More than 20 years ago, a chief from the HaRelejoe village in Lesotho asked then-missionary Dale Stotler and a Church of the Nazarene pastor to build a church in his village. A Work & Witness team built a simple church structure, then the chief asked the team to come back and build a school.
It was always the chief's dream to have a school in his village to serve local children and those who live in villages or remote mountainside areas far away from available schools in larger villages or the capital, Maseru.
In recent years, local leaders and the Nazarene district superintendent worked with missionaries to build a school, train teachers, and get the facilities for the school up and running in this village. However, it had been decades since the chief first asked for a school.
As 2017 began, the chief, who is in his 80s, started to get sick. He knew the end was near. He told the assistant chief that if the school can just open and begin holding classes, he will be at peace to go home to be with the Lord.
On 23 January, the assistant chief excitedly told the chief the school finally opened and classes had begun. Later that day, the old chief passed into the arms of his Lord, knowing that the children of his village and surrounding areas now had access to Christian education. In a village where the chief is the authority, it became a bittersweet day.