Pray with Lesotho, May 9, 2021
Lectionary Selection: John 15:9-17
Prayers for Lesotho
We give thanks for mothers and for those who have nurtured us, given us life, and loved us into who we are. We are grateful for those in our lives who have put their love into action to foster transformation and growth in their neighbors, loved ones, and communities. Thank you for the community of Christ that spans continents and cultures, for the hope and the life that is birthed in its midst despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. This week, we pray especially for our partners in Lesotho as they continue to find safe and creative ways to come together in Christian community and to embody your love in the world. Ground us in your presence as we seek opportunities to serve you, love others, and advocate for justice and peace in the precious world that you created.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Lesotho
The people of Lesotho have faced many adversities during the pandemic: from two national lockdowns, to surges in COVID-19 cases due to the South African variant this past January, to reported food shortages for a quarter to a half of the country’s population. The Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (LECSA), in addition to these trials, is tasked with the challenge of taking care of its members (including providing safe weekly worship opportunities) as well as figuring out how to run the administrative church offices in compliance with national guidelines on gatherings and social distancing. Resources are limited and access to technology is sparse for many of its more rural-dwelling members, so church leaders and members have been both creative and flexible incorporating Zoom technology, the church’s radio station, and outdoor gatherings as means to conducting business and fostering continued community.
With the recent decline in infection rates, restrictions on gatherings were loosened enough for people to meet for church in-person again. For example, members of Phomolong LECSA (pictured here) gathered, socially distanced and masked, for Easter Sunday worship in tents that were pitched on the church’s lawn. From March-April, LECSA’s annual Presbytery meetings were formally conducted throughout the country. (Last year, these meetings were not able to occur in any significant form.) And work continues at LECSA institutions. LECSA schools, like all schools in Lesotho, have resumed. And the church-run health institutions continue to provide significant services to many throughout the country including to those who are not LECSA members. For example, the first COVID-19 vaccinations in the country were administered at LECSA’s Scott Hospital in Morija in March (pictured here), and since then they have been given at all three LECSA health institutions.
In John 15: 12, we are commanded to love one another. The love described in John 15: 9-17, however, goes beyond mere feelings of fondness. Instead, in this passage, loving one another appears to be a call to action, to produce fruit. And not just fruit that’s quick to spoil, but long-lasting fruit (John 15: 16). I lift up LECSA’s resilience as a church body and the continued participation of its members during the pandemic as an example of the kind of love expressed in John: a love that implies action and bears fruit. In each of the examples above, LECSA has employed ingenuity and creativity to ensure that the church is able to continue functioning on a national level and that its members continue to be nourished in safe ways on a grassroots level. The people participating in these events live out their love for God and each other in ways that contribute to the health and well-being of their neighbors, their communities, their denomination, and even their country. LECSA’s attention to the practical as well as the spiritual during these trying times bolsters a loving community within which continued growth and transformation can occur not only for its current participants and for generations to come, but also for non-members with whom it comes into contact.
Prayer and Mission Moment by Danielle Murry-Knowles
Mission Partners in Lesotho
Global Ministries Mission Co-worker in Lesotho:
Danielle Murry-Knowles serves with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.
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