Well hello everyone!
Since the last time I wrote, I:
1. Rode on the OUTSIDE of the bus in downtown Tana - it was crowded so I had to hang out the back...
2. Attempted to make guacamole - they have the strangest avocados here
3. Showered in the dark
4. Talked to friends on skype!!
5. Attended a prayer meeting at Tana City Church
6. Was really convicted by this thought -- if it's more difficult for me to share Jesus with the lost people in my life than to sit by and not share Him, something is really wrong in my heart...It should be the most difficult and painful thing in my life to keep Him to myself, and that's the truth.
7. New favorite John Piper quote = "The goal of missions is the gladness of the nations in the glory of God" (see Psalm 67)
I don't have too many cool stories to write this time around, so sorry! I've mostly just been staying at the house in Tana and writing some updates. But I'll share my 5th OM update in my series, they usually edit the stories before they put them on the internet and make them more "OM friendly" I guess...but this what I wrote pre-editing! Thanks for taking the time to check up on me, I appreciate every single one of you!
|Also...I just think this is funny - this was on the inside of my taxi haha|
The moment I set my foot on the bike pedal the rain started falling. "It's going to be a long 10 km..." I thought to myself. It was on a recent outreach to Manakara, a city in the southeast of Madagascar, that I visited a truly rural village for the first time. This village can only be reached on foot or by bicycle. After carrying the bike through a steep mudslide in the tropical rain, I started to doubt my decision that riding was a better alternative to walking. Nevertheless, 10 km later I was standing in the village of Maroala covered in mud and sand. Though I had tried to mentally prepare myself, I was still shocked at the poverty in front of me. As I looked at the children with swollen bellies and mothers with hopeless looks in their eyes, I wanted to shut them out and cause my heart not to feel for them. The team had brought clothes for these people, which we passed out after a gospel presentation. Still, I was distressed that I had no food to offer, no immediate relief. But I heard Jesus reminding me, "I am the Bread of Life and Living Water, whoever comes to me will never be unsatisfied." He's our great provider and ultimate satisfaction - join with me in praying that His name will be made great in the village of Maroala.
Since I've been in Madagascar, I've experienced things I never imagined I would - like riding a bike through the jungle. Most of these experiences have made for hilarious stories that I'll never forget, but some have broken my heart. For instance, I never thought I would hear a little girl say she wants to grow up and be a prostitute. But the dark reality is that prostitutes on the small island of Sainte Marie, off the northeast coast of Madagascar, appear to be the most wealthy and satisfied individuals. They have the nicest clothes and the most customers. This little girl doesn't realize that these women are used, abused and hurting. She doesn't realize that she's been created with value, she hasn't been taught to dream beyond her small island home. On the other hand, while visiting a Christian children's home in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, I heard a little boy say he wants to grow up and become a pilot (he thinks, "it would be fun to drive around up in the sky, where there's no cars"). His caretakers at the home have encouraged him to follow his dreams; they'll support him in his education. He's flourishing in his environment of love and support.
I felt so saddened at the answer of the little girl, thinking if she only had more love and support perhaps she would dream beyond prostitution; and then it hit me: maybe the Lord looks upon us - His church, and feels the same emotion. He has provided unfailing love and the unending support of a Father, yet what do our dreams look like? Can we see beyond our circumstances - do we believe anything is possible with Christ, that He can really change a nation? The vision of OM Madagascar is to empower Malagasy Christians "to run faster and fly higher," because we serve a big God who is capable of all things. Let us pray for this nation, interceding on their behalf that God would do miraculous and marvelous things among them, not diminishing His might by asking only for small things.