Missing them...

Today I am really, really missing my class. We've been on school break for three weeks now, with one more week to go. It's weird to think this will be my last term with them. :( I love each one of these kiddos and am so thankful the Lord has allowed me the opportunity to love on them and pour into their lives.

Can't wait to see all these goofy guys again...just one more week!

Happy birthday, Dad!!

Today is a big day for my Dad. He turns 60 today! To honor him, I've created a "10 Reasons Why I Love My Dad" list (along with a few pictures). Here we go:

1. His humility...my dad is definitely one of the most humble men I know and it's something I admire so much about him.

Dad and I hanging out, trying to look cool :)

2. His laugh...the sound of my dad's laughter is one of my favorite sounds in the world.

Laughing through tears as we said good-bye at the airport

3. His helpfulness...when I read the book, The Five Love Languages, I knew right away that my dad's love language is "acts of service." All of my life I've known my dad as a do-er, whether it be helping me with homework, changing the oil in my car, painting my room, teaching me to drive (scary), teaching me to drive a stick shift(scarier!), helping me move...and move...and move, or any number of random acts of service to show his love.

Dad helping me on one of my many moves

4. His presence...I love that almost all of my great childhood memories about my family include my dad. This is special to me because it reminds me that he was always there, always present in my life. He has a great love for family and works to keep it a top priority.

Dad "cheesing it up" with my sister, Elizabeth
5. His support...whether it was a violin concert for me, a basketball game for Elizabeth, or a one-act play for Jason, we always knew we would have Dad's support and encouragement in anything we did.

Mom and Dad with Jason at his "Change of Command" ceremony.

6. Our shared love for music...I love riding in the car with Dad, stereo turned up loud, sharing some of my new favorite music with him because I know he will appreciate it as much as me. It may not necessarily be his "style", but because he loves music as much as I do, he can listen to anything and appreciate it.

Mom and Dad meeting Il Divo...a group we all love!

7. His willingness to travel and see new things...because of this, I have tons of fun family traveling memories and a great love of traveling as well.

Dad and Mom at The Grand Canyon

8. His playfulness...I love how no matter how tired he might be, Dad always finds extra energy to wrestle and play around with his kids. And even though he's way stronger than me, I also love that he gives me a chance to try "beating him up" first. (Haha!)

Dad playing around with my cousin's son, Johnny

9. "Dad-isms"...I can always count on my dad to crack me up with one of his many funny sayings, word mix-ups, or crazy questions. He definitely helps to keep laughter in the family! And because of his sweet humilty (see #1), rather than getting hurt or angry, he just laughs right along with us. :)

Santa Dad

10. His love for the Lord...although not boldy outspoken, my dad has a great love for Jesus. Many, many mornings as I woke up to start my day, I found Dad sitting at the counter with his Bible out, beginning the day with the Lord. I'm so thankful for a dad who loves the Lord and helped to point me towards Him.

This list is far from comprehensive, but is instead a small sample of the many reasons why I love my dad and think he is one of the greatest men in the world.

I love you, Dad!!
I'm so blessed and honored to have you as my father.
Thank you for all you do and for being who you are.
Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

Purpose in the Waiting

If you know me, you know how much I adore Beth Moore and am so thankful for how God has used her ministry in my life. This morning, her words of wisdom encouraged me again, and believing that others need to hear this too, I'd love to pass this on to you.

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you. God says, 'I know the timing here, I'm longing too. When your prayer request waits, you're longing...and so is He! If He's longing and waiting, there is something the wait is for. There will be a wait and a wait and a wait, and suddenly there will be a whirlwind answer with such velocity, it nearly blows your wig off! He'll come swiftly. You can wait and long, but do not fret." -Beth Moore

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him." Isaiah 30:18

If you are in a waiting period, trusting the Lord in faith, especially if you aren't seeing any kind of breakthrough yet, please be encouraged like me that "there is something the wait is for," and "He will come swiftly" and work things out when the time is just right. We see in part, but He sees the whole!

The "Driver's License Adventure" part 2

Please go here to read Part 1 of this 'adventure'.

My "Botswana Driver's License Adventure" last ended with me contacting the US Embassy in Gaborone to obtain a letter stating that my Texas license is real and valid, but instead being met with an exasperated response of, "We don't give that letter out and haven't for years. We keep communicating this but keep getting phone calls like yours asking for one. Please go back to the transport office and tell them that those letters from the US Embassy don't exist anymore."

Which brings us to today....
Early this morning Brenda and I headed to the transport office together. On the way there, we prayed that a) the guy who needed to help us would be there, and b) that they wouldn't even ask for the Embassy letter. We prayed for God's favor on the situation and that everything would run smoothly. And I must say that today's experience was MUCH better than my last!

This time when we arrived at 7:20, we got to be numbers 16 and 17 on the list (as opposed to my 45th position at the same time my last visit.) Despite the office opening twenty minutes late, were still able to get into the office by 8:30. Already a great improvement!

We were very excited to find the man we needed to talk to was in fact in the office today. He helped us fill out our forms and sent us to get our eye exams. I grew a little nervous when I found the same man as last time working at they eye exam area. (He's the one who asked for the Embassy letter last time and sent me away when I didn't have it.) When I sat down, I shared with him what my response from the Embassy had been. He was very nice and understanding and apologized for my last experience. In his words, he "must have been having a bad day."

Brenda and I took our eye tests and passed with flying colors. We headed back to the office feeling great! We went back to the counter to get our picture taken for our licenses, but were sad to instead hear, "I'm sorry, but we just ran out of the cards for the licenses. Please come back on Friday."

So.....the adventure is not quite over yet, but at least I now have a nice piece of paper stating that I have been cleared to obtain my license and a receipt for payment (70 pula...about $11). This document allows me to at least drive legally now. I'm very thankful for things going so much more smoothly today and that our prayers from this morning were answered. (If only we'd thought to pray for there to be enough cards!)

To be continued (and hopefully finished) soon.........


This is amazing!! Yesterday morning I posted this post, asking if people could help to donate books for me to study with teenage girls. My heart desired fifty, but I never imagined that I'd actually get that many. My mom suggested seventy, but I told her there was no way that could happen in such a short amount of time.

This morning, just a little over 24 hours after the need was presented, my mom placed an order for seventy A Young Woman's Walk with God books by Elizabeth George. Did you get that?? SEVENTY!! I am absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing people God has placed in my life. You guys responded in an incredible way yesterday/today and many teenage girls in Botswana will be blessed by your generosity. Thank you!!!

If you didn't get to sign up to donate a book through my mom (who by the way is awesome for handling all this for me!), you can still pick up a book on your own and mail it directly here. The more books sent, the more girls who get a book!

Thank you again! God has encouraged my spirit greatly the past day and a half!

Books Needed

I have a special request that I would love for you to help with if you can. Last year I did a book study with the girls on the book, A Young Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George, which was quite a success. I've found another one of her books that I'd love to study with the girls. This one is titled, A Young Woman's Walk with God, also by Elizabeth George, and it is a study on the fruit of the Spirit geared towards teenage girls.

I would like to order as many of this book as possible, as I am hoping to open the study up to all of the high school girls, even those who aren't boarders. If you are able to, would you consider donating one of these books? The best thing would be to look at a used book store to see if it is there, as that would be the cheapest. If not, they are sold at Christian bookstores and online stores like Amazon and Half.com. To put one of the books in an envelope and send here is not expensive at all, and you don't even have to fill out a long customs form!

The only thing is, I am hoping to have these books here in about four weeks from now, meaning they would need to be shipped from the States within the next week. Please, if you are able to purchase and send one of these books over the next week, could you message or email me to let me know to expect it? I'm really excited about doing this study with the girls and would love to have you as part of the blessing! Also, if you are able to send one of the books, would you mind signing the inside or even writing a little note of encouragement. A few people did this last time and the girls LOVED it!

Here are the book details:
A Young Woman's Walk with God : Growing More Like Jesus
by Elizabeth George
ISBN #0-7369-1653-9

Thank you again!
Update: My mom just told me she can order the books from BarnesandNoble.com for $10, so if you'd prefer to just send the money to her, she can order the book and ship it to me, if that would be easier. She'll be placing the order tomorrow. Email me for details: botswanagirl at gmail . com.

As a sidenote, I am still always looking for people who could donate a journal or two (or several!) for the girls. They love their journals and go through them quickly!

Wanna Give?

If you are interested in ways to creatively give, here are some great ideas:

1. Go here to Anna's blog (today only!) and order a cool Turkey t-shirt that will help support a group going to Turkey next month.

2. Go here to Jamie's blog and find out how to order a fun Haiti shirt to support the ministry, Real Hope for Haiti.

3. Go here to Jamie's blog and find out ways you can easily donate everyday needed items for Haiti.

4. Go here and find several amazing ways to give to "One Million Can" - started by Louie Giglio and Passion Conferences (For extra inspiration, go to this wedding website and read about how this couple is asking their guests to donate in this way in lieu of giving a wedding gift. I love it!!)

5. Can't give financially right now? Go here to my previous blog post for ideas on how you can give encouragement to people living far from home without spending any money at all.

It's an amazing blessing when you are able to give to help others, especially when it's such a very small amount of money that will end up blessing others signficiantly. Have fun 'shopping'! :)


I read this post from my friend Maureen, who is living and serving in Israel. I totally understand and relate to what she shared and it made me stop to think of others I know living away from friends and family, especially those living in other countries.

Being on the mission field, loving on people from another culture and striving to share Jesus with them can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. At the same time, it can also be one of the most challenging ones. It's not so easy to just pick up the phone and call someone we love when we are feeling sad and lonely because of the cost and time differences. It's not possible to hop in the car and drive to be with family for a wedding, tragedy, or other important family function. Being far from family and friends has definitely been the hardest part for me during my time in Botswana. I don't regret being here at all, but do feel sad for the things I've missed out on and the people I rarely get to talk to.

Some friends recently shared about this website, http://www.incourage.me/, and it looks like it's going to be a great one to visit! One of the posts asked for people to share what encourages them. That's what inspired Maureen's blog post and I'd like to answer it too. For me it is the simple things that really encourage me. An email saying hello or sharing inspiration with me, a card with a heartfelt message in it, spending time with people over coffee or a meal just talking and enjoying each other's company, a small gift that shows someone was thinking of me, and of course, hugs!

I'm so thankful for every person who's emailed me, followed my blog, sent me a card or package, or called me on the phone over the past year and a half of being away from home. I just want to encourage you today that if you know any missionaries or even someone doing other work far from home, could you do something small today to let them know you are thinking of them? If you don't know anyone personally, you can check out the blogs of a few missionaries I know and leave them a comment just to let them know they are appreciated. (You can find those links on the bottom, right hand side of my blog.) It will mean much more than you know! And don't stop there. Find someone close to you who needs uplifting and encourage away! :)

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11


One of the things I love about technology is the ability it has to reconnect people who long ago lost touch.

A few months ago I reconnected with a friend from high school on Facebook. I hadn't talked to her probably since I graduated, so it was fun to catch up. One of the more interesting things was that she teaches 4th grade, which is what I taught for years before coming to Botswana.

Through our conversation, we decided that our classes should be pen-pals. So, we started January off by having our classes write letters to each other and carried it on until May, when her school year ended.

My class loved writing to her students and "educating" them on Botswana and Africa in general. It was so cute to see the little things they would exchange in the mail from hand drawn pictures to school photos, and then eventually to money. My students who received money with their letters felt so honored! (One of the mothers of one of my students told me she told her son to hold on to that dollar because he can use it one day when he goes to America.)

At the end of our letter exchanges, some of our students exchanged mailing or email addresses. It's been cute to hear about the few who have stayed in touch over the past couple of months. Even yesterday I received a letter at the school for one of my students. I loved one of the lines in the little girl wrote in her letter to my student, "When I grow up, I want to be a missionary to Botswana so I can come and meet you." Love it!!

I'm so thankful for all the opportunities the Lord has opened up from my time in Botswana, and this chance to connect 10-12 year olds from across the world to each other is definitely one of them. And who knows...maybe there WILL be future missionaries birthed out of this little activity! ;)
Some of my students enjoying their pen-pal letters