As a little girl, one of my childhood dreams was to become a missionary. Well, I can finally say I have at least ‘served’ on the mission field, even if it was only for a week!! My son and I just returned home from a twelve day mission trip to South Africa. We were two of about 50+ people from The Heights Baptist Church to go.
This is the team of 13 that Caleb and I were on…Team Lobatse!
While I knew from looking at the world map that Lobatse, Botswana was quite a bop across the globe, I can now, without hesitation, assure you it is a VERY long way from home! Several bus rides, three different flights, and two-and-a-half days later our team arrived in Lobatse.
Below is a picture of our last and final flight on a very small plane, as you can see….a little scary to say the least!!
Below is Amy Meade and Alicia McNulty on the very close and intimate bus ride!! Lol
Paul Seay, Garrett and Caleb on the bus ride.
I am so excited to share all about our experiences there!! I thought it would be too lengthy to try and do it all in just one post, so I decided to spread it out over several instead. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and reading about the time we spent there, but more than that, I hope it stirs an “attitude of gratitude” in your heart like it has in mine. We are so blessed here in America, and too often I fail to acknowledge that.
As much as I thought I was prepared mentally for what I might see, I was not. Their culture is so different than ours, and it was obvious from the minute we took a seat on the bus ride headed to Lobatse.
As I looked out of the bus window, my heart immediately began to break for the conditions these people live in. From outward appearances they seemed to have so little. In fact, by our standards they actually have nothing. Yet as I looked into their faces over the next several days, many seemed unaware of their lack.
It took just over an hour to reach the compound where Allison and Kasey, the two missionaries with whom we stayed, lived. These amazing young women are in their early twenties, and they have taken the past couple of years out of their life to go to the other side of the world and help organize an orphan center in Lobatse.
The center is a place certain children come every day to be loved on by the girls, get a meal and learn about God through words, songs and especially through Kasey and Allison’s actions.
Below is Kasey with some of the children.
Most of them are from the village of Pel Ing, which is a small village just up the hill from the center.
This particular week they opened it up to any and every child who wanted to come since we were running a Vacation Bible School. The first day we started with fifteen or twenty, but by the end of the week we had somewhere around sixty children!
In a culture where we are so distracted with electronics and our busyness, it was humbling to see how excited these little ones were to have us there simply tossing a ball back and forth.
When we passed out coloring sheets and crayons, it was as though they were being handed a winning lottery ticket. We sang songs of praise and watched as their faces lit up with joy and they laughed with excitement.
Below is Garrett, Chandler and Caleb getting things ready to lead worship.
What touched my heart the most was the way they hung on every word during story time. Through a translator we shared the story of Christ from creation all the way through to the resurrection. After we were finished with our story, we would ask them questions to see how much they understood. They were like little sponges! Despite the language barrier, most all of the children could recap exactly what they had heard. It was amazing!
After we left the orphan center that first afternoon Kasey took us on a four mile hike up one of the mountains. The path along which we walked was made of rough cement, which was very different from what we are used to here in America. It was a steep walk up, but it gave us a great view of Lobatse. Here are a few pics from our little excursion.
This is a creek we crossed heading to the hike.
The cement trail!!
Me and my girl Blake!
Me and Caleb (Below)
They have very large Cactus plants in Africa!!
At last ….we reached the top!!
Each night we had a time a debriefing with Allison and Kasey. This was a time we could talk about things we had seen and try to process anything that we might be struggling with. We also prepared for the next day’s Bible school activities.
It was an amazing first day in Lobatse, Africa!!