Home Assignment Time in the United States
In all my prayers I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel… (Philippians 1:4-5)
I left Lesotho in December last year and my six months in the States passed quickly. My home base was in the Phoenix area and, when not traveling, I was able to stay in the same retirement complex where my parents (right) are living. I enjoyed being with them and also being able to renew connections with my home congregation, The Church of the Palms in Sun City (left). Besides sharing with the church about my work in Lesotho, I was able to worship there on several Sundays and also be re-commissioned there as a missionary on May 30. The congregation has been wonderfully supportive of my work in Lesotho over the past fifteen years.
Besides having personal time to catch up with friends and family, there were several months of travel in visiting churches in Arizona, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Missouri and Wisconsin. Northern Wisconsin, in early May, provided the snowy landscape panorama above, taken at Moon Beach Camp near Eagle River. A number of the visits were to churches I’ve been to before where there were familiar faces to greet me. It was also a great pleasure making my first visits to many other churches, some of which I’ve been in contact with for several years. In each instance there was a very warm welcome and a strong sense of support, interest and encouragement. These opportunities to share about my work with Global Ministries are quite a change from what I usually am doing here at Masitise, but it is something that I enjoy and find beneficial. The positive encouragement, financial and prayer support, and warm fellowship are a wonderful way to get re-energized for another term of service. These experiences bring to mind the words of Paul, printed above, in his letter to the Philippians. I am well aware that my ministry in Lesotho is a shared ministry in the gospel with wonderful folks and churches in the United States. Thanks be to God for your partnership with Global Ministries which makes it all possible!
In my free time, I enjoyed indulging in America’s pastime by seeing baseball games in Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis (left) and Phoenix. Another highlight was taking a short trip up to northeastern Arizona with my father to see Monument Valley (right) and Canyon de Chelly. While there is certainly breathtaking scenery in my part of the world here, there are still many magnificent scenic wonders of the United States that I would like to explore.
In early June, just a week before I returned to Africa, my three sisters (Marilyn, Pat & Chris in the photo) and I traveled to Navarre, Ohio where we joined in one of the special Sundays marking the 200th anniversary of St. Paul United Church of Christ. This is the church my father served from 1956-68, where I was baptized and the one town and church where my siblings and I shared life together in the parsonage. We were blessed with a warm reception and many renewed friendships and childhood memories.
Mindful of the faithful folks in congregations across the United States, giving both individually and through their church for the work of Global Ministries and praying for me and the people here in Lesotho, I close with these words from Hebrews:
“God…will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (6:10)
Yours in Christ,
Mark Behle is a missionary with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. He is a Mathematics teacher at Masitise High School, Lesotho.