We woke up last Sunday with anticipation for the day. A feeling inside that can be described as a ‘stirring deep within’…God was up to something…heart related…we could all sense it.
Kids, we’re going to the village in the jungle today, like we normally do on Sunday, but we’re going with our Sakalava neighbors, and everything we say or sing will be in Sakalava.
It’s time to tell them more about God’s beautiful love story, and to do that we must talk with our neighbors in their language, so they can understand.
In our village, there are tourists (mostly from France, Italy and Germany) who are led by local guides to a rainforest about a mile away. These tourists, enjoying vacation and often times Madagascar rum, share with the guides who frequently return from the rainforest quite drunk. Ladis, close friend, local guide, and leader of the band, has been creating songs from scripture. This day, he and the other band members plan to come and lead these worship songs at the outreach event in the jungle.
Do you think Ladis will make it to the event for the music today?
Yeah, he said he would. Why?
I don’t know. The guides haven’t had many tourists lately and now today, the day we are to commence a formal outreach, he’s guiding tourists. I want him to be there.
Yeah, me too. Satan will be hard at work now that our team is actively speaking God’s Word in the local language.
Yeah, that’s true, we need to be in prayer and be on guard.
Thega, a good friend of Camden arrived on our porch waiting for us to begin the walk. We ate rice, beans and cabbage for lunch together, locked up the hut and started on our way.
As we left the our house, we stopped to “mamangy” (sit and visit) with neighbors and give one last invitation to come and hear the Sakalava words and songs we had to offer.
As we moved on, we found our team leader, Rosina, and other members of our team ready to go. We walked together.
The first 10 minutes of the walk there were about 15 people…
In another 10 minutes the group had grown to 25…
30 people…slowly and steadily, all of the relationships that God had cultivated in our lives over the last year were gathering together. It was a sight that I will never forget…my thoughts were,
Look at what God is doing…He’s preparing Sakalava hearts for relationship, not just with us, but a divine relationship with Himself…
Our hearts were bubbling up inside…a feeling of ‘unknown adventure’ was on the horizon, and our footsteps were being piloted.
After hiking for an hour, we arrived in the remote village of Bemonondrohely where we were greeted by the rest of our team alongside local villagers.
In the dirt, under mango trees, we layed out traditional grass mats where everyone would gather, placed a basket of fresh bananas decorated with pink hibiscus in the center and we waited…
Taxis do not pass through this village, but Rosina had organized one taxi to bring Ladis, and the other members of his family who were busy guiding tourists during the first part of the day. They swung around the bumpy corner and into the village riding in an old, rusty Renault with smiles on their faces, ready for this experience.
After introductions in the Sakalava language we sang the four new scripture-songs led by Ladis, and Rosina read the creation account in Genesis (recently translated into the local Sakalava dialect). Here is the song created from Genesis 1…
We sang again and then our team presented a dramatic reading of the translated story, “The Beginning: A perfect home” from the Jesus Storybook Bible, by author Sally Lloyd-Jones.
We concluded with prayer and Bryan finished with a closing question,
This week, as you are busy with your lives, cooking, cleaning, going to the fields, fishing… think about this world we live in. God created it and said it was very good. In what ways is that still true? In what ways has our world become not good? Why?
Yesterday, Ladis was on our porch with his guitar.
When are we going to do that again? I liked talking about God in that way…
The Lord is ‘stirring in hearts’, His beautiful love story is bringing our neighbors near to Himself.
But with knowledge of the Lord’s hand at work, we too see Satan scheming…opposing the message of truth…we’ll consider more on the opposition in a couple of weeks…
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas;… (Psalm 65:4-5)
With hope and anticipation…Rebe