Friday, December 26, 2014

On the road

We just returned home from a 2 week trip to Francistown, Botswana; Maun, Botswana; Limpopo, South Africa; and Johannesburg, South Africa and nearly 2000 kilometers (about 1200 miles).

We started our journey and drove 5 hours to Francistown, Botswana for the Kabika Wedding (a previous post). We then drove to Maun, Botswana which was another 6-7 hours. Our main purpose for going to Maun was to encourage the existing Baptist Church that is there. We had a great time visiting with those folks and joining them for prayer meeting, youth meeting, and church on Sunday. You can be in prayer for the current pastor Lovemore as he leads this church.

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After being a week in Maun, we drove halfway (about 7 hours) to our next destination. The scene was so beautiful on our drive, right at the top of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (desert).


When we arrived at our destination for the night, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, we arrived just at dusk. We had heard it was “rustic”, well next time I hear that term I think we will continue looking for another place to stay. As we walked in to our chalet (2 pics below) we literally had to wade through the mosquitos in our room, so we sprayed for mosquitos and left for dinner. When we came back and found all the dead mosquitos, spiders, and other yucky bugs on our beds/floor we finally settled in for the night. We had mice visit us at 2am and a scorpion waiting between our beds when we got up. So when you leave a place singing “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” you may want  to reconsider going back .


We then drove another 5 hours to visit with some friends in South Africa. There was a lake nearby so Brent was able to take the kids on a canoe ride.


While we were in Maun, we took a day and drove into Moremi which is part of the Okavango Delta. It was only about 93 kilometer (57 miles) away to the entrance so when we plugged it in to our GPS as you can see below it said 6 hours and 10 minutes til we would arrive. This gives you a little idea of how the roads were but it only took us about 2 hours to get into the gate. I have never driven on so much sand before and had to dodge the elephants and giraffe going in.


Above: This is an elephant head, no one shot it, the game rangers found it after it had died.

Below: Impala jumping the road in front of us.


Above: It’s so rare to see a leopard in the daytime but we were fortunate enough

Below: Mommy and baby elephant. There are so many roaming around here enjoying the water.


Above: We saw so many hornbills in the park…this is the bird from lion king (I think his name was Zazu)

Below: Male Lion walking up on a herd of Wildebeast

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Above: 2 femle lions just hanging out in the shade beside the road. They were so cute and have so many mannerisms of a house cat.


To end our self-drive through the park, we had a flat tire or puncture as they call it here. Brent changed it while the kids and I looked for any wild animals coming our way.

It was a fun time away and such an adventure but we are so happy to finally be home again!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from Botswana

Since we can’t send out Christmas cards, this is the next best thing. Happy holidays to all our dear family and friends!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Where is Home??

I recently read a blog post about missionary life and could relate so well. It’s such a hard thing to explain to people about how no place really truly feels like home anymore. Please take a few minutes to read the below blog post (credits at the bottom) that might help you understand missionaries a little better.

When a new missionary first gets to the mission field, it is obvious where home is.  It is that place where you just left.  It is the place where you grew up, went to school, got an education, discovered a church family, and formed your most important relationships. 

But when you live overseas long enough, a strange transition takes place.

Your “home” country doesn’t quite feel like home anymore.  When you “go home”, some of the same people and places are there, but life has moved on in your absence.  When you show up for the so-called “home assignment” or “furlough,” you can not just pick up where you left off.  You are a visitor.  An outsider.  A guest without a permanent role.  Your close friends have made new close friends.  Half the people in your home church only know you as a line item on a list of prayer requests.   Some new technology, slang, or cultural trend has become common place… expect for you because you missed it when it first came out.

On the mission field, you said things like, “Back in my country….”  but few local people in your host country could relate to your story.  They listened politely but you knew they didn’t really understand. But that’s okay.  You comfort yourself with the thought, “People back home would understand me.”

But strangely enough, those people back home who were sure to understand…. well, they don’t.  Now that you are home, you are full of experiences and stories from the place that has become your second home.  You say things like, “Back in my host country…”  But, of course, whatever story you tell them about your host country is hard to relate to.  The things that you really miss about your host country receive a blank stare, or a “That’s weird.”  After your quaint tale is done, people go back to talking about the local sports team, the latest in national politics, or something else that you haven’t given much thought to in the past few years. It is not that they don’t like you.  They do.  They are glad you are finally “home.” But those “back home” people simply can not relate to your experiences “out there” in that country with the funny name whose people have even funnier (and unpronounceable) names.

On “home assignment”, people say to you, “Isn’t it great to be home!” and you think, “Yeah, kind of.”  Now that you’ve had a few of your favorite foods and seen a few old friends, there are fewer reasons to stay “home.”  You start to miss all those things about your host country that you came to love.  Certain foods, local friends, the ministry role that you were happily engaged in. 

Home is no longer home.  And sadly, that other place on the mission field will never truly be home either.  Home is both places, and neither place, at the same time. 

When at “home”, the missionary dreams about their host country.
When in their host country, the missionary dreams about their home country.

Missionaries are forever caught between two worlds.  They can no longer completely identify with the people whom they left behind in the home country. But they can never truly identify with the people in their host country.

Home is everywhere.
Home is nowhere.

But that’s okay.  There have been other travelers on this road.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.  For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

While here on earth, we will always feel a bit unsettled and out of place.  Missionaries and those of us living away from the place we grew up may experience that more than others. But someday, all those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ will finally be home again.

Taken from the following blog:

Cultural Hospitality

We recently attended a wedding for the now “Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Kabika” in Francistown, Botswana. We had just traveled this 5 hour journey the weekend before for another friend’s wedding and the reception was being held in the same small village of Mundanyane. When the wedding was completed at the church we came out and noticed our tire was flat (or “punctured” as they say here) so we needed to get it fixed before all the tire places closed for the next 2 days, so between the wedding and reception we drove to get it repaired. This delayed our arrival at the reception, but we were certain of where we were going as you just drive to the village and when you see a big white tent  you know that is where the reception is being held. We pulled up and made our way to just outside the tent and a man started grabbing chairs for our family to have seats even kicking children out of seats so we the guests would have a place to sit. We noticed many people saying “Makoa” which means “white person” as we were walking in and found it a bit strange as we had just been at the wedding with them all. Everyone was eating, so the host asked us if we wanted food and we said we would love some. As I made my way to the buffet to help him get our family plates one of the girls with me stopped me in my tracks and said “that’s not the right bride and groom”. My jaw dropped!!! We had walked in and crashed someone else’s wedding reception. Everyone there at that reception knew we were at the wrong wedding but treated us with such honor in getting us seats and offering to feed us. Botswana culture is so giving and so kind that even though everyone knew we were in the wrong – they still wanted to make the guest happy. We all literally wanted to crawl out but all eyes were already on us, so through my huge embarrassment I had to let the host know we were at the wrong reception and he graciously smiled and walked us out.

Sometimes we all make mistakes, sometimes they are huge ones that everyone sees. Let us remember to be gracious and merciful as our Heavenly Father is to us everyday. We received a huge reminder of this that day as I am sure they are still talking about the “Makoa wedding crashers”.


Taylor’s School

Taylor just finished her 1st grade year at a local Primary School in Gaborone. She absolutely thrived in a classroom setting and enjoyed all the activities. She did swimming during school twice a week and has become quite a good swimmer. Below is Taylor with her teacher Ms. Bellars, we are so thankful for her!


Taylor’s school hosted a mini swimming gala. This girl was so competitive…not quite sure where she gets that from.



The school also held a Nativity Play involving Kindergarten to 2nd graders. They presented the full Christmas Story of how Jesus is God’s Son and how He was born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph. So many parents heard the gospel this night and thankful for the freedom of religion here in the schools.


Taylor did many afterschool programs including monkeynastix.


If you know Taylor, she is our little social butterfly. She has made many friends at school, so we invited several of them over to make Christmas cookies one afternoon.


We are thankful that the Lord has provided such a great school for Taylor to attend!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Urban Conference

Recently we held an Urban Conference at our church-Gaborone Baptist Church. We invited all the churches to come and learn how to reach their cities with the gospel. More and more people are moving to the cities and we are trying to learn better strategies on how to reach them.


Phatsimo and Lingani’s Wedding

What a JOY it was to celebrate with Phatsimo and Lingani on their wedding day on November 29, 2014. This was a beautiful Christian marriage and we are so thankful the Lord brought these two together.

IMG_9916IMG_9898The couple had 3 weddings:

  • November 27-Traditional Wedding (this is where the groom pays usually 8 cows to the bride’s family)
  • November 29: White wedding at the church at the bride’s hometown. This wedding was at a church and then traveled to the bride’s home in the village where a big tent was set up for the reception. This is where the rings are exchanged and vows are said and they were “officially” married
  • November 30: Wedding at the groom’s place. More of a celebration of the wedding and everyone wears traditional attire.


The bridal party dances in and out of the church and the reception…love this about the weddings here!


The crowd gathered around to watch a group of kids from the village do a dance.



Congrats to the beautiful bride and groom!


Holidays by far are the hardest times for us in missing our families. This year we had a small Thanksgiving feast with just our family and were even able to make a turkey that was oh so good. We filled our day with crafts and putting up our Christmas tree. I love watching the kids remember ornaments that their grandparents have given them over the years or ones they have made and they put them on the tree with such joy. This year is Taylor’s first year in a school setting and even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, they let her bring a book about Thanksgiving into class and read it to her entire class.


This year we are so thankful for your continued prayers for our family and the Tswana of Botswana!

Friday Children’s Ministry

We recently had our annual Christmas party for our children’s ministry that we do at Gaborone Baptist Church. It was a fun time filled with water balloons, singing, sharing the Christmas story, eating hot dogs, and presents containing school supplies. We normally have between 45-60 kids that show up on a regular basis but the word has gotten out and we had 130 kids show up for our party. Phew, were we tired when it was all over! Thanking the Lord for another wonderful year with these kids!


We worked on memorizing bible verses all year long. If the children learned John 3:16, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 3:5-6, Mark 12:30-31 then they would receive a bible. We had about 15 kids (including Taylor) that was able to say their bible verses. So proud!