Sunday in Gaborone, Botswana

Just finished my second sermon (and third day) in Botswana. I'm here for the "Gaborone for Jesus Crusade" sponsored by President Strike Ben and the South Botswana Conference. Today was a full day. Strike Ben picked me up and we went to some shops in a mall. Very large, but different from an American mall. It was kinda inside and kinda outside. There were some covered corridors, but if everything was closed, you could still walk up to the doors of the individual establishments because there are no real “doors” to enter the mall itself.

It was also different because there was a major supermarket in the mall. I just don’t think of supermarkets being in the mall.

Then we went to the Union office. They just built and opened that recently. Very nice building on a large property. I asked Strike Ben about it and he said that the Philadelphia Church actually donated the property (free) to the union office. Very generous donation!

There are goats everywhere in Botswana! I interject that at this point because there were goats wandering all over the union office property! It’s funny to me. Goats are EVERYWHERE. Goats outside the property of the most posh hotels. Mrs. Priscilla Ben, Strike’s wife, even notes that the goats know how to tell a green traffic light from a red one!

We dropped the union president off at his house. He is from Zimbabwe and speak Shona. It was interesting to go to his home. It dawned on me that most people around here have serious fences around their homes. I’m talking about gates that would be the equivalent of “gated communities” in the US. The president had an automated gate that opened when he got home. Pastor Ben says that they all have them to try to discourage the thieves. I thought that was interesting.

After we dropped off the Union President, we went to downtown Gaborone so Strike could withdraw some money because the ATM (autobank) at the mall was out of money.

We came to eat at the restaurant connected to my hotel. Very good food. Very good food. Randy Stafford used to eat here. If you have ever spent any time with Randy Stafford, you know that he likes to eat well. You will be hard pressed to find Stafford eating KFC or McDonald’s. He dines on fine fare. This place is a buffet, but it has several stations. Two stations of dinner food with choices of chicken, mutton, beef, plenty of veggies ranging from curried lentils, baked potato squares, pumpkin, white rice, Spanish rice or rice with peas, greens. Then they have like a stir fry where they’ll make it like you like it. You choose the fixins and what kind of oil (sesame, peanut, etc.) and they do that for you. They have a meat carving station. A salad station. And a dessert station. Oh! And an area with various kinds of breads. What I really like is that the folk here are very careful. These are some clean Black people! They take great pride in what they do and how they present it. They even have live music! And the brotha (Henry Peters) is good!!! Knows his lyrics and what have you.

I know a few black people in the restaurant business that I’d like to bring over here so they could see how it’s done.

President Ben wanted to watch the soccer game between Botswana and Morroco. So he came to my hotel room, sat on the bed and fussed at the screen. Funny how I knew when something exciting was taking place though I could barely make out a word or two of the commentator (because he was speaking Setswana). His inflection was enough for me to know what either team was about to score a point. (Well, Botswana never scored a point.) Pretty pathetic game. Botswana lost. The score was 1-0.

After that I made my final preparations for the meeting. President Strike Ben was back to pick me up at 5:30. We headed over to the fairgrounds to see the health team taking their final blood pressures and blood sugar readings. I met the team of nurses and doctors. (These people are on the ball!) Then the evening service began.

The music is just gorgeous. The harmonies are so warm. The worship is so vibrant. Oh! It’s nice. No drums. No piano. Most of the “Praise and Worship” or song service is led by one lady with an alto and a bass who joins her at the mic. But the people know the songs. Song after song they sing. No music in hand. No words projected onto a screen. They just sing and snap or tap. It’s really worshipful and festive at the same time. I’m sitting on the front row. So the lady leading is in front of me. There are three sections. So, I’m in the center section. There are Africans in front of me leading, and Africans to my right, left and rear singing. To hear 700 or 800 Africans singing in surround sound made the 17-hour leg from Atlanta to Johannesburg WORTH THE TRIP.

After service, the gentle shepherd (as they call Strike Ben) took me with him to visit the wife of his first first elder who had suffered a stroke. We were supposed to be just dropping by to pray for her, but Strike Ben is a home-visiting pastor. We were there a while. Bless the Lord. ☺ It was a nice visit though.

The day ended with him dropping me in front of the restaurant to get some supper. I am writing this note from my table in the restaurant. And now I’m about to go to my room and turn in for the night after trying to touch bases with Ev. Tomorrow the treasurer picks me up at 10 AM. ☺


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