The Tswana or Batswana people are the principal inhabitants of the country formerly known as Bechuanaland. The territory was declared a British protectorate in 1895. The country received full independence in September 1966. Since independence in 1966, Botswana has enjoyed stability, democracy, and an economy that has grown faster than that of any other African nation.
Approximately half of the population would consider themselves Christians; however, traditional African religion and rites are still practiced by the majority of people.
In 1998, having completed a survey of the countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Malawi, the Lord directed Rev. and Mrs. Steve Bell to Botswana and particularly to Kanye, one of the most populated villages. The first three months of 1999 involved meeting the legal requirements for registering and gaining a work permit and residence permit. They were able to rent a small facility near the main bus station that they outgrew within a year, at which point they began renting a primary school. In 2001, the church was allocated a plot in a new development area located between a large junior high school and a primary school. The congregation moved into their new premises, a 600-square-meter worship center, on the third anniversary of the church.
The culture of Botswana requires that the ministry reach out to foreign families present in the country and to Batswana children and youth, many of whom are orphans or who live with a relative. Botswana has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world. The life expectancy had dropped to 49 years in 2002, but it is starting to rise again.
We currently have no missionaries in Botswana, but missionaries who are burdened for this country will find opportunities to serve. Church planters are needed to further reach out with the gospel and establish Bible-preaching Baptist churches in Botswana.