This is the second post in a series. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.
Friday – late afternoon
Once the rain died down, we walked back to the middle cluster of homes. There was some activity there now. The pastors found a man willing to offer us lodgings for the night: a rondeval for the guys (shared with the owner), and a simple rectangular building with a tin roof next door, for the girls.
Someone was going to sweep the floors and get the homes ready for us. As we waited, we visited with one of the local families outside their home. At one point, I happened to catch a glimpse of Boomo, one of the male pastors, walking up the hill a few houses away. He was carrying a very large slab of butchered meat. I thought it strange but didn’t ask anyone about it.
A short time later, Makopoi, one of the girls with whom I’d be rooming, walked me over to the home where we’d be staying. The door was wide open, “airing out,” she said. On the floor were two big bloody stains. She explained that since the people didn’t have refrigeration, a butchered animal had been stored in there and someone would come in a bit to clean it up. Ah, so that’s why Boomo was carrying the meat! Inside there was an old bedroom set with a queen-size bed, plus three love seats along one wall. I wondered how the furniture ended up here, in the middle of nowhere.
With our housing situation figured out, Makopoi left to lead a children’s session out on the hillside. The children who had accepted Christ on the pastor’s first visit were hungry for more and followed the pastors around like flies on honey.
Refiloe, the youngest member of the LFP group at age 21, went to start dinner, borrowing another family’s firepit, in the middle of their rondeval, to spare the lekhooa (white people) from having to stay in an enclosed smoke-filled hut. Later, Refiloe found me and was excited to tell me how she was successfully cooking our meal over a fire. I finally figured out she was telling me the fire was made of dung, and she was making “papa,” a main staple. Papa is made of corn flour and is like a bland, thick porridge. Back in Maseru we’d tried it with grilled chicken, beef or pork, but on this night, we’d be eating it with milk (carried with us in quart-sized cartons). So it was kind of like breakfast for dinner, which was fine with me. It seemed like a safe choice. I knew the papa would have to boil for quite some time, so that meant the water in which it was cooking would boil long enough.
Over dinner, Refiloe asked us if we thought the papa had a different flavor to it. Lem said no, and I thought better of mentioning the dung fire, even if there was a slight smoky aroma to it. I made a mental note to tell him about it later, along with the image of Boomo carrying the meat. We ate our fill and then the pastors scrambled to set up the “JESUS” film equipment.
As the sun hid behind the mountains, Francis’ voice boomed out over a megaphone to alert the surrounding communities. At the start of the movie, there were maybe a dozen people watching, mainly children it seemed. But every time I looked around, I saw that more people had joined. I was also surprised to discover a group on the other side of the screen. Makopoi explained that you could watch from either side. Who knew? Then she pointed out a guy sitting in a tree watching from 100 yards or more away, which made me think of Zacchaeus.
That night at least a dozen people raised their hands and prayed to receive Christ after the movie was over. God had redeemed our day after all, and the pastors were able to minister in those last hours. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for what God was going to do the rest of the weekend.
Click here to read the next post in the series.