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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kasane

Now we can show pictures of Kasane. Kasane is up on the very top of Botswana. It is on the Chobe River across from Namibia. (Just down the road a bit is the place where four countries touch each other, it's the only place in the world that this happens) Kasane is also the place where animals (elephants etc.) roam the streets and is 5 hours and on horrid roads from Francis Town. We have a group of 14 members there. After painting and prepping the house they used for a meeting house, they held an Open House for the community on Saturday, Mar. 9. Sunday, 47 people were in attendance (again FORTY-SEVEN people attended church that day) Amazing! We were able to take the picture of Christ up for them to have in the hallway. 

Abrahams, Taylors, Cornellia, Gublers (This was after a lovely game drive that did great things to our hair)
Cornellia is an amazing young woman. She is from Zimbabwe. Her family had a farm there but it was taken away. Her parents now live in Maun, Botswana (the very bottom of the Okevango Delta). Cornellia works putting tours together and such for people who come to town; she works for one of the hotels there. Cornellia flew back to Zimbabwe for a visit, was taught the gospel and was baptized there. For several years, she flew back several times a year so that she could attend church. Slowly, more people who were members came to Kasane and a "group" was formed. If they get one more priesthood holder, they can have a Branch! (We senior couples have all volunteered to go and open Kasane to missionaries, we'll see if there happens). Cornellia and several of her friends have come to the USA to visit and tour the temple there. I believe she received her endowments in Utah. Anyway, she is truly amazing and a really strong member of the church.

We did our part for the open house. We were leaving Saturday morning, after the game drive, we kind of got side tracked. After deciding we should have lunch, KFC, Elder Gubler thought we should eat on the KFC patio instead of the car. The Taylors and I were pretty surprised because we knew that Elder Gubler was concerned about the 10 hour drive home. While we were eating, a nice young man with an earring in one ear came up to us and asked us where the church building was. He wanted to go to church the next day. After many phone calls (most of them dropped because of the lousy cell service) we were able to get him to the church that Saturday for the open house. He is from Francis Town but is living with his uncle and looking for a job in Kasane. He even helped pass the Sacrament Sunday because he is a priest. Just think, he wouldn't have found the church if we hadn't taken time to eat where we could be seen.

Transfers

Transfers

Just so you don't think all we do is play, I'm updating our blog before we leave for the Senior Couples retreat in South Africa.

Sister Tu (new) Sister Banda, Sister Gillis (new)
March 5th was Transfer Day. We received 5 brand new sisters and 8 new elders. The Taylors, the Sisters already here and we picked up the new sister missionaries. Because there were so many people moving around and leaving Gaborone for Francis Town, the Senior Missionaries fed and housed them. March 6th we started the immigration process. When the new missionaries come in we have to do all the immigration stuff, get packets with the new missionaries' passport copies, birth certificates, pictures, physicals and a wide variety of things ready for immigration. Most of this can't be finished until the new missionaries arrive. The Elders and Sisters spent the entire day with us getting this process completed. The 2 of the USA Sisters have African companions and got to start driving without much guidance. They are doing well but were scared to death!

Sister Pierce (new) and Sister Wiscome
 March 7th, we left bright and early (about 1:00pm) with two cars of sisters and a kingcab bakki holding the Taylors and us (and supplies for Francis Town). About halfway up to Francis Town, we realized that none of us had thought about phone for the new sets of Sisters.Oops!. (We found this out when we tried to call one of the companionships in the car and got Sister Joseph in Gaborone). Anyway, we all arrived safe and sound after a 5 hour trip on questionable roads that turned out to be much better than the roads a bit further on towards Kasane.

Sister Vuki and Sister N

Sister Joseph and Sister Anderson
 We had a lovely dinner with the Senior Couples and the new to the area Sister missionaries. We now have 2 sets of Sisters and 4 sets of Elders in Francis Town. (In addition to the 3 sets of Senior Couples) The Woolfs are going home April 1st and a new couple is coming May 5th. We are so sad to be losing the Woolfs but look forward to meeting the new couple that will replace them. After a lovely dinner, we stayed at Elder and Sister Abraham's home. I'm very jealous of their over head fan in the bedroom. (The Abrahams are from St George.)
Elder Brown (new) Elder Hansen (Trainer)
Elder Balmforth and Elder Fraga (new to area)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Look what we saw today!

Today for our prep day, we went with a district of missionaries to see the animals at the Botswana Army Base here in Gaborone. These animals are used for training the soldiers on how to handle animals in the wild. These were beautiful animals and we got to see them up close and personal! There weren't too many but it was fun to see them.
The only thing that was separating us from each other was the chain link fence. We could have pet him, but didn't want to worry about missing fingers and massive amounts of blood.
This kitty just wanted to be loved. Luckily the guide with us was willing to do that. Ahhhhh.
The guide also gave the kitty a soccer ball to play with. Of course, she immediately bit the ball but she had fun rolling around and playing with the ball corpse.

This Hyena was pretty docile and the Hyena in with her kept sticking it's nose into the camera. But,I was really happy to have a fence in between us.






Wild Dog cowering in it's corner. Didn't like us at all!
This is picture of the same wild dog standing in it's water. Hmmmm.




This is a Leopard! The lighting was dark and we were fairly far away. This darling animal actually jumped into the fence and scared us pretty good.
These are pretty laid back cheetahs. Leopards are much more aggressive than cheetahs. Cheetahs are often in groups but leopards are always alone unless it's mating season.

What trip would complete without a monkey? Kind of a cute little thing.



This is the district we toured with. Tomorrow are transfers and we'll be losing 1/2 the group. We got to the park a big late and missed the snake area. Snakes are gathered from around botswana when someone calls to tell the army they have a snake. The last snake they picked up was a boa that had just eaten a farmers dog. Apparently, it's still a very bloated snake! Two of the girls got to hold a snake, the two on the left. The one in the blue blouse held the front end, the one in the purple held the back. Everyone found out that snakes can hold quite a bit of liquid....probably a pint. Poor Sister Banda. No one wanted to shake hands with her after that. (Our guide is in the army clothing.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

This is a picture of a traditional woman in Botswana. She has cataracts on her eyes that make them look pale blue. She doesn't speak English and is not a member of the Church. She has a beautiful spirit and many are willing to translate the lessons for her in class.

Lobatse

Lobatse is the ward we attend every Sunday and where we serve as teachers, YSA leaders, Primary leaders etc. Lobatse is a beautiful town in the hills about 80K (50 Miles) away from Mogoditshane where we live. Towns are differentiated from villages by having tar roads on more than just the main thoroughfare as well as having businesses, not just a couple of grocery stores. Towns are normally bigger and the villages are where the ancestral homes are. Villages can be as large as town but don't have the infrastructure. Many homes in villages don't have power and cooking is done outside over a fire.Molepolole and Mochudi are very large villages.

We travel a two lane highway to Lobatse (Low-bought-see) or as our Garmin says "La-bats" several times in a week. Normally during the day we see baboons in several locations and lots of cows, goats and donkeys by the side of the road. Usually, day trips are pretty uneventful and it takes us about 50 minutes to get to Lobatse. It is customary when an animal is passing in front of you or is really close to the road to slow down and put on your hazard lights so that people behind you know there is a danger; Night time driving is another story!

We have YSA Friday nights from 6-7:30pm. Actually, we leave about 8 or so when it's pitch black outside. The drive home takes us about 1 1/4 hrs. Traffic has it's own interesting ways of moving. If there is a back up of cars it's not uncommon for cars to pass. They just don't care if there are cars coming the other direction. We had a heart thumping experience this week when a one-headlight car passed another car while we were coming towards it. Luckily, Elder Gubler had pulled far enough over to the edge of the road for that car to go between us and the car is was passing. We had no idea how wide the vehicle was that was passing because the light was out on the side closest to us. Yowzers! Remember when your "mom" used to say, "keep your arm in the car, not out the window or you'll get your arm cut off." Well, here it's not an idle threat. When we pray to travel in safety every day, it isn't a rote request! We're always grateful to get home safe and sound. Today on the way to church we saw 7 vehicles, including buses and combies that were off to the side of the road because of flat tires and mechanical problems.

Another "fun" thing we have here are "Green Guys". They are actually police, but they have on fluorescent green vests to identify them when they are out and about in traffic. We see the "Green Guys" directing traffic in the morning and late afternoon to help "speed" us all along. (Sometimes it's not very helpful). Another thing they do is take pictures of speeders (like Phoenix used to do with speed cams) or one will use a radar gun to identify a speeder and another will motion the speeder to the side for a ticket. I guess this works better than patrol cars chasing down speeders. We have learned to identify the "Green Guys" and where they are usually located. Another thing they do is during the holidays when people are traveling, they set up traffic stops to check registrations on cars and look for illegal aliens and stolen vehicles. They are usually pretty nice guys, and gals.

Lobatse is one of the first towns that was settled in Botswana and is just over the border from South Africa. Mafakeng, just over the border, is the site of one of Baden Powell's military victories. He held a fort using strategy against overwhelming odds. (Baden Powell started the Boy Scouts). We have a branch in Mafakeng and 4 elders serve there. One of the big border crossings, Pioneer, is about 20K outside of Lobatse. One of the High Courts of Botswana is located here just as you enter Lobatse. Just down the street on the right is our Church facility while across the street from the church is a huge mental health facility. I'm not sure what that says. Anyway, Lobatse has the first branch of the Church when the Church was brought to Botswana.

This was a picture taken after the baptism of the wonderful woman in the white jacket and black dress. Our RS Pres is standing next to her. The young adults around here are from Lobatse and Mochudi. The woman in the blue dress on the left with the white scarf if the mother of the woman who was baptized. 


This is our Primary. They are such beautiful children. The woman in the picture is our Bishop's wife and I just love her. We are definitely kindred spirits. She and I are managing the Primary right now by default. The Primary leaders and teacher haven't been to Primary for awhile so we teach, sing and do sharing time. Sister Moapare normally teaches the older half and I take the younger children and then meet back for sharing time and music. Sis Moapare teaches English to Middle Schoolers in Lobatse.