So much to share! This blog is lengthy, and I apologize for that. I hope it gives you an indication of how my trip has been so far and how you could best pray for me at this point.
My flight over was fine. I was a little disappointed to realize that the Delta flights don’t currently use the nice airplanes with the personal movie screens. When I came in June we flew on South African Airways and I think I was quite spoiled. Unfortunately on our flight the audio and visual entertainment was broken for more than half the flight. However, fortunately for me, I did have a working iPod and reading material…not to mention the desire to sleep! I met some interesting people on the airplane, including a man from South Africa who was originally from Zambia. He knew a lot about Botswana, which he communicated to me…and I took notes!
My night’s stay in Johannesburg was so wonderful. A little elderly couple from Greece have opened a guest house there with 10 separate rooms. Mine was so nice and comfortable and a great way to settle in after the long flight. The quick flight to Botswana the next day was very pleasant and fast!
When I arrived in Maun, I again was overcome with such amazing love for this place. My heart warmed immediately upon seeing the people. I just can’t explain in words how beautiful they are and the and immense love God has put in my heart for them. I am also so excited to get to practice my Setswana again!
These first few days here at the mission have been somewhat challenging for me. I totally love the staff here, both the missionaries and the nationals on staff. I have been very welcomed and loved. The challenge is that my true love of Botswana is the people out in the community. I have not had much interaction with them this trip at all. Most of my time so far has been on the mission, going through orientation and getting to know the missionaries. One thing I have loved is that each night a different missionary or missionary family hosts me for dinner. When I return home, though, the nights are somewhat lonely for me. I am staying in a house by myself, and without the ability to communicate with home or have anyone to talk to here at night, I can get pretty lonely. It is good for me to get a taste of this now to know what to expect when I come. I hear the first six months are the most challenging. After that, things usually even out and you feel more settled.
I haven’t actually started in on any ministry with children yet. Today I was supposed to start in the preschool, which I am very excited about. However, one of the disabled little girls recently passed away and we are busy getting things ready for her funeral tomorrow. I helped one of the missionaries get things ready for that. Part of that was going to see her family to finalize details. It was so wonderful to get out in the community and interact with some of the Botswana people, although sad that it is under these circumstances. One of the girl’s older cousins came back to the mission with us to help us with finalities. During free time, he taught me a lot more Setswana. I am so excited to practice it while I am here!
Tomorrow morning we will attend the funeral (supposed to be a great cultural experience for me) and then should be able to do ministry in the preschool. Next week I will begin work in the school here.
I am really praying and asking God for direction and clarity in my future here. I feel pretty confident that this is definitely where I am supposed to be, but as far as my role here, I just don’t have a clear indication. I am so hoping to know more after my experience in the preschool and school. I have such a love for children, but also such a love for the people of this country. How can I work with both? That is what I am seeking God about. The precious Norwegian missionary I was helping today reminded me that God has already equipped me for how He will use me here at the mission. He only asks that I use what He has given me…He won’t ask more of me than He’s equipped me with. That is a great thing to remember and brings comfort to my doubting heart.