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January, February, March, and April – 2019 has been a great year so far!

Besides helping to lead the youth ministry at our main church branch in Francistown, I have been helping to establish and oversee the youth ministries at all five of our branch churches. I have been doing lots of traveling! So far, I have paid visits to two of our Botswana branches in Selebi-Phikwe and Gaborone.

Right now in Southern Africa, summer is ending and winter is beginning. We had a very HOT summer, so to cool off, I planned a couple pool parties for our youth early in the year – one in Francistown and one with our branch church in Selebi-Phikwe. Our youth had TOO much fun (as they say here), and this will definitely be an event we repeat next summer! What a great time of connecting with youth from across our branch churches!

Youth Pool Party in Selebi-Phikwe

Leading up to Easter, our church focused on reaching out to our community. We organized children’s outreaches in Francistown and in the nearby villages of Tati Siding, Matshelagabedi and Borolong. Our outreaches involved fun, candy and sharing the Good News of God’s love! Over 200 kids attended our “Fun Day” outreaches and nearly half of those children made a decision to give their life to Christ! Please pray that the seeds we planted continue to grow in these little hearts!

Children’s “Fun Day” Outreach in the village of Matshelagabedi

We also took time to evangelize and share God’s love one-on-one with people in our neighborhood. Thirty people from our church participated in this outreach, and we had the privilege of leading 28 people to Christ! It was also a blessing to see our church members get excited about sharing the story of God’s love with others.

It has been a busy year for me so far! But I look forward to what else God has in store. This month, I will be traveling to visit our branch church in Ndola, Zambia. I have enjoyed getting to connect with all the church families within our ministry, and it’s awesome getting to see more of Africa! In early September, one of my dearest friends, Erica, will be getting married. She has asked me to be her maid of honor, so I will be in the Southern California area for most of August and September to attend the wedding and pre-wedding events. I hope to connect with some of you while I am States-side!

Thank you to everyone who responded to my care package request in my last update! Thank you for thinking of me! Thank you for your willingness and excitement to bless me! I am really touched by your thoughtfulness and generosity. I appreciate everything that has been sent and I look forward to receiving the packages that are still on the way!

Thank you for praying for me! Whenever good things happen (and they happen often), I am reminded that you are praying for me. I feel your prayers and I appreciate your prayers so much. Please don’t stop praying for me!

Thank you for sending me emails, letters, cards! I am so excited to receive them and I read them over and over again. They encourage me and they bring a smile to my face. I love hearing from you and connecting with you. Please continue to stay in touch!

Thank you for your financial support! Thank you for considering me worth your investment. Thank you for believing in me and in what God has called me to do in Africa. I pray God blesses your lives because you have been a tremendous blessing in mine and in the lives of those I minister to.

Please pray for continued wisdom/direction for ministering to our youth this year at all our branch churches. I want to be able to spend my time and resources effectively. I want supernatural strength and energy (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) to carry out all my God-given roles and responsibilities, especially as I will continue to do much travel between all our branches this year. One thing I constantly focus on with our youth is learning how to live a life of faith and developing a strong work ethic. Pray I can communicate these principles effectively and successfully.

In April, I applied to renew my residence permit in Botswana. I was approved for another 3 years! Thanks for praying! It was a super fast turnaround!

Please pray with us for a new pastor for our Selebi-Phikwe branch. The Matandas, the original pastors for this church, have made their move back to their home country of Zambia, to return to their family and to also pastor our branch in Ndola, Zambia. For now, leaders in our church in Francistown are on weekly rotation to minister in Phikwe every Sunday. We believe this is a temporary solution and a transition time, as God is preparing the right person to fill this role. Pray this church is well taken care of and continues to grow until a new pastor is put in place.

We continue to move forward with our church building project. Our next goal is to complete the roofing. It would be nice to have this completed before winter so we can at least meet in an enclosed building when the weather is cold. Our challenge to our church is to ask God how much He wants each of us to pledge in faith towards our building, then to believe that what we pledge in faith will come in so we can give. Pray with us that our church will be willing to exercise faith to increase our individual finances so that we can complete this next phase of our building.

Church building progress

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38 and Feeling Great!

I recently turned 38!

I have never been afraid of growing old. In fact, the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve looked forward to growing older!

When I was in my early 20s, I remember an elder telling me that their 30s were their favorite decade of life. It was so inspiring for me to hear an older person express such joy in reaching an age I thought was so old!

I decided then and there that I would carry the same attitude. I would embrace each year and decade of my life and I would enjoy growing older. I actually think that possessing this attitude has kept me young! People are constantly surprised when I tell them how old I am. And consequently, I have always been proud of my age, and I have no problem sharing my age or being asked how old I am.

I feel as young as ever! Ever since I turned 30, I actually feel like life is just starting and it can only get better from here. I very much look forward to turning 40, 50, 60 and so on. I am not afraid to grow old! Why should I be afraid? Why shouldn’t I embrace life, and why can’t life be great at every age?

I like what Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” (AMPC)

I choose to live the abundant life that Jesus has offered me.

My 30s have been my favorite decade of life so far! Upon reaching my 30s, I realized that I cared far less about what people think and I am the most honest, genuine, secure and confident I have ever been. It has been in my 30s when I accomplished some huge milestones in my life. I became debt-free. I overcame a life-long battle with depression. I moved to Africa. I discovered my dream job (something I am good at and something I truly love doing) in being a missionary and a youth leader in Botswana. I got into gear with taking care of my health through diet and exercise – I think I am more fit now than I was at 18!

I just wanted to let the world know that I am 38 and FEELING GREAT!!!

Celebrating my 38th birthday with my youth

Happy birthday to me!

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Celebrating Cultures

I now consider myself to be tri-cultural. My parents are from the Philippines. I was born and grew up in America. And for the past seven years I have been a missionary and resident of Botswana. I am a Filipino-American-African. And I am very proud of each of my cultures.

I love being Filipino. Filipinos are hard working, creative and ingenious. We love to laugh and have the ability to find joy and humor even in the face of great adversity. Our families are usually big, and family is very important to us. My favorite Filipino foods to eat are lumpia shanghai (deep fried roll with minced beef, diced vegetables, spices), sisig (minced pork dish) and chicken adobo (chicken boiled in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic). And you’re not eating a proper Filipino meal unless it comes with a healthy serving of rice! Consequently, if you’re ever invited to a Filipino party, make sure to go because the food will be amazing, you’ll never be more full in your life and the host will even send you home with enough food to last you for the next week! Filipino generosity and hospitality is something else.

I love being American. I am a first generation American and I feel so blessed and privileged to have grown up in such a blessed nation. My parents immigrated to the US so they could give my sister and me a better life and future than they had growing up, and for that I am deeply grateful. I was born and grew up in San Diego, California. In my opinion, it is definitely one of America’s finest cities. San Diego has the BEST weather, and I loved growing up near the beach and around a culturally diverse community. America is not perfect, but it is still undoubtedly an incredibly blessed nation. America is rich in freedoms, rights, resources and opportunities. I think I appreciate it more so now that I’ve lived in a third world country. Americans also have an amazing work ethic – we are not afraid of hard work and we take pride in working hard. The American spirit also embodies generosity and selflessness. We love to give to good causes and serve and better the lives of others. I also love how Americans can come together and offer help and support when tragedy strikes, in spite of differences of opinions or beliefs. I am very proud to be an American. My favorite American foods to eat are In-N-Out Burger (best fast food burger joint in California), carne asada fries (french fries topped with guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, marinated meat – local Mexican dish in San Diego/Southern California), and Chipotle (delicious, overpriced burrito joint).

I love being a Motswana (term for people of Botswana, singular) – well, unofficially, but the culture resonates with me and Botswana has become such a big part of my life, that I now consider myself one. I have done a lot of international travel in my life, and Botswana is the only country that I have been to where so much importance is placed on greeting others. Batswana (people of Botswana, plural) are very friendly. You must greet everyone you see and ask them how they are, whether you know them or not. In Botswana, the greeting is supreme and paramount. Failure to greet someone is absolute rudeness. You must greet and ask how someone is doing before you carry on any conversation with them – be it in a taxi, on the street, in a shop, at the bank, etc. And there are so many ways to greet in Setswana (main language of Botswana). Setswana is not a language with an extensive vocabulary, but it sure does have a myriad of ways to greet people. There are formal/reverent greetings, casual/slang greetings, morning greetings, afternoon/evening greetings, ways to greet one person, ways to greet a group of people, ways to greet certain genders, age groups – I am still learning new and different ways to greet people. The importance of greetings speaks to how much the culture in Botswana values the person rather than what the person can do for you. This practice of greeting greatly contrasts what I am used to, but it has taught me to pause and be more mindful of being genuine in my care and respect for others. Though Botswana is still young and developing, the country has great potential. They are the world’s top producer of diamonds. They are the most peaceful nation in Africa, never ever having war fought on their soil. They have one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is one of the best tourist destinations in the world for seeing wildlife, possessing the largest elephant population in the world. Botswana is truly a remarkable place. My favorite foods to eat in Botswana and Southern Africa are biltong (for my American friends, it’s like beef jerky, but way better!), seswaa (pounded/shredded meat seasoned with salt), Nando’s (restaurant chain that serves Portuguese-style chicken with their famous peri-peri sauce), morogo (cooked collared greens) and pap (boiled ground maize).

I got to thinking about cultures because we recently held a ladies meeting where we got a chance to celebrate the diverse cultures within our church. It was an awesome meeting and I loved hearing about other cultures, and learning how to embrace cultures that are different from our own. It really was such a beautiful time together. Each group also prepared a dish from their country/culture, so after the meeting, we enjoyed tasting foods from around the world! I think it is a good and important thing to celebrate and appreciate who you are and where you are from, and likewise, to honor and celebrate the culture of others. (Below, some photos of some of the cultures represented in our church.)

Zimbabwe

Herero Tribe (Botswana)

Me representing the Philippines with my “Filipino” sisters :)

Kenya

Kalanga Tribe (Botswana)

Zambia

Babirwa/Batswapong Tribe (Botswana)

Nigeria

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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.

WAYS YOU CAN PRAY FOR ME IN 2019:

  • 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.

CARE PACKAGE INFO:

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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Happy

“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.

title-homehouse

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!

title-prayer-requests

  • 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.

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