Thursday, April 3, 2014

Another emergency transfer

Dear loved ones,   As we write this entry of our experiences here in Botswana we are again really sad to have said another goodbye to missionaries who are transferred and have only a small chance of returning while we are here serving. As you know transfers are part of missionary life and in countries like Botswana the missionaries may return to an area more than once during their 18 months or 2 years. When they are transferred to another country for visa issues the chances of returning anytime soon are much more slim. We know these great young people will do a wonderful job of sharing and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ wherever they are sent, but the great people of Botswana will not have as many chances to meet or hear missionaries in the foreseeable future. We (The Davis') are spared some of the sadness at the airport as they leave to far away places, because we are about 5 hours away and only say goodbye to those from our Zone who leave. We are now 1 companionship of Elders, and 1 companionship of Sisters and 1 Senior Couple in the area where one year ago there were 3 couples and 16 young missionaries. The missionaries we have are great and wow, how they recruit the members to go with them on teaching opportunities regularly. Many less active members are being taught and fellow shipped along with baptism dates and commitments set with the investigators.

As we enter the twelfth month of our service,  life is great and we are both feeling really well and have a pretty solid routine to plan on. There are many unpredictable moments and, circumstances still change on nearly a daily basis, but many of  the temporal needs we have to care about have slowed some with less missionaries in our area. Our list of responsibilities has not changed much but, the regularity of surprises has diminished a bunch. We are allowed to focus more on some of the individuals in these groups and the branch that are working to gain more self reliant testimonies and spiritual strength through service to each other. The two of us are the ones who grow the most as we become closer to and more aware of the goodness in many great people here. Time continues to just fly by as we are now preparing for General Conference and the wonderful instruction and encouragement the sessions and our leaders will bring to us all. These Saints really look forward to conference even though most cannot see or hear it till a couple weeks later when we will use DVD's to show them at each group. The conference Liahona is truly a prized possession to these members.

We know everyone enjoys our pictures so here are a few:

 Sister Davis loves the Giraffes and here she gets to spend time with a few. The picture above is one of her favorites.

This is a very rare sight in this Desert to actually see a lake that sustains itself. There are two good sized ones on this property and they do support fish and at least one crocodile. We were playing golf one day by the side of the lake and the Croc surprised us! We are a bit careful on the approach now. This picture you may have seen before as it is from the top of a hill where the Chalets are we have stayed in at Tantebane.

These were the final days  of the rainy season and just like that we are now totally dry again. Many times it was very hard to tell where the road stopped or started. At least twice in a month the local KFC (only fast food in Bots) had water running right through the building and was shut down for a few days. This is just a few hundred yards from our flat. Next door is a Shell gas station that had to dig up all its tanks and replace them. They have been closed for fuel purchases a long time.

 Brother Olefile Johannes Moumakwa was one of the first great Melchizedek Priesthood holders we met last year. As part of the group leadership in Monarch he made two trips to the temple with us and we had the pleasure of being there in proxy for he and his parents to be sealed along with many of his family also. He had recently been called to teach the Institute courses to all of Francistown and had been to Gabs for the training and to receive all the new curriculum. Sadly he became ill in early Feb and we visited him a few times before his brother took him to Gabs to a private hospital where he passed away peacefully March 20th.  We will miss our dear friend. It was our pleasure to travel and attend prayer meeting with all his family and friends (none of which are members) in his home village, as is the custom. Yours truly,  Elder Davis was asked to speak (extemporaneously) with an interpreter to a large gathering. A new experience of course!  He was our same age and had been educated in the U.S. at Virginia Commonwealth University. He loved to teach as his Patriarchal Blessing had inspired him to do,  and will be sorely missed by these members.

 Early morning on the hilltop for open fire cooked eggs, and a morning devotional with the little Zone on P-day.

Our Zone finds opportunities to give service as challenged by the Mission President every month. This is huge property with a bunch of great playground equipment at a school for blind kids. They have 46 students from ages 4 to 19. We spent many hours to make the place really nice again. One of the highlights was to take a trampoline to a member we found who could sew in new eyelets for the rings to hold onto the springs and made it just like new. They were so happy as it had been worthless for a long time. It cost 415 pula ($27) and helped the member with some work also. The unemployment is really a hard thing to see for us.

 We don't really eat a lot of African food, or try to prepare it either, but this is Kale, and cooked together with onions and tomatoes is a very nice dish. It is a great healthy choice of vegetables and tastes good too. Everyone grows it here in their gardens along with Maize, Rape, Tomatoes, Onions,  Beetroot and Squash.
As you can see the climate here is just getting better and better as the summer turns to Autumn. We love the warm days and the cooling off the night brings. The sky is nearly always blue now and the night sky is just beautiful as there are not many lights to dull the stars and the moon. We continue to pray for a solution to the residency and visa problems that the church faces with missionaries staying over ninety days. In the near future we will only get missionaries from this native land to serve full time. They are stepping up and preparing to accept the call though, and it is inspiring. We have had several people find our blog who have sons or family members who either served here, or some who know us from years ago and sent kids here just to have them get diverted to other missions. There was even a couple from Utah who were at the MTC in Provo before they found out they couldn't get a visa and went back home to wait. Ouch! That would be tough. Thanks to all of you for the great support and prayers in our behalf and for the Botswana-Namibia Mission. We love you all and pray for the richest blessing to be poured out upon you and all your families as you live righteously. Pay attention to conference!!! Love Charlie and Mary

1 comment:

  1. It was great to see your latest post. Great stories about wonderful people there. The photos are awesome! Sorry that the visa issues continue to be such a big problem. Do you have issues with your visas? Or did you get approved for long term? Just curious. We wish you well and success to all of your missionaries and members. Love and hugs from the other side of the world. Elder and Sister Feil