When my alarm rang off at 4:00 in the morning and my sleepy team and I piled our earthly belongings into a bus that would become our home for the next 38 hours and take us all to a world we had never experienced, I had no idea what to expect. Trying to keep an open mind and an open heart, I prepared myself for our ten days of ministry in Lesotho by asking God what He had for me in a place so far from my home in the States, and even so far from my comfort zone in Zambia. The message I received was loud and clear: “Come and see all the work I am already doing in Lesotho.” I know the Lord sees my eagerness to always be a part of the work being done, and my desire to get my hands dirty and put on my shoulders the weight of “doing something.” I sensed He was bringing me to a tiny mountain kingdom to teach me something more about the work of His Kingdom, which is far bigger than anything my personal abilities could ever encapsulate. What followed in Lesotho was a beautiful time of my eyes being opened to God’s light in the darkness, to His faithful hand hard at work in the valley, and to the humble hearts that have been called to serve in love, like Godfrey and Elizabeth.
Seeing that God’s plan for my time in Lesotho had more to do with serving humbly and observing His work rather than expanding the Kingdom myself, it came as no surprise that on our first opportunity to go out in the community and “do ministry,” my team and I happened upon an uncommonly faithful woman named Mama Tidili. We had a joyful time of studying the Bible together and sharing stories about how God had been working in all of our lives, and although we were able to speak life into her and call out the beauty of her joy and compassion, her encouragement for us filled me to the brim and I walked away feeling as if this woman had poured into me far more than I could give back to her. I can almost imagine Jesus walking with me through the village, proudly exclaiming, “Look! Here are my people, here is where my heart is, here is where my followers are, here is where my love flows freely!”
One main part of our team’s time with LXP was to run their kid’s program on two occasions. Much to my surprise, the responsibility of planning and teaching a lesson to the pre-teen kids fell on me; certainly not something I would have volunteered for. However, the Lord prepared my heart and showed me what to say, and the result was incredibly gratifying. Through stories and skits, we spent the time sharing with the kids. We explained that because all of our lives had been radically transformed by the love of Christ, He had thought it worthwhile that we travel for two days to come to them and let them know that the same God who saw and loved the woman at the well, the same God who raised Lazarus from the dead, the same God who loved each of us so dearly also loved them with His entire heart (and so did we). It was a sweet time, and I learned that in my challenges, God is always waiting to work and show up with his knowledge, power, and strength to show his love when on my own, I fall short.
As ridiculous as it sounds, especially coming from a Michigander, the most challenging part of being in Lesotho was the cold. Without central heating and in the middle of winter, existence after the sunset was hard to bear. We slept most nights with all our clothes on and cocooned in our sleeping bags, yet still found our bodies shaking and feet frozen nearly solid. Those braver than me managed to shower routinely, but the thought of emerging from the water into the tundra was too much for me to bear (much apologies to anyone whose nose got too close to me on the later days of the trip). However, the Lord is faithful and doesn’t allow difficulties without somehow showing up right in the middle. I found that my body naturally woke up in the wee hours of the morning from the cold, with little hope of going back to sleep. Even though the temperature outside was much the same as inside, standing and moving at least allowed for the flow of blood to bring me back to life a little bit. So, I found myself crawling out of bed to the silence and solitude of the mornings in a way I never would back in my comfort zone, opening up the sweet silent space of a sleeping world to be with God, and hear His voice. He showed me many things during this daily time with Him, in addition to the casual perk of breathtaking mountain sunrises. Even when He wasn’t speaking, the palpable reality of His presence made me want to stretch the mornings longer, brave the cold again and again, and show up every day at the foot of His throne. This is a practice I’d like to continue in Choma and back in the States, and in no small way I expect it to continue gradually transforming me and filling me with the Love of God before my day even begins – something I imagine could infiltrate every word, every action and every conversation. Even in the bitter and unbearable cold, God is simply looking for more of my heart and more of my soul, gently urging me to surrender more of myself to Him so I might become so full of his heart and love that it can’t help but spill out all over the world, like a colorful palette of reds and greens and oranges and blues that fill the cracks of brokenness and paint the glory of His Kingdom where it has not yet been painted.
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mallory Mishler – 2018 Immersion Intern