Amy Bates Trip to Lesotho, Africa
In 1976 my parents, John and Meredith Rossman left with their four girls for Lesotho, Africa. I was the youngest. At age four I adapted very quickly. I was communicating with the village children within two months. Sesotho became very fluent for me. We stayed until I was nine years old.
We made many close friends, one of whom was Tsikane Pheko. He was more like a brother to us girls. He is a national my father met and trained for ministry. He has faithfully continued some of the ministries my father started as well as starting some of his own. He holds tent meetings in many villages and has an unbelievable burden to get the gospel out to a lost Lesotho. He also feeds around three hundred children every week that have been orphaned from AIDS.
We returned to the USA for what we thought was a three month furlough. Much to my dismay we never returned as a family. I was devastated since this was the only home I knew. Even with the modern convinces of indoor plumbing, electric, central heat, and plentiful food, I missed Lesotho terribly.
In February of this year, the thought came to me; I would love to return for a visit. I simply thought a prayer…Lord if you want to go you’ll have to work it out. That very night some friends of ours wanted to talk to me about the importance of Missions. I was able to share my passion for the need of helping and being there for missionaries, those whom God has called to share the wonderful story of Jesus’ love to those in foreign countries. That very evening we went to Hobe Sound Camp. When the service was over Mrs. Budensick, The leader of Touching Lives for Christ came up to me and said, “You are my team leader for Lesotho”. My immediate response was, “I can’t afford it."
Well I came home and someone called and said they would help me. I was still unsure of being away from home and my job for over four weeks. I was unsure if I would even have a job when I got back if I took that much time off. After much discussion and prayer I decided to go.
Donnie so kindly wrote a support letter for me and the preparation began. The team came together with an unbelievable smoothness. I started communicating with them and finally we were off to boot camp. At boot camp we began training for our trip. We slept in tents in the Florida woods and heat with armadillos and raccoons prowling around. Yes, it was HOT! We had services to draw close to the Lord, Bible memorization, classes on traveling out of the country, making a flag for our country and don’t forget the obstacle course at 6:30AM. Putting the blocks with the books of the Bible together on a 2x4, running with them to base and back, walking on skis together(WITHOUT falling),running the lap, monkey bars, the climbing wall, the rope swing, the rope bridge and all in less than five minutes. Yes we were awake when were through! What a challenge.
We were graded on the obstacle course, our camp site being in perfect shape for inspection every morning, Bible memory and being absolutely quiet with light out.
Well to my shock and amazement we were #2 out of 14 teams. I was excited.
After our long week at boot camp we went back to Hobe Sound Bible Church for a commissioning service. It was a very sobering time. It brought the reality of our mission. Rev Rodney Loper preached a challenging message for us. The theme of his message that night was “Let’s Go.” The church lights were then turned out and each team leader and member lit a candle going all around the church. It was a touching service. God was with us.
Monday we left Miami, Florida and headed for Chicago where I was able to be with Donnie and my parents for our three hour layover. We then flew about ten hours to London, and then a nine hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. We were met by Missionary Glen Gault and a truck with a topper and a trailer for luggage. He had put foam on the truck bed for us to sit on. Nine of us piled in the back, exhausted beyond measure. We had not been to bed for two nights and had an eight hour trip in the back of this truck ahead! Needless to say we slept wherever we were.
We arrived at the mission in the dark. It is very cold there in the southern hemisphere right now. With limited electricity or heat it looked very interesting but we had a warm welcome waiting for us from Stephanie and Kaitlyn Gault. Stephanie had hot stew and fresh bread waiting for us. It was a welcoming setting. We ate, cleaned up, and then slept! All of us slept at least twelve hours and some fourteen hours. I think its called jet lag or just plain exhaustion!
After a rest we started our work by going to the A.C.E. school that has been started in Ladybrand, S.A. It was the last day of school for them for their winter break. We played games with them and visited. The missionaries wanted them to spent time with other Christian young people. We had a good time with them
Saturday we distributed tracts in the village of Matukang to people that were unbelievably open to the gospel. When we would give them a tract they would ask what is was and want to be told more about what we were offering. I was so amazed. I had never seen people so hungry to know more about Jesus.
Sunday was amazing to me as well. You have never heard people pray like they pray. After every request they have prayer for one request for all like we have for our congregational prayer and they have many requests and much to pray for! They sing with all their heart. I just don’t think you have ever heard anything like it. They sing unto the Lord! They are at church to worship. We were there for about three hours. It truly was a blessing to see them worship the Lord Jesus!
Monday we began VBS with about two hundred children. They listened to the stories, sang with gusto and really enjoyed the games, candy and oranges we gave them. They were very appreciative for all we did with them.
We built benches, painted them and used them for VBS and services. We painted the mission house roof, cleared as many tree limbs as possible for the solar panel to get as much sunshine as possible and did everything possible to help these precious missionaries, Glen and Stephanie Gault, whom God has called to Africa.
They have started a project raising pigs for the children orphaned from AIDS. Trae, Blake, and Eric Grant and Glen repaired the cement pens. This is a new project. Please pray that this project will be a success.
It was so cold there but I didn’t realize how cold it was until we had an overcast day. After that we began to pray for sunshine. We never had another day without sun. I was so thankful to the Lord. It was such an answer to our prayers!
We went up a mountain to pass out tracts. Spiritually, it seemed so dead and dry there. I asked why we had come to this village and was told there was a Christian family that wanted to start a church. No one in the village seemed responsive at all. After we passed out tracts we gathered around for a short service. Our team sang, the youth group from Matukang sang, and Glen had a little sermon. We then gathered around in a circle holding hands to pray for this work. When we started to pray the most amazing thing happened. God’s presence settled down. At that moment I knew why we had come and realized that no matter what the cost it was worth it all.
I would like to personally thank those of you in our PNC family who helped make our trip possible. Without a doubt, it was a life changing experience for me and for Trae and Blake.
God has truly blessed me by allowing me to take such an unbelievable trip. It is an experience I will never forget and could never be put into words.