This is the first in a series of blog posts about my visit to the MAF program in Lesotho. If I could meet with you in person, I would talk for hours about all that I saw and experienced. But since I can’t do that, I hope my personal reflections here will make you feel you were on this journey with me. So grab a cup of joe, get comfortable, and join me in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
Friday – early afternoon
“I’ll take … pictures … when we … get to … the village,” I managed to say in between trying to catch my breath.
I was hiking up into the mountains of the Thlanyaku area of Lesotho with Lem Malabuyo, my co-worker, an MAF video producer. We were following four members of the Lesotho Flying Pastors (LFP) on a three-hour hike to an isolated village where they would share the good news of Jesus Christ.
It was our job to capture stories—do interviews, take pictures and videos—so we could share with MAF’s donors the impact they’re having through MAF. But at that moment, my camera was stored in my backpack as I focused on where to place my feet. Loose rocks and slippery pebbles could send me sprawling down a hillside. And I didn’t want to be “that person” who fell and slowed down the entire group; or worse, the one who injured herself out in the middle of nowhere.
Known as the Mountain Kingdom, Lesotho was living up to its name, and God’s creation seemed to sing “Glory!” in the breathtaking vistas that surrounded us. It almost didn’t seem real. I certainly never imagined, in my late teens, when I penned my first articles for my high school paper, that as a writer I’d be tasked with telling the story of how God is working in the people of this beautiful, rugged country where I now found myself.
The clouds started rolling in about two-thirds of the way into our hike, which was a nice respite from the intense sun and high-80s heat. But it also meant the possibility of rain. Finally, we reached our destination as the first raindrops started to fall.
We stopped at the chief’s house first, but he wasn’t there. In fact, except for the children who swarmed us and a couple of moms, the place seemed deserted, which was odd because the pastors had phoned or texted the people to let them know they were coming on that day (Yes, many have cell phones!). The chief’s wife let us store our bags in her rondeval (a round, stone structure with a thatched roof), where she was caring for her newborn.
We donned our rain jackets and, as the wind and rain buffeted us, hiked two hills over to another small cluster of homes where the LFP had arranged lodging for us. However, when we got there, we discovered it wasn’t available after all. The owner claimed that family issues were preventing her from hosting us.
So there we were, in the very last village before the border of South Africa. It was raining and thundering and we had no place to stay. Would we have to leave and hike all the way back to where we’d started from that morning? Would the pastors miss an opportunity to share Christ with these people?
These questions were going through my head as the six of us huddled under the eaves of an empty stable, with not a soul in sight.