Lesotho (MNN) — The AIDS rate in the small, landlocked country of Lesotho is officially estimated at 25 percent, but the Dials believe it to be closer to 60 percent. This International Mission Board missionary couple has visited villages in which every person carries the virus.
"We cannot get to them fast enough to give them the Good News about Jesus before they die," explained Alan Dial.
This dire situation is what drove the Dials to get to the people in Lesotho in any way possible. For six years they tried to get to the Basotho people of Lesotho with the Gospel before AIDS claimed their lives.
Most of the Basotho die before the age of 45. Less than two percent of them know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The need for resources and missionaries is enormous.
Physically, the Basotho are steeped in disease. Not only do many carry the HIV virus, but the Dials say that almost all of them are infected with some degree of tuberculosis or other chronic pulmonary diseases. These illnesses are unintentionally welcomed by Basotho who build fires in their huts that release oily fumes. It seems that everyone in the country is riddled with at least one form of infirmity.
The Basotho are no healthier spiritually. As a result of surrounding themselves with witchcraft, the people have experienced demonic harassment in various ways. The Dials mentioned one girl who burst into terrorizing screams during a showing of the "JESUS" film. Her body was paralyzed in the crucifixion position until the Dials prayed over her and she went limp.
Most of the Basotho participate in ancestor worship, as well. They believe that when they die, they will go to be with their ancestors, despite anything they've done in their lives. They have little concept of sin.
Still, the hope of the Gospel rings true for this dying people group. Village chiefs often welcomed the Dials' presence, believing Christianity to be a good thing for their people. Before the Dials had to leave Lesotho for health purposes, the message they brought had slowly taken over some of the people there. "They're not coming in masses," noted Babs Dial, but people are indeed responding.
As Nineveh would have perished without Jonah, so the Basotho will perish without someone sharing the Good News. They are in fact already perishing–and all too soon. Even those that do believe in the message of Christ are dying out before the Truth can be spread. Missionaries are desperately needed to tell them about life in Christ before more precious lives are lost without the Gospel.
Please pray that the Lord would bring servants to the suffering country of Lesotho. Pray that He would open the hearts of the inflicted Basotho and would transform their seemingly hopeless community into one of vibrant faith and love. Pray that someone would pick up the legacy the Dials have left.
International Mission Board is committed to bringing the Gospel to the people of Lesotho. To learn more about their work, click here.