Botswana is situated in the center of Southern Africa, a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The population is just over 2,000,000.
Assembly work commenced in Botswana over 45 years ago. The first assembly established was in Serowe, which has a population of about 50,000. Many believers who were originally saved in Serowe are now in fellowship in the six assemblies in the country. Jim and Irene Legge, the first assembly missionaries to Botswana, still labor in Serowe where there is a thriving Sunday school and Bible class. The gospel is preached in both the assembly building and an outreach hall at Go-rra Leina each Lord’s Day and midweek at Go-rra Leina. A huge amount of excellent Setswana literature, both gospel leaflets and useful teaching material and booklets for believers, has been produced by colleagues in Serowe. This has been a great blessing to many.
The next assembly to be planted was Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, with a population of about 260,000. Clark and Hazel Logan labor there together with Joy Griffiths. Prayer is valued particularly for Hazel who has been battling with health problems for years. They reach many children with Sunday school and children’s work in locations inside and outside Gaborone. They also operate from two separate gospel halls and also engage in open-air work. We often say that living in the capital is like living in another country.
Many of the things available in Europe or North America are now available in Gaborone, if you know where to get them.
The next assembly to be planted was Francistown (population 99,000), where John and Ontiretse Bandy are in fellowship with some of the oldest believers in the country. Open-air work is carried on with the distribution of gospel literature.
The assemblies in Maun (pop about 60,000) and Selebi-Phikwe (49,000) do not have any overseas missionary workers laboring there, but in Maun, the work is carried on by Zambian brother Dan Nguluka who engages in gospel tent work. Selebi-Phikwe is a mining town and Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta.
The last assembly, Palapye, was planted in 2003. We began work in Palapye (pop 38,000) in 1998 while still in fellowship in Serowe where we were living at that time. Christine and I were commended by two assemblies in Manchester, England in 1991. In October 1999 the Lord provided us with a house in Palapye and a building on an adjacent plot, which we converted into a gospel hall. Eventually, as souls were saved and baptized, it became clear that the Lord would have us establish a testimony in Palapye. We had been reaching out with a weekly bookstall, two children’s meetings in separate locations, three outreach meetings each week in people’s homes, and Bible teaching in each of the local primary schools. The way in which the Lord provided the two plots and buildings on them is an amazing story and the facilities in Palapye are ideally suited for the work He has laid to our hands.
Once the building which is now the gospel hall was renovated in October 1999, we commenced a Sunday school which rapidly grew in size because of the work in the schools. It wasn’t long before we were getting about 600 or more children in the Sunday school and Bible class each week.
We commenced preaching in the school assemblies at the three Junior Secondary Schools in January 2000 and this work continues on a weekly basis. This means that every child who attends the state schools in Palapye has the privilege of hearing the gospel at school for at least three years. We also teach the Word of God in Kgaswe International Primary School weekly and there are a number of believers in fellowship today who first heard the gospel through the school outreach.
Over the years, we have enjoyed great help from a number of the Lord’s servants. Some of these brethren have come repeatedly to teach the Word and preach the gospel, not only in Palapye, but also in the other assemblies. They have made a great contribution to the work and to the establishment of the believers in the country.
Until recently, we had an outreach meeting in a disused shop in the Serorome area of Palapye each Wednesday, as well as children’s meetings. We have recently relocated both of these meetings to the gospel hall. The interest of adults in the area where it is situated has been very poor, despite the efforts. Only the children showed real interest and these are now attending on Wednesday in the hall. Many of them already come to Sunday school.
Children’s meetings are also held each week in another area called Extension 2 in Palapye and we go down to Mahalapye (pop 46,000) and have a children’s meeting there each Monday. We have had a gospel series there but the response was disappointing. One of the most encouraging outreach activities has been lolwapa meetings, open-air gospel meetings in people’s yards. These are usually held in the home of a believer and we take the trailer we use for outreach work to carry the chairs, benches, table, and other equipment. We usually string temporary lighting run off an inverter or the trailer’s battery. The owners of the yard go to their neighbors, friends, and relatives in the days before the meeting to invite them. It is always encouraging to see people coming to hear the gospel preached and there are one or two believers in assembly fellowship today who first heard the gospel preached at lolwapa meetings.
We have had the privilege of preaching the gospel in a number of different series of meetings over recent years, both in the gospel hall, in the disused shop, at the plot we use in Mahalapye (1 hour south of Palapye), or in other locations in Palapye. In the last Seed Sowers outreach in December last year we also preached in a number of villages outside Palapye where the texts were distributed and we were encouraged to see some coming to hear the message. It is hoped, God willing, in the next Seed Sowers outreach in December, to cover areas of Palapye where texts have not been distributed and to begin in Mahalapye. We plan gospel meetings there and would value prayer for the Lord to open up to us such opportunities.
One of the greatest needs that exists in Botswana assemblies is the need for men who are grounded in the Word of God, who have so ordered their lives that they are able to be at every assembly meeting, and who display the qualifications demanded of elders in the Scriptures. Please pray that God would raise up such men among us, because we really do need men who know the Book, are able to teach the truth of God, and who can be relied upon to be at every assembly activity.