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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mission Launch and Humanitarian Aid Signing

Speeches at the signing
This past week, we had a combined Mission Launch and Humanitarian Aid Signing. This is a pretty big deal here in Botswana. (At least the signing was). The Church has committed to hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide training in Neonatal Resuscitation as well as wheel chairs, eye care training and such. This event was hosted at the Phakalane (Pa-Ka-La-Nee) hotel near where our new mission home is. We had the Health Minister and several of his department, the District Commissioner, Council of Churches (checking us out), and other prominent departments and people were invited. Many people came but didn't sign in so we aren't sure who they were.
All we know is that no one from Immigration came (or no one we were aware of).
Two of our elders, Black and Jorgensen ready to work
We had our sister missionaries and one set of zone leaders there to help man the displays. Additionally, we had the Area People, including, Sean Donnelly, head of Public Relations, Dube, head of Translation, Thabo, head of Welfare, senior couples over Employment (Herb Basso's brother and wife) and Humanitarian Aid. This conference was put together by Bro. Leonard Thebe, Country Public Relations and Stake High Councilman. President Tembo (1st councilor in the Stake) presided and President Makweni ( 2nd councilor) also attended.

Many good things were said about the church humanitarian effort in Botswana by the Minister of Health and the District Commissioner.  One of the speakers talked about his first experience with the church when he went to the United States.  He saw a t-shirt that said "Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow you might be in Utah."  He found that Utah is just that way, a dry state. But, he found a peculiar people that impressed him very much. He was very appreciative of all the aid that the Church was giving to Botswana. At 10:30, we broke for Tea (light refreshments). We had an opportunity to speak with the people who had attended the signing. One of the women I spoke with was from the Dept. of Registry, the group that registers all of the churches in the country. She was so appreciative of the Church and was going to give a glowing report to her boss. Dad spoke with the Minister of Health and he was extremely positive about the Church and what had been done that day.

Two of our sisters, Gehring and Anderson, manning a display
 During the Tea, our missionaries passed out information on Families, Employment, Humanitarian Aid, and of course all of our pamphlets and Book of Mormons. At the end of the day, everything had  been taken. Part of that is because the people here love to get free stuff and part of it was because they were really interested in the Church. I was able to speak with the representatives from the Council of Churches and she was extremely amazed that we weren't there to take over Botswana but to help the people. I think the Reps from the churches took one of everything. They love the youth in the country and want to help them in any way that they can.
Sisters Tw and Gillis
The Band of Brothers from Mochudi

 We began the second part of the Conference at 11:00. At this time we had members of our High Council, most of the Bishops and their wives, the Band of Brothers from Mochudi and several community groups. The Council of Churches and some of the Department of Health really wanted to hear what was going on during this time. (And, they were favorably impressed again.) The highlight of this meeting was the Band of Brothers. These are 12 young men who are were the only members of their families to join the church. Previously they had been involved in all kinds of stuff they shouldn't have been into. But now, 6 are serving missions, 6 either have their calls or their mission papers have been submitted. They are an extremely humble and knowledgeable group of young men. Elder and Sister Taylor have been working with the Brothers to get them out on their missions. In July, there is supposed to be a big article in the Ensign and Liahona about them.

The main topic for this meeting was that we would have a permanent mission office and a new Mission President would be coming at the end of June. The official name of the Mission is the Botswana, Namibia Mission. The Bishops and wives ended the Conference with an impromptu chorus singing "Hark All Ye Nations". It was truly beautiful!

After this part of the conference and after all of the dignitaries had left, the staff of the hotel came into the meeting room to find out what had been happening. All of the materials that were left were snatched up and our sister missionaries spent a great deal of time teaching and getting phone numbers. The elders also got some great referrals.

An African lunch was served to all who had attended the second meeting. 
Sisters Gubler and Taylor getting ready!

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    Did the story of the Band of Brothers ever appear in the Ensign or Liahona? If not, I would love to put it on the Area website, I am an Editor for the website. Do you know who wrote about them for the church magazines? Did you? Please email me at

    Thank you

    Collette Burgoyne