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.

Sometimes Things Don't Work Out
By Rich Rudowske on 3/25/2011 5:29 PM

One of the hard parts of being in ministry is that things happen, things don't work the way you hope they will, things fall apart and we realize that the brokenness of humanity is still very much a part of all that we try to do.

A case in point is the continuing story of my friend Jacob.  I wrote about Jacob on this blog a few months back.  At the time he was working for us, and in his spare time he was taking a recorded version of the Setswana Bible (Proclaimer) out into the bush and reaching groups of people who are usually not reachable with the word of God. 

Unfortunately, things fall apart sometimes.  In January, Jacob told us he no longer wanted to work for us, he didn't like being tied down to one job.  (This is common around here).  We have had to fire workers before, but this was the first one to quit and it was a surprise.  He kept the Proclaimer and continued to meet with his li ...

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Campfire Therapy
By Rich Rudowske on 3/11/2011 10:52 PM

As I write to you, oh faithful blog reader, I am sitting next to a small campfire in my yard under a gorgeous blanket of stars on a cool Kalahari night.  Campfires are therapeutic for me.  This one has been very refreshing.  These last couple of weeks I have felt overwhelmed at times with all that there is to do, the various hats that I wear as part of our LBT organization and the various tasks I juggle as a dad, teacher, neighbor, and pastor.  

I have experienced depression in my life, a sort of empty feeling devoid of feeling - it was horrible.  Depression can come for no apparent reason, sometimes brought on by stress, sometimes not.  After I faced a season of depression a few years back, I sat with my grandmother and also my mother through their own dark times, wishing I could help and understanding to an extent what they were experiencing. 

I felt myself slipping bac ...

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To my son, Chris
By Rich Rudowske on 2/25/2011 10:56 PM

He towers over me, this firstborn son of mine, by at least 3 inches now.  Named Christopher - the bearer of Christ - after his uncle, my beloved brother, he has always been the unique individual that I was warned in playful fun by my mother that he would be if he were to be named after his uncle.  This past week as I have collected textbooks from the end of the first semester of high school and laid them aside for new ones, I am suddenly aware at the passage of time and that soon this young man will no longer be under my care and guidance.  I feel a twinge of sadness at the thought.  It seems like we have always been together, this guy and me.  We moved right before he would have started kindergarten, and largely unfamiliar with our new surroundings and incredibly naive - we decided to homeschool him.  He soon proved to be too strong willed for his mother and the task of his training fell to me.  Oh sure, I've had plenty of help over the ...

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Horses, an Airplane, and Drawings
By Rich Rudowske on 2/11/2011 5:50 PM

It has been an eventful last week.  Last Friday I was met in the village by some folks who own a game farm near here and who have invited us to come several times to visit and we have always been too busy.  So they insisted we come that weekend, so on Saturday we did.  It was a blast!  They have a boy and girl the same age as Chris and Katherine and they all hit it off very well.  There was horseback riding, a game drive, braai (barbeque) and just great conversation.  This farm is 19km from here down the paved road, and then you turn north and drive 30km(!) on sand tracks to this 45,000 acre farm that borders the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.  Driving in we saw zebras, wildebeest (including several that dashed right out in front of my car) kudu, lots of various antelope like creatures.  At night you can hear lions roaring in the CKGR.  Amazing.  

On Monday, missionary pilot Uncle Da ...

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The Part Between the Chapters
By Rich Rudowske on 2/4/2011 3:35 PM

Many missionary stories we have read have a section about getting ready to go, then when they first get there and then the next chapter will start with 'five years had gone by'.  That's where we are now - in that part that doesn't often get written about.  The weeks just fly by around here it seems.  There isn't much to report and I don't have much creative energy flowing, so let me just give you a snapshot of where we are right now:

On Monday (Feb. 7) the board for the project meets here in Kang.  They have already ratified in principle a memo of understanding that will place administration and ownership of this project under the Bible Society of Botswana (BSB).  We have a target date of April 1st to have all stakeholders on board.  LBT brass is reviewing the document now and the BSB board will meet to discuss the proposal and hopefully agree as well.

The board will also consider hiring the project's firs ...

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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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