The Basotho were Christianized generations ago, but most were never fully converted. The social pressure against becoming bapholosoa, or born again, is wielded by traditional religious forces, mainline churches and family members alike. All the factors have reduced the mainstream church to maintaining the religious status quo with marginal redemptive impact on society. Pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep out impurities from the churches and bring new life. There are two issues of particular importance:
a) Traditionalism and nominalism are common in the Catholic Church and in the Lesotho Evangelical Church. The latter is the fruit of the great pioneering work by French missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society.
b) Many AIC churches compromise with African traditional religious practices and beliefs. Sometimes this is due to a lack of biblical teaching; sometimes it is a deliberate syncretization. Practices like balimo (ancestor worship), curses and charms, and the Sephiri (a secret society involving African traditional magic rites) are all an affront to the holiness of God and the purity of the gospel.
Newer evangelical/renewalist groups and agencies continue to see growth (AIM, YWAM, IMB, various South African groups). Special items for prayer:
a) Bible teaching. A strategic need, since most evangelical pastors lack experience and training. There are five residential Bible colleges/seminaries, as well as further TEE programmes, the Bible Training Centre for Pastors and the missions-specific ECMTC (Operation UP).
b) Theological purity. Several foreign African groups have entered Lesotho preaching a gospel that includes excessive or incorrect emphases on prosperity, healings and other issues. Pray for discernment for the leaders of Lesotho’s churches to know what is right and biblical and appropriate for their own context.
c) Unity in the churches. There are many evangelical, charismatic and Pentecostal groups for such a small country, but no central body through which they can relate together. Pray for a spirit of humility and cooperation.