Flying By in the Jungle

Do you ever have those months that just fly by? That was June for our family here on the Big Island…

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We all pitched in and turned our school room into an artist’s studio. A little white paint and a few extra shelves have helped unleash the creative juices in the jungle. Camden (in the photo above) is in process with his large-scale ink drawing.

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One of the highlights of our week is spending time with the youth in our village. Everyday is different and whether its teaching English, translating scripture, reading and telling stories, playing games, or just having a meal, we are grateful to God for giving us these relationships. On this day Rebe had some of the youth from the village, including Thega, above) paint a still-life with water colors.

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Just below our house, where the mangrove tidewater ends and the forest begins, is this perfect piece of flat, grassy land that becomes a kid paradise in the dry season. Soccer, baseball (they love it!), tag, and mud-wrestling are the sporting options, or they can hunt for crabs, climb trees for fruit, or dance. You can find Camden down here most afternoons.

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The problem with a flat, grassy piece of land is that it becomes popular with non-humans as well. I think it was half-time anyway. The boy to the right of Camden in the blue shirt is Landrine. He lives with his grandma close to our house and is good friends with Camden. His grandma (Dadi ny’ Landrine) is a great woman who still grows rice to support her household. She also sells pickled relishes (mango and citrus) to supplement her income… they’re delicious!

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This is our friend Joe. He was in charge of getting the big village ready for the festival held annually the day after Pentecost. He decided to repaint the statue (also a water fountain) in the middle of the village.

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There is a catholic church in the big village, and every year on the Monday after Pentecost, they gather together and carry a statue of Mary around the island and into our village. I have asked many people about this tradition, but no one seems to know why they do it… but it is an excuse for Ambatozavavy to have an all-day party! We went and hung out with our friends, told some of them the story of Pentecost, and had a delicious meal together. Rebe brought her face paints and was a big hit with the kids.

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Rosina and two other local Christians have been translating a “mini bible.” Jed and some of our team have selected verses and chapters that are essential to the Christian story, and we are excited to see the progress on this first translation of scripture into the local Sakalava language. Since the band has done such a great job of turning Daniel 3 and Isaiah 43 into musical form, we decided to give them the entire story of creation, from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2:3 and have them create the music and words. Rosina read them the translated scripture, and she and I spent some time explaining to them the overall theme of the story and what was most important. They came to our house recently and sang a little of the new song… can’t wait to share it with you when it is complete! Please keep praying for Ladis, Matis and Edme.

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This past weekend Myla turned 7! We are blessed to have such an energetic, thoughtful, and fun daughter! We celebrated with a weekend away at Rosina’s villa (swimming, presents and cookie cake)!

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Peace to you, friends…

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Col. 1:17