Monday, April 28, 2014

1 year post

Dear Loved ones, As we near the end of April it becomes even more evident of how we miss our grand kids as we search for new ones to enjoy. This beautiful family was one of the first we met a year ago in their tiny humble one room home as they prepared for baptism by first being legally married and then entering the waters 2 days later. A few weeks ago they added the third girl to their family and we were very fortunate to be some of the only visitors accepted to see her. (Maybe its because we were bearing gifts) We would like to think they are comfortable with us now as grandparents almost. Nicolas does plumbing and has recently opened a vegetable tuck shop along a busy roadway and is doing okay. They have moved twice since last year and spend time in unfinished houses to guard and protest them from thieves, as he works there. This one is much larger but is only partly finished. Sister Mhlongwa sleeps on the floor with the new one (Maria).
The two older sisters now need to share Sister Davis affection with the baby.
In the past month there have three new little girls born in our groups but no boys. We have been invited to go see the third in a couple days who is one month old and her mother went back to school in Gaborone when she was ten days. Her grandmother who is close to us will be the caregiver for THREE YEARS as she finishes school five hours away. Some of the things we learn about are very strange and a little unsettling.
A couple weeks ago on Monday evening we involved our FHE group in a project to clean up the entire yard and garden area of the Monarch group chapel. As you know these are leased homes turned into meeting houses, and this one has a large yard with a huge garden spot too. The Relief Society and Elders Quorum care for the garden during the growing seasons and members share the produce as needed. Of course this project goes up and down in success based upon the strength of the leaders organization, commitment and delegation. Guess that sounds like our wards at home too. The yard work is hard and needs done very often because there is no grass and all the plants and weeds are extremely healthy. It is interesting how shallow most of the roots are in this sandy soil though.
On one of our extended walks (we try for 3-4 miles per day) out into the bush on a gravel road we discovered that there is a game and nature ranch only 10 minutes from our flat that is trying to make a comeback. We learned that there are Impala, Gemsbok, Wildebeast, Monkeys, Leopard and other animals living there. It is a huge place with roads throughout and a few nice little mounds or hills to clime for vantage points. We invited the young missionaries to go with us and explore on an early P-day morning so they can have some adventure also.
This is a very difficult season to actually find and view these guys because the bush and cover is so dense and they are very shy. We did see a few animals and a bunch of game birds and waterfowl but did not get many good pictures. As the owners add more game and the winter comes on the bush will get sparse because of the drought season and we will go again. It did end up allowing us to get in a short little hike to the top of one of the hills with the youngsters as it was one of those gorgeous Botswana mornings. Spiders of all sizes and colors are just part of the wildlife we share this area with on a daily basis. Sister Davis says they don't bother her too much, just keep the rats and other varmints away. HA HA

Zone conference in Francistown with President and Sister Wilson is held in our flat now as the group is very small. These guys are such good missionaries and really work hard to visit and teach in a huge area for only two companionships. By engaging the members to go on exchanges with them often, there will be 7 new convert baptisms on May 3rd. It will be very exciting and a great culmination to some long suffering and many many prayers will be answered. For instance, this couple who are in the State House or (Justice of the Peace) if you will, were married on Thursday last week. She was baptized in 2011 and Brother Makosa has been investigating and quite active ever since. He and their nine year old daughter will be one of the seven for the baptism next Saturday. One of the group leaders here mentioned names of at least a dozen missionaries who have long since returned home that have taught him and the family and fellowshipped them for  along while. We are sure that all of those will be extra excited to hear this good news.
This is a very interesting process to see someone married in the chambers of the State House. First they must register and pay their fees long in advance to reserve their spot. Marriages are only performed on Thursday of each week by one person. There is a morning group and an afternoon group of up to twelve couples who gather in the room along with all their friends and family to witness the event. Each couple sits around a huge conference table area and one by one they hold up their right arm and repeat the oath. Our friends did have a bit of fun with it and were very entertaining for the crowd stuffed into that area with chairs for only half of the people.
We and the Sister missionaries were the first ones there from the wedding party at 7:30 AM. After much more red tape and listening to a random Pastor for 90 minutes give marital advice while waiting for the Magistrate to come from her office, the ten couples each took their turn at repeating the marriage vows and some even kissed (not mandatory) to seal the deal! By the way, for those of you we have not explained this to before, there is this small thing of Labolla in Botswana. This is a huge payment of money or property to the uncles of the bride by the groom in order for them to give their permission to marry their niece. Thus the big hurdle all couples have to attempt being married in this country and a huge deterrent to the progress of the family unit as we know it.
The group down at the bottom of the page are the couples children and grand children at the party which as held at their home afterword. Elder Davis was asked to speak to the group on how to insure keeping the marriage and family together and happy. We all had a fun time and will really enjoy having them all members in the church and being able to hold callings and the Priesthood soon.

Well these are just a few of our most recent activities here in Botswana. We have been richly blessed as we are away from home as our family has grown and each of our children's families are doing well. We pray every day for the good health of our parents and siblings and really feel of their spirit and support as we serve here in this far away land. In less than a month we expect a few family visitors from the North and are really excited they have planned how to make the trip all the way here and back. This past weekend we had the pleasure of using the DVD's to involve all our members in a weekend of General Conference and it was awesome. One Sister observed that as the choir was singing we looked "homesick". Do you think? Yes we love the choir and have several close friends who are part of it.
We are all so richly blessed through our Saviors love for us and his Atoning Sacrifice. It is really rewarding to share this knowledge and to be an example to those who are very new to the gospel. May each of you feel Heavenly Fathers love and guidance and have the courage to invite all you can to share in this great movement. Love always, Charlie and Mary Davis


  1. It was great to see and read your latest post. The people must love you a lot for all you do. It is the people and especially the missionaries that make our efforts worthwhile. Love and hugs from Elder and Sister Feil in Australia

  2. Dear Elder and Sister Davis,

    We just ran into your blog and love looking at the photos. We've served three missions and your experiences sound a lot like our time in Guyana, except your animals are more exotic. We (and another couple) are looking for another mission to serve and Botswana was suggested to us. It's about time to serve again! Will you need a replacement couple in the next year? You can email us at We'll watch your adventures with great interest. God be with you! Jan and Larry Myers (currently teaching English in Ecuador)