A Look at 2013

Posted on February 7th, 2014

We want to share with you the news of 2013.

After a call from our president, the Honorable Ian Khama, to pray for rain, our rains have started and the land is lush and green and best of all it is cool!  Keith was called upon by the local community to open a month of prayer at the Kasane kgotla (local court).    Many of the towns in Botswana were in critical need of rain to fill the dams.  It is refreshing to have the cooling rain and to know our Father in Heaven hears our petitions. 

This year has been an amazing and exciting one for our family.  We started the year in the U.S. on furlough and were able to see many of you.  How we enjoyed the fellowship of our friends and family!

In April,  just before our return to Botswana, we added a new member to our family, Robert Sutcliffe, our son-in-law.  Elise and Rob were married on April 27th at the Star Brand Ranch in Kaufman, Texas.  Rob is a wildlife biologist working with Elephants Without Borders, an NGO here in Kasane.

Our other exciting news is that our second-born son, Keifer and his wife Lisa are expecting a little Honey bun!  In March 2014, we will finally be grandparents!

Upon our return from furlough, our work with Chobe River School, the churches and Bible studies kept us very busy.  Sean and Peter Van Wyke, two young men that Keith has been studying with, were baptized.  We gathered with their family around the grandparent's pool and watch their birth into Jesus. 

The end of May, our daughter Elise had an acute appendicitis attack and was air lifted to the capitol for surgery.  Thankfully, she had good care and a successful surgery.  I took her first grade class for a week and a half as she recuperated.  Wow!  I forget how much energy it takes to teach the little ones! 

The end of June we were invited to teach at a Marriage Enrichment Seminar hosted by the Broadhurst Church of Christ in Gaborone, the capitol city.  We joined Dennis and Dolena Malepa as well as several other older couples as the main speakers.  It was a weekend of encouragement and commitment to continue nourishing our marriages. 

Old friends from South Africa came to visit us as well as several folks from South West Church of Christ in Jonesboro, Arkansas after the All Africa Missionary Conference which we co-hosted in September, in Victoria Falls with Fielden and Janet Allison.   What an uplifting and encouraging time for all.   We were able to reconnect with old friends and make many new ones.

Then October brought a different type of challenge.  Robin, became ill and had to spend two weeks in the hospital with a very bad systemic infection.  The Lord enabled us to minister to many different people: nurses, staff and doctors in hospitals from Kasane to Pretoria, South Africa.  Thanks to your many prayers, the Lord healed me.

The end of the year found us involved in many activities associated with that time of year.  On Friday, December the 13th, we were involved in Carols by Candlelight, an outreach to the community through song, scripture reading, and a short talk which Keith gave. 
This year there were 72 special needs students in attendance along with their teachers.  It was a very special evening and we know the Word does not return void but accomplishes His purpose.

In December, we hosted 6 young people in our home.  These are young men and women who came to Keith and asked him to teach them how to evangelize.  They have a heart-felt desire to reach their community and country with the Good News of Jesus.  We praise God to see young people so fervently seeking Jesus.

Keith has also been blessed to perform several weddings for some very special couples this year (apart from Elise and Rob!)  And the year ended with Keith performing a wedding for the daughter of some old and dear friends from Namibia.

The month of December, we also found out that our renewal for a work and residence permit was rejected by the local immigration selection board.  We will be exercising our right of  appeal to the Minister and have several local folks who are writing letters in support of our ministry.  The process is based on a points system which is geared towards business.  As we are a non-profit, we don't quite fit the profile.  So we were not surprised we did not get enough points.

However, we are confident that if God has plans for us to stay and work here in Botswana, then our appeal will be approved. As Keith has said, we now have a real opportunity of practicing what we preach God is in control.  Please lift us up in prayer as we seek His will.

To God be the glory!

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