Sehitwa is Pastor Sunny's church, and is a couple of hours outside of Maun. The girls and I loaded up the van with all of our camping equipment, drive into town, picked up Pastor Sunny and hit the road. The only thing to note from this drive was that I finally saw my first black and white cow in Africa. Kirsten and I (the midwestern gals) got excited, and everyone else yawned. That was that.
Once we arrived in Sehitwa, we pulled into the church property and started unpacking. Within about 3 minutes we already had a hoard children surrounding us. You definitely make a splash when 7 white girls show up in a village of a couple hundred people! We got to work right away on cutting the grass with slashers (think of machetes, but duller). One of my interns (Heather) was an all-star with this. She grabbed a slasher and went to work, and while the rest of us were taking turns with the other slasher, she finished half the property. It was nice to have her along, that's for sure! The best part of that experience was having 7 year old children take them from me to show me how it's done :) The kids were so sweet and so talkative. I was videotaping a group of about 5 of them as they were teaching me Setswana; it was great. Anytime I repeated something correctly, one of the boys would say (so encouragingly) "Yes! That is correct. Well done!" After we did this for a while, I was going to play back the video for them and sadly discovered that I had never pressed "record." The kids were disappointed, but not enough to re-enact the scenario for me. So now I don't have any video of that. Bummer.
After we got the tents set up and finished slashing the yard, it was time to split up into 2 groups and begin evangelism in the village. In all honesty, this type of ministry pushes me out of my comfort zone more than any other, and definitely challenges me each and every time I did it. This time was no different. We spent quite a bit of time in one woman's home, having a lovely conversation with her about her family and life, and then things took a turn. She explained that it is so difficult to make any money in the village (which I completely understood- in all honesty, I don't know how anyone could make money there). Because of this though, she was struggling to feed her children and admitted that she felt like a failure and has been contemplating suicide. What do you do with that?? We did our best, and I still think of her and pray for her often. I hope that she's giving church another chance. Anyway, we spent about 2 hours doing evangelism (while getting attacked by millions of ants), then met back up at the church/campsite. It was time for Saturday night youth group! All of the kids returned, along with about 20 teens, and we had a great service that the youth led. I just can't get enough of our branch churches. The cute little boy who was teaching me Setswana earlier sat with me during the service, and he knew my favorite song was "Jo Na Na" and he kept trying to request it for me. When they finally sang it, he grabbed my arm and gave me a huge smile. The memory of that is bringing a huge smile to my face as I type this. Goodness, I miss Africa.
After the service was over, it was about 9pm and time to eat. We sat around the fire, listening to donkeys in the distance, looking at the stars, and enjoying each other's company.
Then...time for bed! Now this is a good story. Something that happened while we were sitting around the fire was that the girls saw a huge spider and kind of freaked out about it. I didn't see it, but I laughed at them and told them to calm down. When we were getting settled in our tents, Kirsten was starting to panic because she can't stand bugs. I was tired and didn't have patience for dealing with it, so I told her to suck it up and she'll be fine. As we start to get into our sleeping bags, She starts freaking out, saying there was something on her. I told her that it's just in her head and she's just fine. She yelled "There it is again!" and right as I was saying "Kirst--" all of a sudden, I felt something run across my chest. I jumped up screaming "It's a critter, it's a critter!!" It was so heavy and big that I thought it was a lizard. There were 4 of us in the tent (Soo, Val, Kirsten and myself) and we were all on our feet in half a second. We all had flashlights, so when we found the thing we realized it was a ginormous spider. The sucker was so fast that we couldn't keep a light on it, and then it ran up and down my legs twice. We were HOWLING. This was easily the ugliest bug I'd seen out there. We were so loud that we woke up Pastor Sunny, who was sleeping in the church. He came out to check on us, and tried to help us find the spider. We weren't ever able to find it back, and even though he hadn't seen it (so obviously didn't really know what species of spider we were dealing with) he told us that it's not poisonous and we'll be fine. I cracked up. Thanks, Pastor Sunny, for that completely empty encouragement. Well, there was just no way I'd be able to sleep, knowing that monster was somewhere in there with me. Bless Val...she was so brave. She prayed, walking around our tent, then over each and every one of us, checking all of our things to make sure the bug wasn't there. The girls in the other tent were just cracking up at us.
The next morning we were getting ready for church and packing up all of our camping equipment...and then I saw it. The spider came running out from underneath my sleeping bag. Here is what we were dealing with:
This guy's body was about the size of the palm of my hand. And the color! It was this yucky translucent tannish/orange, so it looked like decaying flesh. And it was fuzzy and had beady little eyes....yuck.
Church service was great. They asked us to teach them some songs we sang in America, so we chose some that had actions, because people out there love songs with motions. Then Jessika shared the sermon, and then we sang a few more songs and then service was over. Afterwards we spent time taking pictures with the people and of the area. Here's a sampling: