28 Jan 2008
The Drakensberg mountains of southern Africa. A stunning range of mountain peaks which has been the Basotho home for hundreds of years. The sight of these towering peaks and beautiful vistas calls to mind the familiar name for this nation ….. “The Mountain Kingdom in the Sky!”
King Moshoeshoe, the founder of the Basotho nation, used this majestic and formidable range as a natural fortress to protect the infant Basotho nation against incredible odds. In the mountain stronghold the Sotho clans survived the attacks of cannibals, Zulu warriors and Boer settlers. Legend describes the mountain fortress as growing larger at night as a defense against their enemies, thus the Basotho called their fortress Thaba Bosiu or Night Mountain.
The Basotho people owe their existence to the wisdom of their first king and the mighty barrier of Thaba Bosiu and the Maluti Mountains.
Today these mountains still constitute a barrier. Most of the Basotho living in the highlands have not heard the gospel. Travel into these villages is difficult—only accomplished by plane, horses or four-wheel drive vehicles on perilous roads. Some mountain villagers walk 8 hours to reach the nearest store to buy supplies while others walk for hours to see a nurse at a remote medical clinic serviced only by a small plane.
Recent dam construction high in the Maluti Moutains has improved roads and travel to mountain villages; however, the creation of lakes has resulted in the separation of villagers that once were neighbors. As well, many Basotho, such as herdboys, still remain isolated from the gospel as they trek through the mountains tending their sheep and cattle.
How will the Basotho hear the gospel behind the barrier of geography?
In the midst of isolation the Basotho have held fast to their traditions and culture. Richly colored blankets are still routinely worn by large numbers of people, as are the distinctive conical shaped hats. As well, the Basotho love of horses has endured over the years.
But the rich tradition of the Basotho has also encircled them with cultural barriers to the gospel. They need to hear the gospel in their own language … Sesotho, which is a difficult language to learn and master! They need to be able to read and study the Scripture in their own language but presently very few Christian materials are available in Sesotho.
Choosing to follow Jesus means turning away from cultural practices such as worshipping the ancestors … such as at this high place in the southeastern part of the Maluti Mountains. Here, the people looked for a place ….. up high …. one which was fertile … where there are springs … or where rivers meet. Here, they made covenants with their ancestors.
How will the Basotho hear the gospel behind the barriers of their culture and traditions?
Finally the Basotho are surrounded by an almost insurmountable religious barrier. Though many profess to be Christians only a small percentage truly have a relationship with Jesus. Many continue to follow traditional religious customs
Many are also trapped in the works oriented practices of the Roman Catholic and Anglican traditions. They have a religious zeal that is dependent on what they do in order to please God.
Still others have been raised with a Christian influence either in the home or in the school but have no real knowledge of the gospel or their need for Christ. They remain ignorant of their need to repent and trust in Christ.
How will the Basotho hear the gospel behind the barrier of their cultural Christianity?
For nearly two centuries the Basotho have lived behind these barriers. Once they served to protect them from annihilation by man but now they serve to blind them to their own true condition before God. Whether it be the barrier of geography, or the barrier of tradition and culture, or the barrier of religion …. the Basotho need your prayers.
Will you pray that God will breakdown these barriers and strongholds so that the truth of the gospel can reach all the Basotho?
Ask that God remove the physical barriers by sending missionaries to come and live in the highland villages of the Basotho modeling the Christian life for these people.
Beseech the Lord to break through the barriers of culture by opening eyes blinded to the truth that Jesus is the only way.
Entreat the Father to break down the religious barriers raised up against the knowledge of Christ. Pray that the strongholds of traditional religion will fail and that the Basotho will come to trust Christ for their daily needs. Intercede for those trapped in the fortress of false Christianity. Pray that as they hear the word of truth they will be set free.
The barriers looks insurmountable; the fortresses impenetrable.
“But we do not wage war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses…and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God”
(2 Cor. 10:3-5).
Please join us in this war through your prayers.
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