Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

Today was our first Christmas in Africa as a family. I wouldn’t say it was the most normal Christmas we have celebrated in the past, but it was definitely fun. Taylor started the morning off by riding into our room on her new red motorcycle and telling us she wanted to open presents. After opening presents, a nice brea kfast, reading the Christmas story, and swimming in Taylor’s baby pool , we headed to the Cumberland Hotel for a nice Luncheon and were able to swim in their pool. The Cumberland Hotel is one of the few places to go out to eat and it’s so nice as it has a playground and a pool. It was nearly 100 degrees outside, so the pool felt very nice. We also were able to purchase a turkey at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago (this is a rare find for sure) and we had our very own Christmas dinner with all the fixings this evening.

We want to remember though that today is not about presents, but the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are here in Botswana to tell those who have not heard about Jesus. We’ve already started to form relationships and share the good news, so today please keep in prayer these specific folks…Tsepho (he also goes by Razor), Catherine, and Masego.




Ladies Christmas Tea

On December 22, one of the journey-girls, Keely, hosted all of the missionary ladies to her house for a wintery Christmas tea. We did secret santa and ate until we couldn’t eat anymore. What a great group of ladies that I have the opportunity to serve on the mission field with here in Botswana!



Later that day, we were invited over to the Blankenship’s home to see their 3 week old Great Dane puppies. They were so cute and Taylor really enjoyed petting them.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Wintery Weather

So we hear that the East Coast is getting hit pretty hard with snow. We just wanted to remind you in about 6 months that you can be swimming just like Taylor was yesterday. Stay weather is on it's way :)

Friday, December 18, 2009


Well, I have taken a warthog. I have been looking for one and I found the big boy. Before we saw this boar, I passed on 18 good sized pigs because they did not have any teeth whatsoever. We were patient and finally  got what I was looking for.


This was a HUGE boar, weighing in at 150 pounds, with his teeth/tusks being 9 inches long! It was one of the largest warthogs ever taken from our hunting ground, he was worth the wait.

Potty trained…Hallelujah!!!

I am happy to announce that Taylor is FINALLY potty trained. Some things that seem so simple and natural really aren’t, but we are so glad she has finally learned to go in the potty. We are so proud of her! A missionary family here let us borrow their potty chair they used with their girls. She loves to do her “happy dance” when she goes potty…gotta love these days! Thanks to aunt Margie and uncle Larry, she now has some pretty Dora panties to wear.

Christmas Packages

We recently received two Christmas packages…one from Amanda’s parents and one from Brent’s family. One of the biggest highlights for us truly is getting a package from home! We enjoyed opening every single thing and took our time going through it all. We received some pretty cool things. Below are a few of those things, thanks to our families for thinking of us and sending those packages our way. We love you guys!


Taylor’s new baby


This is a Hallmark book, “The night before Christmas” and Mamaw and Papaw were able to record themselves reading the book to Taylor. This is her face when she heard their voice. She loves it!


One of Taylor’s favorite things to do is to read. She got some books “O little town of Bethlehem”, “Jesus loves me” and “The story of Christmas” We’ve only read them about 50 times in 24 hours :)


A great gift, a donation to Taylor’s 529 college fund from Grammy and Grandad. Thanks a bunch!


Cool finger crayons!

We also got a cool DVD from Brent’s side of the family each greeting us and reading some of Taylor’s books to her. She loves seeing her family!

Monday, December 14, 2009

$2 Christmas

This year we had just decided not to really do too much for Christmas as all of our Christmas stuff is in our crate which still has not arrived and most likely will not arrive for another 3-4 months. But to our surprise, one of the other missionaries here had an extra tree that they  brought over for us to borrow, so we have been having fun decorating. We bought some Christmas ball ornaments for $2 and we’ve made the rest of our decorations. Below is some pictures of our fun getting ready for Christmas. It’s a little hard to get into the season when it is 90 degrees outside, but we are trying.

We would like to start some of our own Christmas traditions, so if you know of some fun easy things to make or do then we would love to hear from you. (


Taylor hanging the Christmas ball ornaments (the tree is just a little taller than she is)


Above and below: Taylor making some ornaments for our tree.



We also made some sugar cookies…I think Taylor ate more of the dough than we actually baked.


With it being so hot here recently, we have had several storms in the evenings. It has produced some pretty magnificent rainbows and colors in the sky. Below are two of our most recent rainbows. Little things remind us every day of God’s promises!



Mokolodi Nature Reserve

We have a game park right outside of Gaborone that you can do self-drives through. Recently we’ve enjoyed taking a drive through the reserve and packing a picnic to enjoy the scenery. Below are some pretty cool animals that we have seen recently.




KUDU (these are about 750 pounds and as big as a vehicle)


DUNG BEETLE (I know this is gross, but it’s really cool how they roll poo)




Yep, Amanda risked her life to get a picture with the giraffe…ok they weren’t that close and she is pretty fast




We got to a pretty high point and found this cool overlook. Taylor was laughing at her daddy who would set the timer on the camera and run as fast as he could to get in the picture. Fun times!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Heart of a Servant

Taylor has really been enjoying Africa and she is coming into her own. One of the greatest joys that we have been able to see is her servants heart. She loves serving others! Today we went to church and she had a small ziplock bag full of goldfish, her favorite, sent from the States. She however went to the chairs behind her and asked the 4 boys if they wanted any. When they said yes, she was so happy and gave them one each and then one for her self and she continued to do this, one for you, one for you, and one for me! Next she went and got paper and crayons and gave them to the boys, just loving every minute of serving them. She opens so many doors, we are so blessed!

Any time we have company to our house-our language helper, friends, or her nanny-the first thing that she does is ask if they want anything. She comes and says, "do you want..." and she tries to remember everything that we have to eat/drink like bananas, milk, kool-aid, yogurt, and so on and so on. She loves to serve and it's amazing when she discovers something that they want, she runs into the kitchen and tells mom and then she will serve them. She is such a blessing!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hunting In Africa

A hunt story - I had the privilege of going hunting with a fellow missionary, Robert Fortenberry, the day before thanksgiving and had a blast. I am not a hunter, never had taken anything in the States, but here in Botswana we have been eating a ton of game meat and loving it. This was a chance to stock up my freezer and I took it.

Hunting in Africa is very different than hunting in the States. There are no tree stands and its a very proactive hunting style. We were in my truck and we spooked a group of male impalas. We waited about 20 minutes and then put on full camo and started to stalk. We walked up a very rocky hill and started to come down, Robert had a feeling that he knew where they might be and sure enough we saw a little movement in the bushes. It took about 1 hour and 15 minutes before we were in place and then set up our shooting sticks and tried to be as still as we could. There were 5 males total, the biggest was laying down and others feeding. The brush only gave an open shot of about 5 feet, we were up the hill about 130 yards away and we just had to wait for one to come into the clear. One by one they passed the open area on the wrong side and there was never a clear shot. We waited another 15 minutes until all were in thick bush except one so Robert made a sound and sure enough he stopped, but he stopped right behind a tree, no shot. The biggest male however woke up hearing the sound giving me about 1/2 his body. I was told to take him through the shoulder and with a Winchester 375, I hit the mark.


The Impala had horns about 22 inches and weighed about 135 to 145 pounds. We had our first meat from him today and wow, it was great! It did not taste like game meat at all but a wonderful steak. There was so much meat, we were able to load our freezer and pass along some meat to my pastor and 2 church members and they were so thankful. This impala will keep our family fed for quite a while. I’m hooked!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pictures from Zambia

Here is a link to all of our pictures from Zambia. Hope you enjoy!

Lusaka, Zambia (city living)

The past 30 days we have been part of an orientation program called 40/40 in Zambia (I’ll do a separate posting about each part). Our first 12 days were spent in the capital city of Zambia called Lusaka. We were able to go out every day with our helpers to different parts of the city and tell people about Jesus and to learn about the African culture.

On one of these days out in the community, we were able to meet with someone who was sick to learn about the healthcare available. The lady we met with was named Brenda. She had the end stages of AIDS and also had just had a surgery to remove a boil from her stomach…she was the skinniest person I have ever seen in real life and she barely had enough energy to talk. When I first saw her my stomach had a huge pit in it as I could see how sick and close to death she was. We sat and talked with her about an hour and she had never heard the name of God or Jesus before. I told her about a 15 minute story of Creation to Christ and I could not hold back the tears as we sat with her and I told her I didn’t want her to go to hell, and as tears streamed down her face, she asked Jesus to come into her heart. This is why I came to Africa and if no one else gets saved, it has been worth it. Please pray for Brenda as she is in so much pain and praise the Lord for her accepting Jesus into her life. ~Amanda


Taylor playing in a tree


Here are some of the helpers (Bridget was my helper-3rd from the right)



We ate out one day with our helpers. This day Brent was able to eat some interesting things like the caterpillars above. Amanda stuck with trustworthy/safe CHICKEN.



To get around town we had to take local transportation. We all rode these mini buses to our destinations. The most we ever fit on one mini bus was 21 people and it was very packed.


For 3 days and nights we lived with an African family…Nelson and Ida Banda and their 9 children. Amanda was able to help Ida do the cooking and washing of the dishes, while Brent worked with Nelson and did a lot of sitting around as most African men do while the women are working. All cooking is done outside over a fire and washing the dishes is also done by drawing water and scrubbing/washing the dishes in a bucket outside. If a pot is really dirty you scrub it with dirt first to get the yuck off of it, so ladies if you don’t have a scouring pad around or Ajax then just go outside and get you some dirt.


Nelson and Ida Banda and most of their family


Brent coloring and using stickers with the kids


It’s planting season, so we walked to their “close” fields which was an hour walk each way. Taylor rode on Amanda’s back in a chitenge (wrap).


Taylor’s new friend Mariana. Her favorite part of our homestay was getting to run around without shoes.

Petauke, Zambia (rural living)

After leaving Lusaka, we rode 8 hours by bus to Petauke, Zambia. This was the village/rural living side of Zambia. We lived in a tent for 12 days and had to pump our water for showers. The showers were not  your typical shower as you filled up a bucket and with a pulley raised it up and the bottom of the bucket had a nozzle that you could turn on and off to take your shower. We also had to use squatty potties here-some had toilets seats over them but they were all outdoor. Let’s just say that I will never take a shower or toilet seat for granted again!
We also had some little critter friends out in our campsite with us. We saw several snakes, scorpions, and some of the biggest spiders I have ever seen in my life. Let’s just say when it got dark, I was ready to be back in the tent and had my bug killing spray very close.
Our tent home
Brent with the other men went to a village to meet with the chief.
We had to walk quite a ways to get back to some of the villages (sometimes an hour one way). We normally always had a crowd of children around us which was fun.
Taylor was in school back at the campsite while we were out in the villages. She had a great time playing with her other 2 year old friends-Madylanne, Levi, and Judah.

Ibis Gardens

To end our 30 days of training, we went to Ibis Gardens, a resort just outside of Lusaka, for 3 days. We enjoyed some relaxing time and getting those long needed showers.


The grounds at Ibis Gardens were beautiful, we enjoyed our time there


Taylor was enjoying running in the grass after the guinea fowl


Here’s a picture of most of the staff and participants who went through 40/40 with us

If you want to know how to pronounce some words in Chinanga (pronounced: Chin-yan-ja), one of the 72 languages in Zambia, here you go:

  • Mulibwanji (Moo-lee-bwan-gee) = How are you?
  • Ndilibwino (Ndee-lee-bween-oh) = I am fine
  • Zikomokwambili (Zee-ko-mokam-bee-lee) = Thank you very much
  • Mwauka Bwanji (Mwa-oo-ka-bwan-gee) = Good morning (you rose how?)
  • Nauka Bwino (Na-oo-ka-bween-oh) = I rose well
  • Mwachoma Bwanji (Mwa-ch-oh-ma-bwan-gee) = Good afternoon (You passed the day how?)
  • Nachoma Bwino (Na-ch-oh-ma-bween-oh) = I have passed the day well

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ice Cream

It has started to get pretty warm here in Botswana. The seasons here are opposite those in the states, right now we are having Spring and heading into Summer. The other day we found some very yummy ice cream at a place called "Milky Lane" and as you can see Taylor enjoyed it quite a bit.

We will be heading to Zambia on Thursday, October 22, for 30 days. Our itinerary while we are there will be 12 days in Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) where we will be going out with a local in the mornings and then classes in the afternoons. The next 12 days will be spent camping in the bush, 3 days will be spent living with an African family in their village, and the last 3 days we will be at a place called Ibis Gardens debriefing all of our experiences over these 30 days. We'll be sure to put in our next newsletter how our Zambia time was spent.  Please keep us in your prayers during this time that we would be able to tell many people about Christ and learn lots about the African culture. We won't have access to email or blogging during this time, so we'll see you in about a month!