It has been a year since the Lesotho TIMO team leaders Sam and Leanna Williamson moved to South Africa to prepare for the start of the Shepherds team’s assignment. Here are their reflections on what has happened since.
It’s amazing looking back to a year ago, February 2014. We had arrived in South Africa, finding our feet, but not knowing who was going to be on the team, if a team would come to fruition, how was it all going to work, where would we and the team be living, who were the shepherds the team would be reaching? There were so many unknowns but a year later the team is here up and running with so many answers to prayers (some have been prayed for the last 15 years!).
The team are living in two separate locations in the valley, a two hour hike away from each other. At Fanana Cattle Post live Spencer, Caleb and Chris, and at Mahlasela Cattle Post Tobias and Mark in their own built huts (motebong).
The team live amongst 23 shepherds and meet many more on a daily basis. The shepherds have welcomed the team and enjoy eating pap with them, playing games, having stick fights, shepherding herds of sheep together, teaching the team language and how to eat jackal! The team are living in two separate locations in the valley, a two hour hike away from each other. At Fanana Cattle Post live Spencer, Caleb and Chris, and at Mahlasela Cattle Post Tobias and Mark in their own built huts (motebong). Word has spread throughout Lesotho that there are a bunch of white (crazy) guys who are choosing to live like shepherds to tell the gospel. When locals pass our team on the roadside the team are asked to have their photo taken as local Basotho cannot believe anyone would choose to be a shepherd and adopt their way of life. The team are enduring great hardship for God’s Kingdom work, they need prayer as they learn to endure and persevere in difficult circumstances.
“Word has spread throughout Lesotho that there are a bunch of white guys who are choosing to live like shepherds to tell the gospel… local Basotho cannot believe anyone would choose to be a shepherd and adopt their way of life.”
Sam Williamson in charge of the braai (BBQ). Away from the mountains the team eat LOTS of food.
Team weeks are an absolute contrast to living in the mountains, happening one week of every month. The team enjoy LOTS of food; Clarens, where they stay with us; watching DVDs; emailing; skyping; facebooking; board games; a comfy bed; running water and toilets! As a team we have studied Hebrews, which has been a great encouragement to persevere, but it’s all too easy sitting around a dining room table in Clarens eating muffins to talk about perseverance – it is when they get up in the mountains that they have to work incredibly hard to put these biblical truths into practice. The solitude and loneliness of shepherding life is a huge struggle, which itself is compounded by barriers of language. All the guys have struggled with the diet being so plain and mundane; pap every morning and night (no lunchtime snack). Taste buds aren’t being satisfied and basic nutritional needs are not met. The team eat vitamin tablets but at times have been so hungry that they lick the empty packet out to get the last bit of vitamin dust!
We and the team are incredibly grateful to all of you who pray for us and give; we know this extreme mission wouldn’t be going on without your prayers.