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Sunday, January 12, 2014

You're having another birthday!

Elder Gubler was able to celebrate his birthday here in Botswana. It was a pretty exciting  birthday for sure. This week we received our Christmas as well as Elder Gubler's Birthday package. We are extremely pleased that everything got here so fast! In the mission office, we live vicariously. When someone gets a package they get to open it in front of those of us in the office. We ooh and awww and are so happy for them. Its like we just received a package ourselves. Elder Klingler always says "Sweet!"

Our Christmas packages held CDs and pictures of our children and grandchildren. Oh, I just want to pick them up and squeeze them!(Not the CDs and pictures but the real grandchildren!) We also received lots of dried fruit, yeast, summer sausage (yummy) and a video of "42", a baseball movie about Jackie Robinson. We have eaten some of the sausage on home made rolls, eaten the yummy fruit, looked and laughed at the photos and just thought of all our special family. Oh how we love you!

Then came the birthday package. Ta-da! Heidi sent the package to us by DHL. But, I gave her our postal address at Postnet Kgale, our mail box. Oops! We didn't think we would ever see the package BUT DHL found us at our physical address! And, on Friday, the day before the big 70. We receive quite a bit of mail from DHL, for the mission office and we think they remembered our name, or it was a just plain miracle! Other than that, we have no idea how it got here but we are so pleased. We both thoroughly enjoyed the book our family put together for Elder Gubler. Oh those letters and the pictures of us all when we were young and had color in our hair! Very thoughtful remembrances from our children and grandchildren.

Flat Stanley came for a visit. I think he wanted to see what was in our Christmas package.

Best companion ever! Birthday boy with his Birthday book and Flat Stanley to help celebrate with us.
In the Birthday package was Flat Stanley. George sent him to visit with us. We will take him into Gaborone with us tomorrow. Hopefully we can get some fun pictures.


For an after Christmas treat, Elder Gubler and I went with our Mission President and his wife to Namibia Dec 26. Our senior couple in Windhoek is leaving in a few weeks and we need to figure out how to manage the funds there as well as to find out where everything is. Naturally, we had a wonderful road trip.  We drove the Trans-Kalahari Corridor from Gabarone, Botswana to Windhoek, Namibia. The countryside was beautiful and green because of all the rain we've received here. The road is one of the best we've traveled on and because it was the holidays, we had very light traffic.

Here are some of the things we saw in Namibia: (Remember, it's the holiday season and so everyone is gone and most things are closed.) If we'd had more time, we could have gone to the coast or up north, but we were in Namibia to work on issues in Windhoek so maybe another time.

One of the most fun things we did there was go to dinner on Saturday night. The restaurant had some very interesting foods and we at some of the most unusual.
Elder Gubler eyeing his Kudu Stroganoff.

I'm getting ready to try my game platter, starting on the left with Oryx, Impala, Zebra, Crocodile and Ostrich. 
We had an "experience". Kudu is pretty tasty. The Ostrich tasted like beef (who would have thought?) And, I thought the Crocodile was nasty. The Crocodile had a lot of fat and tasted like old fish (not fresh fish). Others said their crocodile was tasty but they must have had a difference animal than I had.

We drove around the city of Windhoek and saw some beautiful areas. Windhoek is more European than Gabs. There are manicured lawns, with real sprinklers. The streets all have signs. The architecture is definitely European instead of Chinese.
Dutch Reform Church

Beautiful sunset in Windhoek
We had Sunday dinner with our two young Elders who are serving in Windhoek as well as the 3 much more mature couples. We love all of our missionaries so very much and these two young men are absolutely wonderful!
Sister and Elder Richins, President and Sister Wilson, our two young elders, Mkhize and Gittins and Elder Gubler.
We left Monday morning, Dec 30, to come home. Look at what we saw at the Botswana/Namibia border!
Sister Wilson standing by the biggest truck I've ever seen. Instead of saying "big load" the front of the truck says "Abnormal"

Sister Wilson standing at the bottom of the truck

We loved being able to visit Namibia. We are the envy of all the young missionaries who can't wait for a chance to go over there (which may or may not happen) But, we LOVED getting back home to our very familiar Botswana. We love it here!

Christmas Season

Yes, I finally have decided to blog again. My, it has been a long time. It feels so interesting to remember last year and the thoughts we had starting our mission together. Now, 14 months later, we're old pros living in Botswana. The people are great. For the holidays, everyone who can, goes home to his/her home village, leaving the city pretty empty.

We were able to have a fun party Dec 18 with the whole mission. Oh my! We had a talent show that was like something I had never seen before. It's obvious that our Elders and Sisters have attended Scout and YW camps. I'm pretty sure that some of you would have recognized the skits. For dinner, we had "Rio Leo" (faux Cafe Rio food). Because of a shortage of Mexican food in Botswana, we had to look up recipes online as well as make some up because of no tomatillos being available in country. We had pulled sweet pork burritos and everyone loved them. I've even learned how to make flour tortillas that are so wonderful!

Christmas Day, the missionaries went by Zones to the senior couple in their zone area for lunch and some time together. For lunch I made "yummy" potatoes, ham, rolls, tossed salad, red jello/pretzel salad and we finished it off with apple pie and ice cream. I don't think anyone left hungry. After our meal, it was playing games while missionaries took turns calling home.

We had a wonderful Holiday! We were able to talk with all of our children and their families. Oh how we miss them! Next year, we'll be home. With our Children. And, missing our wonderful friends and missionaries here.