August 12 - Pray for: Lesotho

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Lesotho faces great challenges. The HIV infection rate is among the highest in the world (23.2%). Family breakdown, poverty, unemployment, and limited access to water frustrate daily life. The people and the government struggle to cope with these burdens. Pray for wise leadership and creative ways to improve quality of life. Mission Aviation Fellowship planes transport medical supplies and Christian workers in this mountainous country with few roads. The mountain peoples are much less reached because of their isolated location. Christian radio reaches many in the lowlands, even non-churchgoers. Scripture Union shares God’s Word with young people through school groups. Pray for fruitful ministry in this needy land.


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The Basotho were Christianized generations ago, but most were never fully converted. The social pressure against becoming bapholosoa, or born again, is wielded by traditional religious forces, mainline churches and family members alike. All the factors have reduced the mainstream church to maintaining the religious status quo with marginal redemptive impact on society. Pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep out impurities from the churches and bring new life. There are two issues of particular importance:

  • Traditionalism and nominalism are common in the Catholic Church and in the Lesotho Evangelical Church. The latter is the fruit of the great pioneering work by French missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.
  • Many AIC churches compromise with African traditional religious practices and beliefs. Sometimes this is due to a lack of biblical teaching; sometimes it is a deliberate syncretization. Practices like balimo (ancestor worship), curses and charms, and the Sephiri (a secret society involving African traditional magic rites) are all an affront to the holiness of God and the purity of the gospel.
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Newer evangelical/renewalist groups and agencies continue to see growth (AIM, YWAM, IMB, various South African groups).

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The mountain population of 600,000 are among the poorest and most vulnerable. Nominally Christian, they have little contact with the life-giving gospel. Lesotho's churches are beginning to wake up to this challenge. Operation UP, an indigenous agency, is committed to reaching every family in the mountains and planting 50 evangelical churches in the next five years. Other agencies include AIM, Joy to the World, YWAM, Fill the Gap Ministries, the Full Gospel Church and Global Evangelism Ministries. Many villages are accessible only on horseback, others by MAF plane. Pray for fruitful and sustainable ministry that yields thriving churches.

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Christian support ministries:

  • MAF has a unique and vital role in this land of high mountains and few roads. MAF planes operate on 26 landing strips with 17 full-time workers and 6 aircraft. They provide support for Christian workers and a fly-in doctor service. Pray for these pilots, their families/support teams and for their safety.
  • Youth work. Scripture Union is active in sharing God's Word with young people, especially through school groups.
  • Christian literature in Sesotho (the mother tongue for most) is in short supply. Operation UP and others are working on addressing this shortage by translating materials from English.
  • Christian radio has had a strong and positive impact in the lowlands. Harvest FM, Catholic Radio, Jesu ke Karabo FM, Mo-African FM and KEL Radio. These stations are instrumental in reaching even non-churchgoers. Pray that they will be used for spiritual rather than political purposes. TWR broadcasts daily in English.

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Content taken or adapted from Operation World, 7th Edition (2010) and Pray for the World (2015). Both books are published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.