A family on a mission
As I left the certainty for the uncertainty – about five years ago – I knew one thing: God is in control and He will provide. My family and I packed up our entire life and moved to the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho. We arrived in the small village of Semonkong, as missionaries.
Semonkong is a tiny village, with a population of 8000 people, situated in the Maseru region. It once served as a hideout for outlaws and to this day has an untamed, remote atmosphere. Semonkong means “Place of Smoke” which derives from the Maletsunyane Falls which create “smoke” – it is the highest single-drop waterfall in Southern Africa.
Building the community
One thing that stood out to us was the poverty in this country. Lesotho’s government has a feeding scheme where they provide all primary school learners with soft porridge (maize meal) and beans for breakfast and lunch. My family immediately started a vegetable garden at the school – teaching the children the necessary skills to grow their own crops. It is amazing to see how eager they are to learn. This is not merely a little school project for them; this has become a food source to them. They can now supplement their meals with their own grown crops and even take some home for the rest of the family.
We are still farming here today, mainly with spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and potatoes, and this serves as an income for us to help the local churches reach out to the needy and the destitute, create jobs and it also provides an opportunity to educate farmers in more efficient farming practices. God can use you too in many different ways. We are excited about all the different areas where He is using us to glorify His name, of which agriculture is only one.
Harvesters Ministries is opening the way in Lesotho
When we arrived here, there were no active church streams and the local pastors have never heard of the concept “church planting”. They were so excited when I first introduced the Harvesters Ministries Church Planting model to them. However, it took almost three years to build relationships and translate the training materials from English to Sesotho.
Finally, the day arrived and we had our very first training in March 2017. Since that very first day,there are now three active church streams in Semonkong, Maseru and Maputsoe. A total of 120 pastors from the various regions are enrolled in our program and a total of 43 churches have been planted here in the mountains.
Pastors on a mission
As I explain the evangelism tool to these pastors, it is very important for them to go out and practice evangelism themselves and leading their congregation by example. One day during one of our evangelism training sessions, a group of pastors arrived at a house where six men were busy smoking marijuana. At that moment they had a choice: share the Gospel with these men and show them the love and mercy of God or leave them to continue in their sinful ways.
They started sharing the Word of God with these lost souls. Being convicted by the good news of the Gospel and the amazing grace of God, the men shared with the pastors how they were planning to get revenge on a group of men who wronged them. Instead, all six of them surrendered their lives to Jesus on the spot and no one has touched marijuana since.
Practical Bible school
The Harvesters Church Planting Model includes a very practical Bible school that gives local pastors the opportunity to really take up their calling as Evangelists and Shepherds. Pastors rediscover their first love for the Gospel and this helps restore their self-worth when they go out and train student pastors. Their calling as pastors get new life as they lead their own congregations with renewed passion and mobilising their people to become real disciple makers. The pastors start to understand that they have a big role to play in God’s plan.
“The content of the Harvesters Church Planting Bible School is very challenging and at times hard to hear, but when you hear the Word of God you cannot fight against it,” a Lesotho pastor said.
Sense of community
Lesotho has a very strong sense of community. People look out for one another, help and protect each other. The local churches in the small villages live together during the week, studying the Word of God, worshiping, praying and attending to the needs of each other and it reminds me of the church in Acts 2.
Acts 2:44 “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.”
Our partners in Lesotho
Francois Snyman and his family have been serving alongside Harvesters Ministries in Lesotho since 2014. It is amazing to have such passionate and committed Christians in partnership with us. They are winning souls for God’s Kingdom and setting an exceptional example of how a family can truly make a difference in the mission field.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”