Thursday, September 15, 2011

Burnham Update


I'm sorry it's been so long since we last sent out an update. Life has been very busy for us over the last few months and we've been hanging on trying to keep up. It's hard to believe, but we've been in Botswana just over a year now! Sarah and I want to thank everyone who has kept us in their prayers over the past year, as we know a lot of you did.

Our 1st year in Botswana has been one of the most challenging of our lives, and definitely the most challenging of our 5 years of marriage. But after sitting down together and an honest assessment of the time past, we can see how much we've grown and how much God has taught us. In our case, the culture shock of coming here didn't hit us all of a sudden. It was a slow gradual onset that manifested itself in ways I would never have anticipated. The stress and frustration that can come living in a foreign country and culture added to the stress of my schedule was a lot to handle. Sarah and I really had to work at uplifting each other instead of taking our stress out on each other. God is good and saw us through a difficult year and we know that our relationship is stronger for having endured it! We praise God for that and we want to thank each one of you who specifically prayed for our relationship while we were over here! We know the struggle isn't over but we are excited to tackle this next year as a team with a united mindset of what we are trying to accomplish and the goal of uplifting each other through it.

In the time we've been here, we have seen some huge developments with Flying Mission Services. As you know, one of FMS's primary goals is to generate revenue that can be used to fund the Flying Mission Care ministries. So along with the medical flying and various charter flights that we do, FMS has begun to undertake some scheduled flight operations as well. It is a huge undertaking but it should open up some huge doors for us all over southern Africa, not to mention increase the amount of money we are able to give back to the ministry. As I'm trying to keep this update concise, I won't go into all the details. However if anyone is interested to hear more about the new things that FMS is undertaking, let me know and I'll send a more detailed picture of the new developments. We are very excited to see what God has in store for FMS in the future!

As for me, I am still flying the medical "mercy" flights in the King Air. Last year alone we flew 365 patients over 250,000 miles. That’s an average of 1 person every day that was able to receive healthcare from a place where there is none! We also saw 1 baby born on board our aircraft last year as well, which is always an excitement for the flight crew! As you can see, we stay busy and the schedule can be very hectic (as we make ourselves available to fly 24/7). Botswana requires that we use 2 pilots in the King Air 200s, so we always have a crew "on call" for any mercy flights that come up. For the past year I've been sitting in the right seat, gaining time and experience from the guys who have been here much longer than I have. Recently, however, I was upgraded to Captain and now I'll be flying left seat and acting as Pilot in Command! I'm very excited about this new responsibility! With the responsibility comes a higher workload and with a few of the pilots leaving for the states during the next few months we are going to be very busy.

Tristan will be 18 months old on October 6th. He keeps Sarah very busy at home. He babbles away all day and has started saying Mama, Dadoo (for daddy), and Cat. Sarah taught him to say “All done” and “Please” in sign language so he is always using those signs to communicate as well. He is very active and prefers to spend his entire day outside digging in the dirt, pulling Sarah’s flowers, and covering himself in mud. He has a plastic motorcycle he loves to ride around the yard and a yellow dump truck he pushes around while making car noises. He loves dogs and will sometimes say “doggie”. He has no fear of them no matter how big they are! He giggles and screams whenever he gets the chance to play with our friend’s dogs. Just the other day, he was running around a friend’s yard with their many dogs and managed to run into his first thorn tree. He cried for a few seconds but seemed more upset that the doggies were gone than the fact that he had thorns in his forehead and ear. On the rare occasion that he is inside you will normally find him sitting with all of his books around him reading them over and over. Tristan fills our lives with so much joy and we love watching him learn and grow! Sarah is also still working on “Project Nappies” and if any of you are interested in more information regarding that project please let us know. She spends a few hours a week helping with office projects at Flying Mission Care. As of right now they have her typing up a manual. She has been offered the opportunity to help out a few days a week at Flying Mission Services as a secretary for Mark Spicer. She is very excited about this new venture but would really appreciate your prayers as she figures out the details and steps into this new role.

We want to thank all of you who have faithfully supported us financially throughout the past year! We could not have done it without you! Currently, the monthly support we receive is meeting our basic needs. However, we only have 1 car, and it has had some major mechanical issues over the past year. Firstly, we are praying for a 2nd vehicle. With the 24/7 "on call" schedule I fly, it has been very very difficult only having 1 car. Secondly, we would like to replace the car we have now, as it has been a money pit for us over the past year. We want to sell it, but we won't get as much for it as we would need to buy another vehicle. There is an FMS family leaving Botswana soon who will be selling both of their cars, and we would like to buy both of them (because we know both have been maintained very well). Their little car would be for me to drive back and forth to work and it will cost about 2000 dollars. Their family car is a 4 wheel drive and if we sell our current car, we would need an additional 1500 to 2000 dollars to buy that one. We are praying that the Lord will provide the money for these vehicles, as good reliable cars are hard to come by in Botswana.

Thank you for being involved with our ministry in Botswana! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jeff, Sarah & Tristan

Prayer Requests:
That we would continue to serve with good attitudes when the days are hard
That we would continue to grow in the Lord and closer as a family
That we would all stay healthy during these hectic months ahead

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lost baby chick

Well I had an interesting experience today. A baby chick wandered into our yard this afternoon. I walked outside to take the laundry off the line and there was Tristan sitting in the dirt trying to "pet" a frightened baby chick. And by "pet" I mean hit. I quickly grabbed the little frightened chick and took it inside and left it in the bathtub. That chick is a very lucky thing because our cat was sleeping in the shade on the other side of the house and never saw it wander into our yard. Otherwise the cat would have gotten it for sure. I had no idea what to do with the chick and had no intention of having a pet chicken...but I also didn't want to kill it. So Tristan and I went to our neighbors houses to ask if they had any idea whose chick it could be. One neighbor thought it might be the neighbors across the street so off we went to their house. I called "Coco" at the gate a number of times. "Coco" is the equivalent of us saying "Knock Knock" =). Anyway no one came to the gate so we walked around their yard and found abunch of chickens and it looked like two of the chickens had a number of chicks. I had no idea what would happen if I put the chick in there and it didn't belong so I was nervous but did not want to keep it in my bathtub all day. So Tristan and I went back to the house to get the chick and went back across the street again. I put the chick up beside the gate and it ran inside right up to one of the mommy chickens and cuddled up underneath! It was the cutest thing ever! I am so glad the cat didn't kill the little chick today and that I was able to get it home! It definitely made for an interesting afternoon =).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Time

We had the pleasure of having my Uncle (Brett Nordick) visit us for 2 days last week! It was so refreshing to be around family and such a treat to see him! He was on his way to some meetings in Zambia and was able to spend a few days with us before the meetings started. Tristan enjoyed having another person to read him books over and over plus was spoiled with his first ever animal cracker. We are enjoying all of the American goodies he brought!!

We were able to take him to a local game reserve called Mokolodi. Jeff joined him for a 2 hour game drive where they got to see lots of african animals. One of the coolest was of a mommy rhino with her baby who was about 5 weeks old. They took a great video of the baby nursing from his mom. I decided to stay at the little playground and restaurant while they did the game drive since Tristan does not enjoy sitting for 2 hours =). We actually got to see a few animals come up to the restaurant while we were waiting. Then to top it all off while we were eating dinner at the restaurant a rhino came right up close to the wall surrounding the restaurant. It was very cool! We had been told the rhinos that normally came up to the restaurant had all died so it was a surprise to see one! It all made for a very special evening with Uncle Brett! So many special memories!

I never do like the goodbye part but am so thankful he was able to spend some time with us here in Africa!

Here are a few photos of the visit and animals they got to see!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Project Nappies!

Here is the story behind the idea of "Project Nappies". The story and pictures are from my friend Laurel.

'M's Story

Triplets aren't very common in Botswana. So a woman in a village carrying triplets is quite an event.

I, Laurel, met 'M' when she was about half way along in her pregnancy. She lives with her mother, her eight year old daughter, sisters and other family. She was receiving good prenatal care at the local hospital but was struggling as no one in the family was earning money.

During the next few months I visited regularly and made sure that 'M' was getting good nutrition and getting to her prenatal check ups.

At the end of October I received a phone call from 'M's neighbour to say that she had given birth to her triplets and had been transferred

to the main hospital in Gaborone. The birth was two months premature,and shortly after birth one little girl passed away.

'M' and the other two babies were being cared for at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone and I started visiting regularly.

There were many challenges for both mum and babies. The babes spent a total of 9 weeks in the special care nursery, 'M' stayed in a room at the back of the postnatal ward, sharing with a number of other women who also had babes in t

he nursery. They had a 2 hourly routine of going to the nursery for feeding and changing 24 hours per day. Each woman carried a small bag with her containing all the babies needs, including disposable nappies which they had to provide – quite difficult for someone with no income. The friendships that they formed were a great support for one another......their needs,practical, emotional and spiritual are great.

After 9 weeks, I took 'M' and her babes home to their village. Two days later baby B, the other little girl passed away – she had been born with

severe hydrocephalus and her brain had not developed properly. B was buried next to her sister at the family home, as is the practise in the

culture here – babies who die at less than one year of age are kept close.

Mogomotsi, the brother of the girls is growing well and is nearly six months old. His family tells me that he must miss his sisters and that they will tell him about them one day.

This is a picture of 'M' with her daughter who passed away two days after being discharged.

Below is 'M' with her son, Mogomotsi.

During the time Laurel spent at Princess Marina with 'M' she realized there were huge needs among the women there. Among the many practical needs are nappies, hence the name "project nappies". Most of the women have no income and really struggle to provide the disposable nappies they are required to buy for their babies. These women provide around the clock care for their babies so would not be able to have a job while their baby is in the special care nursery. Many of the women do not even own a pair of underwear. So their basic needs are great! Besides their practical needs these women need the Lord most of all! Our goal is to start a program to minister to these women. We are in the process of making the right contacts at Princess Marina Hospital and hope to very soon be able to start ministering to the women there. Please be praying for us as we start this new venture!

Prayer Requests:

  • Please pray that Laurel and I and whomever joins us in our venture will have wisdom in knowing how best to minister. That we will be a light and encouragement to these women.
  • Please pray for the women that their hearts will be open.

Thank you so much for praying for us! We are very excited to see what the Lord does in all of this!!

If any of you would like to be involved in helping with the practical needs here are some ideas...

For 100 pula about the equivalent of $15 US we could provide the women with one of the following:

  • 60 disposable nappies
  • 2 dozen cloth nappies
  • Combination pack of onesies, socks, hats and a blanket
  • Toiletries and underwear for the mother
If anyone wants to get a group together to send a Care package here are ideas of what the women could use:
  • Toothbrushes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby clothes, any sizes
  • Wash cloths
  • Underwear, any sizes
  • Sanitary Pads
  • Blankets (they especially love receiving blankets)
  • Crocheted baby hats, mittens, socks, blankets and outfits (they love crocheted items!)
  • Home-made cloth bags for use as a diaper bag
I look forward to keeping you all updated on our ministry at Princess Marina Hospital. As soon as we have more stories to share I will post them for you all! Thank you for your patience with "Project Nappies"!! I am so glad I was finally able to share with you this exciting ministry opportunity!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Answered Prayers...

The Lord has answered a big prayer of ours. He definitely answered in a way that I never could have possibly imagined…but “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." - Rom_8:28

I wish it could be a fun and exciting story but sadly it isn’t. The evening of January 20th we were sitting with some new friends in our living room drinking coffee and enjoying some wonderful fellowship when we heard a strange noise almost like car horns blaring. I still have no idea what that noise was but soon after that weird noise started our doorbell rang and the woman at the gate yelled the house was on fire. Immediately I panicked thinking she meant our house but soon realized it was our neighbor’s house that was on fire. We quickly grabbed Tristan out of bed and loaded our most important things into the car and got out of our house in case the fire spread. Praise the Lord our roof did not catch on fire even with the wind blowing in our direction! Sadly our neighbor’s house completely burnt down and she has lost most everything. The people in the neighborhood ran inside to try to save as much stuff as they could before the ceiling collapsed but still most everything is gone. The Fire department did eventually arrive but the fire had almost died out by the time they got there. Probably around 11pm we felt safe enough to go back into our house. About that same time some women in the neighborhood organized to have the things salvaged taken to a number of the neighbors houses to keep it safe and out of the rain. We offered to let them store some of her stuff in our guest bedroom. We then learned she didn’t have any friends or family nearby to stay with so she actually stayed in our guest bedroom for about a week with her youngest son who is 11 years old. She is Batswana but does speak English very well. Her son does not speak much English but enough that we can understand each other. It is a learning experience culturally and has had its awkward moments for sure! Each day they were here got easier and more exciting as we started to build a friendship with them. Friday evening (Jan 21st) the community had a meeting to decide how to help Mma Thabo. Many people donated things such as a school uniform for her son Phenyo or small gifts of money. It was so neat to see the community come together to help her! We had been praying for a while that the Lord would give us an opportunity to reach out to our neighbors. With big cement walls (or “stopnonsense” as they call them) all around our house as well as most of our neighbors houses, it is very hard to get to know any of them. You don’t really see many people unless you happen to be going in or out at the same time. So we kept praying God would open doors and help us to somehow get involved with the community and our neighbors. Well this has thrown that door wide open! I wish it could have happened because of a happy incident but again we know that God has a plan and a purpose for everything! Through it all we have gotten to know many of our neighbors and they welcomed us into their community. It has been so exciting to have this breakthrough! Please be praying for us that we can be a light in our neighborhood as well as an encouragement to our neighbors who have just lost everything they own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I am the type of person who has to write things down the moment I think of them or else I forget them altogether. So rather than making dinner I am sitting at my computer writing you guys an update =).

I have wanted to share how the Lord has been encouraging my heart over the past few weeks but finally my cultural experience today gave me the inspiration to put it into words. When we first arrived here the pula/dollar difference was quite the shocker. You would go buy a box of cereal that would normally be a few dollars and you see 35 pula! Which truly is expensive but the first thing that pops in your head is WHAT 35 dollars?? Then you remember “Oh ya, I have to divide that by 6 and a half”. The other shocker was how expensive everything was. I had in my mind that things would be really cheap over here. In a country where most everything is imported, cheap just isn’t possible. The combination of those two things could be very discouraging at times.

Recently the Lord has been really encouraging me with both of those areas! After 5 months of dealing with pula it isn’t quite so shocking anymore (except for when it really is shocking…seriously 30 US dollars for 1 pack of diapers??). Also I am starting to find what and where the cheaper things are. In the States I bought a lot frozen vegetables since you could typically get it cheaper than the fresh. Here it is the opposite. We have been having so much fun going weekly to pick out all of the fresh fruits and vegetables we want that week. Also the nice bakery bread you pay big bucks for in the States is what is cheap here. If you want the long lasting loaf you get from Wal-Mart for a dollar you pay a lot of money =). We were so encouraged to learn that and enjoy freshly home-made bread from the bakery each week! Yes, we do pay a lot for most things but we are getting spoiled in many areas as well!! One other thing I should mention is about our meat. Beef is the cheapest meat here and what we call Filet Mignon in the United States is one of the cheapest cuts here. You can get Filet for 3 US dollars per pound…needless to say we are getting very spoiled and I don’t know what we are going to do if we ever leave!

My cultural experience today came through a good friend who took me to her favorite little shop that she calls “The Spice Shop”. As we got out of the car I could smell all of the spices before even walking in. Then when I walked into this little store that is just a small room with concrete floors, I saw large bins in rows all across the room. Each bin was filled with a different spice, some with rice, and others with things that I have absolutely no idea what they are. I found the normal garlic pwd, oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary and so on. My favorite find was poppy seeds!! For less than 1 US dollar I got about the equivalent of 2 of your large jars of poppy seeds. All of the other spices as well as the rice were amazingly cheap! I picked out a number of things and after I left with my little bag of treasures I felt so encouraged and am still thanking the Lord for that awesome store that will be seeing a lot more of me! So there are cheap things here. You just have to patiently learn where they are. =)

So again today the Lord has really encouraged me in the grocery expense department! Next time I grumble over the price of diapers I will just remember I get to go home and eat a big Filet Steak for dinner and can buy a couple years worth of oregano for less than a dollar =). When you put it like that I don’t know why I ever grumble!! =)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Distributing Bibles in the Children's Ward. Singing our way down to different wards with the Bibles on a stretcher.

Here goes “Project Bible Distribution”!

As I shared in my previous blog post and email, every year Flying Mission distributes Bibles at Princess Marina hospital on the day after Christmas. They raise money for the Bibles throughout the year. This year the Setswana Bibles were in high demand here in Botswana and stocks were low. The demand increased the cost making them 80 pula each which is about $13 US dollars. They may be cheaper this time next year but for now they cost that much. I wanted to share this opportunity with all of you! If God has given you a desire to share His Word with the people of Botswana consider supporting this annual Bible distribution event. Also we need prayer warriors to be praying for the patients and nurses receiving Bibles! Please pray the Lord gets a hold of their hearts!

Please email me if you want information on how to help us purchase Bibles!

My email address is .

I am still putting together information for “Project Nappies”. There is a very touching story behind it all and I can’t wait to share it with you. I am awaiting the story and pictures from my friend, Laurel King.

On a lighter note...Tristan is walking!!! He took his first steps a few days ago. It is so much fun watching him learn! He is looking so grown up now that he is walking...can't believe how fast it goes! I will upload pictures soon.