Greetings from Botswana!
We have a very long overdue update that we are sure many of you have been waiting for. It’s been just over a month since we arrived back in Botswana and we have been busy settling in and finding our way around our new home, ministry, and life. In so many ways, it feels as though we’ve never even left. The familiar takes over which makes it so much easier to transition into things. God has been so so faithful through it all. We are reminded that He sees even the smallest desires of our hearts and delights on giving them.
We arrived to a beautiful brick home that is set up on a hill. We have an amazing view! It’s big enough for our family and then some! On the backside of the house is a swimming pool with lappa (sorta like a covered open area) and braai (South African Barbeque) area ….perfect for hosting people. Inside there is plenty of room for the kids to run and play and a fireplace to keep us warm on cold nights. Lobatse winters are definitely colder than Maun…brrrr!!! We are so blessed with this home and really feel as though the Lord is setting us up to open our home and host people as much as possible. We’ve always wanted our home to be a place of comfort and peace, where people can come and just BE and be served and loved on. We’ve been blessed over our 10 years to have homes that have allowed us to do this and now with this bigger home….well the sky is the limit and we are excited about how God is going to use this house to bless others. We are in the process of purchasing things to get started and the Lord has given us some great deals on things we’ve always wanted. A large kitchen table, a big comfy couch, a big refrigerator…..all except the fridge were second hand and in great shape and price. Word To Africa has been gracious enough to let us borrow a lot of items too so we can get things piece by piece which helps so much. Our friends the Walker’s who previously occupied the house also left us many things which have proven to be so helpful! (Thanks Heather for thinking of Sarah’s love of baking needs! :)) We are currently housing two young men, Ontse and Kempo, who are serving as interns with Word to Africa. Their house is in the process of finishing and so for the next few weeks they will be staying with us. They are a joy to have around and our kids love the extra people to play with!
Speaking of Word to Africa…..wow, they have really rolled out the welcome mat and made sure we’ve been taken care of. Everyone has been so helpful and thoughtful. We literally didn’t have to worry about meals or groceries for the first week. The house was freshly painted and cleaned with everything set up for us to settle in right away. What a wonderful feeling to just settle in and know that those things were taken care of. We have met much of the staff that are on site and learning more and more about the ministry each day. It’s been a blessing to see those African smiles again and we are seeing areas that we can be involved in as well. Right now, we’re each going through the One to One discipleship that Word to Africa uses so that we’ll be able to turn around and take others through it as well. We are living on one of the pieces of land that Word to Africa uses which has the office and will have the school, church, and coffee shop.(Buildings are in progress.) Having all this in our “front yard” is quite nice and will be nice for the kids too for school.
Being back in Botswana feels good and it’s even as though our children know that they are home. They are happy and love having other kids (missionary and staff kids) to play with! Our hearts are full and we are eager to see how the Lord will use us in this new place. Crossing into Botswana at the boarder post, Sarah looked up to find the face of her friend Helen, who she worked closely with at the Maun immigration office. The shock on BOTH their faces was pretty priceless as Helen ran around for a big hug! God is already bringing connections, as Helen lives at the post that is literally 2 miles from the house. Sarah’s eager to continue that friendship and who knows…it might even open up more relationships through the boarder post.
Kevin has already traveled to Morelane with Len as part of an outreach team. Morelane is a small village in central Botswana that is a long term investment for Word to Africa. Ministry teams have been going there for many years but the main challenge is always finding a long term leader to live and work in the village. As Jesus said in Mathew 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Word to Africa has a property in Morelane with a house for the pastor which doubles as the church. There is running water, but no electricity. In past years, the building has sat empty and has fallen into disrepair. For the last year or so, a new leader, Brother Robert, has taken on the village. Brother Robert is caring for the village and church members and providing some much needed discipleship and training. We have a good relationship with the chief of the village, which is important, and in my estimate, he manages the village well and with honesty. As a result of Robert’s daily effort, the church in Morelane is beginning to grow. Word To Africa is a partner with Every Nation Church in Pretoria South Africa and the church there has “adopted” the Morelane church and sends teams there every year. This was a very fun and light hearted team comprised mostly of young adults in their 20’s. The team ministered at the school, the clinic, and also did some door to door ministry. Our main goal for this team was to improve the living conditions for Brother Robert as he is hopefully getting married soon. We installed a water heater that works by lighting a fire under a large metal drum. We put in some tile in the inside bathroom and kitchen area, repaired the doors on the outside toilets, and we laid a concrete slab for the veranda. We also brought all the supplies to completely close in the veranda with shade cloth which will be a huge blessing in the summer months when the mosquitoes are bad and it’s too hot to sleep inside. The veranda also doubles as the meeting place for the church. It is unknown if Brother Robert and his soon to be wife will want to stay in Morelane long term, but we ask that you pray with us that either they will stay, or the Lord will provide a new laborer for this harvest field. Morelane is a gateway village from which you can reach hundreds of bushman villages and outposts. In addition to a full time leader for Morelane, there is also a need for a traveling minister who will take on the responsibility of reaching all those remote villages in which there are no churches.
We want to take this time to thank you for the overwhelming response to our financial needs. Before leaving for Botswana, our situation was not really where we wanted to be, but we purchased tickets, believing and trusting that He had it under control. We are happy to report that our finances have improved drastically and we are so thankful for His provision. Thanks to your generosity and the Lord’s faithfulness, we have received more upfront funds than we even asked for. Our cup is truly overflowing! We still are in search of monthly partners to come along side of us since we are still short in that area, but we know we are where we are supposed to be, doing what God wants us to be doing so we trust He will continue to provide for our needs. We are seeing that the more ministry funds we have, the more we will be able to do. We are praying and searching for just the right vehicle to suit our family and ministry needs as well. We know the Lord has just the right one out there for us. Once again…thank you SO much for your love and support. You are right along side of us and we couldn’t do it without you!
A few additional prayer requests…..
Adjusting back into a new climate always takes it’s toll on the body. Sarah’s had some minor stomach issues which she expected because of changes of food and such. Also Piper seems to have developed some of the same itchy spots/rashes that she had when we lived here 2 years ago….right down to the same trouble spots. We know the climate is very dry and with winter here we’re sure that it’s probably an eczema flare up.
Praying that the Lord opens doors of ministry to us through building of relationships with people all around us.
We have submitted our immigration permits as Volunteer status. Please pray that the process of approval is quick and smooth. We were told our application went before the board, but were also told it could still take a few weeks before we heard anything back. We have till the end of August on our visitors permit. So far we feel like we’ve had a lot of favor as the officials have been very kind to us and willing to help make sure the application is complete and favorable. We are grateful to Kehumile,(Word to Africa office administrator/HR) who has spent a lot of time and energy making sure that things are taken care of as well.
Our dear friends the Shores’ (follow missionaries) were broken into a few weeks ago and some items were stolen while they slept. Praise the Lord they were not harmed, but naturally, it makes us all a little nervous. Please be praying for protection for all of us, but also for the recovery of those items that were taken. Our family is on the search for a good guard dog to add to our property as well. We have already committed to take in a small Maltese dog named “Rex” from a family who is returning to the UK. We hope he fits into our family well!
The Christian school that will be opening next year is in the process of inspections and paperwork with the Botswana government. So far the process has gone very smooth and we seem to have favor with the Ministry of Education. Continue to pray for this favor so that our doors can open in January. This school is so needed in this community and it opens so many doors. If you are interested in getting involved, there are supplies and such that would be very helpful….please get in touch with us for more information.
Please note our new address as well. You know that missionaries LOVE care packages. (hint hint hint)
Word To Africa
c/o Kevin and Sarah Witt
PO Box 941
Lobatse Botswana -Africa
Once again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your love and support!
Kevin, Sarah, Andrew, Piper and Isaac