Beginnings & Endings

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning...” (Ecclesiastes 7:8) Beginnings always have an element of uncertainty. Will things work out? How will this ever get done? How will God provide? Endings provide the opportunity to reflect, evaluate, examine, give appropriate thanks, and then move on. The familiar phrase, “All good things must come to an end”, seems to fit as I write this month’s newsletter. There were and are a number of good things coming to an end. But the end of one chapter merely signifies the beginning of another.

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning...” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

Beginnings always have an element of uncertainty.  Will things work out?  How will this ever get done?  How will God provide?  Endings provide the opportunity to reflect, evaluate, examine, give appropriate thanks, and then move on.  The familiar phrase, “All good things must come to an end”, seems to fit as I write this month’s newsletter.  There were and are a number of good things coming to an end.  But the end of one chapter merely signifies the beginning of another.

The month of May brought to an end the academic year at Morija Theological School (MTS) as Graduation Day concluded five years of studies for four seminarians of the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA).  This year’s graduates were Mr. Mphasane Majoro, Mrs. Mareboetsoe Adoro, Mr. Seati Molati and Mrs. Maseeng Tsoloane.  By late July or early August they will be assigned parishes as they begin their ministry work.

Recent visitors to Morija and MTS, and now new friends of mine, were Rev. David Hedgepeth and family from Marana, Arizona.  David is pastor at Community Christian Church in Marana.  During his sabbatical he and his wife Monica and their two children, Noah and Reese, have been doing some travelling and included six days in their itinerary to visit Morija where they volunteered their time to help out at MTS by organizing the books in the library.  David and Noah also offered some computer instruction to the students.

The words of Ecclesiastes are certainly applicable when it comes to the Bolahla Primary School project!  The end of this project is now in sight as you can see in a photo from mid-May.  Both buildings are now roofed and work continues on the inside.  The 1st term of the school year just ended, so we anticipate the rooms being used by the teachers and pupils when classes resume at the end of July.  Shown with me is Rev. Mokapi the parish pastor for Bolahla, as well as our technical advisor Mr. Mpobole and the contractor Mr. Mofosi.

As many of you know, transportation problems stymied progress on this project for quite some time.  But since late 2013 we’ve been blessed with reliable people for moving materials to the site.  About all that remains to take up there is the new furniture, including pupils’ desks.  The tortuous road conditions limit the chances of meeting other vehicles, but at times we do have to share the road with others!

At the LECSA office in Maseru where I work, the time came to say good-bye to one Executive Secretary, Rev. Gilbert Ramatlapeng, and hello to another, Rev. Nelson Posholi.  Rev. Ramatlapeng returns to parish ministry in the Gauteng Presbytery in South Africa.  His ever-present smile and friendship will be missed!  Rev. Posholi took over in his place at the beginning of May.  For more information about Rev. Posholi, see my October 2013 newsletter.

On a recent Sunday Rev. Posholi invited me to be present for his farewell service at Mafeteng LECSA.  The church was full for this special Sunday where Rev. Posholi, his wife ‘M’e Manneko and their three sons were bid farewell with many words of thanksgiving and gifts for Rev. Posholi’s eleven years of ministry in the Mafeteng parish.

On a personal note, the end is coming to my current appointment here in Lesotho.  At the beginning of August I’ll be heading back to the States for a six-month home assignment.  Much of the time I’ll be visiting and speaking in churches around the country.  So far the schedule includes Wisconsin and Illinois during late September and October, and Arizona in December and January.  The LECSA has made a request to Global Ministries that I return and continue working in their planning office and, God willing, I will be back in Lesotho in February 2015.  I look forward to seeing many of you during the course of my church visits.  This will most likely be the last newsletter before I head off to the States. As always, I thank God for your prayers for myself and the LECSA, as well as for the work of Global Ministries.

Although some people may thrive on uncertainty, most of us probably like to have a bit of a grip on what lies ahead.  I’m certainly in this latter group.  But after 29 years of living in Africa, and having faced numerous unfamiliar situations, I’m no longer quite so fazed by uncertainty.  The words of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”, help to put that fear to rest.  Whether it is a new beginning or wondering how something will ever end, let us put our faith in Jesus, who says to us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” (Revelation 22:13).

Yours in Christ,

Mark Behle serves with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. He is working to identify development projects, assist the church in preparing project proposals and coordinating project implementation.