By Joe Adams
Sefiri Sepheephee pressed end on his phone and plugged it into the power station in a stone rondavel (mokhoro) in Matsaile, Lesotho. Warm thoughts of his wife and young children back in the capital city, Maseru, filled his mind, offsetting the bitter cold of the mountain air fighting its way into the drafty hut. Sefiri grew up in a village much like this one in the highlands of Lesotho. Here, Basotho boys start working in the cold and lonely mountains as shepherds, often by the age of five.
This is Sefiri’s background as well, so he has a heart for the mountain people. His life was transformed when someone told him about the power and love of Jesus, and he chose to follow Him. Today, Sefiri is a chaplain for Mission Aviation Fellowship in Lesotho. He also serves as one of the Lesotho Flying Pastors (LFP)—a group of Basotho pastors who are reaching the isolated in the mountains. Recently, Sefiri served with this group in Matsaile.
For more than a year now, MAF has sent a four-person LFP team from Maseru to spend one week every month in this village that has no road to it. Most of the LFP volunteers are lay pastors and sacrifice time with their families as well as income to travel here to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. If not for MAF’s air transport, to get here would take at least a full day’s journey on dangerous mountain roads, until the road runs out and the hiking begins. Instead of arriving exhausted and dirty with few supplies, the Lesotho Flying Pastors arrive in Matsaile after a 30-minute flight, with all the equipment, food, and supplies needed to minister for a full week. Through funds raised by MAF, all of this is supplied at no cost to them.
One of the pieces of equipment that helps the Lesotho Flying Pastors serve is the power station pictured here. Besides allowing Sefiri and the other pastors to keep their phones charged—a necessary connection to the outside world—this station, constructed and maintained by MAF pilots, serves as a ministry tool. A peculiarity of the times is that although the nomadic Basotho shepherds usually own few possessions other than a blanket and some animals, almost all of them have a cell phone. But with no power infrastructure in their isolated villages, powering that phone can be a challenge. The Lesotho Flying Pastors allow shepherds to come to their rondavel to use the power station to charge their phones. While visitors wait for their phone to charge, the pastors take the opportunity to build relationships and share about Jesus.
The regular presence of the Lesotho Flying Pastors in Matsaile and other locations has resulted in scores of decisions to follow Christ, with numerous cell group Bible studies being established. In one of the areas where the pastors are ministering, MAF sent a young pastoral couple to conduct full-time ministry among the new believers there. The local power station allows the couple to stay in communication with their support groups and to receive mentorship, give reports, send prayer requests, or even call for help.
A local shepherd approaches the LFP rondavel in Matsaile and asks to use the power station. Sefiri makes one stipulation: the shepherd must sit with him while the phone charges. While they wait, Sefiri tells the man about the hope and power that can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dear MAF’ers…MAF was a blessing to my husband and I when we served as missionaries among the Mayan Tzeltal people in Chiapas, Mexico. My husband Paul began a Bible School and taught many Indians what they needed to know to become teachers and/or preachers among their Mayan relatives and friends.
For some years (before a road was dug out of the mountain side or tree-filled flatter lands. We depended on MAF for delivery of mail, groceries purchased in our mailtown by friends there or flights to get medical help for ourselves or the natives.
We praise the Lord for MAF and pray daily for safety and the blessing of serving others who need to hear of the love of Jesus.
A great story and a challenge for others to make sacrifices to take the Gospel to others. Keep up the good work.
Is Matsaile near Kothlontso where I worked as a Peace Corps Vol. with Flying Doctor Service in 1967-1970? Wonderful memories!
Do the four pastors work all at the same time, in the same week? Or does one person work for a week. Then the second comes for a week and the first one returns home, then the second returns home and the third one comes, etc. so that there is always a pastor at the the power station hut?
Currently the four pastors stay for one week a month, but we are in the processes of moving a pastoral couple to live in Matsaile full time. They will live in that home or one nearby.