Monday, November 26, 2012

Ordinations

First off, A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! There's so many different things to be thankful for this year. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who made my trip to Lesotho possible. I would not be able to be here without all of your help and support, so for that I am incredibly thankful!

On sunday, the whole Diocese celebrated the ordination of 8 people, 4 Deacons and 4 Priests. The ordinations were held at the Lesotho National Convention Center in Maseru, since it was the only place big enough to hold all of the people that wanted to come! There must have been 600+ people in attendance. Many of the churches around Maseru cancelled their regular sunday services so that their parishioners could come to the ordinations. It's wonderful to see the whole community come together to support these new priests in their ministry. I've been to several ordinations in the states, and they don't compare to the ordinations here at all. Ordinations are such an exciting time for the Church. We should strive to provide the same support for our newly ordained in the States. 


Father Michael and Me
Two brothers from the local SSM (Society of the Sacred Mission) Priory were part of the group ordained to the priesthood. One of them, Father Samuel Monyamane, will be the new priest in Mantsonyane when I arrive in January. Father Michael Lapsley is the head of the SSM in Lesotho, so he was in attendance. I got to speak with him for a bit. You might remember him from a previous post, Redeeming the Past. If you have not had a chance to read his book, I highly encourage you to do so. Check out that previous post if you are not familiar with Father Michael's story.

Newly ordained SSM Brothers with Father Michael
I finished his book a few months back, and it is an amazing read. A key point in the book is the old adage "Everything happens for a reason." But Father Lapsley makes the argument that it is up to us to give the events in our life purpose and reason. We cannot just accept bad things when they happen.  We have to find a way to redeem the those events and give them purpose. Father Michael's life was shattered by a bomb from the South African Government. He could have easily given up, but he turned his ordeal into an amazing ministry that has touched thousands of lives.  Check out his work at The Institute for Healing of Memories. One of my favorite quotes from the book,  "God does not step in to prevent terrible things from happening, but God accompanies us on the journey, whatever that may be." Something I think we should all take to heart. 


Ordained to the Diaconate
Ordained to the Priesthood



Finally, just a quick appeal to everyone to please read the blogs of the other YASCers. They are all doing great work in their various placements. You can find the links to their blogs on the left hand side of this page. Sala hantle!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vacation..... sort of!

That's not snow, its hail!
This past week, The Rev. David Copley from the Episcopal Church Center in NYC visited me in Lesotho! David is the Mission Personnel Officer for the Episcopal Church, which makes him my boss. He tries to make a visit to every YASCer and missionary every year, but when you have missionaries in over 20 countries that can be a hard thing to accomplish. I'm happy that David worked Lesotho into his busy schedule. The weather on David's first day was definitely not the nicest weather I've seen in Lesotho. We had a storm pass through that left nearly half an inch of hail on the ground. Luckily the weather cooperated for the rest of David's stay in Lesotho. 

David and I went up to the St. James Hospital so that he could visit and get a feel for where I will be living and what I will be doing there. John Mahoona, the hospital administrator, gave us tour and joined us for lunch. The area surrounding the hospital is very rural, but incredible beautiful. It takes around 3 hours to get from Maseru to the Hospital, and you really don't see much along the way other than gorgeous view after gorgeous view. 
Main Hall in the Hospital
Main Entrance to the Hospital


Like I said, nothing but gorgeous views!
David looking at farmland around the Hospital

David and I joined the Bishop when he went to do confirmations in Malea-lea. The Bishop asked David to vest and help with the service. 
David blessing the children
Bishop Adam's sermon

The congregation in Malea-lea

The vacation part of this week started when David and I travelled to Grahamstown, South Africa to visit with the two YASCers placed there, Steve and Cameron. Holly, the YASCer in Cape Town, joined us as well. We all came to Grahamstown to shoot a promotional video for YASC, so it was more of a working vacation (by working vacation I mean that I was interviewed for about 5 minutes and then spent the rest of the 3 days relaxing. Tough job). It was so great to be able to visit some friends and relax for a few days. Steve and Cameron live at a Monastery in Grahamstown. This place is absolutely amazing. It was incredible to worship with the brothers at the monastery. Breakfast and Lunch are both in silence, which is a little hard to adjust to but I really loved it by the time we left. There is an incredible spirituality about the whole complex. Steve and Cameron are some lucky guys to be able to live there for a year!

Steve and Cameron both are teacher's assistants at the Holy Cross School run by the brothers. We got to spend some time at the school watching Steve and Cameron work, despite Holly's and my best attempts to have never-ending recess. Both of these guys are great at what they do. The kids love having them around so much. 


Dress-up time
Cameron at work
Steve teaching English
Holly dancing




Thanks to David for visiting and making the trip to Grahamstown possible. Thanks to the brothers at the Holy Cross Monastery for hosting us for the week. Before I left, the brothers invited me to come back at any point. I fully intend on taking them up on the offer. Sala Hantle!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Make A Joyful Noise

Just a quick post to give you a taste of the music that is sung during worship services. It would be impossible to describe the songs with words, so I've added the videos below for you to see them and hear them. The songs are incredibly passionate and intense! They are the kind of songs that make you want to get up and dance, and in many cases do make you dance! Many churches here in Lesotho do not have organs or other instruments, so most of the songs are a cappella. You'll notice that the congregations use all sorts of percussion instruments in the songs. Enjoy!

This first video was taken at the St. Mary Magdalene's Guild Conference during the Eucharist

video



This next video was taken at St. Michael's Parish in Maseru East

video