1996-97 was a terrible season of drought in Northern Botswana. We lived on the Boteti River and the very last pool of water from the Okavango Delta was in front of our house. In that pool lived 32 Hippos who were hanging on to their last days of life. They were literally starving to death. Their home-the Boteti River was dwindling in the Kalahari sun by the day. The smell of death was all around and nothing could be done about it.
Water was hauled in the back of a Hilux Toyota pickup. Water rations were just a part of life. By this time I was pregnant with our 3rd son and we had 2 very active boys who loved to play in the dirt! “a dirty kid is a happy kid” one mama of kids raised in the Botswana bush taught me. So true. There was an old generator that we turned on in the evening for some lights and Video taped shows.
Bath time was especially eventful. We would fill the tub with about 6 inches of water that the whole family had to share. The cleanest person got to go first, which given the family dynamics, that person was usually me! By the time we got to the last bath, that water was black! We then dumped the water down the toilet. We used the “if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down” method, to stretch the water we did have. Any other water was used to water what little green there was around the house.
The grand finale of this season was a mysterious fire that destroyed the house and all its contents, leaving us with a new baby boy and 2 sons-homeless. We wrapped up business and travelled to the USA to my mama’s place in Texas. We arrived exhausted from the journey. When I went in to take a shower I just stood under the water and cried. It had been a tough couple of years. It didn’t feel right to let the water flow like that. I felt guilty. But wonderful at the same time.
Eventually the rains came to our village and gave moisture and life to the dry land. Sometimes our lives are like that. We get dry-dirty-thirsty. We need the rain to come. God desires to pour out his love on us like that shower in my mama’s Texas home. So glorious, so, almost sacred, is that water. Refreshing and restoring my soul from a very difficult season.
The bible says, Revelation 22:17 (ESV)
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
We have all heard the phrase “water is life”. I can tell you I know it is true. But there is a river of water that never will run dry. And that is God’s love to his kids. Jump in, enjoy, let it wash you clean and be refreshed.
I got what you intend, appreciate it for posting .Woh I am lucky to find this website through google. I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out. by Steven Wright. bfddddcdcgge
I just think you are one of the coolest people in the planet, Jana! Thank you so much for taking the time to transcribe your stories. These are invaluable. Keep it up!
I am simply flabbergasted to know that my little visit to Botswana was during this difficult time in your mission legacy. Every time I saw you you had a smile on your face and an encouraging word on your lips. Thank you for being an example of grace under pressure.
Jana Lackey said:
Thank you so much! Those were crazy times! You Teen Mania kids were such a blessing! I miss those big pots and the fire and the grateful hungry faces dishing up!
I was on a Teen Mania team with you in Botswana in 1996… that summer changed my life, lead me back to southern Africa as an adult (served as Thrive’s Director 08-10) and impacts the courses I now teach to social work students. Thank you for your journey and the ways you’ve shaped so many others!
Jana Lackey said:
Oh Amy! Thank you! We don’t always hear the stories of how LBOM impacted lives. It is so encouraging! We now have a Social Work Department in the mission and 3 Social Workers! if you ever want to come back and visit-you are welcome! Our community based programs are extensive now, and we are seeing real change take place in the lives of the people we are able to minister to in practical ways to help lift them out of poverty.
This is probably my favorite one thus far! Yours and Pastor Jerry’s stories are so incredible to me of how God called you to Africa, what you’ve walked through, and to see WHERE YAL’ ARE NOW! It is an amazing testimony to what God will accomplish through of us if we will continue to be led by Him even when things are hard or don’t make a lot of sense to us. You both made a choice to keep pressing on and now the fruit from that decision is all over the world. Loved the blog :)
Jana Lackey said:
Thanks Jess! It has been a great adventure mixed with lots of opportunities to grow! Thanks for the encouragement! Hope you can come back some day! Mr. Tshepo would love the help in sports again!!