A Year of Gratitude

I ended 2018 with a very deep sense of gratitude. A thought that constantly crossed my mind was, “I am so incredibly blessed!” Gratitude is a wonderful attitude to possess. It automatically puts you in a good mood and it’s impossible to possess gratitude without also possessing joy! I finished 2018 full of so much gratefulness and joy! I have so much to be grateful for as I reflect on what God has done in my life and ministry this past year. Here’s just some of the amazing things I thank God for in 2018:

I had an amazing time connecting with my support base in the US in January & February! Every church I visited seriously made me feel like a rockstar! I left each church with a full heart, overwhelmed with gratitude for their amazing support and encouragement. These are the kind of supporters that every missionary wants to partner with and I felt more empowered to do what God has called me to do. I was also very impressed with how many of you were willing to try a mophane worm!

Some brave kiddos from Lord of Harvest Church in Los Angeles, CA snacking on mophane worms!

I thank God for being able to celebrate two important milestones last year: (1) In May, our church, Light of the World Church, celebrated its 25th anniversary, which we commemorated by hosting a special conference. It was such a blessing to hear so many wonderful testimonies of how people came to know the Lord through our church. I am honored and privileged to be a part of a ministry that has had, and continues to have, a longstanding impact in this nation. (2) The 28th of July marked my 6th year of having moved to Botswana. What a journey it has been! It has not been without its challenges, but it has been the happiest 6 years of my life! Life can’t get more FULL when you are living out God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.

My fav photo of 2018 – having fun with my youth on our mission trip in South Africa!

I thank God for wisdom, direction and growth in our youth ministry last year. The highlight of last year was definitely our mission trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the first mission trip for our youth, and for most of them, their first time to travel outside of Botswana. It was an incredible experience, and this definitely won’t be our last mission trip! I believe that each of us came back a different person – more confident in allowing God to use us and more conscious of the ways He wants to use us. Some photos from the trip below!

School Ministry

Hospital Ministry

Homeless Outreach

Our team with our hosts in township of Soweto

I thank God for so much progress on our church building. There was so much eagerness and motivation from our church last year to give towards our building project. The completion of this building will mean so much in expanding the reach and effectiveness of our ministry. We are also so excited to have planted two new churches last year – one in Botswana’s capital city of Gaborone and another in Ndola, Zambia! Some photos below!

Church building progress

Light of the World Church in Ndola, Zambia

Light of the World Church in Gaborone, Botswana

I am so grateful for God’s amazing provision this past year! After moving into my own place the end of 2016, I had been hand washing my laundry and desperately wanted a washing machine, but I was able to finally get one in May! I’ve also been able to acquire more furniture for my home – two sofas, a desk and a bed for my guest room. My laptop of almost 10 years was sorely due for a replacement, and I was able to purchase a new one in October! My car had been giving me issues since the end of 2017, but before the end of 2018, I was able to purchase another car (pic below), and I sold my previous car shortly after the start of the new year! Thank you to those who specifically gave to help meet these needs!

My new ride!

For Christmas, my parents gifted me with a plane ticket to visit my favorite uncle, aunt and cousin in Singapore! This was definitely one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received! I hadn’t seen these relatives in over 10 years, so we were so happy to see each other! I had been feeling homesick towards the end of last year, so it was so wonderful to be with family over the holidays.

My Uncle Pete, Auntie Lala and cousin Ian welcoming me at the airport!

May I take this time to say THANK YOU to all of my supporters for another year of amazing support! Please know that you have absolutely played a part in everything God has done through my ministry in Botswana, through your encouragement, your prayers and your financial gifts. Please know that the investment of your time and money has been sown in good ground and only heaven will reveal the impact of the support you have given. I truly cannot thank you enough, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  • Pray for wisdom, direction, favor for my ministry in 2019 as I walk out in new roles and responsibilities. Besides helping to lead the youth ministry at our main church branch in Francistown, I will also be helping to establish and oversee the youth ministries at all our branch churches. This will include monthly visits to our 4 branches in Botswana (Matshelagabedi, Tati Siding, Selebi-Phikwe, Gaborone) and our branch in Ndola, Zambia. I’m very excited about connecting with all of the youth within our entire ministry!
  • My residence permit is due to expire again this September. Please pray as I apply for renewal this year that it is a smooth process and I have divine, supernatural favor to have my renewal application approved.


Some of you have asked if you can send me a care package and what kind of things you can send. Of course I would love to receive care packages, and thank you to those of you who have offered! Here is a list of items I would love to receive in a care package:

  • Pens & journals/notebooks (I journal almost daily and do lots of writing.)
  • Books or digital books, as I have a Kindle (devotionals, personal/spiritual growth, ministry, leadership, any good recreational reading recommendations)
  • Dental floss
  • Movies (DVDs or digital)
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Kettle Chips
  • Personal handwritten cards, notes, letters

If you plan to send a care package, please get in touch with me first so I can give you more info on the best way to send me a care package.

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Living the Dream

I think the only thing that I love more than being a missionary is being a missionary who gets to lead a mission trip. It was such a privilege and a dream come true for me to be able to take a group of my youth on a mission trip to Johannesburg, South Africa this past July.

Going on mission trips have changed my life. They gave me exposure, giving me an awareness of needs around the world, which in turn birthed and fueled in me a desire to give of myself to others. On top of that, mission trips were ultimately what inspired me to become a full-time missionary. My prayer for my youth as we embarked on this trip was that they would have a similar, if not greater, experience like I had.

Here are some highlights of what we got up to while we were in Joburg:

Bus Ride: Our team of eight gearing up for our 11-hour bus ride from Francistown to Joburg! It was a LONG trip, but these guys were absolute troopers!

Northcliff Hill: We visited Northcliff Hill which afforded us an amazing view of the city of Joburg. While there, we spent some time in worship and in prayer for the city. Joburg is the largest city in South Africa and the second largest city in Africa. Roughly 5000 people move to Joburg every week and it is home to an extremely ethnically diverse population. You can literally meet people from all over the world in Joburg, so I think it was really cool that we got to play a small part (one week) in sharing God’s love to the world, in one city.

Alhambra Theatre: We spent Nelson Mandela Day (July 18) helping to clean up and restore an old theater in the inner city. The Alhambra Theatre is now being used as a youth community center for the arts. Nelson Mandela Day is a day in which everyone is encouraged to give 67 minutes of their time to voluntary service to honor the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela in doing good for others.

Inside Alhambra Theatre

Front of Alhambra Theatre

School Ministry: One of my youth, Nyax, sharing his testimony at a local high school. Nyax is usually shy about public speaking, so I was very proud of him! Mission trips push us out of our comfort zone!

Tembisa Hospital: We visited the children’s burn unit of a hospital in the township of Tembisa. It is always heartbreaking to see a child sick or injured, but we were grateful to the hospital staff for allowing us to visit and pray for the children and even their parents.

Tembisa Hospital: We brought markers and coloring books so we could color with the kids. We also sang to them and just did our best to bring some joy into their day. It was wonderful to get a smile or a laugh out of them. We cherished our time with these precious kids!

Homeless Outreach: We partnered with a local ministry in doing an outreach to the homeless in the nearby city of Pretoria. We were able to bless many with blankets, toiletries and food.

Homeless Outreach: We also prayed with people and just took time to listen to their stories and chat with them.

Exploring Joburg: We also took some time to explore such a cool city! We enjoyed taking the red bus tour through the main points of the city.

Exploring Joburg: Checking out the views from the top of the Carlton Centre, the tallest building in Africa.

Our visit to the township of Soweto

My favorite pic I took with my youth girls when we visited Soweto Towers

I am a firm believer that everyone should go on a mission trip at least once in their life. There is something so positively transformative that occurs when you make a conscious choice to spend yourself on others for a concentrated period of time. I find that you are often humbly surprised at how much you are changed for the better when you purpose to be a part of something that isn’t about you at all. I am grateful to God for this opportunity in which I hopefully was able to pass on a legacy of love and passion for missions and giving to my youth.

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“It is more blessed (makes one happier and more to be envied) to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35b, AMPC)

This month I celebrated my six year anniversary of having moved to Botswana. God has blessed my life with so much happiness since I made the choice to give of my life and serve here.

This journal entry from my first month in Botswana expresses so well just how happy living a life of giving has made me:

August 13, 2012

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve felt this happy. I’ve walked through many different types of seasons over the years as I’ve entered adulthood, and this season seems like a time to laugh, a time to smile, a time to learn and grow, a time of abundance, and a time for greatness. I look forward to each day, no matter how mundane. Everything isn’t perfect by any means, but it feels perfect in the sense that I’m content to know that I am in God’s perfect will. I’m grateful. I don’t deserve to feel like this, but I do. I feel full. My life feels full. I feel so fortunate – so blessed – for this special season of my life. I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to have the right attitude. I appreciate this time. I want to drink it all in. I don’t want to miss anything.

One of my favorite photos I’ve taken in Botswana – when my youth threw me a surprise party for my 33rd birthday. I am still this happy about being a missionary in Botswana!


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Legends in the Making

Recently a good friend of mine paid me one of the highest compliments I have ever received. This friend told me, “Mel, you are such a legend!” And they didn’t just tell me this once, but twice – in one week! Needless to say, it made me feel awesome. I mean, really awesome.

My friend paid me this very kind compliment in response to a situation I had helped him out with, but I hardly think the assistance I offered warranted me earning such a title…as legend.

When I think of the word legend, two things come to mind. Firstly, I think of The Legend of Zelda (obviously). Secondly, I think of who a legend is. A legend is someone who is known for having left a legacy; a legacy being something of great value or significance that is passed down from one person or generation to the next, that continues and does not die and is not forgotten.

Am I truly such a person? Am I a legend? Have I passed on something of great value or significance to others that will continue to carry on and be passed down long after I am gone? I certainly hope so. Honestly speaking, legendary habits do not come naturally to me, but I believe with God’s help, they can be cultivated. I absolutely want to leave a legacy, as a missionary in Botswana, and especially, to the youth in our church.

As a hopeful legend, what legacy do I want to impart to my youth? The thing that has been on my heart for several months now is to pass on a legacy of my love and passion for missions. I love everything about missions. It is a big and obvious reason why I chose to become a full-time missionary myself. I’ve been on several short-term mission trips, and each one was incredibly life-changing and impactful. I returned home from each of those trips a different person – a better person. It still awes me to this day how much the people I came to serve and minister to ended up being more of a blessing to me than I felt I was to them. I came back from each trip with a broader worldview and a keen consciousness of wanting to be less selfish and more selfless. Besides legendary habits, compassion is also something that does not come naturally for me; but going on a mission trip, or investing or participating in furthering mission work in some way, shape or form, has helped me to develop a heart of compassion for others.

I want my youth to experience this, too, which is why from July 16-23, 2018, I will be taking our youth on their very first mission trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. Many of my youth have never even been outside of Botswana. I believe in my youth. I know that God can and will use them to be a blessing. I look forward to giving them this opportunity to be challenged and encouraged to give of themselves to others. I believe this trip will be life-changing, impactful and compassion-cultivating, just like past mission trips have been for me.

As I endeavor to leave a legacy, I pray that I am also inspiring my youth to become legends themselves, who hopefully will become even more legendary than me.

Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in knowing how you can pray for us and support us as we prepare for this upcoming mission trip to Joburg.

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My Favorite Year So Far

Dumelang (Hello, in Setswana)! 2017 has been my favorite year of ministry so far! Ministry is about meeting needs, but I’ve learned that I can’t meet them all. It’s easy to think that meeting every need is the sacrificial duty of a missionary, but that usually results in operating in one’s own strength, which of course, is limited and has the capacity to run out. I’ve learned to find out from God the part He’s called me to play, and to lean on Him for the strength to play my part well. I’ve also learned the importance and balance of taking care of myself so that I can be the most effective minister to others. I believe it is these lessons I’ve learned (and I continue to learn) that have made 2017 my favorite year of ministry. Ministry, of course, is never without its challenges, and it is always HARD WORK; but by God’s grace, it felt “easy” and “light” and I enjoyed it the most I ever have.

Please read on for some highlights from this amazing year!

Girl Talk – Just what it sounds like! A girl-only youth event in which our young ladies had a chance to connect with the older women in our church to glean spiritual & practical wisdom – all while enjoying lots of chocolate!

Youth Sunday – Our pastors give our youth the privilege to minster to our church family on a Sunday morning – from ushering to leading worship to preaching! I thought this was our best Youth Sunday yet! I was so impressed with how they allowed God to use them to bless our church that day! They are not just the church of tomorrow – they are the church of TODAY!

Outreach & Evangelism – It was big on my heart to take our youth outside of our church and focus on serving others. They had a blast volunteering at a local community center in town to help spruce up their property. We visited the youth at all our branch churches in neighboring villages to teach them about how to share their faith with others, and then gave them a chance to evangelize in their respective villages. I am proud of our youth for being willing to do something that may have been intimidating or uncomfortable for them. Their courage led many people to Christ this past year!

Healing Conference – We hosted an amazing Healing Conference! It was an empowering time for me, personally, to learn what the Bible says about healing. We witnessed several people receive healing, including one of my youth who was healed of a long-time ear condition. A friend’s daughter was also healed of chronic stomach issues. She is completely healed, left with shelves of expensive medication that she no longer needs! God still heals TODAY!

I want to thank everyone who has supported me this past year! Your financial support, your prayers, and your interest and encouragement for the work I do is a huge blessing to me! The ways you support me, in turn, allow me to be a blessing to those who God has called me to serve. Any gratitude I receive from those I minister to is also gratitude to you. Thank you for giving!

  • My Botswana residence permit expired last year, and I ran into several challenges with trying to renew it; but, after some extra effort, paperwork, and prayers, I was able to renew my residence in Botswana for another 2 years! I thank God for His favor!
  • I really want to buy a washing machine! I have about half of the money saved up to buy one. Please agree with me for the rest of the money to come in!
  • I would like to sell my current laptop and purchase a new one this year.
  • In last year’s newsletter, I asked you to agree with me for provision to be able to travel home for the holidays and to be able to itinerate for a couple months to connect with my support base. This prayer request has been answered! I am currently in the US! I have been here since the week before Christmas and I will be here until Feb 28th. I enjoyed spending the holidays with my family, and I look forward to seeing many of you soon if I haven’t already! Thanks for praying!
  • Please pray for me as I travel around Southern California and the Denver area to visit churches and connect with my supporters. I thank God for opening doors for me to minister. I’ve already had some wonderful visits with a couple churches, and I will continue to visit churches every weekend until I return to Africa. Please pray for safe travels and for God to use me to be a blessing to everyone I connect with. I’ve included my remaining itineration schedule below.
  • Wisdom, direction, and favor in my ministry for this new year.

  • Sunday, January 21, 10:30am – Southport Christian Center (National City, CA)
  • Sunday, January 28, 8:30am & 10:30am – Lord of Harvest (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Sunday, February 4, 10:30am – Praise Center Church (Denver, CO)
  • Friday, February 9, 7:00pm – Encounter Church, Young Adult Community Night (Centennial, CO)
  • Sunday, February 11, 12:15pm – Encounter Church, Missionary Reception in Fellowship Hall (Centennial, CO)
  • Sunday, February 18, 5:00pm – People’s Church San Diego (San Diego, CA)
  • Sunday, February 25, 10:30am – Pacific Lighthouse Christian Fellowship (San Diego, CA)

If you would like to continue to stay updated with my ministry in Botswana, please click here to sign up to receive my email newsletter.

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A Qualified Professional

One of my favorite promises about God’s provision is found in 2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition):

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

I’ve recently been meditating on the first part of this verse:

And God is able…

When someone is able, it simply means that they know how to do something. They are qualified to do something. We could even say that they are a professional at what they do.

If you ever needed surgery done, you would want someone who is a qualified professional to perform the operation, right? You would want someone who is well-experienced in the field and who has a good track record of performing successful surgeries.

God is able. God is a qualified professional in the field of provision and blessing. God is well-experienced in being a Provider and He has an impeccable track record of success in meeting needs and showering blessings.

I want to be a “giver.”  I want to be a generous person. I always want generosity to be a big, permanent, defining part of who I am. I want to constantly be growing in my ability to give. I know that how I grow as a “giver” is directly connected to how well I grasp this very simple, but very powerful truth: God is able.

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to me in abundance, so that I may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].

God is able to do everything He promises me in this Scripture. It doesn’t matter that I’m a missionary who lives on a support-based income which can be unpredictable and irregular. It doesn’t matter how well or unwell the economy is doing. It doesn’t matter what kind of unexpected or emergency expenses may come my way. I truly believe that God is able. I want to constantly remind myself and convince myself of this truth.

God is able!

Because of this fact, I never have to be afraid of Lack or Need. Whenever I come face to face with Lack or Need, I can just remind myself of this truth, and I know I will be able to stand up on the inside. I know that if I constantly keep this truth before my eyes, there will always be a BIG resounding “NO!” that my spirit will scream at Lack or Need anytime they try to shake me or make me doubt that God. Is. Able.

God is a qualified Provider. Trust me. Or better yet, trust Him. He knows exactly what He’s doing.

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Four Years Strong

2016 marked my fourth year as a missionary in Botswana. There are still mornings when I wake up and think, “YES! I woke up in Africa!” Here’s what I was up to last year…

title-learn-setswanaOne of my goals for 2016 was to learn how to speak Setswana, so I enrolled in a 9-week Setswana course. Setswana is the main language spoken in Botswana (besides English), and it’s not an easy language to learn! It utilizes a lot of consonant clustering (e.g. tlhoafaletse is the word for miss). It is also a tonal language, meaning you can pronounce the same word a different way to mean something entirely different (e.g. bua can be pronounced two different ways to mean either speak or skin an animal). They even have some words that are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings (e.g. madi can mean money or blood). I’m not fluent (yet), but my youth have told me that I’m starting to sound more African than American! And although speaking Setswana isn’t easy, I actually really LOVE singing in Setswana! It is probably one of my favorite things I’ve learned to do since I’ve been in Botswana!

title-youth-ministrywater-gamesMy favorite event I planned for my youth last year was our first ever Ice Cream Party & Water Games event – basically a day of playing fun water-related games and eating delicious frozen treats! It was hilarious to see my youth try a slip-n-slide for the first time! What a fun day! Youth ministry is a blast!

catalystWe started a new group for our older youth (ages 18-24) called Catalyst. This is probably my favorite age group to work with. The heart behind this group is to empower them with important life skills, such as financial management (budgeting, saving, etc.) and job skills (interviewing, professional attire, work ethic, how to start a business), so they can transition well into the “real world.”

In July, I had the pleasure of hosting my dear, dear friends, Erica and John Feldhaus. They ministered at our annual youth conference, and they were an immense blessing to our youth! John and Erica were my very first friends from home to visit me since I moved to Botswana, so you can imagine how excited I was to host them! It was such a joy to be able to personally show them what I get to do! I loved being able to introduce them to my African family and show them around this beautiful nation I now get to call home. Thank you John and Erica for impacting the lives of our youth, and for visiting me! I hope it’s not your last visit to Botswana!
john-ericatitle-bots50bots50September 30, 2016 marked the 50th anniversary of Botswana’s independence! Bots 50, as this milestone anniversary was called, was truly a nationwide celebration. From the cities to the villages, patriotism was literally painted all over the country. Batswana (people of Botswana, plural) have a reason to be proud. When Bechuanaland became the Republic of Botswana in 1966, it was, at the time, the third poorest nation in the world. Today, it is the world’s top producer of diamonds and has the second fastest growing economy in the world. I highly recommend the movie A United Kingdom (released last month), which is a beautiful retelling of the history of Botswana and its first president.


In October, I moved into my own place!

God blessed me with exactly what I was praying for: a place near my ministry base (it’s less than a minute drive away!), within my budget, safe/secure location, and a 2-bedroom (so I can host family & friends who want to visit!).

I LOVE my new home!

Thank you so much for praying, and let me know if you want to visit!

title-thank-youIf you are reading this, I want to thank you for your support! Your financial support, your prayers, and your interest and encouragement for the work I do is a huge blessing to me! The ways you support me, in turn, allow me to be a blessing to those God has called me to serve. Any gratitude I receive from my youth and those I minister to is also gratitude to you. Thank you for giving!


  • I will be doing more ministry at our branch churches this year, which means I will be doing quite a bit of traveling. Please agree with me for provision for traveling expenses.
  • Provision for repair/maintenance work on my car.
  • Wisdom/direction for ministering to my youth this year, especially with starting up the youth ministry for our new church branch launching in the capital city of Gaborone in July.
  • For favor and smooth processing of the renewal of my residence permit. I am applying for a 5 year permit.
  • Furniture/appliances for my home – main items being a bed, washing machine, couch, and stove.
  • Favor in selling my old laptop and buying a new one.
  • I would like to come home for Christmas this year, as well as itinerate for 2-3 months early next year. Please pray with me for provision to be able to do this.

If you would like to continue to stay updated with my ministry in Botswana, please click here to sign up to receive my email newsletter.

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Hey! It’s Been A While…

Okay, maybe it hasn’t been prehistorically long, but it has been a while since I last sent out a proper update. I’ve definitely been keeping myself busy, so please read on to catch up on the highlights of what I’ve been up to the past year!

Early last year I had the pleasure of building our church’s first website! I enjoyed putting the site together, and I just appreciated being able to give of myself in this creative capacity. Please feel free to visit our website at www.lotwbotswana.org and let me know what you think of this site! This is another great way to stay updated with what I’m doing!

I can’t say enough good things about my visit to the States last year. Obviously, I enjoyed getting to spend some quality time with my family – especially with my cute little nephew! But it was also a great pleasure to connect with so many of you! Thank you to every pastor who gave me the opportunity to minister in your church. I felt so welcome at every church I visited and I can’t express enough of my appreciation for your generosity and support. I want to extend a special thank you to my church family at Orchard Road Christian Center in Denver, CO for inviting me to attend their missions conference last year. I was so honored to attend this event as a “goer” (as a missionary), having attended it for so many years as a “sender” (as someone supporting missionaries). The conference was an incredibly enriching time for me. Thank you also to all my dear, dear friends who made time to catch up with me while I was Stateside. I came back from this trip feeling so refreshed, energized, supported, encouraged and blessed.

I really LOVE being a youth leader in Africa! It can be challenging and exhausting, but at the same time, energizing, fulfilling, and so much FUN! I am constantly thinking of creative ways that I can teach my youth the Word and make a lasting investment in their lives. Over half the population of Botswana is under the age of 25, so I believe that any time I make a deposit into a youth’s life, whether big or small, I am playing my part in impacting the next generation for Christ. Here’s a quick rundown of some of my favorite youth events we did this past year!

Etiquette Party – A formal event in which we teach the youth about how to become ladies and gentlemen. I saw the need to teach our youth about the importance of self-respect and respecting others, so I thought this party would be a great way to teach these principles. They LOVE getting dressed up for this event! They are served a 3-course meal, and they learn the value of honoring oneself and others through the practice of good table manners and social etiquette.

Boys & Girls Retreat – It’s a time when we as youth leaders get to have some quality time connecting with our youth. The boys go with the guy leaders, the girls go with the girl leaders, for a weekend of fun, food and time with God. This past year at the girls retreat, I talked to the girls about what it means to worship God and I taught them a new worship song (Desert Song by Hillsong). We had an amazing time together! We also played a really hilarious makeup game – one girl applies makeup to another girl while blind-folded!

Youth Camp – This is THE event of the year for our youth! It’s a week’s worth of incredible fun! My favorite activity they did this year was a goat-catching competition (which team can catch the most goats in a given time). It was hilarious to watch! It is equally an unforgettable time of connecting with God. We had some incredible times of prayer and worship. To me, it was the best youth camp we’ve had so far, and I believe it will continue to be an enormously fun and life-changing event for our youth.

In October of last year, I was driving through the northwestern part of the country and had to stop my car in order to allow this family of giraffes to safely cross the road. It was pretty awesome. I love living in Africa :)

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Thank you for your prayers and support! I wake up every morning thinking, “Yes, I woke up in Africa again!” Your support has allowed me to do what I love and what I know God has made me to do. I am so very grateful for your willingness to share a part in that as well.


  • I’m still in the process of looking for my own place. I’m believing for a place that is safe/secure, close to my ministry base, within my budget, at least a two bedroom (would like to accommodate friends/family for visits). Please pray for the right place and the right timing for my move.
  • Wise management of my time, money and talents. I want wisdom to hone in on precisely what God wants me to focus on (day to day, season to season), in my personal life and in ministry.
  • Please pray for more leadership to accommodate the growth of our ministry. We’re very excited about having recently launched a new church branch in the town of Selebi-Phikwe, and we have plans to launch another branch in the capital city of Gaborone before the end of this year!

If you want to continue to stay updated with me and my ministry in Botswana, please sign up to receive my email newsletter!

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2014 Update

Some Highlights from 2014

In April, I turned the big 3-3! I am really loving my 30s, and I’ve gotta say that it’s been the best decade of my life so far. This was also my first birthday to celebrate in Africa, and my African family went out of their way to make me feel special! They delivered presents to me throughout the day – flowers, balloons, sweets, lunch. They even threw me a surprise party! Turning 33 was a great day!

etiquette-partyIn an effort to help our youth recognize their God-given value and self-worth, myself and other adults in our church organized an Etiquette Party – a formal party in which our youth were served a 3-course meal and were taught about social etiquette and table manners. It was fun to see them get all gussied up – I had never seen some of the girls ever wear a dress before or some of the boys ever look so sharp!

youth-confIn July, we held our very first youth conference! My dear friend, Kevin Went, was our guest speaker. The theme for our conference was “Unstoppable” – in reference to Philippians 4:13, reminding our youth that we can do all things through Christ and we are unstoppable in doing great things for Him! During the same weekend of the conference, we held our annual Crazy Olympics event in which other youth groups joined us for a fun day of various games/activities!

runwayHeld our first ever youth girls retreat and it was a blast! Taught our young ladies about their value in Christ, true godly beauty and etiquette. Highlights from this event were shopping (girls got to “shop” clothes, makeup and accessories that ladies from our church donated – this got a little crazy!), a Self-Esteem fashion show (each girl shared about 4 things they liked about themselves and then got to strut down a “runway”) and a stiletto race (exactly what it sounds like – racing each other in stilettos!).

nephewOn September 4, 2014, Heston Leonardo Barlolong was born, and I became an Auntie!!! In January of 2014, my sister announced that she was expecting her first child. Obviously, being so far away from home, I miss my family, and it was hard for me to not be there during my sister’s pregnancy. However, I was blessed to be able to make a quick (surprise!) trip back home to meet and hold my nephew 3 weeks after he was born! Just call me Auntie Mel :)

love-waitsIn October, we held our very first Purity Ceremony. Twenty five of our youth made a public commitment to live a life of purity, and each of them was presented with a “love waits” bracelet, which serves as a symbol/reminder of their commitment. They committed not only to abstinence, but to leave a better legacy for their future family, their city, their country and the next generation. I’m really proud of our youth who made this commitment and I hope to repeat this event again in the future for many other youth in Botswana! (You can read more about my plans here.)

thanksLeading up to Thanksgiving this past year, I wrote a series on my blog called “10 Days of Thankfulness” to reflect on what I’m particularly grateful for about my life as a missionary. There have been very few mornings when I’ve woken up in bed and my first thoughts haven’t been, “Lord, thank You that I get to wake up in Africa today. Thank You that I get to be a missionary in Africa!” It’s an incredibly wonderful, precious and fulfilling thing when your job is something you love to do. I am immensely thankful for that.

new-carOn Christmas Eve, I was finally able to purchase my own car!!! I cannot express enough how much of a blessing this car is! And it was really special that I was able to get my car the day before Christmas :) This car is a gift from so many people – dear friends, family and supporters – who were willing to give and invest in me and what I do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I pray that God blesses you for your thoughtfulness and generosity!


Prayer Requests

  • We have a goal to grow our church congregation to 1,000 people. We’re planning strategic outreach events this year. We recently held our first one on Valentine’s Day! We shared God’s love through handing out Valentine’s cards & sweets! We plan to do outreach events like this periodically throughout the year, with a focus on really connecting and building relationships with people we meet. Please pray for favor and that people are receptive to what we have to share.
  • We want to see our church building completed by May 24, 2015. Please agree with us in prayer that we’ll be able to start meeting in our first church building by May 24th!
  • I am still working towards finding my own place to stay. I would like some place in a safe area and near my ministry base. I will also need furniture and appliances for my home (bed, fridge, etc.).


Upcoming Trip to States

I’m blessed with the opportunity to travel to the States next month! I will mainly be passing through the Southern CA (March) and Denver (April) areas. Hope to see some of you if you stay where I’ll be visiting! Here is my confirmed itinerary so far:

  • Sunday, March 8, 10:30am: Cornerstone Christian Baptist Church – Murrieta, CA
  • Thursday, March 12, 6:00pm: Cornerstone Christian Baptist Church (L.O.L. youth service) – Murrieta, CA
  • Friday, March 13, 7:00pm: Pacific Lighthouse Christian Fellowship (youth/young adult service) – San Diego, CA
  • Sunday, March 15, 5:00pm: People’s Church San Diego – San Diego, CA
  • Sunday, March 22, 9:40am: Full Life Christian Assembly – Oxnard, CA
  • Sunday, March 29, 10:30am: Southport Christian Center – National City, CA
  • Sunday, April 19, 10:30am: Praise Center Church (main service/youth class) – Denver, CO
  • April 29-May 3: Orchard Road Christian Center (2015 Missions Conference) – Greenwood Village, CO


ATTN: Monthly DonorsIf you are one of my monthly/recurring supporters, I would like to inform you of some recent changes to the donation system that receipts your gifts. A new donation system was put into place the end of last year, and during the conversion, you may have noticed that donations made through your auto bank deductions or credit cards weren’t processed/charged for a couple of months. This was a result of the system conversion. The issue has been corrected and your regular donations should have processed normally last month. I apologize for any inconvenience, and your patience during this change is much appreciated. If you have any questions regarding the system conversion, or if you are interested in making up any donations lost in the transition, please contact Nancy at nancyb@mhmin.org. Thank you for your ongoing support!

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Christmas Presents

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a lovely time with dear friends and family!

I celebrated my third Christmas in Botswana, and I just wanted to quickly share about some lovely Christmas gifts I received this year that I am very grateful for. I know that Christmas isn’t just about Christmas presents, but I feel I need to express my gratitude for these particular gifts :)

For starters, I was gifted with a plethora of car cleaning supplies….


…probably because on Christmas Eve, I was finally able to purchase my own car!!!


Many, many thanks to all who helped me purchase my car!

I can’t express enough of how enormous of a blessing this car is! And it was kind of special that I was able to get my car on the day before Christmas :) This car is a gift from so many people – dear friends, family and supporters – who were willing to give and invest in me and what I do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I pray that God blesses you for your thoughtfulness and generosity!

This is a gift that will actually enable me to give even more.


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