Who are the Lesotho shepherds?
The shepherds live high in the mountains of Lesotho – the Kingdom in the Sky – caring for flocks and herds, which belong to wealthy owners down in the valleys. They live in marginalised, isolated communities outside the reach of the local churches. From five and six years old, these boys and young men work away from their families with no education or literacy skills. But they have a very well-developed oral culture of songs and stories, which are handed down from generation to generation.
What do they believe?
Shepherds are deeply grounded in the ancestor cult and witchcraft. They are seldom welcome in churches and lack the literacy skills to be integrated into church services and ministries, but they have given a warm invitation to an AIM TIMO (Training In Ministry Outreach) team. The chief shepherd said, ‘I’ve heard of missionaries going to my home village, but I have always felt left out. But now you are coming to us, we are very happy!’
What is being done to reach them?
In order to tell them the good news of Jesus, a TIMO (Training In Ministry Outreach) team of young men went to live among the shepherds for two years. They worked with the shepherds as apprentices and lived in very harsh conditions, as the shepherds do. The team ended in 2016, and they saw several shepherds give their lives to Christ. Caleb and Tobias, who were part of the team, are continuing life and ministry among the shepherds.