airport
We started our adventure at the Lion Park in Hartebeesport, South Africa
Feeding Giraffes
All that food made him thirsty

Petting baby lions
 We then went to Bela Bela, South Africa to Warmbaths Forever Resort and enjoyed their warm pools and water slides

We then drove to Pilanesburg National Park near Rustenburg, South Africa and stayed at Bakubung Lodge. We had such a wonderful time doing game drives and seeing God's creation. 

Kiddos with a lion right behind them 
Our lion friend up close via a zoom lens

Grammy and Grandad with the grandkids

Elephants coming out of the water from a swim

Rhino drinking
 We then brought them back to Botswana to see our life here and to do ministry with us. 
Grammy sows these bags and brings them to distribute
to kids in need and put toiletries/school supplies in them

Noa helping distribute

All the kids from sunday school 

They also joined us for our Friday children's ministry.
We had 100 kids...yikes!

Handing out goodies at the end

Bokaa dam sunset

Roasting marshmallows for some smores...yum!!

We also celebrate all the birthdays missed and sing
Happy Birthday to everyone

And why not throw in some sparklers!!