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A Long Way from Jerusalem

How MAF, the Lesotho Flying Pastors, and you are sharing the Gospel in the mountains of Lesotho

Matthew Monson, a pilot with Mission Aviation Fellowship, and his passengers stepped out of the Cessna 206 after landing near the village of Kuebunyane, Lesotho. They followed a windy dirt path across small streams and past a few huts until they reached the home of the chief—a man who governs all the villages in this deep, remote valley.

Matthew’s passengers that day were the Lesotho Flying Pastors, a group of local pastors who are committed to reaching the people here with the Gospel—a people who have mostly never heard it.

The work you are making possible through MAF and the Lesotho Flying Pastors goes back much further. To some extent this work has been happening around the world for nearly two millennia.

Luke 24 tells of Jesus talking with his disciples after His resurrection. Luke recounts his version of the Great Commission in which Jesus gives his followers the mandate to “go and proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to all people, starting in Jerusalem.”

And they did.

Starting in their own city, the disciples went out and proclaimed the message of the Gospel. Two thousand years later, you are making it possible for that message to reach people in the remote parts of this tiny African nation.

Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.
Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

A Desperate Place
Lesotho is located entirely within South Africa. This mountain kingdom has the highest average elevation of any country in the world—unfortunately, it also has one of the highest HIV rates. Due to the stark, jagged landscape, many of the people who live here—known as the Basotho—are cut off from the outside world, and from medical care. Many people die before they can even get a chance to hear about Jesus. MAF and these pastors are working to change that.

“Essentially what we are doing is bringing pastors representing five different denominations from the capital city, Maseru, out to the mountains where there are no churches, there are no pastors, and there’s just not a lot of teaching out here,” said Matthew. “And so we get the special opportunity to partner with those who have a heart for reaching their own people.”

The pastors are starting a church here and spend their time preaching, getting to know the villagers, and showing the “JESUS” film.

The "JESUS" film at twilight in Lesotho. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.
The “JESUS” film at twilight in Lesotho. Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

MAF’s airplanes are key to getting these pastors to this village and others like it. Without MAF, this rugged area is virtually unreachable except by foot or horseback. One pastor used to ride his horse to these villages—a dangerous trek that could take days.

“MAF has been a real help to us because we couldn’t reach out to these kinds of places before,” said Simon.

“This is a big partnership between MAF and the pastors,” said Pheko, another local pastor, “because there is a great need to bring the Word of God to the mountains.”

Hope From Above

In addition to reaching the villagers, Matthew has built a relationship with the local chief, which has opened more doors for ministry here. They regularly meet to go through a Bible study about King David.

“Every time I talk to this chief, I’m just amazed at how he responds. God has softened his heart,” said Matthew. “It’s fun to see how the Word is transforming him.”

Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.
Photo by Mark and Kelly Hewes.

“The pastors who come here help the people to know more about God,” said the chief. “Even in their conversations they talk about God, they uplift His name. It is going to help them to grow in their spiritual life.”

The MAF staff and the Lesotho Flying Pastors are excited about the progress they are seeing here. They’re planning to start more churches in the mountains so that even more of the Basotho people will be able to experience the freeing grace of Jesus Christ.

Through your support of MAF, you are playing a vital role in the ongoing work that began with a handful of disciples in Jerusalem and is continuing today among the Basotho people high in this small mountain kingdom.

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Read the full edition of the Spring 2016 FlightWatch:

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