Botswana dudes are a bunch of softies inside!

      Many people wonder the good that they can do in a short period of time and question whether there effort is worth spending.  I have questioned this many times myself.  Many times I wondered if it was worth the struggle of investing in people in Botswana or just doing my handy man thing and putting in my time.  But, I could not just put in my time while I saw young men needing someone to push them in the direction of character and integrity.  So regardless of them irritating me sometimes, I pushed them.  
      Many people also question the value of short term missions as the locals let them into their lives and then they leave, creating a void that was never there to begin with.  Over the last few days I have come to understand this more than most as I am living this conflict.  Today I said goodbye to a friend from the gym and watched his bottom lip quiver three separate times during our conversation.  I also said goodbye to another friend who openly confessed that my friendship is one of the most significant friendships he has ever had as he has no other friends whom he can converse with on the same level and seek Godly advice from and actually walk the roads of life with.  Both his parents were killed in a car accident in 2005, he has no siblings and lives with his grandmother.  He longs for a Godly man, that he respects, to help guide him in life.
      I found it weird that these guys would become so attacked in such a short time until it came into perspective.  A Botswanan never leaves Botswana.  They are scared you will never come back so they rarely grant permission for a resident to leave.  These people live in small villages where people never leave.  They may go away for a while but they never leave Botswana and will usually return to their village.  I am probably the only friend they have had that they truly had to say goodbye to.  It is also more significant for them as the other YFC staff they have said goodbye to were female.  I am the first male.
      It was also very interesting to listen to some of the guys bring up things that I have taught them.  Many of these lessons I believed had fallen on deaf ears.  So I have come to a tentative conclusion.  Missionaries in the past and present have made grave errors.  I have probably also made some decent sized mistakes and lead people to poor conclusions.  However, there is always two sides to a story.  Each side is equally responsible for the outcome.  These guys could go away and become angry that the missionaries they have met and invested in have left them with a void in their lives.  Or they can look back on the good times they had, the things they learned, the things they were able to teach, the friendship they were blessed with, and be thankful for those good times.  Unfortunately the latter is often not chosen and sadness overcomes the joy.  I am not sad that I had to leave, I am joyful for what I have learned and the people I had the opportunity to meet and invest in.  I hope that they will come to the same conclusion and be grateful instead of becoming resentful.