The Encouraging Word Blog
Author: Rich Rudowske Created: 7/30/2007 9:14 PM
Welcome to the blog! Our family will post updates, musings, and other fun stuff from our experiences in Botswana to work in the ministry of Bible Translation.

Friday is Blog Day
By Rich Rudowske on 1/21/2011 2:25 PM

For anyone who might be interested in a pattern to my blogging - I have the double edged sword of having written blogging into my performance goals for 2011, so I am required by the goals to blog at least once per week.  This is good because I am now motivated to write an entry and keep up to date, but sometimes the creative juices run dry and it doesn't feel like there is a lot to write about.  Nevertheless, it is my intent to blog on Fridays, so I encourage you to check back on Fridays for a new entry that hopefully will help keep you in the loop about life and goings on around here.  If you don't see an entry when you expect to, don't be afraid to send me an email from the home page and keep me accountable.  I need that sometimes :)


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2010 by the Numbers
By Rich Rudowske on 1/4/2011 2:38 PM

As a former finance man, I think a lot in numbers, so I wanted to share some of the significant numbers from our translation ministry among the Bakgalagari people of Botswana in 2010:

1 - the level at which Rich speaks understands Setswana and Shekgalagari.  The ILR scale from the US Foreign Service Institute describes this as:

  • can fulfill travelling needs and conduct themselves in a polite manner
  • able to use questions and answers for simple topics within a limited level of experience
  • able to understand basic questions and speech, which allows for guides, such as slower speech or repetition, to aid understanding
  • has only a vocabulary large enough to communicate the most basic of needs; also makes frequent punctuation and grammatical mistakes in writing of the language

It is the goal in 2011 to focus on greater compentency ...

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Botswana President Ian Khama's Christmas Address
By Rich Rudowske on 12/25/2010 10:15 PM

I am always impressed by His Excellency the President's Christmas addresses.  Here is the 2010 installment.



  1.  My fellow citizens, as we come to the end of another challenging year, it is a renewed pleasure for me to once again wish you all a pleasant and safe holiday season.
  2.  These holidays have religious meaning for many of us, as we celebrate the birth our Lord and Saviour.
  3. For all of us this season remains an annual opportunity for reflection and renewal, as well as relaxation.
  4.  As citizens, we may be thus united in our shared faith in a better future for ourselves and our country, while enjoying the company of family, friends and loved ones.
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McDonald's & Reverse Culture Shock
By Rich Rudowske on 12/23/2010 10:33 PM

Last week, the family and I, who were staying in East Botswana to get vehicle work done and meet with people in the capital city, took a day off and went to South Africa to celebrate reaching the halfway point of our first term.  Our destination?  The same place we ate at for our last meal in the good old USA, McDonald's.  The closest McDonald's to us in in Rustenberg South Africa, about 2 and a half hours into South Africa (about 6 hours away from our Kang home). 

Upon arriving there, I was struck by a couple of things immediately.  Everything was so bright and loud and fast.  It actually hurt my head to try to take it all in.  Christopher, as he usually does if we go to a restaurant, had brought in a book to read while we waited for the food, but he took one look at how fast things were moving and said, "I guess I won't need this." and put it back in the car.

There is a phenome ...

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The Word Goes Forth!
By Rich Rudowske on 12/3/2010 10:21 PM

To give proper context for this blog entry, let me introduce a couple of folks.  One is a man named Jacob Farris.  Jacob works us, he is our 'gardener' which means he works in our yard about four hours a day removing debris from the sand and now at this time of year, hoeing weeds that grow all over the place in our yard and removing them.  (This is important to prevent scorpions, snakes, and bugs that shoot toxic juices from having a place to hide in the yard).  Anyways, Jacob works for us. 

Not long ago, Maya introduced Jacob to the iPod, which she had loaded up with some sermons.  Jacob speaks and understands English (as well as Afrikaans, Setswana, Shekgalagari, and a few others).  So he listens to these sermons.  He asks questions.  One time he had his wife come over and put the iPod on her ears and had her listen to a sermon.  Then he took it off and said to her, "We'll talk about ...

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The Chief
By Rich Rudowske on 10/19/2010 2:29 PM
One of my favorite members of the board for the Shekgalagari Bible Translation Project is Kgosi (chief) Bojosi Motshoge.  He is the chief of a village southwest of here called Tshane.  He is a young man but with the wisdom of the older chiefs and that eclectic mix makes him a lot of fun to talk with.  Here are some of my favorite 'kgosi-isms'
"It is not going to rain, I have consulted the rain prophets.  You know the rain prophets?  They are on TV.  You call them meteorologists."
"I am the one in charge of organizing that event.  I don't think it is organized very well."
"You must come down to our area where the people's heads are thick.  I mean to say the language is thick, but sometimes ...
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Why we talk about Jesus
By Rich Rudowske on 8/26/2010 2:18 PM
I am currently reading a book called 'African Traditional Religions and Culture in Botswana' by Prof. James Amanze at the University of Botswana. In the first chapter he discusses the concept of the high God in African traditional religions in general and in Botswana specifically. He makes the argument that the concept of the high God "Modimo'
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Small Deposits
By Rich Rudowske on 8/23/2010 4:16 PM
One of the great things about the slower (sometimes) pace of life here is the opportunity to evaluate decisions and habits and implement some different things to help with work, health, spirituality, and so forth.  One of the important priniciples that came out of my study in the last few months was the importance of managing time and this very key thing:  that making small deposits in certain areas of life have a cumulative effect - no one deposit seems all that meaningful but collectively they make a big difference.  For me I decided these things were time reading the Bible each day, usually just one chapter and writing about it, at least a half hour studying Setswana or Shekgalagari, a half an hour reading a book on culture, language, or theology, a weekly meeting with each of my children and a short run (3km or so) each afternoon.  The other part of the principle is that the urgent things of life that usually distract us from making the ...
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In their Words...
By Rich Rudowske on 7/21/2010 12:14 PM


The following is the closing remarks at the end of the July 12 meeting of the Board for the Shekgalagari Bible Translation Project given by Chairman Nelson Lekutlane.  I wanted to share with you because each of you partnerning with our ministry is a part of what is happening here and we want you to know that while things are moving slowly there is a firm foundation being laid and God is going to do big things.

"I want to close by letting you know that by this meeting, I am inspired.  I am inspired at your commitment.  Mr. Machao, I am inspired at your passion.  Mr. Mogapele at your wisdom.  To all of you I am insprired at the way you engage the issues and seriously address and discuss them.  I am inspired that we shall continue to go forward in this project.  And I hope that you are also inspired Richard, that you have come from so far away an ...

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The Wise Thing to Do
By Rich Rudowske on 6/18/2010 11:00 PM
Our family has spent the last five Sundays interacting with a message series based on Ephesians 5:15-17 "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
We have found that our tendency is to want to live our lives as close to the line of right and wrong as possible, and that when we think about it, usually decisions that are wrong that cause problems - the kinds of decisions that put us in situations where we feel trapped, or know we are in big trouble, are generally preceded by a series of unwise decisions.  You wouldn't call any of them wrong, but if we stop asking the question 'is this right or wrong?' and start asking 'is this the wise thing to do', then we put ourselves in a much better position to make good choices in life and avoid r ...
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