Ministry finds unique way to reach shepherds in Africa

By July 4, 2013

Lesotho (AIM/MNN) — In Luke, the account of the birth of Christ indicates that the first to hear about it were the shepherds.

Luke 4:8-15 reads:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

Why was heaven's glory revealed to a bunch of nobodies in the middle of nowhere? Shepherds were despised and unwanted. If God chose to reveal His glory first to them, then He was making an important statement: no one is too low, too insignificant, too unimportant, too powerless, too forgotten, or too anything for God to love.

This is part of the mindset behind a new Africa Inland Mission project to Lesotho's shepherds.
Lesotho's shepherds spend weeks at a time in the highlands, tending their employer's flocks of sheep and goats. Kept warm by heavy blankets and dung-fueled fires, they spend their nights in simple rock shelters. It's a thankless job, and one that keeps people isolated, which means relationships are intense and close.

Africa Inland Mission is trusting God to bring together a team of eight single young men to live among Lesotho's shepherds.

The team, part of AIM's TIMO (Training In Ministry Outreach) Program, will share in the shepherd's lives and seek to introduce them to Christ. "I believe that the shepherd community of Lesotho offers extraordinary opportunities for incarnational witness," says AIM missionary John Barry, who has served among them. "While conditions are difficult, and the population density very low, relationships [among shepherds] are intense. I think this offers the perfect opportunity for genuine discipleship."

Learn more about Lesotho's shepherd community and AIM's heart to reach them in their Featured Video: Set Apart.



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