Training Up Leaders in Africa
“[Sports] can be a means of bringing honor, pleasure, and glory to God… They shape our character, in good ways and bad. Out of these collisions come pride, humility, arrogance, courage, perseverance, fear, and a host of other character attributes… A football game is a furnace in which character is formed… godliness requires intentional and diligent pursuit. Sports provide a context for that to occur.”
- Stephen Altrogge,
Game Day for the Glory of God
Bible, Family, and Football
These are what occupy most of our time these days. In this update, we’ll try to cover each of those and the role that they play in our current ministry and life here in Mokhotlong.
The Bible, appropriately, is the main emphasis of our work here in Lesotho. We seek to share it, live it, and teach its truths at every opportunity. My main opportunity to do this is through the TEE program. We now have 16 people officially enrolled in the Mokhotlong branch of TEE, about 12 of whom are very consistent in their studies. They have completed all three books of New Testament Survey and topical books on discipleship, pastoral ministry, and basic theology. They are now studying Old Testament Survey 1 and prayer. In addition to our book studies, the pastors have been asking some deep and difficult questions in our weekly meetings. Halfway through this year, the pastors requested that we start meeting twice a week, instead of once. So during those meetings we’ve studied issues such as divorce, the “exception clause,” spiritual warfare, “African magic,” the canon of Scripture, biblical family roles, Greek word study on “love,” spiritual gifts/miracles, tithing, giving/finances, and missions. Our next conference is scheduled for the second week in January. I am especially excited about our new theme for 2015 conferences - biblical hermeneutics and expository preaching. If there is one area that I sense to be lacking in most local churches, it is this one! The pastors are also looking forward to these lectures, because they say to us “no one has ever taught us to preach. They just gave us a Bible and a building and said, ‘You are the pastor now.’” Last Sunday, I also had the opportunity to preach at our local church. Pastor Ntsimane had preached the previous week on “The Present Tense of Your Salvation,” an excellent message unlike any I’ve heard here in Lesotho. So I tried to follow that up with a sermon on the book of 1 John called “The Marks of a True Christian.” It was truly difficult to preach a whole book in one sermon, but I was grateful to be able to share. We pray and trust that the Holy Spirit will make His Word come alive in the Basotho churches!
…is the newest ministry hobby I’ve taken on. My main reason is for the doors it opens. Sports provide an instant connection, a quick camaraderie, and an open invitation into a person’s life. First, I was approached about coaching a U-15 boys football team. Next, I was invited by the local DiFA commissioner (District Football Association) to create and coach a boys’ league. Then, I was invited to play on the local police football team. I’ve also been recruited by four other teams to play for them - not because I’m so great, but because I’m the international, the “sponsor,” or the fan favorite. But mostly I stick with the police team, because I think they probably have the fewest Christians and churchgoers on their team. On my own, I’ve begun studying football coaching and am planning during our 2016 home assignment to go to a coaches’ training camp and get licensed with the US Soccer Federation (conveniently located in Chicago, IL). I’m also praying about flying to Malawi next year to learn more about sports ministry from Luke Voight and Sports Friends International. Please pray for these new opportunities and also for protection during our games (I’ve already had to treat one broken leg during a police game).
…we wrote about our new outreach team coming to minister among the shepherds. Those guys have arrived and gotten settled now into their new “homes” in the mountains. We stopped by to visit them on our trip back from Maseru this weekend. They are a resilient bunch of “tough guys for Jesus.” You really wouldn’t believe what their living situation is like without seeing it. Please keep them in prayer for their physical health and adaptation to the rugged shepherd life. It is all for the sake of the gospel!
Ellee walks, Kyle talks
Yes, Ellee has finally decided that she likes moving around on her feet instead of her knees. And Kyle is our chattery little buddy. Before Abby and I were married, she used to babysit this one little boy and I remember her saying, “I want to have a boy like this one day. He just talks to me all the time and is my little buddy.” Well, she got her wish! Now she just has to get him to hush once in a while so she can talk. We had a great visit from Lollee last month and always look forward to seeing family again.
…we are grateful for all of you who make our ministry here possible. We trust that God is caring for each of your families just as He is caring for ours. If there is any way that we can serve you, minister to you, or pray for you, please contact us at the email address below. God’s blessings to all!
- Jonathan, Abby, Kyle & Ellee St.Clair