It’s another year in the books, and we continue to consider ourselves blessed to be able to participate in life together with our community here in Botswana. We have a number of stories which we hope to share, but in the meantime we wanted to give a small visual of some of the things which are currently going on in Botswana through the support of Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Mission Network, and Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission. We appreciate all of the support that goes into making this possible! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and God’s blessings to you all! Here is a numerical breakdown of a few of the things going on over here, thanks to your ongoing support:
46 – Prison inmates at First Offenders Prison, Gaborone, who completed a certificate program offered by Mennonite Ministries in Botswana
18 – Graduates from the Inter-Church Ministries Botswana 3-year Bible study program (this program was initiated by Mennonites in partnership with local church leaders in the 1990s, and has been running without outside help for about 15 years, using materials written by Mennonite workers in both English and Setswana; so, the support which was given by Mennonite congregations in Canada and the United States in the 1980s and 1990s has provided for the graduation this year)
15 – Students who have already signed up for the next Inter-Church Ministries Botswana 3-year Bible study program, starting in 2017
1 – NGOs founded in Botswana and run by local Batswana with the help of Mennonite ministries, for the purpose of the social, educational, and physical development of children and youth in underdeveloped areas
12 – Approximate number of partnerships which the NGO, Pula Sports Development Association (pulasports.com) has made this year with local development organizations (such as Tebelopele, an after-school tutoring program run by a local church) and international development organizations (such as UNICEF) which will benefit from the work which Pula Sports is facilitating
25 – Approximate number of church members from various local congregations who served with Mennonite Ministries in prison over the course of the year, many of whom serve in prison every single Saturday
1 – Houses in Botswana owned by Mennonites which are being used free of charge by local Batswana Christian leaders to run Bible study programs, start a Christian resource library, and house a local church leader and his family in order to facilitate this work
20,000 – Canadian Dollar value of donations by Mennonite Church Canada for community development work in Botswana over the past three years
120,000 – Canadian Dollar value of money which large businesses and banks in Botswana, inspired by the work being done with the Mennonite Church Canada funds, subsequently donated to community development work in Botswana this year
500 – Approximate number of prison inmates being fed a Christmas dinner of nutritious food not usually available to them (including rice, fresh coleslaw, and fruit) through a combination of donations from Mennonite Church Canada, and local ministry partners
2 – Bio-toilets installed by in a public-access space in Gaborone to model water conservation and waste reduction
71 – Average liters of water used in a normal flush toilet per person per day
1 – Liters of water used daily in the public bio-toilets
7 – Recipients of certificates from Mennonite ministries who completed at least 3 modules of Bible study coursework from modules entitled ‘Christian Life and Discipleship’; ‘Beibele Ke Eng?’(What is the Bible?); ‘Paseka Ke Eng?’ (What is Easter?); ‘Kereke Ke Eng?’ (What is the Church?); ‘Introduction to Theology’
96 – Trees and shrubs planted so far this year in an underdeveloped area through a project initiated by Mennonite ministries
25,000 – Liters of rainwater collected by the halfway point of the rainy season for use in an underdeveloped community in Gaborone
7 – Number of prison inmates who will be starting a Masters-level distance learning course in the new year
These are just some of the things which are happening in our community here in Botswana. And as you can see, though they all have all had involvement from Mennonites, most of these initiatives are continuing to be run locally. In the case of Inter-Church Ministries Botswana, for almost two decades!
If you’re interested in supporting these ministries financially, please visit https://donate.
By the way, we’d also like to thank everyone for all of the wonderful comments and encouragement. We receive them gratefully, and even though we don’t always get a chance to write back individually, we are so thankful.
Nate, Taryn and Malakai