What's happening in BotswanaWritten by Jim & Jayanthi Wilson
March 21, 2007
Jim & Jayanthi Wilson - Botswana
"For with God nothing shall be impossible."
As we prepare for the coming of Easter, we pray and hope that you will be blessed by the miracle of life that comes through Christ Jesus. Yes, in countless ways, God has breathed new life into that which would almost appear to be dead
Last week, the academic staff at Kgolagano College visited four of the nation's prisons (Lobatse, Kanye, Gaborone, and Molopolelo). With nearly 10 percent of the student body consisting of those in prison, the college felt a need to better understand those whom they are called to serve in these institutions. During those visits, we had the opportunity of listening to our students' personal concerns and academic needs, tutored them in subjects related to the college curriculum as well as spend time in fellowship. At one of the prisons, the students shared how they were called to lead devotions each week day morning in the yard; at another wardens shared how our students displayed maturity and were a positive influence on other prisoners. One of our students put it this way, "Taking theological studies doesn't necessarily prepare someone to lead worship services or counsel other inmates. But with God's help and with the college's support, we will do what we can."
Although the academic staff is hoping to visit yet other prisons in the months to come, the college has already identified certain needs of our students in prison that need to be attended to- e.g. having difficulty in acquiring the necessary books to do assignments and conduct research. Thus, the college is hoping to devise an extended lending plan in order for them to make use of such books as commentaries, bible handbooks, concordances, and books related to the Old and New Testament, Counseling and Theology for a whole term. Also, we took notice of the fact that of the 25 prison students who are enrolled through the prison system, all but one were men. The college is hoping to find better ways of recruiting more women prisoners into our programs. Although limited by resources, we truly believe, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
The college library is also beginning to have new life breathed into it after having acquired a new coat of paint, new curtains for its windows; several new journal subscriptions added through a gift from Global Ministries (before that there was only one up-to-date journal) and selected books are being rebound. Jayanthi has been helping with this effort on a part-time basis.
This last Sunday, Jayanthi and I worshiped with a United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) congregation in the village of Mochudi. Nearly 60 people crowded into a secondary school classroom for worship service. It was a wonderful experience. We sang songs, prayed and fellowshipped together. During that service I also preached and officiated at the communion table. Although my Setswana (the local language) is limited and I was unfamiliar with their particular liturgy, the congregation helped us in whatever way they could. According to one of the elders of the church, they hadn't had communion in over a year and were encouraged by our presence. For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
Recently, while in a shopping centre, Jayanthi came upon a former student from Sedibeng (a training centre for disadvantaged youth) working in a flower shop. She looked healthy, confident, and happy. She looked nothing like the person Jayanthi interviewed nearly a year back when she enrolled in the flower arrangement class. At that time, she was worried, depressed and had hopelessness in her eyes. She was living with her mother and her 3 year old daughter; the only income was her mother's old age pension of approx. USD $28.00 a month. Now, on the day we passed that flower shop, she had new life breathed into her. We give praise to God for that. Nonetheless, as with most non-government agencies, there is always a struggle to come up with enough money to pay the rent, staff salaries, and to provide full scholarships for all the students attending the program.
We also give thanks to God for the many ways we are uplifted by prayers, words of encouragement, e-mail and post. It is greatly appreciated.
Jim & Jayanthi Wilson
James & Jayanthi Wilson are missionaries with the Kgolagano Theological College in Gaborone, Botswana. Jim serves as a teacher of theology at Kgolagana Theological College. Jayanthi serves as seconded staff to the Mabogo Dinku Advice Centre in Gaborone, Botswana. She works in community development at the Mabogo Dinku Advice Centre.
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