Friday, March 14, 2014

Adventures In Lesotho - Week 1 with Bracelet of Hope in Hlotse

Triple Flight!

Tuesday was our first full day in Lesotho after an eventful series of flights that had us on three continents in three days.  Bryn battled nausea, Jord dealt with sleeplessness and Rylan was battling a fever but they all persevered!  On Sunday, we spent a fun afternoon checking out historic Frankfurt, Germany and took in the great architecture.  We crossed the ‘lock’ bridge where thousands of pad locks are attached to the bridge professing love forever by couples for all to see.  It then was time to take care of our appetite with bratwursts at Hanz and Franz!

We arrived in Jo’Burg mid-morning on Monday, travelled out of the airport in our 9 passenger van rental and a late lane change by myself within the first 5 minutes led us to being pulled over the police.  I had panicked on choosing between two major highways.  After that fiasco, I finally was able to lock in Butha Buthe on the GPS and we had our directions to get us on our way.

Normal Christianity!

We began our first morning together watching a torrential downpour of rain hit our area in Hlotse.  We took time being challenged by John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  We talked about the difference between ‘average’ Christians and ‘normal’ Christians as described in the book, Normal Christianity by J Welton.  Average are like a thermometer, ones who can describe the spiritual climate.  Normal are themostats, they change the atmosphere!  It is only because of the very living presence of God in us that we can say, ‘we are revival’!  Our world needs to see a Christianity that is living and active.  We are called to pray for healing for example and believe that it will happen.  So, following that , we took time to all pray over Rylan for his full healing as he was still quite fevered and sick at that point.

Breaking Bread!

In the afternoon, Andy took us to Sweet Dreams bakery to scope out the work that was ahead of us. Gladys wanted it painted pink in the front and cream in the back.  We followed that by doing our first grocery run at ShopRite where our biggest adventure was choosing a laundry hamper in the right colour!  There were all on top of the shelves so many came down and were inspected.  We landed on a red one.  Back at Anne Marie’s bungalow, we made lunch along with our own cafĂ© mochas.  We then took a walk back around the town in the late afternoon.  Brynley wanted to capture some mountain shots from a field which led to being surrounded by children wanting their picture.  Before long a group of 40 youth and children gathered around us and we laughed, played, danced and sang together.  It was a moment that began in pure spontaneity and Bryn led the way as she was very entertaining with the kids.  As dusk hit, some of them were getting hungry and so I ran to the nearest store and picked up 4 loaves of bread and we broke bread together.  We then finished off our time with them by handing out sweets for the night.  We said our goodbyes well after dusk and headed to the Leribe Hotel for pizza and pop.  We closed our night by praying and giving thanks for the amazing night.

Sweet Dreams Makeover!

We were off to an early start on Wednesday as we woke up at 6:30am to head to the bakery first thing.  At the bakery at 7:45am, Jordan was teamed up with Deka, Bryn and Carla with M’e Mekutco and Rylan with Ellen.  They walked all over the town selling scones and muffins to people on the street, at the post office, gov’t offices and Rylan went to a local prison.  Sharon had the opportunity to do the same later in the morning and they all came back having a real appreciation for the hard work these ladies put in every weekday!  Addi and Sharon painted the store front of the bakery in bubble gum pink.  Around 2pm we finished the 2nd coat and took a late lunch.  At  3:30pm we were back at it, except this time Jordan joined me to paint the back work area with oil based paint.  Gladys was quick to ask me if I was ‘born again’ and we talked about faith and church.  I learned that the church she attends is called, ‘Fill The Gap!”.

The rest of the team rejoined the children who we became friends with from the night before and brought out a soccer ball to play with. The group grew to 50 children and so 6 loaves of bread were needed.  Sharon also gave a group of young men a soccer ball as they were so eager to receive one as well and they played soccer well into the night.

We arrived back to our place at 6pm and we were treated to an authentic African meal prepared by M’e Joyce.  She served us fried chicken, rice with a spicy sauce, beet salad, squash and a fruit jello pudding!  We were loving every part of it.  After supper we just sat around, laughed about our experiences and realized how much joy we were filled with to experience these amazing moments.

Listen to the Holy Spirit!

Thursday morning began as we took time to reacquaint ourselves with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15.  We talked about the difference of our relationship with the Lord being built on confidence and not shame.  Sharon challenged everyone to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and both Addi and Brynley heard ‘guide’ and understanding that we are to guide people to the love of Jesus.  Carla sensed that we were not to forget the men who need God’s love.  Rylan had a verse that the HS led him to and opened the Bible to John 10:4 and read that ‘sheep follow him because they know His voice’! God led me to 2 Corinthians 5:7 where we are called to live by faith and not by sight which really sums up a spiritual exercise like this.

We then made our way back to the bakery to continue painting the ceiling, touch ups and those who weren’t working were playing with the children out front.  Rylan was attacked by the ‘ninja wannabes’!

In the afternoon we made our way towards Butha Buthe and met up with the LXP Lesotho leaders, Elizabeth, Godfrey and Piet. LXP teaches youth to be leaders in their faith and purity.  It was so cool for me to see Lackey who I met in the fall and give him a ride for part of the way.  The LXP leaders showed us their future home and ministry site and then we took off down the trail to do house visits with the parents of youth that attend LXP. 

It was on the way to the house visits that Elizabeth shared with us what a typical day looks like for a HS student.  They get up at 3am, get ready for school by doing chores etc.  They are on the road walking by 5am and in class for 6:30am.  After school is done mid-afternoon, they take a long trip home and don’t arrive until 6:30pm.  They eat, do laundry, homework and are off to bed by 9pm!!
We were split into two groups and one group visited a grandmother and her granddaughter, a family devastated by death. 

My group visited two older men, one a father to one of the youth and his brother.  We walked into a very rustic home,  music was played through a makeshift speaker made out of a milk jug, flies were swarming and we sat around a table that was burnt out in the middle.   They spoke to Godfrey and asked questions in Sesotho for us.  The one man shared how his ancestors told him in a dream to sacrifice a cow, take the skin off and cover himself in it for empowerment.  They had mixed beliefs from their animistic worship and Christianity and so we were able to talk about why they shouldn’t listen to those voices even if they think it is their very family members.  We talked about how Satan comes as an angel of light and his biggest tactic is deception.  We also shared about Jesus’ final sacrifice.  After 90min we were back on the trail.  We arrived back where we left the van only to see children playing soccer.  It led to an impromptu visit where by the end, Jordan took the shirt he was wearing and gave it to one of the kids who had a very worn out one. We arrived home to another amazing home cooked meal by M’e’ Joyce with curry chicken, carrot raisin salad, potatoes and more rice of course!  We then finished off our night by hitting the Leribe Hotel only to see that we unfortunately missed another snow storm back home.  The weather here is 22C during the day and about 17C at night…we have adjusted well! J

King’s Kids!

We were off to an early start Friday morning as we made our way back to the bakery to finish decorating and painting in time to show it off for a big reveal.  It was really satisfying to see it come together.  We made our way to ‘Golden Monster’ for pizza and had Deka join us.  We were hoping to catch up with the owner who was part of Sharon’s business network last fall when we were here in Lesotho.  However, he was away so we connected with the workers there and one of them performed his rap for us as he is hoping to be an artist.  We danced with some of the locals and had lots of laughs there. 

Afterwards we made our way to the Makhoaroana foster home also known as King’s Kids.  It was over an hour to get there with roads that were full of potholes.  We followed Andy out there as he was making a delivery of laying hens and feed.  Our kids had the opportunity to carry the hens and it was quite the experience for them.  Carla was a pro at it.  Jordan and I carried the 50kg bags of feed into the home.  We then heard the stories of all the children and blessed them with soccer jerseys and shorts from Guelph youth soccer along with some High Power soccer balls.  We then played with the children for the rest of our visit.  Jordan asked about praying for one of the girls who had issues with her leg and so our visit concluded as we laid hands on her as well as the other children and prayed for healing, provision and blessing for this home.  Anna, the house mom, is an amazing lady, full of joy and Sharon had a great opportunity to connect with her.  We then drove back at dusk and made our way back to Hlotse.  Tomorrow we are excited about the opportunity to climb a local mountain and connect with the LXP youth outreach in the afternoon.  Another full day awaits!!


Linda F said...

This is so encouraging. Thanks for the update! Love to you all

Rob B said...

Sounds like a great week full of blessings. So glad to hear of the help you provided to Sweat Dreams Bakery.

Thank you for the great example you demonstrate as a family.