Recently we returned from a week with a Work and Witness team in Botswana. It was a great week together seeing God work in, through, and around His children both young and old. The team spent the week in a village of Bokaa about 30 minutes outside of the capitol city of Gaborone. They were working on a house that will be used when teams return to build the church. They also held afternoon children’s outreach and evening revivals.
Occasionally Joe and I talk about how raising Peter as a Missionary Kid with our roles is different than it would be to raise him in the States. For us raising a child in the US is the unknown. And granted not every week is like this but here is a small picture of Peter’s week last week.
Peter’s days were filled with playing outside with new friends. Friends from the W&W team, who loved playing with him, spoiling him and giving him bites of food especially sweets and dessert. Friends like Muruti Oboy (the local Pastor at the Church we worked at) and others from the church. Friends like Uncle Peter/Driver Peter/Big Peter who is our field bus driver and a great friend of little Peter’s (and ours). In fact Uncle Peter let him “drive” the bus, which he loved.
Peter also thoroughly enjoyed playing with the children from the church and the village. There was a small pile of rocks near where we were working and Peter spent lots of time climbing to the top of the pile and running down or sliding down with the other kids. He also liked collecting the rocks and sharing with the other kids. At one point he wanted to go for a walk and at first he wanted my hand and then quickly dropped my hand and grabbed onto the hands of his new friends. For awhile one afternoon he just wanted to move a chair around the yard.
Peter also enjoyed chasing after the chickens, goats, and dogs that wondered around where we were working. He also liked “helping” with the work project. He “helped” measure and hammer and checked to see if the team needed water. Peter got to build and knock down towers with the leftover wood from one of the projects. And he didn’t understand when I wouldn’t let him play in the mud (aka mortar and grout) that the team was mixing. I mean to him it looked like they were “playing” in the mud so why couldn’t he. He also enjoyed the various buckets of waters he would find and thought he should be able to play in. Thankfully he loves being a helper and so he would help us carry the empty water container where they needed to go. Which was usually the way mom distracted him from any of a host of other “adventures.”
During the children’s outreach that we did in the afternoons Peter would try and do the motions of the songs with the kids and enjoyed watching the games they played with the balls. During lunch (if he wasn’t already napping) and during dinner, Peter would eat from our plate and then wonder around to the different team members and eat anything they would give him. Of course those bites were taken on breaks in between climbing in the wheelbarrow, playing ball with the other kids, playing in the dirt or trying to coax the dog from under the van.
Needless to say each evening we had a tired, very dirty, but happy little boy. After the team went to the tent for the evening revivals. We would change Peter into his PJ’s, read him a story, pray with him, sing a song and then lay him down to sleep. Then Joe would stay with him and I would go over to the tent to the revival. After the service the team would come back to the house and have a team meeting and devotions. Once the team loaded into the bus we would pick Peter up load him in our van, load up the packn’play and head back to the hotel for the night. Peter would wake up briefly during all the transitions but then would quickly return to dreamland.
We didn’t pack any toys for Peter and he didn’t miss them. We did pack some books that we read to him on the long car ride to and from Botswana and at bedtime. He was not a huge fan of waiting in line at the border but then who is.
As he gets older I am sure there will be some times that he doesn’t find the weeks we spend with W&W teams as adventurous but for now he does and so we will enjoy it while it last.
We are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Global Church and allowing our brothers and sisters in Christ from different places and cultures get to know each other, work and serve alongside each other and love and pray for each other.
Until next time remember- If you leave a curious toddler unattended for a short amount of time (no matter how short) he will find water and play in it. Thankfully his parents weren’t the only ones keeping him out of mischief. And I would rather he find the water instead of the power tools. (Don’t worry Grandma and Grandpa he never even touched the power tools only the boxes they came in.)