Thursday, May 07, 2009

Getting settled in Gabs again

Hi folks,

Well, we survived furlough (Sep 08 - Jan09) and are back into the life
of Botswana once again. Furlough was a great time of getting caught
up with family and friends and it was especially great to have
Christmas with family.
Some unfortunate and unexpected 'happenings' occured here while we
were in OZ which have resulted in some matters having to be handed
over to the law to deal with. That has been very sad for us, but we
know that even in things which seem meant for evil God can work the
same circumstances for His good - just like He did with Joseph when he
was sold into slavery and taken to Egypt.

It has been exciting though to see how God has been working in some
lives while we were gone. We praise Him for the growth in grace that
is a joy to see in several individuals.

With all that has happened of recent days, as well as little bits and
pieces of conversations, conferences, and other experiences combined
with a few chats with our pastor and my brother, we have begun some
research into 'shame cultures' and what we have found is just amazing
for us. We have had so many pieces of information told to us over the
years, and we have had 'cross-cultural' insights given at Bible
College, Mission Orientation and then even a Cross-cultural
Communications course, but for the first time so much is making
sense. The understanding and ramifications of 'shame culture' do not
magically make everything easy, but it does impact incredibly on
effectively sharing the gospel and ongoing discipleship here in
Botswana and for sure in other settings as well. If there is anyone
else out there who might wish to comment on this topic and share
insights, we welcome feedback.

Since coming back we have also expanded our family to include another
dog - Zac - a cute Labrador puppy. His name is derived from the word
ANZAC - 'cos of the great Aussie biscuit slice of the same name -
since it is Aussie, and a food (almost all our animals are named after
foods, and mostly Aussie foods), and the main ingredients are oats and
syrup - the colours of Zac......He's really cute!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the big 40

Yes, my husband turned 40 yesterday!  That means I am only a couple of years off that!


Time goes quickly and I also have recently received notice of my secondary school (Moreton Bay College) graduating year 20 years reunion!  Now that reminds me that I am not a spring chicken anymore!  But they say (whoever they are) that life begins at 40, so its not all doom and gloom.


Life here is certainly not doom and gloom (even though we haven’t blogged for a while).  We have had to move house (the previous landlord wanted to sell his place and gave us notice), our sick dog ended up not making it and so we are back to one dog, and friends were moving back to the USA and we ended up scoring their cat (Kit Kat).


Since moving we have had an almost constant stream of guests in our guest rooms, including Andrew’s parents.  They were able to be here for a birthday party for Andrew and just to spend some time with us, so that was really special.


The new house is great but has many repairs needed and the landlord is not exactly fast or efficient in getting them done and there always seem to be additional complications – such as when the roof repair men came to fix the many leaks, they ended up fixing the leaks (good) but also severed our phone line (not so good)!  These many interruptions take so much additional time to rectify!


Ministry is busy and good and we are seeing God at work in so many ways.


The retail licence was granted eventually but it took so long much of our Capital was used up in the process and so we are starting very small and this is difficult to trust God on and be patient as so many folk are anxious to obtain books etc. We have received some donations which is helping and we praise God for these provisions.


The magazine is being well accepted at a slow and steady pace but is also severely struggling due to lack of advertisers willing to advertise!  We don’t have a high enough customer/subscriber base yet to carry it.


Our garden is growing well, as we have had so much rain, after many years of drought….we pray for spiritual renewal in hearts and growth in ministry also.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Of dogs and licences!

Life is not boring for us that is for sure!  This past week or two have had their fair share of the unexpected, but we remind ourselves that it hasn’t taken the Lord by surprise.  We have been delayed with the retail bookshop side because of a hiccup in our trading licence application that we are in the process of sorting out but it means there could be 6weeks or so before we can trade.  Meanwhile the first edition of the magazine is looking good in draft form as the graphics guy puts it together but we are having serious problems trying to get advertising to cover the expenses of this first edition as no-one is willing to advertise in a ‘first edition’!  It’s just another hurdle to look at as an opportunity for God to be glorified that we hadn’t thought of!


Then paralleling this, one of our dogs got very sick.  Gemma is still sick after 10 days and has spent the most part of this time in the dog hospital.  Her conditions are still baffling the vet, but as she won’t eat and has twice during these 10 days vomited strange ‘green’ liquid, he wants to keep her in for longer yet!  We don’t really want to lose her, but are unsure of what the future holds in this.  She is happy apart from this it seems and is not acting ‘sick’ except that she won’t eat!! 


Meanwhile of course I have enjoyed a birthday and we have our 12th wedding anniversary – two special times to enjoy together.  My hubby even arranged a bit of a surprise birthday dinner for me with friends at my favourite restaurant – “Rio”.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Giving of thanks for 5 years!

We give thanks to the Lord for the granting of our Resident’s permits for a further 5 years.  This is the most we have ever been granted at renewal time and it was not expected (although hoped for!).  For a few weeks there, we had a great deal of uncertainty hanging over this renewal and many people were praying. PG who lives on our plot, when he heard the news, said “now I can plant my garden”! 

Life is super busy for us at present, as we settle in to new office premises.  We praise the Lord for donations that are presently covering the rent for the offices, but we are eager to expand the retail side as quickly as possible to help Lelilo not be reliant on those donations.

The magazine “Confident Living” has had some wonderful permissions granted for article reprints as well as some local folk willing to write contributions.  The biggest hurdle each edition will be gaining sufficient advertising to keep it viable, especially in its infancy!

We have had excellent feedback as people come into the offices/library/shop and we look forward to how God will use the ministry in this new location.



Monday, July 09, 2007

Dodos and Drongos!

“Dead as a dodo”;

“What a drongo she is!”


An aussie will sometimes say in reference to someone who did something foolish especially while driving – “silly galah” – I may be wrong but I believe that comes from the fact that the galah (a bird) will often sit on the road especially in the outback and nearly get itself killed by cars and trucks using the road.


But since coming to Africa I have met up with two other types of birds which are used in our colloquial speech.  The first one was a few years ago while visiting a museum in East London in South Africa, which had a taxidermed “dodo” bird.  This bird is now totally extinct, hence the term “dead as a dodo” to describe something that is dead and has been lifeless for sometime with seemingly no chance of it exhibiting life again.  I guess we even use the term to describe a phone line when there is no connection signal. But it was fun to see what this bird actually looked like and where the saying came from.


Then just this morning I met up with a couple of ‘drongos’ – the feathered variety.  The term “drongo” is not used in a complimentary sense, and I am yet to discover what it is about these shiny black birds that has earned them a reputation such as to warrant inclusion in our colloquial speech.  The two this morning were perched on the top of PG’s roof behind our house following their breakfast of a couple of bees (from a hive under our bathtub, accessed from a gap between the bath drain pipe and the bricks of the wall – a problem which we still haven’t fully decided how to fix – suggestions welcome).


No, my day is not so boring so as to spend it watching drongos have breakfast!  Life is incredibly busy here right now (needing to find new office space and move, counselling, resolving interpersonal conflicts, trying to get a fledgling ministry off the ground (including a Christian magazine that is now needing a new layout/graphics person since the guy who was to help us has had to temporarily leave Botswana while his immigration status is renewed/resolved and it is unsure how long it will be before his return), a bit of gardening here and there, trying to keep up to date with correspondence).  But enjoying God’s creation brings joy and rest to the soul and we thank Him for His beauty reflected in all that He has created.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Life continues on here at a mad pace it seems.  Last week we had  a wonderful visit from a mission team from the USA and we were able to link them up with a little Baptist church in a village about 40mins from here.  It was so wonderful to see members of the church come for leadership training and to work alongside the team in village evangelism, including in the primary school which is right beside the little church.  Souls were saved that week and we pray that this little church will be effective in following up those folk. We were also able to put a few resources into the hands of each of the folk who attended the training days. Please pray for Pastor Motusi as he shepherds this church, under the mentorship of Pastor James.



Thursday, April 26, 2007

It's taken a while but here we are!

Thanks for visiting our blog.  Amazingly enough we are finally entering something on it so that you know we really do exist!  My wonderful brother has pushed and prodded and I think now given up that his sister and brother-in-law will ever get around to ever writing anything on the wonderful blog he created for us.  (The website is also his work on our behalf [hope you have checked it out too!] and is still a little under construction.  It at least gives you some idea of what life is filled with for us here in Botswana.


Sometimes I don’t know where the time goes.  They say time goes fast when you’re having fun…yes we are having fun…but I’m sure the other version of that is ‘Time goes fast when you live in Botswana’.  We were told, and I reckon its true, that everything takes at least 3 times as long to accomplish here as back in OZ, so I guess that is where the time goes.  Anyhow, sometimes, it certainly seems like the day is gone and hardly anything has been accomplished! Just like…I was all organised and had all the washing done, and on the line.  Afternoon came I brought some clothes inside that were dry but most of them were still a little damp (we have finally been having an end to the dry weather with humidity up from 25% to 50% and lower temperatures (around 30 celcius). Then we had guests arrive and I then was distracted and forgot about the rest of the clothes….until…it was dark and I opened the back door to go and feed the dogs.  I walked outside and smelt smoke….and remembered…the nights are becoming cooler and so folk are having fires in the evening now…and yes all the clothes smelt of smoke!  So the next day….time to wash everything all over again!!!  And this time I remembered to bring them in, in time.  Guess that is where some of the time goes…along with a lot of other things.


Before I run to hang out some other washing for today….some of you have been following the saga of our vehicle – the Pajero.  It has spent much of its life with us in the “lame” category, due to one part after another failing and then certain mechanics failing to fix it properly and that leading to other problems as well as the initial problems having to be re-done!  It is good to have our “old” (previous) mechanic back in town again, and it seemed that slowly it was coming back to semi-health with just a couple more repairs to be done.  But alas, a top up of steering fluid a few days back revealed a completely empty reservoir and a very messed-up pump.  Our mechanic went to the Mitsubishi agent to be told that pump alone would cost P17,000 (AUD$3700)!  He then went to the wreckers and they had one for P7000 but it was in worse condition than ours!!  So he decided to get a few odd parts, dismantled it himself and re-built it for us for P2000 which he graciously did by not charging for the great part of his full day of labour on our vehicle! (good mechanics are charging about P400+/hr labour here). But he warned us that the better pressure in it now may reveal a leak somewhere else!!  And guess what?  It seems that maybe it has.  Then, on another Pajero issue, the slight improvement we had from putting fluid in the gear box (after a previous mechanic assured us he had checked that and it wasn’t the problem), seems to have also now ceased helping the issue.  So, once again it is virtually going no-where and is sitting in the garage…..and so are the 20,000 Challenge Newspapers that were to be delivered this week!!!  We are hoping to be able to have someone else with a suitable vehicle be able to help us out with Challenge Delivery – but that takes some arranging!


Life is never boring here, that is for sure.  Time is not something I (or Andrew) can say we have any extra of, so how often this blog will be updated remains to be seen (look how long it took to get the first entry in!), but we do endeavour to not leave you to starve for our news!


In closing, we are so absolutely thrilled and full of praise to our God for the amazing timing of all that has happened in the last couple of months.  Many ministry doors have flung open, and we are seeing some wonderful changes in the lives of several folk we are counselling/mentoring as they seek to allow God to shine His word into their heart and reveal issues that they did not understand or see before and as there is repentance toward God and forgiveness toward others and a realisation of how deeply our human pride runs,yet the amazing grace of our God running deeper still,  they are knowing a freedom in their lives that they have never known before.  As more folk also have access to the resources and are reading for themselves, God is speaking into hearts and lives are being changed. Praise Him.