Lesotho – Day 4

 

 

Saturday, July 5

God’s presence was dynamic today. It was jut a good day all the way around. Today both sessions of witnessing were at the village of HaSpiriti. HaSpiriti is missing a generation due to HIV/Aids. The old made it past the epidemic and the young haven’t got it yet. But the 18-40 years old are all gone. All ravaged by the Thief who knocks at the door to steal, kill, and destroy.

 

Today we were blessed beyond description to have Meruti (pastor) Mphosi as our interpreter.. He was friendly, expressive, and was totally committed to the mission at hand. Our first house up the mountain (which totally takes the wind out of you) was a good one. The gentleman we spoke to was named Espiriti.

 

Espiriti

Espiriti

He listened to Mark intently. Half way through he stopped us and I think we all thought, he wants us to go. But, instead he had the children go in to get us chairs to show us respect. By the time we were through six or seven people were there and he told us he was glad of what we said because we spoke the truth and it was a great encouragement to him. He told us to share the Good News with the village. The Spirit that came from him was beautiful. You knew he was a believer. As we finished an older man that had been listening and listening more said to Mphosi that he was grateful and from the words spoken and the prayers said he had got salvation this day! Praise God! We then shared with a man that listened to me well and had all the right answers. I even asked him if the Lord stood before him today how would He know Jesus was is Lord. And the man said, “Because I have invited him into my heart.

But, its not as good as you might think. What does James 2:19 say? 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! You see, When we left this man who had the right answers Mphosi would inform us we had just witnessed to a Sangoma (witch doctor). We prayed for him after we left, but felt we had missed an opportunity to deal with spiritual warfare head on.

Sangoma magic medicines...yeah whatever

Sangoma magic medicines...yeah whatever

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bishop and Jess shared with two women who just didn’t seem to get it. Then onto an older man who seemed blind. He listened well, but was uncertain where he was spiritually. Next, we shared with a man who seemed a bit off.  He smiled (in a creepy way) the whole time Bishop and Jess shared. A smile that said he thought we were goofballs. But, when we finished the Spirit had got a hold of him and he said he had never heard the gospel and he too might have got saved. Simply by his declaring it new news and praying with us. Can you see why we loved Mphosi? This is five witnessing opportunities before lunch!

 

As we would reflect later Alan and Babs would share that this is a dead village. But other groups had success today too and there were a possible four salvations where the Dial’s had seen little, if any response to the Gospel. It was when Alan shared that that I felt God might have a special anointing on our group for the mountains of Lesotho.

 

My version of this day is out of order but some other experiences included. praying with a semi-deaf lady who seemed to be dying and spending some time with an old man whose sight was so bad he mistook Mark for Alan. Mphosi was able to correct that and then he made certain we all had seat. He knew the good News of our Savior, so Mark shared the story of the prodigal son and the man connected with Mark, laughing at the right times and making a connection to the spiritual significance of the story. He was a generous man. He grabbed one of his chickens to see if he could get an egg out of it for us. He told us if we came back later he would quench our thirst because we had fed him the food of Jesus. He told us we needed to learn the language of Sesotho so we could have a real conversation. A good time at that home, for sure.

 

Random note: Andrew and Chris; they are our white South African guides and cooks. They are a blast and the students love them. They are loud, boisterous, animated and full of life and full of joy.

 

Chris and Andrew

Chris and Andrew

Tonight’s meal was baked potatoes cut in fours, covered with tomato sauce, corn, and scrambled eggs.

 

Lots of spiritual victory today. Everybody has shared their faith now. In fact they have shared door to door to at least two or three dozen homes. They have all got past their fears and have grasped the level of evangelism God seeks from us. He group just seemed to get it today. And we had four groups. You have read mine, here are the others. They were amazing!

 

 

Nathan Burdette, Sara Swick, Kadi Forth, John Wetmore (Wetmore didn't make his own group shot)

2nd Group: Nathan Burdette, Sara Swick, Kadi Forth, John Wetmore (Wetmore didn't make his own group shot)

 

 

 

Elise Scribano, Emma Sipes, Amanda Fout, Trent Jeffrey,

3rd Group: Elise Scribano, Emma Sipes, Amanda Fout, Trent Jeffrey,

 

 

 

Kelsey Myers, Chris De Villiers, Katie Kovacs, Cyndole Jeffrey, Jared Sauder,

4th Group: Kelsey Myers, Chris De Villiers, Katie Kovacs, Cyndole Jeffrey, Jared Sauder,

 

 

Hang in there

If you are waiting for day 4 of Lesotho hang in there. Lori and I took the boys to Busch Gardens today and it was fabulous. We will now take our time driving back to Columbus. So, with limited web access and lots of driving to do, it might be a couple of days. In the meantime cherish this photo from Africa at Busch Gardens which actually far exceeded the real safari we took in Africa.

Uh...boys and macaws

Uh...boys and macaws

Lesotho – Day 3

Friday, July 4th

 

An odd July 4th for sure. Actually there was no sense of Independence Day here in Lesotho. After breakfast we headed out to visit the Katse Dam. Immense and windy. We then headed up to our first village of the day. Our team was Bishop, Mark, Jessica and we added Babs and Elise. In the first rondovel we visited we were invited in and they had five women, a girl, and one young man.

Rondovel

Rondovel

 

Mark shared Creation to the Cross and the Babs brought the Word again. Alan would later tell us they try to share the gospel three times in a setting, once by some type of visual (i.e. putting me in front of Jessica and saying I am Christ and when God see Jessica’s sin He sees Jesus), once by the clear presentation of the truth of John 14:6, and in prayer. Babs went long, but it was good. Before our day concluded Babs felt the old lady in the group got saved. She told Babs something changed in her heart as Babs spoke. That lady, as would the young man form the first rodonvel would follow us to the next hut and listen to us again. A strong sign they desired the Word. Bishop broke out of her comfort zone and shared Creation to the Cross and again Babs brought closure. These visits (although I was tired and had to peeJ) seemed spiritual and we felt all were attentive. There were moments of fatigue, but not boredom. I did anticipate some boredom with such long presentations. That’s not very spiritual I know. After we went back and had leftover lunch we headed to our third village.

 

The villages are nothing like I envisioned. I had a simple preconception but it was way off. The rondovels and huts are scattered all over the mountain sides with animals and carts and corn and animal pens.

 

 

The third village was more adventurous in reflection than when we were there. It was back to our original four and Meruti Phoka. We found a home with two women working with corn, some kids and a man. Jessica acted out the Creation to the Cross and id a great job. The older lady was grateful and encouraged. The rest of the time at the village got weird. After Meruti Phoka kind of checked out on us we decided to prayer walk and we did with a friend of his, who I was able to pray with for his son is one month old with bumps on his head. Jess, Mark, and Bishop led some children in songs and dancing.

 

After a while of this an older man came on a horse and the kids stopped interacting with us. Some late teens asked Bishop, Jess, and Mark to sing to some people in a clinic up a ways. I followed them and Meruti Phoka finally caught up with us. When we got to the next rondovel area one of these girls (who could speak English) had led us, unbeknownst to us, way past the clinic. She told me it was too late for her to hear about Jesus and she had to go and then Told me Jesus was her Savior and one of her friends sang a song that sounded worshipish. But it didn’t seem genuine nor did they. They left and too prove my instincts correct they walked around a building and started to bother John while he was witnessing intensely with a man. Later John would tell me he sensed darkness in this area and then the interactions with the girls didn’t seem so innocent. Later too, Mark would say he too sensed spiritual warfare.

 

Dinner tonight was egg, bacon, onion, and baked bean sandwiches. Kelsey led devotion and we talked out our fears/joys, victories/struggles, and experiencing God moments.

Lesotho – Day 2

Thursday, July 3rd

Today was the first spiritual challenges for me and all. Breakfast was oatmeal and Rusk hard bread for coffee dipping). Prior to breakfast John secured us some coffee and after devotion I went outside and was astounded and what God can make and the magnitude of his beautiful creation. The sun was rising over the mountains that surround a body of water that was still and mesmerizing. Smoke floated out of the mountains and devotion was thanking God for it. I then hoped Emma was up and dressed and she was and we held hands and witnessed the view together. It was awe inspiring and the most spiritual moment I remember ever sharing with Emma.

Devotion View Katse

Devotion View Katse

We spent the morning being oriented to Lesotho and its culture by Alan and Babs. It was incredible information. Sad, heart shattering, hopeful.

Alan shared how the Lion King story reflects the Lesotho ancestor beliefs. Rafiki being the witch doctor and Mufasa the ancestor.

60% are unemployed. 75% have aids. 90% have TB. In 26 years there will be no Basotho (brown people of Lesotho). In less than five years the population has dropped from 2.3 million to 1.8 million. 25% are orphaned.

We learned Dumayla means hello.

Alan shared how they came to adopt Daniel and Mohau. Mohau is six and has attached himself to me. He is sweet beyond description. After orientation Amanda Fout asked for us to pray. It was intense and Amanda sobbed. And when John prayed he broke and Mohau did the most awesome thing. He let go of my hand, got a tissue and wiped John’s tears away. Then when I prayed, he took my hand and put a tissue in it as I wept. It was as pure of a moment a child can have.

After lunch (ham and tomato sandwiches, peanut butter and syrup sandwiches). We traveled to the village of Chiana to go door to door sharing the gospel. Who am I to have such a privilege? The drive was unnerving (a recurring issue our whole trip) and we drove the eighteen passenger Sprinter up hills and roads it was not designed for. After stalling on a steep hill, we walked, prayed as a group and split up into teams. I took Meruti Phoka, Mark Doles, Amanda Bishop, and Jessica Stone. The first hut we visited was owned by Paul and he was working on his roof. I had no idea how to start. Every ounce of my evangelism weakness was exposed. I was at a total loss with his wife sitting nearby, I stumbled through. Paul claimed Jesus, being Catholic and swore he didn’t pray to Mary. That pushed us to move on. Wee then shared with a woman as she fed her kids inside while we talked from outside. She too claimed Christ and we prayed for her sickness.

The next hut the man was working, but Jess and Mark went and played with the kids. Bishop and I shared our inadequacies. We shared twice at this hut. First I shared with two women and Jess to three. She did great and I walked through creation to the cross pretty well. Interesting moment was when a little boy who stood in the doorway between the women as Jessica shared just whipped it out and peed.

Bishop, Mark, Jess with women and kids

Bishop, Mark, Jess with women and kids

I am not sure why poverty didn’t break me today. I don’t know if it was because we saw so much driving up that it was no longer a surprise or I was just numb to it or that I have no sense of superiority over the poor and just oversaw it. It was 50ish degrees outside, kids with no shoes and every place asked us to pray for their sick And sick is sick here.

Back at the dorms we had crepes with mince meat. Had a debriefing time with the Dial’s. They share their testimonies. I really couldn’t feel more secure with the adults we have. John is amazing, Amanda’s heart for the lost is bursting, and Katie is incredibly strong.

Lesotho Africa – Day 1

June 30 2008 sixteen Jersey Baptist faithful set out to Lesotho Africa to simply share the gospel. Coming back to America has been anything but simple. The next few days I will recap the words I wrote as I froze each night in the dorm.

10:30PM Wednesday, July 2nd

It has been a long long time to get into Lesotho and settled in. Left Port Columbus International airport at 3ish in the afternoon Monday and arrived in our dorm in Lesotho well over 48 hours later. It is freezing. Literally. There is just something about packing in Ohio in July that cannot make the connection it is winter and freezing on the other side of the world.

Travel- whew! Long, but it seems the desire to reach our destination superceded our boredom. Flight from Detroit to Amsterdam was 6+ hours. Jared had an empty row and kindly offered to share. So we took it over and got comfortable. Got 2 1/2 hours sleep on that one and we gained six hours. Even as I sit now it seems my body clock is OK. We waited in Amsterdam for three hours which turned to be less time than it seemed. The Euro exchange rate bites. Eighteen dollars bought me a double espresso, a bottle of water, and a sandwich. It takes awhile to board 400 so we started boarding an hour before departure. Eleven hours to Johannesburg, less comfortable, not an issue. Less leg room sandwiched between Nathan and Cyndole. Nathan kindly offered up the aisle at the end. to

Made into Jo’burg at 9:20PM and it would be after 11 once we went through customs, got our luggage and exchanged our money.  We were greeted by our ACTS guides (read about ACTS here) Chris and Andrew. Two brothers age 21 and 22, who would bring life to our group beyond description, their job was to help us exchange money, get from airport to lodging, all transportation, cook all our meals, and oversee the safari.

They took us over to BIMS (Baptist International Mission Services) a place for missionaries and churches to stay for assorted things. It was like a dorm and the fellas had a six bed place. We got 4 hours sleep, had our instant coffee, got loaded up and headed to Lesotho at 7AM. We had no idea the length of this leg of the journey. What was a preconceived to be six or seven hours would take us thirteen. We all slept on and off but as we hit Lesotho it was too intriguing not too watch everything. But, before all that we started the trip by hitting rush hour in Jo’burg and took a long time to get out of the city. Our first stop we hit a Shell station to pee. A couple of hours later we hit Ficksburg and ate at a burger joint called Wimpy’s. We still were nervous about food and drink due to the crazy warnings we received. Do we eat the lettuce? Do we eat tomatoes? Is the ice Ok since it’s frozen Africa water Etc. The fears were to no avail and I think the only food we ate that ran through some of us was the rich food we had one day in the middle of our adventure. Wimpy’s was OK. Hamburger meat tasted like Buffalo. Ketchup tasted like watered down sweet sauce. We would later find out it was Tomato Sauce not Ketchup. And not Tomato Sauce in the American sense, but Tomato Sauce made with 36 Tomattos. We met white South Africans who intrigued the kids with their normalness. It was my first experience with Rand (African money). It cost was $528 Rand including tip for twelve of us. Which was less than $70, not bad. .

Soon after lunch we hit the Lesotho border. It was dirty, busy, chaotic and had some elements of evil I cannot define. It was now 4:15 and it was 120km (74 miles) to Katse (the village area we were staying in). It would take us four hours in the VW van that could only do first gear going up and down on such steep inclines and declines and twisty roads. That meant a whole lot of 15-20 MPH.

But while it was light it was continuous mountain climbing, snow caps, frozen waterfall, huts, kids, people walking, ponies, sheep, cattle, etc. It was freaky steep and everlasting but God in all His goodness sustained us through boredom, fear, and fatigue.

It was awesome that our South African Acts boys, Andrew and Chris, had never experienced snow. Whew we pulled up toward a bend Andrew came flying out of the mountain side and flew in front of our van while Chris had his head hanging out the window enjoying the cold and BAM Chris receives his first snowball in the face. What a blast! Alan and Babs Dial met us and escorted us to the village and to their house. They had taco salad waiting for us. Hugging and seeing Alan and Babs was beautiful after months of emails. They were beautiful. They glowed.

That was getting there. More to come.