There is a time for everything… (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Early September is the time for the peach blossoms to come out and welcome the return of spring.
Early September is the time
for the peach blossoms to come out and welcome the return of spring. The beautiful color they add to the otherwise
mostly brown landscape is easily detected as you walk or drive around the
countryside. Sometimes the blossoms get
surprised with a late taste of winter, but this year September has warmed up
nicely and winter seems to be securely in the rearview mirror.
Those familiar words quoted
above from Ecclesiastes have been on my mind quite a bit as some unexpected
change is coming into my life. This year
marks my 15th year of teaching at Masitise. I am completing my 3rd time around
taking groups of students through their five years of high school mathematics.
If there is a good time to leave teaching, it would be this year at the end of
the term in November.
For some time now the church
leadership of the Lesotho Evangelical Church has been asking me to consider
taking up the position of Planning Officer.
This is a full-time position which would require me to leave teaching
and Masitise, something I was quite reluctant to do at first. However, since in Global Ministries we seek
to work with our partners, like the LEC, and serve in capacities where they
feel we can be of benefit, I have found it difficult to refuse the call of the
church. Many years ago I never thought I
would be teaching math in Africa but God led me there. I’ve come to trust that God knows best and I
do now feel led to follow this call in a new direction.
So, later this year I will be
moving to Morija, a small town about 25 miles south of the capital city
Maseru. Morija is the historic home of
the LEC. It was founded in July 1833 by
French Protestant missionaries and is now the home of many LEC
institutions. The LEC church there is
the oldest standing church in the country.
It was constructed during 1847-57 using locally made bricks. The steeple was added in 1905 when parts of
the church were rebuilt.
While I hope to
work at home in Morija part of the time, I will also be working out of the LEC
office in Maseru. This position will
involve working with various institutions of the church in identifying
development projects, assisting the church in preparing project proposals and
coordinating project implementation.
Such projects could include things like new classrooms for schools and
water projects. I’ll be working with
pastors and churches, principals and schools.
I will also be serving on the denomination’s Planning Commission.
Earlier this month the LEC
President, Rev. Tseliso Masemene, and my pastor, Rev. Zacharias Ramonotsi,
graduated from the University of the Free State in South Africa after
completing an honors course in Pastoral Theology. Both are hoping to continue their studies at
this institution next year by beginning work on a master’s degree. Not many of the LEC pastors have done
post-graduate studies, a situation which often leaves the LEC Seminary in
Morija short-handed. It is hoped that
one day one or both of them will join the faculty at the seminary.
The Scripture Union group
Friends of God continues to do well. In
August thirty-eight of our students attended the annual rally (left) for the southern districts of
Lesotho. Around two hundred students and
leaders from eight different schools were in attendance. My co-leader of our group, Mrs. Salemane, was
not with us as she was on maternity leave.
She recently returned to her duties at Masitise along with her
first-born child, a daughter named Tsepiso (“Promise”).
In the past year a number of
generous churches and individuals contributed funds to Global Ministries for
the Computers for Masitise project.
Before installing the computers we’ve had to renovate an old classroom
and make it suitable as a computer lab.
Most of the renovation work (left)
is now finished and we are awaiting the delivery of fifty computers. We hope to receive these by the end of
September. More photos of the new lab
with the computers and students will appear in the next newsletter. Thanks be to God for your support!
Another verse that I’ve been
thinking of in making the decision to leave Masitise is Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for
the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Yours prayers for me in this transition would
be much appreciated.
Yours in Christ,
Mark Behle is a missionary
with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. He is a Mathematics teacher at Masitise High