Monday, December 19, 2016

Lay People: Jesus' Hands and Feet in Lesotho

This past Sunday, I preached at one of HIM's congregations that currently doesn't have a pastor.  Times of pastoral transition are always challenging, but I was blessed to see what God is doing through committed lay people in spite of  these difficulties.

After church, Mrs. Matoka invited me to their house for lunch.  (She always does, bless her heart!)  As I enjoyed a plate of papa (corn meal mush) and moroho (spinach), we talked about what God is doing in their church.  Mr. Mokete told me about some of the people he has been witnessing to.  He was disappointed that they hadn't come to church, but said he would go and visit them later in the afternoon and check in on them.

He was really encouraged about one of his friends who had recently gotten saved.  During the week this friend stops by Mr. Mokete's house to see what he's doing.  If Mr. Mokete is working in his garden, then the friend hurries home and works in his garden.  If Mr. Mokete is helping a neighbor, then his friend looks for one of his neighbors who needs a hand with something.  Sometimes they just sit together and talk about family problems and how to solve them in a Christ-like way.  Mr. Mokete's friend says he's learning how to "how to live salvation."  Here at HIM, we call it becoming a disciple!
Mr. & Mrs. Mokete
Mrs. Matoka told me a little background of the widow lady who had visited the church that day and stayed after the service for special prayer.  Even before the death of her husband, she had had a hard life with many tragedies.  Since his death, things have only gotten worse.  She is taking care of several of her unmarried children and grandchildren, and they are often in great need.  Mrs. Matoka shared how appreciative this lady is when they take her vegetables from their garden and share their staple foods.

Another way Mr. & Mrs. Mokete were able to reach out to this needy widow was when one of her grandchildren died.  They visited as soon as they heard of the death and found that their friend didn't have any money at all to cover funeral or burial expenses.  The whole family was in despair.  How would they give this child a dignified burial, an important part of culture in Lesotho?  Mr. Mokete hurried back to their house and carefully took apart an old cupboard they had.  With his carpentry skills, he used the pieces to make a simple casket.  Mrs. Matoka helped clean up the yard and put a fresh coat of plaster on the house (also culturally important).  Early the next morning there was a simple funeral, and the child was respectfully laid to rest.

Now we are seeing the fruit of their compassion. This widow lady is visiting church and seeking the Lord.  And all this without a pastor!

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 [NKJV])  

And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:40 [NKJV]

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