"My prayer is that you will also see CHRIST high and lifted up, glorified, sovereign, and GOOD as you have walked this journey with us. Your prayers that Chris would be healed completely for wholeness and fullness of life have been answered."
- Michelle Gennaro, on the passing of her husband
"Lumelang" from Lesotho!
The picture above was taken from our front porch last week. This is the view from the Growing Nations base here in Maphutseng. A number of our AIM team members work in this agricultural ministry and we are spending a couple of weeks at a guest house here before settling down. This is a great time to update all of you on our past month in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
A Sad Time of Rejoicing
In some ways, we have arrived in Lesotho during a very difficult time. In our last letter we wrote asking prayer for our team leader Chris, who was in critical condition in the hospital. One week after arriving in Lesotho, we received word that Chris had been ushered into heaven amidst the songs and prayers of his family and our teammates. The following week we attended a memorial service for him in South Africa. Several Basotho to whom Chris had ministered also attended and shared testimony of the impact Chris and his family had made in their village.
The service was the type that only a fellow Christian could understand. There was certainly the sadness of people who have lost a loved one and children who will grow up without their father, but it was tempered, even overruled, by the understanding that Chris is now whole - fully and perfectly healthy - and in the presence of the Lord he served with his whole life. Even though I never met Chris personally, I feel greatly impacted by the example of a fellow Christian who was willing to take his wife and six children to an unknown country, entrusting his and their health and protection to God. The testimony of Michelle and the family has also been something that only Christians can grasp - a peace that passes understanding. Michelle wrote an email sharing her heart on Chris's passing that has now been read in many countries and at least two languages. It is clear that the Lord's name will be magnified in Chris's death as much as in his life.
...meanwhile, spent our first three weeks in Lesotho living with a local pastor and his family at their home in Quthing. This was a time designed to give us a first-hand look at how the Basotho people live. Ntate Ramonotsi is the pastor of a Lesotho Evangelical Church (LEC) and speaks English well enough to help us get started in learning Sesotho. Our time was certainly difficult for it was very different than the way we're used to living. Our meals were very basic, but tasty. We typically ate "papa," a thick corn meal paste, with some type of chicken or sausage or potatoes and a red sauce poured over the top. Kyle had four companions to play with and that was also a challenge at times. He quickly tired of being touched, carried, grabbed, and knocked around, but he's learning to play well and stand up for himself when needed.
Our Home Stay...
...also stretched us in ways we haven't been stretched since being in Mexico. We had no bathroom in the house and would have to walk to the outhouse when needed. There was also no hot water, so we would boil water on the stove each night and take baths sitting in a small bucket. Laundry was all done by hand and left to dry on the line outside. We spent several afternoons walking to nearby villages, visiting an orphanage, climbing the mountains behind the house, and visiting with local people. Kyle also loved being surrounded by animals all the time! He is just like his mama in that way.
At the beginning of this month...
...we celebrated our sweet son's second birthday! This time was especially bittersweet as we reflected on how quickly he's grown and how fun his little personality has become, while having no family around to celebrate this special day for him. He was quite happy with his new Cars lunch box and water bottle as well as all the balloons to play with around the house. Being away from our families is probably the hardest thing about being a missionary. Thankfully, we should be able to see a couple of family members here in a few months when little Ellee is born!
We Pray for You All...
...and would love to know how we may pray specifically. If you have any special needs in your life that we may lift up before the Lord, please write us at the email address below and we will pray for your needs as a family. God bless you all and thank you for your investment in us. Please pray for us in our language learning and understanding.
- Jonathan, Abby & Kyle St.Clair