Lesotho is a rare country in its own right. It is not only one of the few mono-ethnic countries in Africa but also one of the few independent nation-state enclaves in the world. Furthermore, it claims the highest lowest point of any country on earth existing entirely above 1,000m (3,281ft), holding the nickname “The Kingdom in the Sky”. The name Lesotho roughly translates to "the land of the people who speak Sesotho”. This tiny kingdom, spanning just over 30,000 square kilometres, is home to around 2 million people, of which most are from the Basotho people group.
With a quarter of the population of Lesotho being HIV-positive, the country has the second-highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, after Eswatini. HIV has become one of the biggest barriers to development in the country.
It is in this land with its vast contrast of beauty and suffering that the TWR Women of Hope ministry reaches out to vulnerable women. With the mission to educate, encourage and equip women to pray and grow, small group interaction and leadership development is taking place in the women of Lesotho.
Recently, TWR Women of Hope Regional Coordinator, Philile Bhengu of Johannesburg, South Africa was invited to a church revival meeting held in Lesotho in December 2019 with Pastor Themba Maseko and his wife, Makarabo. Philile was accompanied by TWR Women of Hope volunteer, Octavia Radebe, who speaks Sesotho fluently and assisted Philile in communicating effectively with the villagers.
WHATSAPP GROUP IN LESOTHO
Though Makarabo is also based in Johannesburg, she manages outreach programmes in Lesotho and has been instrumental in helping to unite women through prayer groups in Lesotho, using WhatsApp. She encourages them to pray in their heart language, Sesotho, while sending encouraging messages of hope. These women share about their challenges, pray for each other, pray for their families and pray through the monthly Women of Hope prayer calendar for other women around the globe.
ESTABLISHING PRAYER GROUPS
TWR’s Philile and Octavia had an opportunity to meet with women while visiting in Lesotho to establish new prayer groups in the villages of Qoqolosing and Phohlwanyane. Women were encouraged to pray for their families and their community. Philile says, “Though the majority of these women cannot read and have socio-economic challenges, they were happy to receive messages of hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
- Pray for the women’s prayer groups in Lesotho to grow stronger and deep in the knowledge of the Word of God.
- In the Sesotho culture, men have high authority over women. Even young boys act forceful on women in their family. Pray that this can come to an end and that women can be better understood and given life opportunities.
- Pray for church leaders to benefit and grow through the TWR ministry and programmes.
- People in Lesotho still practice witchcraft, even beating people to death. Please pray for protection over God’s children.
- A high percentage of men are alcoholic, leading many women to have more than one relationship. Pray that women will be encouraged to be faithful though lessons learned in Women of Hope programmes.
“We have been invited to the Women’s Conference that will be in November 2020,” Philile says. “We hope to grow and strengthen the Women of Hope ministry in Lesotho. To attain this goal, Octavia will develop more prayer groups for women so that TWR Women of Hope can strengthen and encourage them to grow deeper in Jesus.