Salt and Light Church

We’ve been at our church here in Lesotho for almost 9 months now.  We go to Salt and Light Christian Community Church. It’s about 20 minute drive from our house. We meet at a high school building which is nice because there is a huge fence around the school, so Caleb and the other kids can run free in and out of the building. There are usually kids from the community playing a game of ball at one side of the school, and a large group of high school kids washing clothes and cleaning in one of the buildings since it is also a boarding school. They know Caleb as Toka, his Sesotho name, meaning Justice. (That makes me Me MaToka ~ Mother of Justice.)

Our church has a huge heart for missions! It is refreshing to see them so outwardly focused. I think we have four church plants in the mountains of Lesotho, and one of our pastors goes once a month to one of the churches. At Easter there were four groups that went out, and there is a “Missions Sunday” once a month.

We started going here because one of our friends and co-workers is the worship leader here. God confirmed in Matt’s heart that this is where our family is to go, and so we are obedient.

 

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Matthew watching the youth put on a “drama” for youth Sunday. It’s funny- they had a “special Sunday service” and we were unclear about why it was going to be special. We knew it was something about families and marriage. I heard them saying that we were going to sit in different seats… So we got to church and discovered that it was a special day where all the husbands and wives were sitting with each other. Haha. It was a special service on marriage and was opened up for discussion at the end. It was so strange to see the men dispersed among the church with the ladies, and not just in the first few rows all together. there was lots of nervous giggles and i felt like i was in high school again. Haha. During introductions Matt stated that we were married 5 years, and the pastor then made everyone go back and say how long they had been married. Our pastor has 32 years, and many of the other leaders have in the 20’s as well! I was so impressed. In a culture where infidelity runs rampant, there was faithful commitment being modeled joyfully! Praise God.

 

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I spy with my little eye- Chloe. She is loved by all. Retabile is holding here here, a young girl who really enjoys her. This is after service when everyone is just meeting and greeting and I’m waiting by the car- eating something because it’s 2 in the afternoon and chugging my extra cup of coffee i brought. Waiting for Matthew to finnish talking and trying to be social.

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We’ve seen a dozen or so young people give their lives to Christ since we’ve been here! It’s a Holy moment. When i see this, it makes all the discomfort and awkwardness and isolation that i feel going to church worth it. God keeps telling me over and over and then over again- that “This is not about you Carolyn. I’m doing something really big here. I’m working, just stay faithful.”

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Matthew got to preach this week! He was asked to talk to honor and celebrate the older folks in the church. An honor indeed. He talked about the greatness of the universe and how small we are, but how God still loves and cares for each of us! Amazing Love. The youth sang and performed to honor them too. Culture shock was at it s height as we sat through a 4 hour service. We also had a chuckle as they didn’t have a word in Sesotho for galaxy. So proud of Matthew and it’s cool to see how the men include and respect Matt as well.

 

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This is a rare sight. Lasting about 2 min. Caleb’s ready to play and wondering why everyone has to stay so still, and what are they saying? I can’t blame him for not wanting to stay in here. Sigh. He doesn’t understand. All the kids 13 and younger are in one room, and worst of all the teachers have a big stick, and punish you with a pinch on the ear lobe if you don’t  mimic, memorize and perform like expected. I pray for these young ones, that the joy and truth would sink deep.

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Caleb is a bit a lone ranger at church. School is out for winter break so the girls aren’t out doing their wash. And I can’t get him to stay in the Sunday school room. So he either runs around with who ever he can find, or he sits in church with us.

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One of the best parts about church lately is that one of our soccer boys, Tsepo is now coming with us! Praise God. When ever i’m feelings exhausted and sorry for myself because i can’t understand anything and my kids are causing a scene, I can look over and see him with his hands lifted high, and I know it’s worth it.

 

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Selfies  on the iPad~ yes i let my kid play on an iPad during church. Another thing I do in church that I said I would never do is nurse, gasp, with out a cover. Haha. I did it first at a ladies meeting and many of them congratulated me afterwards that I’m starting to feel at home. They laugh and furrow their brow when I explain what a private thing nursing is in the States. Here if the baby cries, men and women will grab their breast to show you you should nurse. While driving, in church anywhere. And they’re not conservative. Although i still expose as little as humanly possible- I do enjoy that the woman behind me aren’t shy to bend over and tickle Chloes’ check and coo at her while she’s eating. I enjoy the community aspect of this culture a lot.

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Friendships beginning. Lebo helps watch Chloe in kids church.

 

and our drop pot =)

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Life and Death at the MAF Hanger

I love days when I end up with the car and am able to visit the hanger. On this day I was down town running errands with one of my soccer boys and decided to pop into the hanger to say hi to Matthew. He wasn’t there so we decided to wait around for him for an hour or so.

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw next….

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A group of some city folks and two men from the mountain came wheeling a coffin into the hanger.

I didn’t quite understand what was happening. But I heard from someone that this was the woman that had died at the hanger the week before. Today we were transporting her coffin out to the mountains with her first born son and a friend so she could be buried properly.

As we waited for Bryan, one of our pilots, to get back from his flight so they could load the plane, I asked God to use me. I spied on the two intriguing men and watched Caleb help Joe work on the airplane, waiting for the Lord to speak.

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He answered me by having me take their pictures. This might not seem cool to you, because you live in the digital age, but here a picture of ones’ self is a very rare things. I didn’t have my camera, but Justin our program manager helped me get new batteries for camera at the hanger, and he even gave me permission to use the little photo printer we have for the team too. Thankfully I had used it a few weeks before and learned its tricks, because everyone was very busy and I would have to act fast.

I asked BoNtate if I could take their photo and they said no, and implied they were eating. Ok, new strategy. Haha.

One of my co-workers wives showed up, and after talking with her and praying for her, as she is battling potential cancer right now, one of the men asked her a question. She translated. “He wants to know if the picture is for them and how much they have to pay for it.”

I was so very thankful she was there as I had her explain in fact, it was free and I could give them a copy! They were thrilled.

So we had a photo shoot!

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Matthew and Bryan landed about now and the worker bees started buzzing, fueling and loading and organizing to get ready for the next flight.

As they were getting ready I quickly printed off BoNtate’s photos and joyfully delivered it to them. I wondered if this was the first photo they had ever received. I wondered if this could bring a little joy to such a terrible day of transporting your mother’s coffin back to your village. I wondered if they knew we did what we do because we love Jesus, or did they think I was just a nice girl, and this was just the guy’s job?

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As BoNtate loaded the airplane I was able to thank The Lord because as I watched the coffin slide in, I saw LIFE being loaded in on top of death. In the plastic garbage bags were hundreds of “shepherd blankets.” One of the local churches we have started partnering with (it’s who we were raising the uniforms for) was donating them to pass out in the mountains. We were transporting them to a clinic, and the church would collect them there the following week when they went out on  a mission trip with their youth group. I can’t explain how huge it is that we’re joining with the local church here and now. My friend was actually able to go on the trip and help pass out the blankets and uniforms, I will share her blog post soon.

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The coffin we were flying back, apparently we had been flying this woman for 5 years or more so she could receive her cancer treatments. Last week was another one of those flights until the hospital told her that there was no point to do the treatment because she was so sick it wsan’t going to help. They told her to go home, that her time was short.

One of our national staff helped her lay down in the patient waiting room to get comfortable while the plane was prepaered, and when he went to get her up for the flight she didn’t wake up. Matt found out because he saw one of his co-workers crying outside. The man had known her for years. Needless to say the flight was canceled.

The same day this happened, Matthew was heading out to pick up a patient who died before he got there, and he was diverted en route. Rough day to say the least. This was the same day we went on our date to watch the sunset.

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Before we came to Southern Africa we “knew” we flew 90% medical flights. Flying doctors, and patients, and medicine, but there was so way to prepare for this.

We rely daily on His strength alone. Every moment, where ever we are, we have a chance to be LIFE or Death. There is no in between, there is no middle ground. I heard once that the Devil owns the fence.

Every time some hears us interacting with our co-worker, or sees how we interact with the culture I have the opportunity to speak LIFE into him or death.  Every time I speak to my son. Every time my husband walks through the door, past dark again, and dinner is burning and Chloe is screaming and Caleb is being a wild man, I have a CHOICE to speak LIFE or Death.

We choose whether we plant LIFE in others. Our response is our responsibility.

We can’t control the realities of life and death. I don’t understand it, or the world around me. We can’t control the patients we loose, or the problems with the medical system here in Lesotho.

But I know that I do have a choice. We at MAF Lesotho have a choice to be LIFE to those around us who are faced with death. The choice is ours. We can’t give others what we have found, but we can make them homesick for what we have.

And when I fail, because I often do. I go back, and fall on my face before HIS throne of GRACE and let his LIFE pour over me. The life that He gave up freely for little old me. I cling to His LIFE because He has given me mine.

I find strength as I spend time spending myself for others, because I know he died to bring me life.

And I rest, knowing that to lose my life is to gain.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

1 John 3:16, 18 

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”

Luke 17:33