Monday, March 10, 2014

Travel Time

Hello to all of our family, friends and others who have found this blog. The past couple of weeks have included quite a bit of driving and visiting areas we see only once in a while. Even though there are many opportunities to serve and tasks to complete here in Francistown, we often find ourselves in the car with a couple days of clothes and provisions to either visit members in small groups or attend a Conference with all the mission somewhere between 100 to 500 kilometers from our area. The driving is really quite safe and enjoyable as long as it is done in the daylight hours. This time of year there is so much foliage and the grass and bush is so tall that the animals (cattle, goats and donkeys) are very hard to see and they are all over the roads at night and during the mornings and evenings to feed. We have tried to make a commitment only to travel in the daytime as there are many accidents at night and the travel is through areas where there is just nothing but bush and a few obscure villages. Our work as missionaries and as support to the branches and groups is always really busy and opens new challenges from week to week. Many of the activities we are involved with are much like at home in Utah, the challenge is to give advice and counsel with the leaders of the branches and the auxiliaries and then let them receive the inspiration and choose the items and programs that will best serve the people they have stewardship over. At the present time Sister Davis is working with three of the groups to have a combined Relief Society birthday party on the 15th, where they expect to get around 100 sisters to attend, including many non members and possible investigators. They will have great food, entertainment and spiritually uplifting activities and most likely spend nearly all day in the process. The preparations are nearly complete and we pray for good weather as most of this will be out of doors. We are just now beginning to have a repeat of last year as we arrived in F town and needed to deal with power cuts on nearly a daily basis. Over the past many months the electricity has been really consistent and has allowed us to use computer and internet most of the time we need it, but all of a sudden each day has many hours with no power. We actually feel lucky as our friends in Gaborone have to deal with no power and no water at the same time often. Yuck! Well now we will post a few pictures and put some comments on them for you to see.
We work with the YSA  in the F town area and usually put together an activity every third Friday. This was Valentine Day and each young adult was encouraged to invite their nonmember friends to a party, dinner and dance. Our group is normally 15 to 18, this evening we helped to feed 55 and had a very great meal, games and loud dance outside on the patio area. The kitchen crew in the picture below really took the pressure off of us. By the way, this was the first sick day Sister Davis has had in the ten months here in Botswana, so she missed the whole thing.

Our family home evening group of single members and orphans hiked the Nyangabwe mountain and celebrated their success on the top. We hope to prepare two or three missionaries from this group before our time is finished. With only a few months up to maybe 2 years in the church these guys all prepare great lessons and have a hunger for the gospel in all aspects of their lives. We are really lucky to have been introduced to most of them or see others baptized in the short time we have been here. This is one group we will stay with the whole of our mission.

Missionaries are always excited to take a few hours and do service for members in need. Sister Kgosiemang has been ill for sometime and her yard and home has really suffered. We spent a morning and hauled two truck loads of junk, burned the rest and prepared her garden spot for planting. We put a couple missionaries in the pen behind barbed wire to keep their focus.

Our mission numbers are getting smaller but we still have general authorities from time to time. Elder and Sister Richard Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy spent parts of two days here in Gaborone and gave our missionaries some great encouragement and a system to help in their goal setting. As we prepare for a group picture, he gives one last parting challenge to the group.
The Botswana people who work for the government and paint the crosswalks and lines for the roads have a job that will never be finished.

Our most recent visit to the Kasane group which is about 500 Kilometers from our flat was very productive and fun too. We went to interview four candidates for baptism that the members had taught and prepared for their big day. President and Sister Mosweswe who live near us and is the second counselor in the mission Presidency came with us for the two days. They have been members since 1995 and all of these people just love them and know them well.

The baptismal font is assembled and filled each time there is an event like this. The group leadership of three Melchezidek priesthood holders and their families and Sister Cornelia do a marvelous work and service for this small group.

As usual we often see some large wildlife right along the roadway to and from Kasane. If you take time to look up this place on google or other means and see the Chobe River area and the Chobe National park, each of you will want to visit us. Some of our family are preparing to come in May and we are so excited to spend some time with them at Victoria Falls just across the border in Zimbabwe. Right now is a difficult time to see game because the grass is so tall and all the foliage is so dense.

Our tiny little Zone the day before Sister Joseph was transferred.


So the four couples in all of the Botswana-Namibia mission finally get together for a  retreat. We would like to visit an exotic place far from here on the other side of the mission but, we chose to come to Tantebane game ranch and golf course and lakes. This is just a 40 minute drive from our flat but, this time of year is really beautiful and very peaceful and quiet. Each of us have a separate little cottage up on the hill overlooking the property. Everyone was a good sport as we played golf and drove all around the area on the carts. Of course we still answer our phones when they ring. We prepared most of our own meals while there and wow did we eat good. These sisters all have great recipes and share them between one another. After 7 of the last 10 days on the road or away from our flat we returned on March 6th to find that more of the record rains and flooding some of our areas was continuing. On top of the rains have been many days of power cuts and disruptions to the normal daily activities and services in our area. We hope this letter finds everyone in good health and all your families doing well and living the Gospel. May the Lord bless you and your family with an increased abundance of the Spirit and a desire to use the Gift of the Holy Ghost in all you do. We love you all and pray for everyday. Elder Charlie and Sister Mary Davis ie: Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa



  1. Maybe we should bring our Senior Couples there for a retreat and then you can come here on exchanges! Oh well, it is probably way too far! We love seeing the pictures of the animals and surrounding areas where you live and work. Thanks for sharing and helping us to see the work around the world. You are in our prayers!

  2. I stumbled across your blog and was very interested in reading about Botswana. I served there as a Sister Missionary, in Gaborone for a year, back in 2007-2008 with President Bowden and then President Poulsen. When I was serving there, it was the Johannesburg South Africa Mission which included Botswana. It is good to hear that Botswana has become it's own mission and is growing, growing, growing.

    Amber Walters Smart