What an amazing experience God gave me! Sharing the Word of God with the people and seeing that they treasured the bibles that were printed in their language blessed me. Seeing men and women respond to God’s message touched my heart. Loving on the children and seeing their happiness in the little things made me appreciate what we have in the US. Giving a math inservice to the teachers in the village school and at the same time sharing the bible was a unique and rewarding experience to me. I felt that God was able to use the talents I had in a way that helped them. Helping Gracie, Anna and Bekah with their math lessons was so much fun for me. I treasure the experiences God gave me to work alongside Jim and Teresa. What a wonderful work they are doing. What a daunting task to share God’s love with all the people. So much help is needed!! I will pray for the people and for help in sharing God’s message. “COME and let God use your talents-He has an experience a of lifetime awaiting YOU!” –that is my message to people God is laying on their heart to come and help.
Sharon Atwell, Hamlin Baptist, November 2011 Volunteer
Visiting Lesotho was really not an option for me. I knew the Lord would send me there at some point, I just needed to be patient and listen to His call. He blessed me in so many ways during my stay. To begin with, the beauty of the mountains just took my breath away. Gracie kept calling them “my mountains” and each time she did, I understood how these wonders of His hands could draw you closer to our Lord. The Basotho people also touched my heart. They are such a gentle, beautiful group of people who are so eager to learn about God. The day we were in Ha Maphike and six men accepted Christ just proved again how powerful the Word of God can be, even when it is being translated and everyone in our group was so tired, hot, and ready to go home. They were so hungry to hear more and just kept asking questions! It was amazing! The entire Flora family not only blessed my life during my stay, but continue to touch the lives and hearts of so many others in Lesotho. What a priceless gift this family is to the Basotho people! They come to the people as friends, health care providers, teachers, singers, shoulders to cry on, dancers, huggers, smilers, and most importantly with the love of Jesus displayed in everything they do and say! They are truly the “beautiful feet” that bring good news that Romans 10:15 describes. I pray that my feet as well as countless others return to Lesotho to help further His kingdom until all have heard the good news of my Jesus.
Myra Kleier, Hamlin Baptist, November 2011 Volunteer
As we were riding up the mountain, the song In Christ Alone was playing, and as I just looked out the window at all the massive beautiful mountains, and then the people walking in the freezing cold who were going home. Many of the people didn’t have many clothes on, had been traveling for a long time, and a few even were carrying some things on their head. I just kept thinking only in Christ alone can we help these Basotho people hear about the word of God. You look out at the mountains and just realize how TRUE God is! Only someone like him could make these mountains! On this ride over God just really broke my heart for these people! The first day in the villages, the people were very loving, and attentive. All they wanted was to be loved and cared for. The second day in the villages was very powerful for me. We did a medical clinic after our teaching, and had a prayer room which I was in. We had many people come in, and two specific ladies stuck out to me. One wanted to learn more about God! I was ecstatic! I loved having the opportunity to pray with her, and just ask God to make himself known to her. The second lady said that she had lots of pain in her body, her business wasn’t doing well, and she had demons in and around her house. This surprised me just a little bit because you don’t hear much about this in America. My heart was just very broken for her. I knew that there was darkness in Lesotho but never really pondered this. This same day a man prayed to receive Christ. Another encouraging thing about this village of Lilamong is that the sangoma who was there had left and quit being a sangoma. As you can probably tell, this country is dealing with lots of spiritual warfare and I have experienced it this week. There are people coming to Christ, but the traditional ways of doing things and sangomas have caused them to not fully be able to follow our Lord Jesus. They are a very lost, alone, confused people that need many, many prayers!
Julie – Once again my trip has been filled with many new experiences. Last week I decided that I wanted to really learn how to speak Sesotho, so Bro. Jim walked in with stacks and stacks of flash cards for me to practice with. I now understand why the Floras have had a hard time learning the language. It is a very slow process and the words sound nothing like the look like they should sound. But I feel like learning the language shows the Basotho that you care about them and the culture so I am still trying. Last Thursday we did a medical clinic at one of the villages. It was chaotic and eye opening. I was sad that we could not see all the people that came even if they had waited a couple of hours. Many of the adults would come in with a few children, but it turns out most of them were not actually their own children. There were many whose parents were somewhere else looking for work, or whose parents had died. I was amazed that these other people took the time to bring children into the clinic that were not their own. At the clinic I was supposed to teach about HIV/AIDS using a cube with pictures because this disease is such a huge problem in Lesotho. However, I did not get a chance because it was so busy. So when we went back to teach bible stories at that same village on Saturday I also decided to teach about HIV/AIDS. I was a little nervous to do it at first on Saturday because there were so many children and I didn’t know if it would be appropriate. But I am so glad I did because at the end a lady wanted to thank me for sharing the information and wanted to know if I could bring her a teaching cube so that she could share the information with other people in her village. That one person made my teaching so worth it. Today at the village I got to carry a baby on my back, just like a real Masotho! Sadly this baby is HIV positive and its mom has been gone to the hospital for four weeks now. The baby’s grandma has been taking care of the grandchildren while she has been gone. I am so excited to see what the rest of the trip is going to bring!
Allison – Since I have blogged last we have done so much. One of my new experiences has been pony trekking. The past two mondays we went to villages that are only accessible by horse. Prior to this trip I have been on a horse only one, maybe two, times. The first day I was nervous because I had no clue what my experience with the horses would be like. But i loved it! Yesterday I was able to make my horse trot a little bit which was a lot of fun. Yesterday we went to a different village than planned due to a schedule conflict and had a great response. Julie and I taught right in front of the sangoma’s house, which is the witch doctor of the villages. I had no clue until we got back but this was the first time the Flora’s had been to that village. I hope that the people will think about what is heard and want to know Jesus. Last week we also had a girls sleepover. This has been one of my favorite events so far. We had christian girls come over and we taught them about purity and that God has a purpose for their lives. I loved being with the girls, tomorrow we are having the teen girls over again and I pray it will go just as well! So, if you are reading this post contemplating the idea of becoming a volunteer, know that even if you do something that isn’t normal for you (like riding horses) it can be done! Plus if the thought of pony trekking horrifies you, there are so many more ways you could minister to the Basotho. Sunday night during “home church” we watched a sermon by Louie Giglio. He talked about how our willingness to go and reach all people will directly relate to the amount in which we enjoy heaven. Heaven will be filled with people all over the world and wouldn’t it be great to see people who are there because of you! We have that privilege and responsibility to tell people everywhere!
Julie Putman- Whew! I cannot believe that I have only been here one week, it seems like we have done so much. My favorite part has been playing with the children and being able to give them something new. Some of them seem like they have so much joy in their lives, yet they have so little. Today I gave a girl a pair of pink gloves and she squealed because she was so happy to receive them. Yesterday we went to the Bokong Primary School. Allison and I spoke for a long time to a group of over 400 children, yet they never took their eyes off of us. They listen so well. This past semester I had the opportunity to take a class on Third World and developing countries. It is amazing to me how true everything that I learned in that class is here. For example, food production, land distribution, education, and the way that people treat each other lie behind many different health problems. One day this week I had the opportunity to tour the clinic that they have here. It broke my heart how little they have at the clinic and how bad they need help with health literacy. If the patient is lucky the nurse will tell them what is wrong with them, but they will not tell them how to fix the problem. If the people get medicine here they are usually not told how to use it properly, or they do not understand how to use it. In addition, most all the information posters in the clinic are written in English, and most cannot read English, so they do the people no good. I am supposed to get to go back to the clinic sometime while I am here to help out and I am really looking forward to it. I found a couple of quotes in a book that the Floras have on their coffee table called, “Hope in the Dark,” that really sum up my thoughts. “I am closer to understanding all the implications that are involved when they say that 1.1 billion people in this world live on $1 a day. When they say that poor countries are unable to address their own development because they are funneling all their funds toward debt repayment to rich and unforgiving countries. When they say that 80 percent of deaths are due to water borne diseases. When they say that 6,500 Africans are dying every day because of AIDS. One death is too many.” After seeing all the young students at school I also think that this quote sums up some of my thoughts too. “It’s hard to be young, especially when poverty expects that she will fail. Challenges of drugs, sex, crime, and idleness tell her that this life is as good as it gets. Give her an opportunity to go to school, to express herself, to be healthily loved, and you will see courage, beauty, and pride rise from the rubble of defeat.” There are so many bright students here, but they cannot do anything with their life and make it better unless they somehow get money to go to the university and get an education. Many have absolutely no hope for a better future. I am enjoying my time here so much and I cannot wait to see what the next three weeks brings for us.
Allison Hale- Two words to describe my first week in Lesotho, Africa: heart breaking and beautiful. Lesotho is beautiful! I was so excited when I saw the view from Jim and Teresa’s backyard. I think I have said ‘that is so amazing’ about 10 times this week. Today we went for a drive around the mountains before going to a school and it was simply amazing. However, I started thinking about how even though the Basotho live in a such a beautiful place, they have very hard lives. For example, when we went to the village of Ha Khenene this week to hand out clothes, I was trying hard not to burst out in tears. I began to think about how I have always been clothed my entire life and these kids want warms clothes so bad. When we had the Pastors bible study on Wednesday I have never seen a group of people eat so much in my life. Lastly, we were bagging multivitamins to hand out later on in the week and I started to think about all the people who have misused over the counter drugs – and how one multivitamin will help a Masotho person in so many ways.
I am so glad I am able to serve here, and I hope many more people become volunteers! One thing I wasn’t expecting, was the extremely delicious food. I brought boxes of peanut butter crackers with me in case I didn’t like the food, but there was no need to worry about that. We had homeade cinnamon rolls this morning for breakfast! The Floras are taking great care of Julie and I!