Two Are Better Than One
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.
If one falls down, his friend can help him up…” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
On a recent winter Sunday the Morija and Tlametlu parishes of the Lesotho Evangelical Church (LEC) joined together for a service of worship and fundraising. The event was held at the Tlametlu church and later this year it will be repeated at Morija. The Morija members met a short distance from Tlametlu to form a lengthy convoy to travel the final mile together with horns (or hooters, as they are called here) honking as we were welcomed by our hosts.
The pairing of congregations to encourage each other and engage in fundraising is a common practice within the LEC. My experience with the LEC bears out the truth of the words from Ecclesiastes about two being better than one and having a good return for their work. Each congregation will have special offerings weeks or months in advance; church groups will be doing the same. On the appointed Sunday the offering portion of the service will literally take hours (about three in this case!) as the competition unfolds: Morija’s teachers followed by those from Tlametlu’s; Morija’s Sunday School and then Tlametlu’s; and so it continues with each and every church group. Groups gather outside prior to being called to plan what they will sing and how they will process into the church as they bring their offerings. The jubilation and singing that accompanies each one can easily last ten minutes or more.
“Two are better than one” also applies when it comes to ministry. Having been born into a pastor’s family, I know the importance of a pastor having a helpful and gifted spouse. And Jesus did send out his disciples “two by two” (Mark 6:7 and elsewhere). Attired in Basotho blankets are Rev. & Mrs. Masemene. They live here in Morija. Rev. Masemene is the LEC Moderator and Mrs. Masemene is involved with the Mother’s Union fellowship group. She also helps support the family with her dressmaking skills. Besides having a shop in Maseru, she also markets her dresses in South Africa.
Rev. & Mrs. Sekulisa form another Morija ministry pair. They arrived in Morija last November on transfer from another parish to fill the vacant pastorate here. Rev. Sekulisa spearheaded the Morija congregation’s fundraising efforts for our gathering at Tlametlu. When I was still living at Masitise, we partnered in several fundraising Sundays with Rev. Sekulisa’s congregation in Mohale’s Hoek. Besides pastoring the Morija church, Rev. Sekulisa teaches at the LEC seminary in Morija. Mrs. Sekulisa is wearing her Mother’s Union uniform and she leads this women’s association for the Morija group which meets weekly.
For many years I have referred to our partner church here in Lesotho as the Lesotho Evangelical Church (Kereke ea Evangeli Lesotho, in Sesotho), or LEC (KEL) for short. Last year, the denomination officially changed its name in its constitution to the Lesotho Evangelical Church in Southern Africa (Kereke ea Evangeli Lesotho e Boroa ho Afrika), or LECSA (KELBA) for short.
The church has had one of its presbyteries located in South Africa for quite some time. Most of the churches in this presbytery are located in Gauteng (“place of gold”, in Sesotho) Province which includes the greater Johannesburg area. Back in the 1920’s, when the LECSA was still the Church of Basutoland, ministry began among the Basotho miners working in Gauteng’s gold mines. As more miners and, in some cases, their families came to the area, churches were started which today make up the Gauteng Presbytery of the LECSA.
The new official name of the church led to the creation of the logo pictured. The logo shows Lesotho, in white, embedded within South Africa. The church’s Planning Commission, for which I serve as the secretary, was tasked with recommending a logo to the Executive Committee of the church and it was approved in July.
“Two are better than one” is definitely the theme this month: two parishes (Morija and Tlametlu) working together to help one another, two (husband and wife) sharing ministry, two names (LECSA and KELBA), two languages (English and Sesotho), two countries (Lesotho and South Africa). And, to make one other example: two denominations (United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ) joining forces in Global Ministries.
To close, another biblical “two” comes to mind, words of Jesus from Matthew’s Gospel: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (18:20).
Yours in Christ,
Mark Behle is a missionary with the Lesotho Evangelical Church. He is working to identify development projects, assist the church in preparing project proposals and coordinating project implementation.