Katrin Lösch, a member of ‘Liebenzeller Mission’ in Germany, arrived in Botswana at the start of September 2012 as a short-term missionary. Since then she has been involved in a wide variety of work and ministries. As she approaches the end of her time here it seemed like a good opportunity to ask her what she has been up to, what things have challenged her, and what things have blessed her most.
Katrin says, “I have always had a heart for Africa but have never been here before, nor indeed done any mission work overseas before” so she was excited to be placed with a German missionary family serving in Gaborone. Her main role has been German language practice and teaching with the family’s children (on a part time basis as the children are schooling). Katrin was also keen to find other opportunities to serve.
During the year she has been involved in a number of ministries, but a constant throughout has been providing administrative support in the Flying Mission Head Office where she has been an invaluable member of the team. Katrin also got involved in several child education programmes: one based in Gabane (outskirts of Gaborone), where she helped with an after-schools programme teaching guitar and IT skills and providing school homework support; the ‘Stepping Stone’ holiday programme in Mochudi (north of Gaborone), providing supplementary tuition for troubled young people 14-18+ (most of whom do not live their families and are struggling at school); and also the ‘Thiamo Academy’ (a pre-school in Mogoditshane), where she was responsible for teaching a class of pre-reception age children. Not satisfied with a busy ‘working week’ Katrin has also been teaching a Sunday school class for Standard 1 children (children around 7 years of age) at the Open Baptist Church in Maraupula. Katrin says, “I especially enjoyed working with the young children and it was great to build up relationships with them.”
Katrin states another highlight of her time has been her involvement in weekly devotions (prayer, singing and a short Christian message) held with patients at two clinics in Gaborone (one an HIV/AIDS clinic and one a general clinic). Katrin says, “I really enjoyed the devotions and the challenge of preparing them each week”. She was also greatly encouraged by the positive responses from many of the patients.
One of the biggest challenges she has faced has been adjusting to differences in ways of working in Botswana compared to ways of working in Germany; she said it took some getting used to but was a great learning experience for her. Also she initially found travelling via ‘combi’ (minibuses that provide regular public transport along set routes) a challenge, as she did not know the routes or understand Setswana, and was normally the only westerner on board. However she says over time her confidence using them grew and she found it was a great way to get to know people, travelling with them from near their homes to their work places and back again every day. She also said some of her funniest moments happened on a combi, such as when the side door fell off of one!
She says that the greatest blessing to her has been the opportunity and freedom to try new things and that there was great freedom knowing there was no sense of obligation to keep at an activity even if things were not working out.
Katrin flies back to Germany on the 3rd of August and shortly afterwards commences training at Bible college where she will study ‘Theology and Social Work’ in the context of mission. Please pray for her as she returns home and continues following God’s leading for her life.
If you would like to find out about doing a short-term mission placement through Flying Mission please contact us.