Pray for: Botswana - Christians immersed in traditional nominal Christianity or syncretistic beliefs. For the largely unreached Bushmen of Botswana. For those suffering from the HIV epidemic.
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Republic of Botswana

Population: 2,230,905

Rank: Africa #42; World: #142

Languages: English/Setswana
Major People Groups: 94% Bantu, 3% San

Botswana is another African country with a rich Christian history, some great leadership, and much better conditions than most of Sub-Saharan Africa. Please pray for revival among believers and improved ministry to AIDS sufferers.

In the 19th century, LSM (London Society Mission) and the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society brought the gospel to the Tswana people and they converted rapidly to Christianity. Robert and Mary Moffat and David Livingstone from LSM were part of the outreach to the Batswana people, translating the Bible into their Setswana language in 1857. Livingstone also established the formal school near Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, in the 1840s. Through the support of indigenous chiefs such as Khama III, Christianity spread safely throughout Botswana. Khama III himself came to Christ in his early 20's through the work of the Hermannsburg Mission (Lutheran). He subsequently helped missionaries from LSM establish churches, installed Christian converts in his government, passed stringent laws against alcohol trade and banned a traditional manhood ceremony involving male circumcision and ritual sacrifice. The current president of Botswana is a descendent of King Khama III.

Botswana was never colonized, but became a protectorate of Britain in 1885 at the suggestion of missionary John Mackenzie and through a request made to the British Crown by Khama and other chiefs. In 1964, his grandson, Seretse Khama, won independence from Britain to found the independent nation of Botswana.

He immediately began efforts to transform his nation into an export-based economy, focusing on beef, copper and diamonds. The Orapa diamond mine was discovered only a few years later. It is now the world's largest, and Botswana supplies some 65% of the world's diamonds. Khama had the foresight to create strong protections against governmental corruption, market-friendly policies to promote trade, low and stable taxes, increased personal freedom. Having felt the sting of racism over his marriage to a British wife, courted during his education at Oxford, he opposed racism in his own country, just north of the Apartheid South Africa.

As of 2005 there were 237 missionaries from 59 agencies from 18 countries ministering to the people of Botswana. About two thirds of the country is identified as Christian, with the remaining third mostly composed of traditional religious beliefs. (Animism/ancestor worship) The largest Christian groups are Anglicans, Methodists and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.

Only about 19% of identified Christians attend church regularly. Another 20% profess personal faith in Christ, while 24% are traditional Christians in the Lutheran or Catholic Churches. Another 37% have some kind of private faith, but may trust in works, or combine other paths to God than the unique role of Christ.

Traditionally in certain parts of the country, groups of people were essentially serfs, with few or no political rights, whose labor was compelled by citizens of the Tswana dominant group. These groups included Sarwa (Bushmen), Kgalagadi, and Yei in particular. In contemporary Botswana, these arrangements have no legal standing, yet lingering prejudices and resentments of historical inequities continue to inform current social relations. In 2011, Bushmen living in traditional hunting grounds in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve were relocated, ostensibly to preserve the wildlife refuge. Critics believe it is due to government interest in the diamond industry, as the hunting grounds included an area only 28 miles from the preserve which proved to be one of the world's richest diamond fields.

Republic of Botswana Government

Botswana's government is a parliamentary constitutional republic with a president, who is head of state and head of government, a unicameral legislative branch (parliament), the "National Assembly," and a High Court. The president is elected by popular vote, and may serve a maximum of two 5-year terms. The current president, Ian Khama, is the son of Seretse Khama, the first president of independent Botswana, the grandson of Sekgoma II, the chief of the Bamangwato tribe as well as the great-grandson of Khama III, king of the Bamangwato people, who was a convert of Robert Moffat's London Missionary Society.

President
Ian Khama, president of Botswana since April, 2008
Vice-President
Mokgweetsi Masisi, vice-president of Botswana since November, 2014
National Assembly
11th Parliament
Type
Type
History
Founded 1966
New session started
29 October 2014 (2014-10-29)
Leadership
Speaker
Deputy Speaker
Leader of the Opposition
Structure
Seats 63
Botswana National Assembly Chart 2014.svg
Political groups
BDP: 42 seats
UDC: 17 seats
BCP: 2 seats
Ex officio: 2 seats
Length of term
5 years

Botswana's constitution guarantees freedom of religion. However, all organizations, including religious groups, must register with the government.

A 2006 demographics report showed that 63% of Batswana are members of Christian groups, 27% claim their religion as “God,” 8% claim no religion, and 2% adhere to the traditional indigenous religion Badimo. All others comprise less than 1% of the population.

Anglicans, Methodists, and members of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also Lutherans, Baptists, members of the Dutch Reformed Church, Mennonites, and members of other nominally-Christian denominations. According to a 2011 study by the Pew Research Center, there are approximately 8,000 Muslims, many of whom are of South Asian origin.

Christian ministries operating

In Botswana
Africa Inter-Mennonite Mission
Baptist International Outreach
Baptist Mid-Missions
BBFI
BIMI
Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru)
Every Home for Christ
Gospel Fellowship Association
IMB
Mennonite Mission Network
Serving in Mission (SIM)
TearFund UK
Teen Missions, Int'l.
The Navigators
Walk Thru the Bible Ministries
Wycliffe/LBT
Youth for Christ

Republic of Botswana Conditions

From humble beginnings as one of the world's poorest countries before its independence in 1966, Botswana has developed one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. For the past four years, it has been given the highest rating in all of Africa on Transparency International's relative index of perceived corruption. It also has the fourth-highest gross national income in Africa, the highest Human Development Index in continental Sub-Saharan Africa, and an estimated GDP per capita of US $18,825. Business regulations are flexible, and entrepreneurship is encouraged. Major industries are agriculture, industry (over 52%, including 36% from mining), and service (46%). Half of the largest diamond mining company is government-owned, and the mineral industry produces 40% of all government revenue. The world's largest diamond mine is located in Botswana, and is estimated to have produced $1.6B of diamonds in 2013.

As of 2008 about 83% of Botswana's total population (15 years of age or older) were literate. School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 7 and 15. Ensuring compliance is difficult, as many students live in remote areas or are employed in family businesses. Students are taught in Sestwana language for the first four years, then they transition to English.

Despite the AIDS crisis, only 5.4% of the GDP is spent on healthcare, and there are 38 physicians per 100,000 population.

mortality

The IHME mortality chart for Botswana reveals that HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis far outpace other mortality factors.

Botswana is in the center of southern Africa's HIV/AIDS crisis, with the second highest prevalence in the world. (17.6% of the general population and 24% for ages 15 and above, 49% of women aged 30-34 years, including over 33% of expectant mothers, by 2017 estimates.) An estimated 60,000 have been orphaned by the disease.

population

According to the CIA World Factbook, The life expectancy in Botswana is 54.5 years, declining from a high of 65 in 1990 to as low as 35 years in 2005, due to the AIDS crisis.

The Kalahari Desert comprises over 3/4ths of Botswana's total land area. Desertification is a serious environmental concern and is said to be caused by livestock overgrazing. The climate is semiarid, with warm winters and hot summers. It borders Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

map

Botswana is in southern Africa, south of Angola and Zambia, bordered by Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe
GMO's Stats on Republic of Botswana

In 2016 GMO recorded 123,398 gospel visits, 19,033 indicated decisions and 18,238 discipleship visits from Botswana. We currently have no Online Missionaries, but Kennedy Olebile Baikalafhi served with us in 2016, and Alexandra Mwaura was with us until 2015.

 

My life BEFORE Christ was very difficult, you see my mum passed away when I was 7 years old and I was brought up by a single Father...who, unfortunately, was an alcoholic. I prayed often and talked to God, mostly asking Him why He let my mum die and not my Dad....It may sound bad....but sometimes it felt like we (my sister, brother and I) were orphans. Going to school was a struggle...(school fees often was not up to date on payments) I was brought up Catholic and so I took great refuge in the church. I even once contemplated becoming a nun. However, my life turned around when I visited a youth easter camp In April of 1992 at the invitation of a high school friend. It was held at Naivasha YWCA in Kenya by the youth of the Nairobi Baptist Church. It is here that I got born-again at the age of 19years, I was a first year in University studying Bachelor of Commerce at the Kabete Campus. I spared myself many evils by giving my life to Christ. — Alexandra Mwaura

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Member Prayer Requests/Praise Report from last week

Linda: Pray for her adopted sons Randy, Sheldon & Nathan, who made a profession of faith as young children but are far from the Lord now.

Mike:

  • Cindy's mom and niece and her fiancee stayed with us last week

  • We saw a horrible RV accident July 4: a 74-year-old lady named Alice was helping her husband back into a space, when the stepladder somehow trapped her leg under it and tore her leg open down to the bone. About a 9-inch long, 5-inch wide, very deep gash in her leg. Please pray for her. She was airlifted from the park we were in. This really has my wife worried about her father (Dick), who just purchased a 16-foot trailer to travel the US in by himself. (he's 78; his wife passed away in December)

  • Please pray for daugher Emily, getting ready for college/other challenges.

Cindy B: Westfall Video teams

Frank, (from June 28); I believe these are all Brethren missionaries associated with the ministry mentioned in the dramatic story in Niger

  • Jonathan & April Hayes with son Boaz (4yo)
  • Leah Zardo, Single girl
  • Steven & Ruth Hanneman & sons Nate (18) and Benjamin (15)
  • Charles & Asia Corben with children, Micaiah (4), Hosanna (3), and Titus (1 yo)
  • Justin & April Gauvain