Lesotho (MNN) — The small country of Lesotho is generally more prosperous than many
African countries, but it has been unable to stand up to the pressure resulting from poor farming methods.
Lesotho is currently facing what Africa Inland Mission is calling a "dire farming crisis." Each time it rains, the water seems to erode away more of the land, pushing soil down into gullies and creating worse and worse conditions for farming. Land, a normal form of inheritance in Lesotho, is falling further and further from workability.
Not only is the land suffering from natural causes, but it has also been deprived of caring human touch. AIM missionaries report that farming is seen as a lowly profession in Lesotho, so the land is often approached with destructive behavior rather than with tender care.
Based on the belief that God Himself was the first farmer (i.e. the Garden of Eden), AIM missionary August Basson has made strides to overturn this farming dilemma. He has begun preaching on God's relationship to farming, ensuring people that "the way we view ourselves has an effect on how we deal with the land, and it all goes back to our right relationship with the Creator."
With a program Basson calls "Farming God's Way," people's perceptions of farming are changing, and better farming methods are being implemented. As people begin to understand how God sees them, they are learning stewardship, and, more importantly, are being transformed by the Truth.
AIM is also working among another marginalized group in Lesotho: shepherds. AIM has been creating schools for shepherds in Lesotho for the past ten years, which has resulted not only in the education of many boys, but in the salvation of some.
AIM missionary John Barry sees the shepherds of Lesotho as a ministry ripe with potential–not just for the shepherds to be ministered to, but for the shepherds to do the actual ministering. He acknowledges that God, the Good Shepherd, has a heart for shepherds, and hopes to see Him use these men to spread the Gospel through oral Bible stories as they wander across the country.
God is doing great things in these marginalized groups in Lesotho. Pray that the farmers would be blessed by their hard work and that they would understand the benefits of living God's way. Pray that the shepherds would respond to the message of Jesus Christ and would be inspired to be, as Barry puts it, "shepherds of men."