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What is a Coney?

Written by Mark Behle
March 31, 2008

 

The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys.  (Psalm 104:18)

On the other side of the mountain from Masitise lies a large hill with a rocky outcrop at its crown.  Known as Bolepeletsa (Bo-lay-pay-lates'-ah), it is a distinctive geographic feature of the valley from which it rises.  In the panoramic view at the top of the newsletter, Bolepeletsa is at the far right in the middle of the picture. 

ImageLast month the Friends of God group hiked over to Bolepeletsa and enjoyed games and a picnic at the top, as well as wonderful views of God's marvelous creation all around us.  We hiked through a village near the top of the ridge and then followed a path down the far side of the mountain.

From the pinnacle of Bolepeletsa it felt like being on top of the world as we took in the fantastic views.  Lots of pictures were taken and everyone enjoyed exploring around the peak.  We were adjacent to the border with South Africa and the mountains behind us in the group photo are on South African soil. 

ImageAmong our companions at the top were a few goats enjoying the plant life, if not the view.   If you've ever wondered about those "coneys" (or rock badgers or hyraxes) that the Psalmist mentions, I've included a photo of one, though it wasn't taken at Bolepeletsa.  They are rather skittish creatures.  They love basking in the sun, but quickly scamper away to the rocky crevices when they notice that you've noticed them!

David Ellenberger, the missionary who founded the Masitise mission station in 1866 during his work with the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, mentions Bolepeletsa several times in his book, History of the Basuto.  It was "a small natural fortress...having but one approach, through...enormous boulders...forming a rude arch or gateway through which cattle could only pass in single file." He writes of stolen cattle being driven to the top and these were easily defended by the thieves against those trying to recover them.  Ellenberger says the men "threw heavy stones down at them with which the women kept them supplied."  Once you've climbed to the top, it takes little imagination to re-create the scene.

During our time at the top I shared this history which was unknown to most in the group.  We didn't throw stones down on anyone, but we did enjoy playing games and singing.

Eventually we had to pull ourselves away from the grand scene around us and begin the journey home.  We all made it, though we had quite a few rest stops along the way!

Thanks for your prayers for our Friends of God group.  We have been growing in numbers and we continue to meet  on Sunday afternoons.

Yours in Christ,
Mark Behle

Mark Behle is a missionary with the Lesotho Evangelical Church.  He is a Mathematics teacher at Masitise High School, Lesotho.

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