"What is the best way to make a difference in the lives of the Basotho people?"I was recently asked while talking with people about the role of missionaries.
I thought for a while, and something occurred to me.
At the Children’s Centre, we get all kinds of visitors and teams that come through to do work, and assist us in our goals of creating a safe and happy place for the children to grow up.
Teams come in all shapes and sizes.
Some come like a tornado, powering through in two days, transforming the landscape in their wake, fixing, building and repairing anything that leaks, squeaks or rattles. They bring everything with and need nothing from us.
Others come slowly.
They arrive, often by themselves. They stay. They take it all in. They bring nothing with, and often rely on us. Then, when the time is right, they leave again.
If you had to ask the Basotho people who made the bigger impact, what do you suppose they would say?
If you have picked up the vibe here, you may have correctly guessed that the team most fondly remembered, most loved, and often most impactful is the latter one. The slow, quiet, visitor.
Because they are willing to listen. When they listen, they are showing the people how important their voices are. They are showing them that they have something to say. They they have something to offer.
A missionary coming in is often thought of as the one ‘bringing’ something, and who doesn’t need anything. They are the ones who have ‘it.’ But I think it’s often the other way around. The missionaries’ job is to show the people that they have ‘it’. To show them their value, their worth, their importance in the eyes of God. As missionaries, we should be bringing our ears, and using them well.
At MAF, I get a strong sense that there is an awareness of this, from the top management in the USA, to each and every pilot who serves in the field. It’s not just about flying, and doing as much as we can physically squeeze into a day. It’s much more about relationships, and working with people in these isolated communities, to show them that they have value, and a voice, and so much to teach the world.
That’s why MAF didn’t just employ me as a pilot. They employed the whole Strugnell Crew, as a family unit, to serve, live with and listen to the Basotho people, to hear them bring glory to God.
So I believe, the best way to make a difference in the lives of the Basotho people, is simply to listen to them, and let the relationship grow.