Posted by: jflora | May 16, 2015


I know the questions will be coming, with my wife’s recent post on Facebook of my hand. So, here is my story, and I’m sticking to it…

It was a beautiful day in the Maluti Mountains for a nice pony ride into a remote village to share the gospel.  As is usually the case, when the horses came, one of the men said, “‘Ntate Jim, you must ride this one.”  That means that they don’t think anyone else can ride it. Today, that meant me, too.

All was fine, until my behind hit that little English saddle.  You see, I am slightly larger than your average Mosotho…well, a maybe a little more than slightly. As a result, sometimes the horses are surprised by the difference in weight.  It startles them.  You might even say it alarms them.  Sometimes they do things to get the unexpected weight off their backs. This particular horse did just that.  I was fine for about 3 or 4 jumps…I think that may have led to a false sense of security.  I had been here before and stayed in the saddle.  After those 3 or 4 “jumps,” I came to a very specific realization…it was no longer about staying on, it was about how I was going to hit the ground. I did not have time to choose where, or I would have avoided the rocks…I just had to choose how.  So, I took most of the fall on my forearm, then shoulder…on the rocks.  That is when I noticed that my right foot was still in the stirrup, and the horse was still fairly alarmed. She was taking off, and I was kind of following, right foot first.  It is funny how fast you think when these things happen.  My first thought was to kick the stirrup loose with my other foot.  My left foot was trailing behind, and I thought, “That’s not gonna happen.” She was beginning to drag me pretty good.  I looked at my boot…”I laced it too tight this morning.  It is not coming off.”  The toe of my boot was twisted in the stirrup..”That’s not coming loose anytime soon.  If these guys don’t get her stopped, she is gonna drag me a while.” Fortunately for me, they got her stopped after about 20 yards.  I am skinned up, bruised, and a little sore, but all in all, not in too bad of shape for being bucked off on a bunch of rocks and drug about 20 yards over a bunch more.  They took her away, and one of the guys said, “I am not happy with this horse.”  They brought me another one, we mounted up and went on to the village.  One of the Journeygirls told a Bible story, someone shared their testimony, and I preached.

It has been a really, really long time since a horse shucked me, but yesterday, one did.  I am fairly sure getting shucked hurts worse than it used to.

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | March 11, 2015

Little Victories…

A few days ago, I was driving down the road (for those of you who have been here, I was headed to Sephareng to see if I was preaching at a funeral the next day).  As I rounded a turn, there were 2 little girls on their way home from school, standing on the side of the road.  One of them looked to be about 4 or 5, and the other about 8 or 9.  As I approached in the truck, the little one yelled, “Ke ‘Ntate Makhoa!”  (pronunciation “Key En-tah-tay Mah-who-ah”) Loosely translated, that is, “That’s Mr. White Guy!”  They older one then said, “Ha se ‘Ntate Makhoa, ke ‘Ntate Jime!”  (pronunciation: “Hah say En-tah-tay Mah-who-ah, key En-tah-tay Jim-me”) Again, loosely translated, “That’s not Mr. White Guy, that’s Mr. Jim!”

Tonight I am thankful for little victories!  By the way, I did preach at the funeral, sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ alone to about 150 people in a village with only one known believer.  There were two…this was one of them’s funeral.

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | February 25, 2015

Culture 101….

On the heels of several of our fellow servants traveling to Lesotho for cultural training, I would like to relay  a short story that illustrates just one of the many barriers and differences between cultures….

We are eating dinner one night, and one of our cultural helpers, Tsepo, is getting his food. He gets a spoon full of mixed vegetables. He is asked if he likes vegetable.  His response is that he “can eat them.”  Again, he is asked, “Do you like them?” He says that since we only had 2 other things on the menu that night (meat and potatoes), he could eat them.  “But, do you LIKE them???” he was asked.  His response?  “They don’t make me vomit.”  And I always thought I was supposed to eat them because they were good for me. I stand corrected in this culture,,,again!

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | February 16, 2015

All in a Day…

This past Friday, we had a long day…a productive day, but a long day.  It all began when the alarm went off at 4:30, then it went something like this:

1. Pick up 20/20 participant at 5 AM for transport to Maseru (the capital of Lesotho) for 10 AM flight back to Johannesburg…check!
2. Drive to Maseru, arriving in time to check-in for the flight…check.
3. Drop Teresa off at JB and Liz’s for a visit with Eliza Joy…check.
4. Drop off 20/20 participant at Moshoeshoe 1 International Aiport….check!
5. Drop off Tsepo for assessment on Mokhotlong land transfer…check!
6. Pick up Hans On students and head to immigration to check on residence permit and get 6 month VISA for Hands On students…check!
7. Actually get VISAs for Hands On students…check!
8. Go make copies for my residence permit (not quite ready to pick it up yet)…check.
9. Get copies certified as accurate copies at the police station…check.
10. Take copies back to immigration…check!
11. Told to return after lunch at immigration…uh-oh!
11. Lunch…check!
12. Teresa restocking groceries while I am doing this…check!
13. Teresa visits with National Nursing Director on importing BGR Buckets…check!
14. Teresa pays fees for Lesotho Nursing licence…check!
15. Return to immigration…check.
16. Pick up 2 year residence permits…CHECK!!!!
17. Return to pick up Teresa…check!
18. Head back to the mountains…check.
19. Stop to refuel…check.
20. Pick up land assessment for Mokhotlong land aquisition…CHECK!!!! (one step closer to relocating to Mokhotlong!)
21. Drive home…arrival time: 11:30 PM
22. Shower and bed…Check!
23.Give thanks to God for safe travel, residence permits, and progress on the Mokhotlong land aquisition…TRIPLE CHECK!!!
                                                                              Until ALL have heard, Jim
Posted by: jflora | February 9, 2015

Panel Discussion…

The past week and a half, Teresa and I have been leading cultural training for our Cluster.  That means new missionaries are sent to Lesotho where they learn about Africa and Africans…and there are a ton of things to learn!  This week I have said several times that the basis for nearly all false teachings can be attributed to one of two things: 1.) A misunderstanding of who God is, or 2.) a misunderstanding of the scriptures, or both.  Today’s panel discussion took us one more step toward the truth of that statement.

We had several pastors and  priests on the panel discussion today.  One of them kept using scripture without any reference to the context of the scripture…no consideration of to whom it was written, when it was written, or what the verses just previous said in providing insight into the meaning of the scripture.  What it revealed to our new missionaries is that people will go to any length to use the scriptures to “prove” what you want to prove or accomplish.  It can mean whatever I want it to mean, as long as it suits my purposes.  Welcome to Africa.

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | January 29, 2015

Gentle Reminders…

Many of my fellow missionaries on this continent have a saying.  When things don’t go as planned, when things don’t work like we think they should, or sometimes just don’t work at all, they say, “T-I-A.”  That is pronounced “TEE-EYE-A.”  If you have been on volunteer trips to this continent, you have probably heard someone say, “T-I-A!”  That is an acronym for…”This is Africa.”  Since returning 6 days ago, I have had some “Gentle Reminders” that TIA.  Here are just a few:

1. 8 places to wash you hand in the men’s restroom. 2 hand dryers. 1 works.

2. Just because you think you have everything you need to get what you need doesn’t mean the requirements haven’t changed.

3. When a tool is needed for a particular job, it will often break halfway through the job.

4. #3 is especially true if it is your tool and someone else is using it.

5. Your journeygirls and Hands On students “must” move out of their house because much needed repairs are about to be completed…2 months later, waiting on carpet.

6. EVERYONE knows you are home.

7. 6 places to wash your hands in the men’s restroom. 1 hand dryer.

8. The one hand dryer doesn’t work.

9.  No paper towels.

10. 8 places to wash your hands in the men’s restroom…no water.

Just a little fun tonight!

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | January 27, 2015

Even in our Absence…

We serve an amazing God…One who is not dependent on anyone or anything. Sometimes we might think that God can’t get along without us, but we are dead wrong!  I was reminded of this when we hit the ground back here in Lesotho.   2 of my pastoral church planting guys introduced me to a young man named Lesole, which means “Soldier.”  These guuys have been sharing the Gospel with Lesole even while I was in the USA. And even when the missionary was gone, God was still at work: Lesole committed his life to Christ…even while the missionaries were gone!  Lesole also happens to be the brother of the young man that had the growths removed from behind his ears last February during the medical team’s visit to Lesotho.  You might recall that that young man’s mother committed her life to Christ a few months after her son’s surgery. Now the mother and Lesole are following Jesus.

God continues to work in Lesotho, even in our absence. While we were in te US, First Baptist Church of Perryton, TX continued their work in the Matsoku Valley. While we were in the USA, raising awareness, prayer support, and partners for the work being done for and among the Basotho, FBC of Perryton baptized 15 new believers in the Matsoku Valley.  Think God “needs” you?  Think again!  He will, however, use you…if you will make yourself available.

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | January 21, 2015

Back in Africa…

After leaving Missouri on Friday afternoon, 6 hours in Chicago, 8.5 hours flying to Germany, a 12 hour layover in Germany, an hour and a half sitting on the runway waiting to de-ice the plane, and a 10.5 hour flight to Johannesburg, we arrived back in South Africa on Monday morning.  We will rest a couple of days before starting the drive back to Lesotho.  Our current plan is to head for the capital on Thursday to pick up the Hands On students and journeygirls, take care of a little business in the capital, then head for the mountains on Friday morning.

With our return comes another new commitment to update the blog more often. Please continue to pray for us as we travel….jetlag is very tough when driving.  Teresa has only been able to sleep about 3 hours per night, which means when she finally gets to sleep, she sleeps well into the morning, which prevents her from sleeping the next night.

And for those who have not heard the news, our teamates had a new baby this past week…a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  They will spend the next few weeks waiting on paperwork and a passport to return to Lesotho with the baby.

Until ALL have heard, Jim

Posted by: jflora | October 19, 2014

After a Really Long Time…

Early in September, we received word that there had been a coup in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. After much discussion and debate, I made the decision that the team should evacuate due to safety concerns. I spent about 4 hours on the internet that night trying to find a place in South Africa that was reasonably priced and reasonably close to the Lesotho Border. We left Lesotho early the following morning, really having no reservations for a place to stay.

We found a place the next morning near Clocolan, South Africa. After a little exploration, we found that there were 10,000 Basotho of the Free State of South Africa living in Clocolan. Through a conversation with a young man named Nicolas who was bagging our groceries, we made a plan to go into the township the following day. Nicolas met us the next day after lunch, and took us into the township. He asked us several questions about who were were, and what we do. When I explained that I trained pastors and church planters, he said that there was someone I needed to meet. he took me to meet Lucky, a 20 year old young man who had led about a dozen people to Christ in the township, and was trying to plant a church.

After some discussion with Lucky, we found out several things…he had been chased out of a church for telling the pastor he was not preaching the Bible. He had started this church on his own, and he had been praying for someone to come and teach him the Bible. He told us that we were the answer to his prayers. We began to meet with him each day. I, along with my apprentice missionary JB, would answer his Biblical as well as ministerial questions. While we met, our Hands On girls met with the young women who had accepted Christ for discipleship. While we were meeting with these 2 groups, our volunteer team was able to go door to door fro evangelism, as well as doing some survey work on the street. Lucky scheduled a set evangelistic services (6 nights) where testimonies were shared and the gospel was preached. Through all of this, 2 young men committed their lives to following Jesus, and the church was encouraged. We have made plans for returning to Clocolan for future ministry and Lucky will come up to the mountains to spend several days with me this week doing ministry. I have also written a job request fo a journeyman or ISC couple to come and work in Clocolan, as well as the surrounding area to train Lucky, disciple new believers, and plant churches.  Keep praying!!

Until ALL have Hear, Jim

Posted by: jflora | July 21, 2014

News from the Mountains…

We were back in the villages for the first time in quite a while today.  After having been gone for a couple of weeks (Teresa in the US, visiting our brand new grandson, and me in the lowlands for a week, and then a week of vacation for hunting), I was surprised at the turnout for Bible study in the 2 villages today.  Usually, when we are gone, it takes a while for the people to “get back into the swing of things,” but today, we had better crowds than the past few months in these 2 villages.  Part of that reason is that harvest is over, but it was still good to see the people come out for Bible study.  Good groups at both villages, and one of the prayer requests from an older man was “that we would understand the Bible and what God wants us to do…that we would repent.”  This was right after I taught from John 6, where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.”  Please pray for these 2 villages of Ha Rapooea and Sephareng. It was also good to see several of the new believers re-joining the Bible study after harvest.  Please continue to pray for these new believers.

We also found out today that there were 2 murders in villages nearby last week.  In one of the villages, a man returned home to find another man with his wife.  He killed him with an axe. The other man was drunk and was traveling from village to village buying joala (homemade beer).  He was found beaten to death outside of one of the villages.  There are no leads on whoever did this.  We did not know either of the men killed.  As far as we know, neither of them had ever attended Bible study. If we ever shared the gospel with them, they did not respond with belief. Pray that the Lord would continue to give us opportunities and open doors for the Gospel. 

Until ALL have heard, Jim

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