Below is a letter I wrote to those who supported my recent mission trip to Lesotho. I share it here with the hope it may spark some interest in someone else's heart for missions in Lesotho, or just missions in general. If you, or your church, would like more information on partnering with the Floras to reach the mountain Basotho for Christ, please email me at the address on this blog. Thanks!
Dear Friends and Family,
Dear Friends and Family,
I want to thank you once again for your generous support of my recent mission trip to Lesotho. Please let me tell you a little bit about it:
Our team (myself and three students, ages 18-21) flew out of Springfield, MO on Mon, May 30 and returned on Thu, June 9. We connected in Atlanta. The flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, SA is over 15 hours, and is the fourth longest continuous flight in the world. Once at Johannesburg, we had an eight hour drive to the mountains of Lesotho where IMB missionaries, Jim and Teresa Flora, are stationed. As you might imagine, the travel was brutal and was, in some ways, the most challenging part of the trip. But God is good, and granted us traveling mercies. All our team members did great.
The first thing that strikes one upon arriving in Lesotho is the natural beauty of the country. Lesotho is very mountainous with many clear lakes and streams. It is winter there right now, so it could have been pretty cold. But, again, God smiled on us and gave us very temperate weather with highs in the 60's and lows in the 30's most days. The setting and conditions could not have been more beautiful.
We were actually on the ground in Lesotho for seven days. A typical day consisted of us loading up food (Lesotho is in the midst of a horrible drought), vitamins and socks, and driving or hiking to remote villages where we would distribute these items, along with preaching the gospel. Jim taught us a gospel presentation that resonates well with the Basotho mindset. He calls it "two kingdoms," contrasting the kingdom of light (Christ) against the kingdom of darkness. During our time there, I was able to preach about 4-5 times. At one village, where our young people taught, four people made commitments to Christ. (Praise God!) It is not easy to become a Christian in Lesotho. The Floras make very clear that becoming a Christian means cutting all ties to the ancestral worship that is so prevalent in their culture. They make the people cut the "spirit beads" off themselves and their children before they are baptized. This can bring persecution from their families and fellow villagers. Nevertheless, by the grace of God, many Basotho continue to come to Christ.
Another thing I got to do, which I really enjoyed, was spend a day training six local pastors. Most of the pastors in Lesotho have not been Christians very long themselves, so they have a lot to learn. Jim meets with them on a monthly basis and teaches them the basics of doctrine and ministry. In this case, we spent the entire day training the pastors about the Lord's Supper. We taught them the history, significance and symbolism of the Lord's Supper, and then we taught them how to actually serve the Lord's Supper in their churches. None of the men had actually ever taken the Lord's Supper before, so Jim and I served it to them and we observed communion together. What a blessing!
Another interesting thing we got to do was attend a Basotho funeral. The family asked Jim and Teresa to come and speak at the funeral, because the deceased had recently become a Christian before his death, and it completely changed him from an angry/abusive man to a kind/gentle man. The family saw the difference in him and was amazed. Funerals are an all-day, come and go event in Lesotho. Dozens of people may speak at the funeral and some of them will speak for a long time. Often, alcohol is available at the funeral and everyone will drink all day while they memorialize the deceased. In this man's case, the family asked sangomas (witch doctors) to come and dance after the Floras were done speaking. We only stayed for part of their ritual, but all of our team agreed it was very dark and "eerie feeling."
On the last full day of our trip, Jim took us to the other side of the Maloti Mountains from where they currently live. The Floras have spent the last eight years ministering on the western side of these mountains (Thaba Tseka province). Soon, however, the Floras hope to move to the eastern side of the mountains (Mokhotlong province) where the people are even more unreached, the land is even more desolate, and the spiritual climate is even darker. The Floras showed us the piece of land on which they hope to soon build a home and farmstead, which will serve as their "base" in reaching Mokhotlong province with the gospel. One can stand on just about any mountain in Mokhotlong province and see numerous villages that have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The task is great and the work is overwhelming at times. But the Floras are trusting God to send churches (such as ours) to partner with them in helping reach the mountain Basotho for Jesus Christ.
Thank you again for your support! My eyes have been opened to missions in a way they never have before. I know this will make me a better Christian, and a better pastor. Please keep the Floras (Jim, Teresa, Gracie, Anna, Bekah) and their partners in your prayers as they take Jesus to the Basotho. Love you all.