Sunday, February 25, 2024

Botswana and Patricia's story


You can tell you're in Botswana when the elephants come out to the road to meet you.  

We saw this in a school office.   It's a picture of a rotten watermelon {I saw a parrot head first.}

                                                           Some cute little neighbors.  

Paul having a Pilgrim's Progress moment, crossing a stile in fine style.  He did not meet Giant Despair on the other side.  

Rush hour traffic near Nata.  We were kind of rushing, but this cow did not deign to even stand up for us, she and her friend just stayed resting right in the road as we buzzed along to a school.  

In Francistown, Botswana, we needed to find a place to stay so we prayed/sang our prayer for guidance, "Guide Me Oh, Thou Great Jehovah" and checked the GPS and Google for possibilities.  We picked The New Earth first, to try, and this is where we're staying for the whole time, and we can see the Lord's hand in it.  Patricia, our hostess and owner of The New Earth Guest House has been sharing her story with me, bit by bit as we snatch moments to visit.

She told me she was an alcoholic, divorced, and with many people after her to quit drinking.  She tried and failed.  Then one of her drinking buddies began to follow Jesus.  This friend invited Patricia to church, but she declined since she had already tried religion.  She felt she had tried everything.  

This friend persisted, but Patricia continued to say no.  Finally the friend sent in the big guns:  her pastor and his wife. Patricia said that pastor carried his guitar with him, was pretty casual and invited her to a braai, a barbecue.  She went and enjoyed the visit, the music, and the pastor.  He asked her to receive Jesus, but she said she couldn't quit drinking.  He told her not to worry, but to receive the Lord.  She finally agreed and prayed with him.  He then said something along the lines of the Ethiopian Eunuch, except the other way, What hinders you from getting baptized?  Or something to that effect.  So Patricia was baptized that same day, in his swimming pool.   

She continued to drink and smoke for more than a month, but suddenly she realized the smoking wasn't giving her any joy.  She felt like someone had rinsed the cigarettes with water.  They had no flavor and no "high".  So she quit.  And then the wine, she said before that, she could drink three bottles a day when she could afford it, but now, the wine tasted bad and she couldn't even finish a glass, it just tasted bitter.    

The house she was living in was run down, but once she received the Lord, she began to work on it.  She's been blessed with good business sense and a real go-getter attitude.  She gleaned some rocks from a roadbuilding project near her, and had a wall built by Zimbabweans.  More rocks came and she added on three wings to the home.  She has a nice patio area in the back with the same rocks and a picturesque thatch roof.  She registered her house with the town to be a guesthouse and it is flourishing!  She has 10 rooms to rent out, and very good rapport with a lot of regular customers. It was our first time here, but we will stay here again if we're in Francistown.  

Patricia also shared her witnessing strategy with me!  This conversation came about because she went to a RocoMamas restaurant to eat, and then she shared Jesus with the server.  The girl bubbled, "I'm so lucky!  You are the second person who has spoken to me [about Jesus] today."  And then showed one of our tracts which we had left when we ate there just a few minutes before them.  Patricia recognized Paul from the tract, or the name Small Paul, and she was delighted!  {Paul's photo is on the back, and our email address, and his chalk drawings are throughout the pages of the tract.}  We all agreed the Lord must really want that girl to get saved as there were so many of us reaching out to her on the same day.  

Patricia said at the guesthouse she is not allowed to preach to the customers so she gives them a slip of paper with three passages hand written on it:

                                                        Romans 10:9,10

                                                        Matthew 3:11

                                                        Luke 4:17-21

She tells them to Google those verses.  She is trying to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  She is seeing fruit from her sharing.  She speaks to people on the street too, and gives them slips of paper and then later checks in to see if they have read the verses.  She tells how the Lord has led, changed, blessed...all glory to God.    

Patricia's former husband obviously knew her as an alcoholic.  He was sure she was going to lose this house, this house that has so prospered, because of her alcoholism.  When he saw the change in her after she came to the Lord, after a year or two, he wanted what she has, and he confessed faith in Christ and  she baptized him in her pool!  He wasn't the only one.  Many others, including her Mom, and others from her family, have been baptized in that same pool!    

Patricia has been like a breath of fresh air into our lives, mine especially.  Traveling as we do can get pretty lonely, though we have each other and can talk to family, but this new friend is here in the flesh and a joy to be around.  We're grateful.  

Patricia has led many to the Lord.  Her husband's brother, who does not speak English or Patricia's language, prayed with her, with her husband translating.  Even more amazing, she has led three of her husband's girlfriends to the Lord.  We are praying the Lord will restore her marriage, and the marriage of her friend Esther.  Esther is the friend who led her to the Lord.  She is also regretting her pre-salvation divorce.  

Another story she shared, she was leaving the prison after ministering to some refugees there and saw a young lady walking.  She felt that God wanted her to offer the girl a ride.  They began to talk with Patricia asking if she was born again.  The girl prayed with her.  Then Patricia asked what she was doing at the prison.  She was visiting her brother who had killed two people, both women I think.  One was his girlfriend, and the other was a woman who was setting the girlfriend up with other men.  He killed them both in his anger and jealousy and now was awaiting the death penalty.

Patricia went to see him and bring him toilet paper as the girl said he needed that.  He was trembling so much that he had to sit on his hands to still them.  She was rather nervous too.  When the guards called him to visit with her, the other prisoners told him he was going to be executed, hence his shaking.  She talked to him about the Lord and he too asked the Lord to save him!  

Patricia is across from Paul and Esther is in pink.  I believe Esther is the one who got saved first and invited Patricia to church.  

Patricia's homemade tract
Not only does she give it and suggest they look it up on Google, she asks people later, "Did you read it?" 

A very large school on a very hot day with a VERY enthusiastic group of kids.  
                                               A glimpse of smaller private school.  
This low roof was challenging!  The board needed to be high to be seen, plus it needed to be swiveled around to show kids on the sides, plus Paul had to not knock his head.  He was tired after this one.  
                  Grateful for a cooling breeze and trees for shade at this school that met outdoors.  

We've never seen anything like the way Botswana schools celebrate Valentine's Day.  

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Another Zambian Chapter

New Year's Eve, 2023, what did you do for fun?  We spent three hours that afternoon crossing the border from Botswana into Zambia.  
We still haven't gotten over this amazing bridge across the Zambezi.  We used to enjoy the ferry, the actual crossing, but the confusion and the wait and the pesky "agents" we don't miss.  
The pastor who brought us here called this an African church.  It's made of clay and sticks, and I love it.  
A glimpse into Paul with his translator at a Lusaka church...
and another church outside of town.  Notice the trash baskets for taking the offering.   
The church loves to gather after the service for pictures.  That is the church building in the background.  Dirt floor, stick covered with tarp or sacks.  I'm grateful it didn't rain while we were there, but there was still water on the ground inside from the last hard shower.  
Looks like I'm getting into the photo thing, selfies and all.  
Paul posing with pastors on a different Sunday after church.  I thought it was hot that Sunday, not knowing about the 105 degree temps that were coming.

Outside the pastors conference, things are not so serious.  


These girls Stephanie and Blessing are just the ages of our granddaughters.  Their Mom Faith and her husband Peter brought us to many places to preach.  
      Back to that church again.  
Paul and his translator named Mission.  

On this hot afternoon, Paul taught the pastors for about an hour, and then sat down to take questions.  His translator thought it was a good idea too.  
This is inside the church made of mud/clay.  Paul bonked his head on a rafter and got mud in his hair.  I like the "stars" that are the sun shining though holes in the pre-owned tin.  
We posed for a LOT of pictures.  This is at Kapila Primary School, at the church that meets in the school.  
I taught one ladies group, and Paul showed up in time for the pictures afterward.    

 Paul preached to these kids.  The schools were closed because there was a cholera epidemic so we went for orphanages and pastors conferences.  There was also some street evangelism.    

We loved staying at BMOZ, the Baptist Mission of Zambia, but apparently I didn't take any pictures there.  We stayed at the Brethren Guesthouse first, for a week.  We read some good books there, and got birthday ideas from that reading.  


Saturday, July 8, 2023



The crowd gathers to hear Small Paul!  
There's a version of Donald Duck designed to give the children nightmares.  
Team building photo with the teachers at one school.  
I remembered the sandwich maker on this trip!  Nothing like a hot peanut butter, butter and honey sandwich to fill the empty places.  
Our trips tend to be colored by what we read and listen to.  We loved this testimony of a Muslim lady who came to know the Lord, partly through a dream, and partly through reading the Koran and seeing so many problems in it.  
Posing with teachers.

 The view from behind the stands. I stand back there to hold the board so the wind doesn't snatch it and knock it to the ground sending paper and chalk in all directions.  

Think you got it rough?  How'd you like to be a little plant trying to grow on a playground in Botswana?  I admire this plant.  
Pack 'em in like sardines and tell 'em there are two ways, two choices, and give them a chance to pray.  
We went to schedule this school; it was for ages 2-6.  We scheduled it anyway, and Paul preached to 50 little cuties.  They were so good!  Surprised me.  Some of them prayed to be saved.  
                        Coolest sink in Africa!  This was in Kimberley, on the way.  
We tried to go to a little museum on a hilltop, but we couldn't get in.  Still, the outside was cool.  Those cactus growing also have potential for nightmares. They were huge!  
There's our car!  Still being thankful we can drive it! 

Preaching under the tree has such atmosphere.  I was getting tempted to focus on cool hairstyles.  

Weather is great compared to what we hear happening in Cape Town.  We're dry!  I dress like an Eskimo in the  morning and wear sandals in the afternoon.  

The last school on Friday was scenic.  Phew!  The energy of all those teens can be daunting, but they were quiet, respectful, and listened and responded to God's Word.   Fortunately it didn't rain.  I think the roof would have leaked.
Not everyone at every school pays good attention.  Goats wandering around just ignored us. 

We arrived in Botswana on the 28th with nothing scheduled in any school.  The 29th was devoted to "prospecting", driving from school to school to find out who wanted a tall, fervent chalk artist to come talk to their students.  On the 30th we started in with a full day of speaking in schools and scheduling in between, and we've stayed busy since!  We're thankful.  

Two people have recently asked what I do. I'm the main driver, the secretary, cook, laundry lady, and companion for Paul.  Sometimes I'm the entertainment committee and sometimes I draw the curtains and leave so he can catch a nap.  I'm also a pack mule for equipment, and the gopher who runs back and forth to the car getting the speaker, the tracts, the books, and then more of each when we discover it's a bigger school than we thought.  I'm the "whatever" person, doing whatever I can to help. 

I want to remember this trip, how God worked, and we want to share His works with others.