"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." –Galatians 3:28
We are always amazed that wherever we travel and come to live- in the USA, Canada, India, Lesotho, and most recently in Botswana- that we are warmly received into the Christian community. Not as outsiders, but as brothers and sisters- “one in Christ Jesus.” We consider ourselves privileged to have been given the opportunity to work for the United Congregational Churches in Southern Africa (UCCSA) in Botswana, at Kgolagano College as well as at Ramotswa UCCSA Church.
The seven-and-a-half years that we have served here has proven to us that we needn’t look far to witness God’s wondrous blessings in the world. That is to say, those blessings never stop being showered upon us- students bombarding us with questions, emails, phone calls in preparation for an impending exam and at the same time taking time out in the midst of it all to help a fellow classmate who lost their child to HIV/AIDS; countless parishioners coming to my assistance when I found myself struggling to conduct worship services in Setswana (one of the national languages); people coming to our house and being a source of strength when Jayanthi’s mother fell and was not well. The stories are unending because God’s love is unending and made real through angels here on earth in Botswana.
Sunday, June 30th was supposed to mark the last day of my ministry at Ramotswa UCCSA. The congregation used that day to dedicate their new church building as well as to bid farewell to us for the 3 1/2 years that I served that congregation. Although we dreaded the coming of that day, we are also excited. It is never easy to say goodbye, most especially to people whom you have come to love and spend time with. But it also a wonderful to see a congregation like Ramotswa Church- grow both spiritually and physically as a community of believers- tripling numerically; engaging in community outreach in villages under its care, completing two new church structures- one in Ramotswa and another at its outstation in Mogonye during the time we were there and……..The church is never about me, you or any one person or faction. It is about honouring and serving God. As it states in the Book of Ecclesiastes, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Thus, we give thanks to God- for having been allowed to serve in Botswana. In Christ Jesus we were made one. We also give thanks for all those churches from North America that helped with the building of the church.
Although that chapter of our ministry in Botswana is now finishing, Global Ministries is considering our reassignment to the South Africa Synod of the UCCSA pending confirmation by the UCCSA denomination and the Common Global Ministries Board. We leave Gaborone, Botswana on July 12th and will journey to India to allow Jayanthi’s mother to return to her home (she has been staying with us for the last 3 years); and to the Philippines to visit my brother and his family. We will then head for Seattle to spend time with our younger daughter Priya and her husband Evan, and finally arrive at our home base in West Fargo, North Dakota where our older daughter Shanthi lives as well as Jayanthi’s two brothers and their families.
During the next five months that we are in North America, we look forward to visiting with churches and re-establishing links with friends there. And we give thanks that whether we are in Africa or in North America- we are all one in Christ Jesus. Praise God through Christ Jesus.