Lerato Lesoetha has a heart for Africa’s unreached people groups. Born in Lesotho, one of Africa’s smallest countries, she’s heading to Chad, one of Africa’s largest. She shared with APF something of her journey, which has also included time in Mozambique, Uganda , South Sudan and even the UK where she has been studying.
I was born and raised in Lesotho which is a very small mountainous country surrounded by South Africa. My passion for unreached people groups started about 13 years ago while I was watching a documentary on TV. The documentary highlighted just how so many people living in Muslim countries had never heard the gospel before and since then I have felt a strong call to be amongst African Muslims.
In 2019, I joined an African Inland Mission short-term team working in northern Mozambique. We served a rural Muslim community by teaching literacy, introducing children to Bible stories and training in sustainable farming. I thought this short trip would quench my hunger and I would go back to pursuing my career in international development. In fact, during this trip I saw that indeed “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few” (Luke 10:2). My heart was convicted that I should spend my life labouring in the Lord’s harvest.
In 2021, I joined a year-long mission team based in Uganda but working primarily with South Sudanese people. What stood out for me from this experience was the fact that there remain so many unreached people groups and many more who still don’t have the Bible translated into their mother tongue.
In September, I will be joining an outreach team based in Oum Hadjar in Chad for a two-year placement. Chad is a large landlocked country in North Africa. It stretches from savannah in the south, through the arid Sahel region and deep into the Sahara Desert to the north. Oum Hadjar is a small town on the bank of the Batha River within the central Sahel belt. The area is sparsely populated. The population of the entire Oum Hadjar Sub-Prefecture is only about 14,500.
The main goals of our team will be to live relationally with the community. We will be learning Chadian Arabic and seeking to reach some unreached Chadian Arabs who live across the area. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we will disciple and encourage the formation of house churches. Our team will also be engaged in English teaching and sustainable agricultural training. This is so important in this area as people’s livelihoods are badly threatened by desertification. Throughout our time we will be working closely with the Evangelical Church of Chad.
At present I am in Canterbury where I am finishing an MSc in Conservation and Rural Development at the University of Kent. As soon as I have submitted my dissertation, I will go home to Lesotho to be with my family for a few weeks before I leave for Chad in September. I am sure my studies will be very valuable as I serve the rural communities living around Oum Hadjar.