Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Greetings from Botswana!
Yes, the greeting sentence above is correct, I am already here. It may come as a surprise to many of you as my original planned departure date was July 15th. However about 3 weeks ago, I received a call from Flying Mission and they told me that I would be needed earlier if I could make it. To make a long story short, we rebooked my plane tickets and I arrived in the country on June 30th! Needless to say, the last few days have been really interesting and exciting.
The traveling started early (I left Sarah’s parent’s house in Florida around 3:15 AM on June 29th). I flew from Orlando International to New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. From there I flew to Johannesburg, South Africa and finally to Gabarone, Botswana. I arrived safely in Gabarone at 10:30 AM on June 30th.
Flying Mission Services rolled out the red carpet for me and had between 10-15 guys waiting for me at the airport. They had a company cell phone for me and took me to get my airport ID pass within minutes of my arrival. It was such an encouragement to have that incredible welcome into the country! After my pick up, they took me to see FMS hangar and facilities out at the airport. Since it was around noon on a Monday, I got to sit in on my first FMS Pilot Meeting. They really went out of their way to make me feel like part of the team even on my first day!
During the past few days, I’ve been getting accustomed to Gabarone. Probably the biggest thing I’ve had to get used to is the driving. A US driver’s license is good here for up to 90 days and FMS gave me a car to use during these first few weeks. So I’ve been able to explore the city and look around a bit. The only catch is; people here drive on the left side of the road. So everything is “backwards” to what I’m used to. I’m driving on the left side of the road, shifting gears with my left hand, all while trying to find my way around this new city. Not to mention every time I want to use my turn signal, I end up turning on my windshield wiper blades instead (because the turn signal is on the right side of the steering column here). There is a lot to get used to.
• I would certainly appreciate all your prayers as adapting to a new culture is very difficult, stressful, and can at many times be very overwhelming. Homesickness definitely has started creeping in even though I've only been here a few days. I had forgotten how easy we have it in the States.
• I’ve been looking for a house and car the past few days. Right now I’m living with some of the single FMS guys but it is only a temporary setup. Housing here in Gabarone can be hard to find so please pray that God would lead me to exactly what Sarah and I will need.
• It’s very hard to be away from Sarah and Tristan right now. She is still arriving as planned on August 11th. It is going to be a long 6 weeks apart so please keep us in your prayers.
• Our travel expenses and my King Air training were all covered by gifts and we thank all of you who sacrificed for that. It was a huge blessing!
• As many of you know, we were able to raise about 50% of what we needed for setup costs ($4,500 total from our February newsletter). That money, combined with what we got from selling our car in the States, is covering a number of things (Immigration costs, utility hook up costs, appliances for our house, some furniture, etc). Because of the urgent need for us to join the Flying Mission team, we left without having the full amount needed trusting that God would provide the rest. He always has before.
• All cars in Botswana are imported so they are consistently about $1000.00 more than we had budgeted for.
The TOTAL additional funds still needed are about $3000.00.
Flying Mission pays us a salary of about $1800 dollars a month. It covers our essentials for living (housing, medical/health insurance, food, utilities, etc). In addition to a monthly salary, FMS accepts contributions that they will give to us above the monthly salary. If any of you are interested in sending us monthly support, it will help us save for unexpected things as well as saving for plane tickets back to the US when the time comes.
If you want to give to our ministry please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the form. All gifts ARE tax deductable.
Thank you all for your prayers and support! It means so much to have you all behind us during this time!
Jeff (for all of us)