Dear loved ones, So many great things happen in these short weeks that we get to be part of. This wedding of two young members of the church has been on our radar for over three months. The brides mother is one of our Relief Society presidents and has involved we seniors with much of her planning and also uses many many of the sisters in the branches to pull off a huge party. Our Branch Presidency is simply yoked together with any and all members who have big events in their families.
These are huge tents with hundreds of guests and this is at the mother of the brides home about 35 kilometers outside Francistown in the village. This is set up on a soccer field behind her house and just the day before we were asked to come dedicate the area for this big event. The thunder and lightening and rain were just spectacular as we prayed over the house and ground just hours before this party. These people of Botswana have many customs and activities surrounding these family events that resemble ours in the states, but they carry them out for much longer and spend all they have to celebrate together for weeks at a time.
The brides mother is Sister Lekoko and a really fine lady and great friend of ours now. When this planning started there were three couples here, all willing to contribute time and talents for the success of this event. Elder and Sister Davis are now the only couple and were given many opportunities to be part of the big day here.
Some of the ladies may have noticed in these pictures that this is the 4th dress of the day for the bride. She wears each for some time and dances in each with the wedding party. The dresses are given to her by 1. Parent. 2. Groom. 3.Paternal Uncle. 4. Maternal uncle, and the uncles each receive payment from the groom called "Labolla". This has become a real problem for this society, as they do not or can not pay and therefore they just live together without the marriage. This is a very tough thing for our missionaries to overcome with couples and families.
The apron on the girl in the background was part of Sister Davis contribution in time and material to our friend and her daughter. Mary sewed 34 of these and they were all worn by the girls and ladies who served all the guests and prepared food. Yes there is an old sewing machine here that belongs to the mission and she gets to use it pretty often. The missionaries need things fixed or sticthed on occasion of course.
In all four of our branches we have only one light complected member and his name is Stefano Capasso. He has lived here for 24 years and married an African girl. He has been a member of the church for about 3 years and became ill with a really bad back problem. He also lost his ability to work and was fired from a pretty good job. He is Italian, and after much work with the Italian embassy he was given the opportunity to go back to Italy and get medical help. The branch President and Elder Davis the final couple days working out all the details and wheeling him around in the chair, and settling his hospital bill etc. etc. We packed him up and took him to the airport and turned him over to the airline system to care for him through South Africa, Dubai, Rome and then to Bari Italy over the next 36 hours. Our church will accept him and care for his needs as he arrives there too.
A Francistown missionary returns with honor from Ghana, and we greet him at the airport. There is whole other story as to how and why everyone nearly missed the day he came in. Let me just say that as organized as the churches missionary program is, there can be times things breakdown. The spirit bounced a small signal off our shoulder and luckily we felt it, otherwise he may have come home to an empty airport and no way to contact anyone. That would have been sad. But as you see, it was a fun homecoming and he is a great addition to this branch for leadership. Farai Madorobo is his name.
CES missionaries visit Francistown and have a fireside with the seminary (just started) and the institute class held weekly.
Always a great highlight to our work is to visit the Joburg temple with some of our members. It is about an 8 hour drive and we love to see these folks get there to receive patriarchal blessings and temple ordinances and blessings. This time of year the gardens and area around the area are just beautiful.
Our F town zone on Saturday night before transfers at our home for ice cream and goodbyes. We keep shrinking little by little as the visa/residency problems persist in the country. Sister Vuki on the far left of the sisters is going home too.
Our young friend Tapiwa Ngale went to the temple and received her patriarchal blessing and did some baptisms for the dead. She has been a member for less than 2 years and is actually a world class 100 meter athlete. She is hopeful to make the Botswana Olympic team but is also a very smart girl and may have a chance to come to the US for school. We hope that some of these pictures and events we get to be part of are enjoyable to you, our family and friends, and maybe will inspire you to come visit us here in this great part of the world. December is going to be a whirlwind of activities and some travel for us as Christmas approaches. We want to think that another post will happen before December 25th, but if not, let us say that we wish all of you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is just so strange to be in the type of climate and environment that we have here and be celebrating the Christmas season. Either way it is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and we challenge everyone of us to think of a gift we can give to him from our heart. He has given us the very world we share and the Gospel plan of Salvation and Eternal family life, which we all enjoy. Have a great season. Love Elder and Sister Davis