Thoughts are difficult to trap sometimes. We have now finished our time in Lesotho, and in the morning (late Saturday night for many of you) we will leave for Namibia. Just about everyone I’ve spoken to in the last week has asked me some variation of “how was Lesotho?” or “what did you think/like/etc.”. And I honestly don’t know. There are many conflicting thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and I don’t know where to start.
For one thing, there’s the size of our team. One team member, Chyanna, our resident Canadian, became sick during home stays, and had to return to South Africa. While there, having wifi, she received news of her family and some struggles there. Through much prayer, she decided to return home. The timing was such that none of us were able to say goodbye. We all miss her terribly, but we know she’s where she needs to be right now, and we’re praying for her everyday. So 13 is now 12, and tomorrow it will be 11. Drew, our team leader thus far, will not join us in Namibia, and instead will travel to Mozambique to lead a 1 month team there. We will likely see him before we return to the US, but it will still be an interesting adjustment. We’ll all miss him, with his quiet wisdom, clever humor, and strong leadership.
There are also 2 others, Sara and Jarod Hale, who have been interning for Experience Mission here in Southern Africa for the last 2 years. They have returned to the US for training, and won’t be back until July. While not technically part of the team, they have been with us on every stage of this journey since our arrival here in February, and have given us joy, encouragement, laughter, wisdom, and so much more.
On the other hand, our group has also (sort of) increased. The van Wyk family (pronounced fon vike) has also been with us since our arrival. More than that, they’ve opened their home to us, providing food, shelter, wifi, training, and transportation. Not to mention genuine love, encouragement, prayer, and wisdom, woven through simple conversation and relationship. They have blessed us in innumerable ways, and are now continuing to do so by joining us in Namibia for a time. The adults may not really be part of the team paperwork wise, but I can’t imagine us without them.
Let me return to Lesotho, now having explained some of the sorrow and excitement. Home stays finished up last Friday, and we returned to Growing Nations campus (although the students stayed home for a few more days). We met up in Mohale’s Hoek, and had lunch (and wifi) at a hotel there (one of the few places that will fit all of us). Paige and I took a taxi (15 passenger van which can always hold more than 15) about an hour into town after waiting for the rest of the seats to fill up. The moment we stopped in town, the taxi was swarmed with other drivers, taking bags to have a foothold to ask where the owners were going. After retrieving our bags, we walked to the hotel, and the joy of seeing our friends was overwhelming. I’m sure I didn’t stop smiling until the next day as we shared the joys, struggles, and funny stories of home stays, and continued to do so over the next several days as we got back into life at Growing Nations. During those last few days, we picked more beans, and continued to connect with the staff and students. On Saturday 4 of the team myself included) again climbed Snake Mountain, successfully making it to the summit in time for sunrise (3rd times a charm), and on Sunday attended the local church for the last time. They welcomed us warmly with dancing and singing 5 weeks before, and our goodbye was the same, although bittersweet. On Wednesday morning, we left in a taxi headed for the border at 7. Most of the staff and students were awake and came out to say goodbye and pray us off even as we prayed for them and the country of Lesotho.
As we drove towards the border over the next hour, I thought about our time there. I wondered how life would be now that we’ve gone, naturally back to the way it was in many ways, but would there be something different? I wondered, did I do what I was meant to do? To show Christ, to share his love, and leave myself behind? Did I push myself to go beyond what was comfortable to me, and really live in the present? Did I find the kingdom of God there and work alongside them tirelessly to build it up? Did I pour into them more than I had? Did I go the extra mile and look for places to serve and love them? Did I truly seek God and his will daily, following him in every way?
If I was being honest, none of the above answers are 100% yes. I’m not perfect, it’s true, this is proof. I love Lesotho, and the people. I did find Christ and the kingdom there, and I left part of my soul there. Could o have done better? Absolutely, and I regret not doing better, not doing more. If I let it, I could sit for days and list hundreds of ways I could have done differently, and I could let it push me into the ground. But I won’t do that. Christ wants to lift that burden from me, and he has. I know where I need to improve, with the team, with the next leg of the journey, and in the relationships I made in Lesotho. And he will be with me, guiding me through it all, because he is faithful, even when I screw up.
So, Lesotho, was a time of ups and downs, in every sense. God is working mightily there, and I was both honored and privileged to join in for a time. The work will continue, and I can’t wait to see the beautiful harvest.
Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”“