Lesotho – Day 9

Thursday, July 9

Today started well because of a good night’s sleep. Kadi, Mark, and I gave testimonies. And we headed off to Chief Andreas house. It was a ways past the where we got the horses. We played cricket with firewood, ate porridge (actually homemade cream of wheat), and drank tea.

Porridge is good

Porridge is good

Every time I mention being fed in villages it is of great sacrifice for those who prepare the meal. And the reason you have to eat everything show courtesy and appreciation. Waste would be rude.

 

We traveled from the chief’s house back to a soccer patch right next to where we picked up the horses. Oh, and the roads were bad again, just not as long. The road to the chief’s house had enough rocks and wash outs to make the truck lean 45 degrees either way. On the way out of the village today we thought for sure we were going to tip over. Even the confident were a little leery this time.

Back to the soccer patch. We set up church there as we directed the sound toward the village. As we set up the guy I was witnessing too the day we picked up the horses showed up. His name was Pepeto. And the Spirit equipped me to witness to this young man who spoke decent English. We talked about Christ, one truth, body, burial, soul, sex, circumcision, disease, ancestor worship, alcohol, weed, cocaine, and Scripture. It was anointed. I will pray for him (as should you) to be delivered by our God and give him a Christ following desire for righteousness.

 

 

The church service was long. Ntate Edward likes to talk and the services were getting longer each day as a result. No intros today, but the chiefs talked, John spoke on possessions, Amanda F spoke on why we were there, and I spoke to them on sexual purity. Alan spoke on HIV/Aids, Babs spoke on creation, and Moruti Phoka preached. Afterwards we went back to the chief’s house for lunch. We had rice, broccoli/cabbage mix and roasted lamb.

 

After lunch Babs took a group to the sangoma’s house and Mark and I followed. He was painting the inside of the house blue. Babs showed love and concern for him. There was an older male Sangoma who kept on painting. An older female Sangoma walked in and ushered us into the bedroom with the Sangoma, her, and four shepherds. We were allowed to share Creation to the Cross. Mark took it and ran. He became loud and passionate. The old woman followed the story closely, raising her eyebrows with inquisitiveness as God’s story was unveiled to her. She listened intently. I couldn’t read the Sangoma. He was the most American looking man we have seen in a native here. He was between 23 and 30 years old and had yellow bloodshot eyes. There was a heaviness you could feel just being in that room with him. But, he kindly listened and said nobody had ever told him that story before. We would find out later the older Sangoma who was painting was listening in. And sometimes his neck would stiffen up and he would rattle the beads in his hair. The story of the Lord was affecting him. Intense.

 

We then returned home after getting pictures of the interpreters and getting gas for the Dial’s truck.

 

The fearsome foursome, Seferi, Malopo, Phoka, Mphosi

The fearsome foursome, Seferi, Malopo, Phoka, Mphosi

Dinner was awesome. BBQ lamb, lamb sausage, and mashed potatoes. It was the kind of hearty meal we needed and a real treat. Actually the treat most nights was pudding. The South African boy’s version of pudding was fruit cocktail. But one night they pulled out custard you poured from a box. That stuff was delightful. I am pretty sure I finished off the last patch of it.

 

 

I am so proud of this team. They have far exceeded my expectations. God has penetrated each of our hearts.

 

The writing fireplace. Where John and I camped out each night.

The writing fireplace. Where John and I camped out each night.

Lesotho – Day 8

Wednesday, July 9

 

Another rough day. Emma, Jared, and Jessica shared their testimonies before we set out for the day. It would turn out to be another windy, sandy day and fifteen degrees colder. We drove those wild and crazy roads until it turned to dirt. We thought we were going two villages past the horse post. I walked at one point the decline was so steep and scary looking. We made it up that hill and though we had arrived. It was not to be. We traveled past four more villages. Emotionally it was as miserable as yesterday. Uneven roads on the edge of cliffs with dried up canals in the road where water eroded the road. Small boulders littered the roads. It was a miserable two hour drive.

 

The day itself went fine, but my fear, hunger, and fatigue ate me up and I was wore out. We held the church service outside and the whole village came. What was cool was no missionary had ever set foot in the village before. So, having twenty white people show up with a sound system had to be very intriguing. After Ntate Edward did his intros, Malopo preached the Word, Alan preached HIV/Aids and the gospel. The girls presented the women ministry blankets to the double orphans (both mom and dad deceased). Afterwards, Amanda F witnessed with power to a group and soon after we left.

 

I closed my eyes, cranked up my Ipod, and prayed continuously until we got back to Ntate Edward’s. I felt God’s presence as I prayed for fear left me by the end of the drive.

 

Dinner at Edward’s was ridiculous. Fried chicken (the best I’ve ever had, since it was butchered this morning), cabbage, shocka locka, and squash. It was awesome. It was the richest food since we arrived and we all ate like savages.

 

 

Lesotho – Day 7

Tuesday, July 8

 

If I wanted to get simple. We rode horses. It was windy. I hated it. But, it was much more than that. Doles, Kelsey, Amanda F and Wetmore loved it and I take joy in that. It was a long day on dirt roads no sane person would drive on to start the day. Steep. Curvy. Foot deep divots.

 

 

When we arrived at where we would pick up the horses we witnessed to a couple who had been witnessed too by Jehovah Witnesses. Mark, Nathan, Elise, and I were challenged. And we were trying to think fast. Mphosi and Molopo helped a great deal. They wanted to talk about there being ‘one way’ and about ¼ of people going to heaven. The twenty-one year old guy actually spoke English and we started engaging in conversation. He shared he drinks and is that OK? And I shared I feel God might not be pleased if we seek out alcohol for affect. We are fogging up our clarity of mind with a substance that can do that and is that something God would really want? I can tell he resisted the gospel and a commitment to Christ because there were things he was not ready to give up like alcohol and sex. I told him we would be back Thursday to put on a church service. We’ll see if we see him again.

 

Off to the horseback riding. I got a small horse and a fidgety horse. The good news the heights of the mountain pass did not bother me. And the trip on horseback for an hour and a half to the village wasn’t half bad.

 

We eventually held a service in a village school. A 20’ x 40’ rectangle building with window holes with no panes. Ntate Edward and yesterday’s village chief were there as was today’s village chief and the school master. Again, we were introduced as messengers of God and I shared with them how God led us to Lesotho. The students sang us a song in Sesotho that reflected what I said. The lyrics were something like ‘you are messengers from God from a long way away.” Five girls then did a dance in hula looking skirts. And that was followed by two shepherds jamming on some homemade instruments. Pay attention how much a one string instrument can make sound like an electric violin.

 

 

Seferi preached and Alan spoke on Aids then our students were able to share the gifts we had brought for he kids like the soccer balls Kadi Forth had brought, some coloring books, crayons, balloons, salvation bracelets, and some other things. I was privileged to pray over the orphans. Ntate Edward had Jessica lead us in the Star Spangled Banner, Andrew and Chris sang the South African anthem and the nationals sang the Lesotho anthem. Ntate Edward is all about doing it up. He is a true master of ceremonies.

 

Afterwards some shepherds were outside breaking it down Lesotho style.

 

 

 

They too prepared food for us today, but alas it was not as good. The vegetables (cale?) just were not as good as the day before, but I think some us loaded up thinking it would be. Not a good move. They had the same corn starch stuff, but it took hot tea for many of us to choke down what we had been given.

 

The horseback ride was miserable. I felt imbalanced the whole ride. And although it was probably sixty degrees (a heat wave in July Lesotho!) we were riding into sand blasted winds of forty or fifty miles per hour. And too top t off the truck ride back was terrifying again. Bishop led devotion. It went well. You could tell we were all whooped. I carved a tree branch while Katie and I talked about life, ups and downs and our parents.

 

I forgot to mention Cyndole, Amanda F, and Chris gave their testimonies today. Cyndole was very transparent and a Godly outlook on the tough times in her life. In case I have not made it clear. We start the mornings with three of us sharing testimonies and end the days with one of the students leading a devotion time. I will dive in a bit more the devotions so you can get a sense of those intimate moments in a later post.

 

I am starting to sense the Dials are juiced up by our group and are taking us too places they have spent little time in, but want to invest in and our team is up to the task. Praise God!

Lesotho – Day 6

Monday, July 7

 

Fears-Driving on roads

Joys – Salvations

Struggles – Hunger

Victories – Listening

 

What a good day! Testimonies began the day (Katie – Beautiful transparency, Bishop, and Andrew)

 

Today we traveled the scariest mountain passes yet and we began at Ntate Edward’s home. An eighty year old tall distinguished gentleman with a bright yellow house.

 

Ntate Edward's palace

Ntate Edward's palace

 

He was the connection to the chief of the village we would be in today. And was the answer too a year of Alan and Babs praying for a man to help them step into the villages in a valley they prayed over. God is good. Alan picked up the chief and met us at Ntate Edward’s house. And we made our way to the village. The back road to this one was at a 45 degree angle. Scary. The roads all scare me. (I had no idea it would get worse in the days to follow). Moruti Malopo and Saferi set up a generator, keyboard, mic and three speakers. They started playing some music with a beat. They did this at the top of the mountain over the village, so all portions of the village could hear. And over the next hour from upwards to ¾ of a mile the villagers came. One site to see was watching Babs skip and dance into the village.

 

The students played duck, duck, goose with twenty to thirty village children. The joy on our own student’s faces was priceless much less the children. John and Mark made conversation with some shepherds who would not come into the crowd. Eventually Ntate (father) Edward started it all. The men sat to the right, the women center, and children to the left

 

Edward began, the chief welcomed us and Edward had us introduce ourselves one by one. Then Pastor Phoka preached the Word in Sesotho for twenty or thirty minutes. Then, Alan spoke on aids medicine being available and the need to be tested and how the devil is knocking on the door to steal, kill, and destroy and this medicine could shut the devil down. We then were on task to get one on one to share the gospel. Kelsey, Jessica, Kadi played and danced with kids, as Babs passed out glasses to a line of ladies, and Amanda Fout, with a bunch of others, spoke to a group of women and shared the gospel.

 

John, Mark, Bishop, Mphosi, and I had the privilege to share with some shepherds. It was anointed. Mark went right at about four of them with Creation to the Cross. And I watched a man start to take root. He flowed. He was wise, by letting the shepherds know they were the first ones to know Jesus was born and the Christ. This let them know no matter the status of a shepherd (pretty low in Lesotho) God proclaimed himself to them first. As Mark shared more and more came. When Mark came to invitation time Mphosi said the shepherd wanted to know how they could accept Jesus into their life. Mark handed off to Alan and he presented the gospel again with visual analogies and when the shepherds made it clear they wanted the One true God, Alan handed back off to Mark. We all knelt and Mark led them in praying to receive Christ. I wept as Mark prayed and Mphosi repeated his words in Sesotho and all the shepherds prayed the words out loud. By the time he was done eight men and three women prayed that prayer with us. It was beautiful and mind blowing. Mark could have started a church after that moment. See picture.

 

Mark's first church

Mark's first church

 

I want to make sure I share how incredible I think Alan was in this. He gave the platform to pray the gospel with the shepherds. I found that incredibly spiritual This is Alan’s country. This is his planting ground. This is where he has prayed through sweat and tears for five years. Yet, when it came time to lead these people to Christ he handed it over to a seventeen year old boy. Thank you Alan for being a true unselfish servant of our Lord.

 

Mphosi is a go-getter and we were off to find more. And we did. Bishop shared with a group that included a Sangoma.

 

Sangoma (Witch Doctor)

Sangoma (Witch Doctor)

 

That sangomas had actually listened to Mark and Alan’s presentation with the shepherds but left when it came to prayer time. This group Bishop spoke too now was overtaken by a drunken man with legitimate spiritual questions. The biggest one being, “Does it cost to believe this free gift of Christ?” He had been kicked out by a local Catholic church for not paying his fees. It seems (per Alan) there is a Catholic church here that actually sells to tickets to heaven!

 

Soon after we were invited to the chief’s home to receive a feast to celebrate our being there. Awesome! Real Lesotho food! I was not disappointed. Although I was hungry enough to eat anything the meals was roasted meat, a vegetable concoction that consisted of tomato, spinach, cabbage, and shocka-locka (it was amazing), a corn meal thing like a bland mashed potato and some bread that tasted fruity. Topped off with a tea scooped out of a bucket that had the consistency of porridge and tasted like apple sauce soup. Yum yum. Honest.

 

A healthy Lesotho meal.

A healthy Lesotho meal.

 

We then started back and stopped at a place to eat lunch. Not everyone had got enough or quite enjoyed the chief’s meal as I did. We ate lunch overlooking the village Alan and Babs had prayed over to find Ntate Edward. We prayed too. It was powerful.

 

Later after a potato and burger dinner Emma led devotion. She did great and it was a blessing to hear her pray with so much maturity. We talked through the day and Babs shared how amazed she was with our vibrant group. The most rewarding thing she conveyed was that our youth was spiritually deep. For me that was an affirmation of all of you who are in and who serve in Student Ministry at Jersey. It is a compliment that gives God the glory for working through all of you.

 

Tomorrow we horseback ride on a mountain pass. I am anxious.

Lesotho – Day 5

Sunday, July 6

 

This is a good day to review. Church day. We had been told to plan to work with children at Sunday School and be prepared to share our testimonies.

 

Jessica and Bishop had picked names out of a hat and Emma, Chris, Katie, John, Cyndole, Jared, Sara, Jessica, and Elise went with Alan to Moruti Phoka’s church. Kelsey, Kadi, Nathan, Mark, Trent, Amanda, Andrew, Bishop, and I joined Babs at Moruti Malopo’s church. We went through the village with Babs inviting people to church. I am pretty Babs was giving them the scolding mother talk if they weren’t coming. She was all over the mountain inviting people. Children’s Sunday school never happened but worship did. Oh my, did we worship! It began with endless beautiful Africa worship. African women singing the most upbeat, victorious worship songs, sung in the most beautiful key. We did this for a long time. But we didn’t know it was a long time. For we weren’t at a church with any time restrictions. It was totally led by the Spirit and when one is immersed in the Spirit time is no burden.

 

 

 

 

 

The most beautiful church in the world

The most beautiful church in the world

We eventually all shared our testimonies. All the kids were great. Transparent to the greatest degree. Then more worship. Then at one point I say saw Malopo and Babs talking and soon I was committing to preach. It is not my gift to wing it, I am a preparer. But, God was having his way and I felt I could preach on Matthew 5 and the beatitudes. Verses 1-10. What a privilege to preach in an African church and being translated into Sesotho by an amazing female church leader. After I finished all the children came up and shared a Scripture verse from memory, it was sweet. The end of church was a festivity of greeting and song. I wish I could tell you what the words were, but we sang and danced and shook everyone’s hand (the Lesotho way – see me and I’ll show you sometime). In that little church pictured here there were over fifty of us.

 

 

And when I say we shook hands I mean every person shook every person’s hand. It was a beautiful example of community. The way church should be. Why can’t we stop and ignore time at church and greet everyone? Fifty us in a 16’ x 20’ shack. It was perfect. It had all the elements of an alive church It wasn’t long, it wasn’t boring, it was alive with the Spirit of God thriving in its midst.

 

 

We then went to the other group at Phoka’s house. We climbed down the cliff behind his house to see 1000 year old Bushman paintings. I was a bit anti-climatic for they were very difficult to make out.

 

While at Phoka’s he saw a car had driven over the side of the mountain and was caught about 40 feet down. Wetmore, Four, Andrew, Alan, Phoka, and I jumped in the truck and headed over. A boulder saved the life of the family

 

The reality of driving in the Lesotho mountains

The reality of driving in the Lesotho mountains

 

One less rock and that car would have plummeted into a ravine hundreds of feet below. The lady from the car had injured her knee and was wailing as were her children both under the age of four. The children would not leave their mom and as long as she was wailing so were they. It was sad. And the ultimate sadness was the indifference of the Lesotho people hanging around. Rubber neckers just like America. But nobody cared. There were a dozen men around and that lady was wailing alone and away from everyone when we arrived. An example of the dead spirit of many of the people in Lesotho. Andrew wrapped up the lady’s knee and she calmed down and someone took her and the kids on their way.

 

We then climbed a small mountain to find happy rocks. See video to see the effect the altitude had on the old red head. And when you’re done you quit that laughing! In the end we found some crystallized rocks and we prayed as a group.

 

I learn things I do not expect to learn in the oddest places. Lesotho is evangelism, poverty, cold nights, sangomas, new food, shoeless children. But, I sense God is teaching me life through Andrew and Chris and Alan and Babs. Alan and Babs because of their love for the Basotho, their love for their boys (they started parenting again after the age of 55), and their passion for each other. They love each other. He teases her. She is passionate and their love permeates any disagreements or irritations with each other.

 

Daniel, Alan, Babs, Mohau

Daniel, Alan, Babs, Mohau

 

Andrew and Chris are 22 and 21. They are all boy. The enjoy life more than anybody I have ever seen. Admire the. I enjoy their passion for life. Beautiful young men. Yes, girls, they are pretty too.

 

The last thing God is convicting me on after reading The Shack is my lack of love. He is foremost love and I am not. I use excuses not too love; I’m too hungry, I’m too tired, can’t get my way, etc. Love is to be constant and I am seeking God for victory in giving and exhibiting more love.

 

But today let’s declare.

 

I worshiped in an African Church

I preached in an African church.

I climbed an African mountain.