A Photo Update

151217_151938_DJI00614This is our hanger with the new extension. Four airplanes now fit inside and we have a lot more space for passengers. My dad came and helped renovate for 2 months. It has taken a lot of work, but it’s been worth it!

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This is my office. I found an app on my Ipad that works with an external GPS so I have a moving map even in remote locations.

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This is Bobete Clinic. Most of our flying is medically related. We support the staff and patients at remote locations like this one. These women have gathered to learn about caring for their newborns.

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This is Kuebunyane clinic. My heart is drawn to this location as it is one of the most isolated places we fly. There are three villages nearby and many more up to a 6 hour walk away.

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This is a typical Basotho home. Smaller Rondovals are used for cooking, while these will sleep the entire family. The floor is a  mixture of mud and dung. The walls are stone and mud, while the roof is a combination of reeds and grass.

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This young boy is in charge of the flock for his family. The animals are the main wealth of any family, so this is a HUGE responsibility. The boys may travel several days journey away from the village and live in isolation for extended periods of time, even in the winter.

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The boys are wearing a traditional blanket. Even in the summer it can get very cold at night. The gray blankets were given to many people in this community from a church in Maseru and transported by MAF.

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Even I can look the part! It brings people a lot of joy and sparks a fun conversation when they see a foreigner dressing like a Mosotho. I have a hat (mosetla), blanket (kobo), and stick (molamu). I love building relationships with the Basotho and my attire helps me fit in and its quite practical in the mountains.

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We found my Mosotho long lost brother!

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The Basotho sure can walk! Horses are still the preferred way to travel in the mountains, but walking is the norm. These women have been walking for many hours, but are almost home. I was able to share some laughs with them and share the Gospel.

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During one of our mountain visits, we talked with people and gave many the Gospel of John. This boy was very excited to have a picture taken with his dog and booklet. The books cost about 40 cents and when I see that the people have read the booklets I find a way to bring them the whole Bible.

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This is the chief of Kuebunyane. He has always be welcoming to hear and learn more about Jesus and the Bible. I brought a study that teaches how to grow  and strengthen our relationship with God. The Chief has asked us to help the community build a church.

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During these visits we like to show the Jesus FILM at night. During this past year we showed the film 11 times in remote locations. In 2016 Pastors will be staying in the villages for extended periods of time. I expect we should show the film 30+ times.

160109_110906_70D_8964Most Saturdays we host a Bible study for 14-17 year old boys. Tsepo, our great friend, is a young missionary to his friends and family. We are so proud of him and his joy in inviting his piers to study the Word. Carolyn plays a wonderful role of loving these boys.

160110_103701_70D_8983This is our church Salt and Light. We are in the final stages of completing this new building project. Today was sunny and without a roof everyone had their umbrellas. We now have the roof up and only have a few more things left. Every Sunday Tsepo invites his friends to church and typically we have 5 or more that come every Sunday.

IMG_6824.JPGIn December we took a flight to visit a missionary in the mountains for Christmas. Carolyn has been a huge support to our family, enabling us to live in Lesotho joyfully. She has built special relationships with several Basotho and of course our crazy kids. Caleb (5) Chloe (2).

 

 

By Matthew Monson Posted in Africa

Lesotho Continued…

Carolyn and I will live in the capital city of Maseru.  The city sits 5,000 feet above the sea and by Heading East the mountains rise quickly peaking at 11,400 feet.  The average of these altitudes make it the most elevated country in the world, which is why people refer to it as the mountain kingdom or kingdom in the sky.

The MAF team has been present in Lesotho since 1980.  Nine families and many nationals currently serve in the program meaning we will have many mentors and friends.  MAF Lesotho is blessed to have a national pastor Sefiri part of the team, expanding the opportunities and effectiveness of the ministry.  We are excited to see how God has orchestrated the uniqueness of this group to serve Him in Africa.  MAF has a fleet of five Cessna 206 aircraft to serve the mountain people and this plane is sure a workhorse.  It has the versatility of carrying a heavy load while flying in high terrain and landing on a small landing strips…exactly what we need.

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Having a national pastor on staff has had a great impact on reaching the Basotho.  I will include some wonderful stories from Sefiri soon

Lesotho


Lesotho (La-Sue-Two) is a small mountainous country landlocked by South Africa.  Without the small airplane, nearly 75 percent of the population would be a great challenge to reach as there are very few, mostly impassible roads through the ongoing peaks and ranges.  The country side is some of the most beautiful scenery I have seen photographed.

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The Basotho shepherds are the most un-evangelized and unreached people in Lesotho.  They live very simple lives and are taught their trade at an early age.  Nearly one-quarter to one-third of these people are infected with HIV/AIDS, which is one of the highest infection rates in the world.  The government has asked MAF to come, serve, and help combat the challenging medical difficulties the people face.  We are able to show Christ to the people in a physical and tangible way.  This service has opened the door and people’s hearts to see that Jesus is Lord.

Carolyn and I will live in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho.  We heard that many people speak English in the city, which will help our transition overseas.  We will invest in learning their language, Sesotho, on our own.  There is no official language study course.  Sesotho is very different than any latin based language…there are even a few click sounds thrown around.  Should be fun.

Send us any questions you may have?  mmonson@maf.org

Where in the world are the Monsons?

Since the beginning of our MAF journey life has been full of surprise and change.  In the last five years we have moved five times.  Some moves were planned well in advanced. Some moves happened quickly, but it never seems to get easier…just faster.  Two years ago we were 25 years away from applying with MAF, but God changed our timeline and allowed us to apply, interview, and begin deputation in under a year.  During our application the doctors found an abnormality in my left lung, which potentially would end my dreams with MAF and my entire flight career.  While I waited for the results from the doctor over the weekend, I had a chance to lay down my career at the Lord’s feet, but the results were healthy and I was able to continue.

I can keep going with this for awhile, but I think you get the idea.  We experienced life does not occur at our pace, for our reasons, the way we think it will happen.  God is in control.  He knows what will grow us in His image. He uses change and surprise to refine us and forces us to rely on Him as we recognize we are not in control.  This is another one of those moments and opportunities…

Carolyn and I have been redirected to serve Mission Aviation Fellowship in Lesotho, Africa (La-Sue-Two). In the change of course, God has revealed His presence in the details and we have a great excitement for this new location.  Lesotho is a wonderful fit for our family and we believe God has prepared this Southern area of Africa for our service.  Our timeline has changed because we no longer learn French in Quebec this January, but we are planning to travel in July/August of 2013.  Overall, we will be serving in-country sooner.  Check out our newest newsletter with more information here: www.maf.org/monson and I will be posting more information about MAF Lesotho soon…

Selected to Africa

A lot of people keep asking me if I’m scared of going to the Congo. The answer is  “of course.” I think that it is natural to feel scared of the unknown. 

While we were in Nampa, ID, God was so good to give us two families fresh off the field from Bunia, the town we will be living in!!!   We were able to sit down with each family two separate nights and pick their brains. This was an incredible gift to ask all the questions that the Internet didn’t seem to have answers for. We discovered that they never personally felt threatened. We learned about service opportunities for the wives. We learned what clothes to bring, and what they flying conditions would be like. They gave us advice to deal with the overwhelming needs of the people that we will come face to face with and reassured us of the beauty of the people and the land.

photo by Lary Strietzel

photo by Dave Jacobsson

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While in Idaho Matthew and I learned about all the MAF programs.   At one time we felt called to Indonesia, but God opened our hearts to see the needs MAF fulfills around the world.  We looked at each other after each presentation and said, “We could go there.”  We trust MAF and we trust God and believed dictating our country of service was living in fear.  So yes, I don’t know what life will look there. But when we get to the end of our life, we are going to have to answer to question, “Who did you serve? Me or yourself?” “What did you do with what I gave you?”  I desire not to let fear be a hindrance to me saying, “Lord, I served you with everything that I had!” I believe by following God we grow closer to Him, making no other options than full reliance on Him.  We will not survive spiritually or emotionally entering this new environment without God being our all.  I am scared and not sure what the next page of our lives will bring, but I know that our faith, trust, and dependence on God must grow to survive.  And in the end…its worth the risks to be in the center of God’s will.

photo by James Greenelsh

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

(Mark 10:29-31 ESV)

The People of DRC

Would you believe that 90 percent of the people in DRC confess to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior?

Although true most do not have a clear grasp of repentance and faith in Christ or of salvation by grace.  Most believe your works determine your standing before God.  A mix of Christian theology, witchcraft, tribalism, poor education and prosperity theology has led to a blended appearance of Christian thought without any solid food of the faith of Christ.

Perhaps it would be nice if those practicing witchcraft all looked like this so we could have a clear line which people need to hear the truth of light and which ones truly confessed Christ as their only Lord and Savior.  As it is the lines have been very muddied and you cannot know who has good Biblical teaching even by those who attend Christian church.

The need to love the Congolese becomes even more clear when you look into the history of terrific suffering.  The Lord Resistance Army has been demolishing any sense of stable life for those living in the East DRC.  The DRC is statistically the number one place in the world for sexual violence against women.  I cannot even imagine what emotions I will go through when I respond to the medical needs of a village freshly attacked by the LRA.  How do you tell people that have experienced such hate that God loves them?  I believe one way is being by their side and shedding tears with them.  The opportunity to share Jesus in these situations certainly out way the cost of our comfortable lives in America.  Without MAF’s presence in these places very little assistance would be given to those isolated from the rest of the world.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 8:35-38)

EAST DRC

Well my initial plan was to feature each area that MAF serves in Africa over the next several days as we awaited our field assignment.  Change of plans as we were contacted this morning around 7:30 AM and told we will be serving in the East DRC and living in a town called Bunia.  In the map here it is in the upper right hand corner by the border of Uganda.

During the presentations at MAF I came away thinking that the East DRC is the region with the most needs.  God has prepared Carolyn and I to serve in this harsh environment in the past week by impressing upon us the impact a Christ follow can have on the people who have been left with nothing.  The love we can share with them through Christ can be an amazing testimony and give us an opportunity to shine light into a place that is so full of darkness.  I will take some more time tonight to share about East DRC, where we will live, and the people we will serve.

AFRICA

Heres Looking at You Kid

So there it is….Africa.  Today we discovered we are going to move to Africa.  We are not sure when…in fact we are not sure exactly where either.  For those who didn’t know Africa is fairly large.  I will now include a map and make it large so you get the idea…..

LARGENESS

We have a total of four places we could end up and I will cover those in more detail in the next posts…just wanted to leave you where we are….we are going here….here is somewhere….somewhere is large.