Well, this is the last entry from Lesotho as we start making the drive to Jo'Burg in less than a couple hours
Wednesday October 9th
We had a great breakfast today at the Umlilo Lodge and then made our way to Cape Vidal. On the way we went through another game reserve and saw water buffalo up close along with more hippos, zebras and as we arrived at the beach, Samango monkeys. Our driver, Kevin, handed us snorkelling gear and we were off to explore an amazing array of colourful fish along the reef. We had a picnic lunch and then made our way back to the lodge where we packed up. We then travelled to the George Hotel in Eshowe and had a very eventful night spending time with the owner George, who gave us a tour of all his future building plans that were underway. We also met a very eccentric artist, Peter Engblom, whose artwork was on display all over the hotel. He also took us to his creative workshop and showed all the planning that he was involved in as he was in charge of all the makeovers for each of the rooms.
Today we visited the Inina Craft Agency and Sharon was able to give the ladies great insights on the kind of crafts that would ‘fly’ back home! She really bonded with the lady overseeing the work there and we watched the ladies do such delicate work beading amazing gifts and projects. We gave the gifts to the ladies that Pam Cooper sent with us and there were so touched in receiving the book, Jesus Calling. We then made a trip to see Aurele, who started the Agency, at her home. She was sick and has had to step back from all her involvement there. We then travelled back to Butha Buthe where we met up with Pastor James and his family having a small birthday party with a pastor and his team from JoBurg. They blessed him with an ipad. We then went back to Pastor James’ home and spent the rest of the evening with them and slept over as well.
Friday October 11th
Pastor James and I were up at 5am as we off to the highlands to visit an outreach project that the church is involved with. It was a 5hr trip through the mountains, past Afriski, a big winter resort here and after a crazy amount of switch backs on the side of many mountains we arrived in the village of Solane. You definitely don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel on this ride or it is a quick roll down the mountain to a most certain death. Anyways, we were greeted by Chief Mopape who oversees the community and I was able to listen how the current drought has made life extremely difficult there. You would never know it by the faces of the children who cram into the one room school house though. Most of them do their work outside. As I peered into what they were doing, I noticed they were reading English and asked for the opportunity to read to them. So, I sat down and read the story as more children gathered around and it was so fun being animated with them as well. We then gave the school teacher our last soccer ball and then I had the opportunity to pray for the chief and his wife and then the school children that gathered around.
We made our way back down the mountains and arrived back in Butha Buthe around 4:30pm. It was absolutely important that PJ got back as it was a surprise 50th BDAY celebration for Pastor James. We got cleaned up and then waited patiently as our ride arrived. To start, Pastor James and 'M'e Matsepo were blessed with a new suit and beautiful dress to get ready for the big event. We then arrived at the church just after 8pm and the place was decked out like a wedding was taking place. There was a long red carpet walkway for them to enter on. The packed gathering was whistling and singing as they arrived. There were black chair covers with red bows on the back, amazing center pieces and it was decorated so incredible. Then the speeches took place and one after one from youth to adults, the head of AFM to the govt official for the area, the prison warden to fellow pastors and his family members sharing their love and respect for Pastor James. I also had the opportunity to share what he has meant to us as well. There was dancing intermingled from youth to children and it was so entertaining! However they don't bring out the food to the very end so we watched the clock go from 9pm to finally 12am where it was time for the grand buffet! However, the final celebration of the night was the unveiling of the birthday gift for them as they were blessed with a beautiful dining room table and hutch. When they uncovered it, chairs were shot in the air and a conga line started as this church lavished their love on their pastor. We then made our way back to Pastor James' place at 1:30am and had a short sleep. We were up at 7am as Sepo drove us back to Hlotse where it was time to pack up and make our way home.
It has been an unforgettable journey here in the heart of Lesotho and we are already making plans to come back! Thanks for all your prayers and looking forward to seeing Jordan, Brynley, Addison and Rylan!!!