“All through life things happen to us that are not so good. It’s how we respond to those things that changes the outcome – for us and for those we work with. God is a good God, and even though we go through tough times He will always be there with us.”
That’s a lesson Susan Bellett learned within two weeks of arriving in Maseru, Lesotho.
I arrived here September 2008. I’d been asked if I’d go and work at an orphanage centre in Africa. At the time I wasn’t 100% sure of God’s call but decided to simply step out and trust him.
My diploma in Early Childhood Education meant my initial role was to work with and encourage the teachers in the preschool, which caters for both community children and those from the centre.
I’ve learned so much in the time I’ve been here. In particular I’ve come to realise that, when working as a missionary, you should never rush in with all the answers. The longer I’m in Masera the more I come to understand that my Western answers don’t always apply here and I have much to learn.
My most harrowing learning experience came within my first two weeks – I was held up at gunpoint. As this was happening I recalled once reading that, if you’re in trouble, call upon the name of Jesus. So, that’s what I did, out loud. The men took my money before returning my bag containing my bank cards and house keys.
I was in shock but chose to look to God. By later that afternoon I was able to pray for those who’d robbed me.
Why do I tell you this? Simply, I never thought of returning home. Sure, I put some things in place to keep me safer, but it’s left me with a greater understanding of God’s watch over my life.
That was three years ago and my role has grown in that time. I’m still involved in the preschool. Each day I walk 10 grade one children to and from school. I’ve been given a room which I’m converting into a classroom and each afternoon a different age group of children come to learn mathematics and English.
These things seem inconsequential but I’ve learned that little things done with love and consistency over a period of time lead to bigger things and, for me, the bottom line is being open and obedient to God.
I love being here and feel blessed to be able to do what I am doing. The 106 children at the centre are amazing and I’ve learned so much from them. They may not have much in material possessions but they have each other and a relationship with God. I pray that this will grow into a life-changing relationship and that they also will be open to be used by him.
Yes, at times the things I see are horrible and unfair. I also miss my two adult children but, as I keep my eyes on Jesus and trust him, it’s not so overwhelming.
And I do still sometimes wonder: What’s God doing in the lives of those three young men who robbed me?
• Susan Bellett, a member of Spreydon Baptist Church, is with the MIS Centre – Maseru, Lesotho