Our Welcome to Madagascar
Hi there! This is Mary. First off, I wanted to thank you for for all of your prayer and support! Im sorry that I couldnt get this update to you sooner. One thing that Im learning is that everything is slower in Africa and nothing ever quite goes as you would expect it to. That being said, there have been a few complications that have kept me from writing sooner. Im excited to be able to summarize for you all what has been going on since we got here.
We arrived Tuesday, the 6th in the evening and were welcomed by our host family. It was our leaders boyfriends birthday and so we threw a party to celebrate. Cake and presents turned into a night of traditional Malagasy dancing and singing. We even sang worship songs at the end of the night! Its been such a blessing being in a Christian household during this time and getting a glimpse of Malagasy culture.
Wednesday, June 7th was our first full day in Madagascar. We spent the day roaming the city of Antananarivo, which was our introdution to Malagasy culture. It was difficult seeing the poverty around the city- having small children come up to our taxi windows or follow us around the city asking us for money. The sights, the smells, and the diseases were all so prevelant and unlike anything I have ever seen. Through it all, I felt as though God was ushering me into His presence, telling me that He had called me here to see things the way that HE sees them; to really be able to see the people, the city, their situation the way that God looks at it. I know that He is stirring up something in my heart, turning my compassion for the poor into passion here.
June 8th was our first full day in the ministry and it was absolutley amazing meeting the kids for the first time. They are beautiful and wore big smiles on their faces. We spent the day decorating the school, trying to make it a space more condusive for learning. We ordered desks, made signs, hung maps, and so much more. I was amazing to see how good of a job the teacher had been doing with the students. The students were well behaved and had gained so much knowledge since their beginning.
June 9th we were able to welcome 3 more students into our ministry which we were so excited for! We now have a 3 year old, 4 year old, and a 12 year old. My heart warmed as we picked them up from their houses, met their parents, and brought them to our school. Unfortunately, half of our team was sick that day and so they were unable to participate the way that they had wanted to.
June 10 was an exciting day. Fugain proposed to Brittany early in the morning!! The school is closed on Saturday and so we were actually able to visit our host familys ancestoral home in the countryside. It was beautiful being able to get a glimpse of Malagasy life in the country side. We also learned more about the religious climate of the country. Many people practice ancestoral worship and believe that it is necessary to offer sacrifices to their ancestors in order to gain blessings. We saw areas marked by Malagasy flags, which we were told were the areas where the offerings were offered. We also learned that there are many Christians that will mix thier christianity with ancestoral worship. That being said, true believers often diffrentiate themselves by calling themselves born again Christians and by refusing to participate in ancestoral worship.
Our days have been full of learning and experiencing. Coming to terms with poverty has been difficult, but I am still praying, searching, and listening to the Lords guidance in all of this- hoping to see things and people as He does.
If you would like to join me in prayer, please pray for the 3 new kids that we just accepted into our program. Pray for them to know and love the Lord and for them to be sponsored.
Pray for the team and our health, as many of us have been sick this week.
Pray for the rest of our time here, that we would be effective and open to the Lords leading.
Pray that God may be glorified.