Greetings from dry and dusty Botswana! It has been interesting learning to live in a desert climate. Since our last rainfall was in March, and grass is a rare commodity in this country, dust prevails everywhere. The slightest little breeze stirs up the dust and dirt. Just the dogs walking through the yard sends up clouds of dirt. And when they play and run and fight, it looks like a dust storm in our yard. The other night we had a wind storm and it actually sounded like ice was hitting the windows—but it was just dirt and sand.
Most of our yard is dirt and sand, with just a small patch of grass. And we haven’t figured out yet how to teach the dogs to wipe their feet, so when they come in the house, they bring the dirt and sand in with them! And with the weather turning warmer, we need to have the doors and windows open for air circulation. But the wind has been blowing quite a bit. Consequently, it has become increasingly difficult to keep the dirt and dust in the house to a minimum. I wash the kitchen counters, and a few minutes later, they are dusty again. No white glove tests here, please.
In spite of the dryness, flowers and trees are blooming everywhere. I just figured that everything would stay dormant until the rains came—but I have been pleasantly surprised. The jacaranda trees are in bloom with beautiful purple blossoms. The bougainvillea bushes are also in bloom everywhere with bright red and pink blooms. Some of the trees are starting to put out new leaves. I was also surprised to find that roses do well in this climate, if you water them frequently. All this color and flowers are a welcome relief after looking at brown all winter. We have had a few hot days already, but most days are still pleasantly cool, which we are enjoying greatly, knowing that the hot days are just around the corner.
We had a wonderful time with George and Kristin and the kids here for a few days this month. Even though they live only 6-7 hours away, we are both busy in our different works. So time spent together is short but precious. We were able to enjoy a few days up north in Chobe National Park which is an open area with no fences where the wild animals roam freely. The road through the park is not paved, just dirt and sand, and in places the sand was over a foot deep and very dry with the lack of rain. It made for some interesting driving—and for getting stuck too! But we had our handy shovel along, and with some help from some other tourists, we were able to get unstuck fairly quickly.
The best part of the trip was a sunset boat ride on the Zambezi River which forms the border between Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia. It was a little unnerving being in the river with hippos and crocodiles big enough to eat you. Or to be in a boat just a few feet from the shore, with elephants standing right there a mere ten feet away. But our guide was very good and safely maneuvered us throughout the whole trip. We saw lots of hippos and crocodiles, whole herds of elephants, giraffes, impala, and cape buffaloes, plus many other animals and birds. And the sunset was absolutely gorgeous.
We have all been busy with Bible study groups and discipleship groups. The man who is the leader of the group we have been working with in one of the villages told my husband he wants to go around with him to other villages and introduce him to other preachers. He said many of these preachers are just like he was—wanting to know the truth but not knowing where to find it. We are very excited about this opportunity, which will start in November after our trip to America. The possibilities are mind-boggling and a little scary.
We are looking forward to our trip to America next week to see our family and our church family. It is hard to believe that we have been here for a year already. The people here are sad to see us go, and they keep asking us if we are coming back. I am not sure they believe us when we tell them we will only be gone for a month. This, I am finding, is the life of a missionary. Your heart is constantly torn between two places. This is home to us now—but we miss our home and family in America. It will be good to see everyone there again—but we will be looking forward to getting back here again and busy in the work that God has called us to.
So for all you ladies there at LVBC, we will see you on Wednesday night (Lord willing, and we make all our connections). Can’t wait to see you all!
Love to all,