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God’s provisions in Lesotho

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Deep in the mountains of Lesotho as day breaks, Me’ MaTumo rises from her sleep cot that she shares with two of her grandchildren. Three other grandchildren sleep on mats next to hers. She takes the blanket that covered her during the night and wraps it around her waist. Later she might use the same blanket to hold a grandbaby on her back.

The family lives together in the small, round dirt home, called a rondaval. On one side of the room is a stack of mats they spread on the floor at night for sleeping. On the other side is a meager collection of plastic buckets and metal pans they will use for cooking over an open fire.

Me’ MaTumo will start her day with a walk to the “long drop” — an outhouse shared by everyone in her home and others from her village. In her late fifties, she is raising all her grandchildren, two of whom have HIV, by herself. Her adult daughters left their children behind in Lesotho to find work in the neighboring country of South Africa. This is a common practice among the Basotho people, but makes it very difficult for women like Me’ MaTumo. Now caring for five grandchildren, she also worries about her daughters. She has not heard from one of her daughters in three years.

Her day will be hard. She will prepare what little food she has for her grandchildren; sometimes choosing not to eat so there will be enough. When crops are growing, she will work in the fields with others from her village. In winter, she will wait out the bitter cold days wrapped in her blanket by the fire and pray that her dwindling food supply does not run out.

Me’ MaTumo was the first person that missionaries Jim and Teresa Flora led to the Lord when they started their ministry in Lesotho. They have watched her develop into a woman of great faith, who never complains or questions God about her difficult circumstances.

“She has nothing, and yet she asks for nothing,” Teresa said. “In fact, she’s the only Basotho who doesn’t ask us for things. She trusts God to provide.”

After she became a Christian, the Floras asked her if they could hold a Bible study for the village outside her home. Many from this village accepted Christ and now join the “tent church” in worship each Sunday. Through the ministry of the church, she’s been taught to make handcrafts that she sells to help support her family.

“Me’ MaTumo is such an encouragement to us. She has so much joy, despite her circumstances,” Teresa says.

When night falls on the little village, Me’ MaTumo will check on each grandchild and cover them with their own blankets. Then she will give thanks to God for another day’s provision, unwrap her blanket from her waist and settle under it for another night’s rest.

Marie Curtis writes for IMB.

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