Monday, June 21, 2010

Update from Madagasikara

Dear Friends,

Rats bark.

Yes indeed, like tiny dogs. Who knew?

This place is gorgeous. The attached pictures are what we hike through – amazing – and a couple of children from the village of Torotosy - adorable.

Heather and I took a trip up to Antsirabe last week to pick up our Malagasy friend, Mirana. She will hike out to the villages with us as language helper and health educator. She is living with us for a while until we find suitable housing for her. You can pray for both housing for her and our developing relationship.

We are so ready to hike out, but are praying about what that looks like on a longer term basis. This week we plan to visit a the fokotany (leader of the village), a couple local clinics, and the hospital to gain some insight on the medical conditions here, with a possible trip out into the rain forest later on in the week. Pray that God would give us clarity and wisdom as we follow Him moment by moment!

I love you all,
Cara :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

40/40 Take Two: Village Life

4 – Traveled by bus to the village of Petauke. I remember only about 30 minutes of the 6 hour drive because I took the recommended preventative Dramamine which knocks me out for a good 8 hours! The part I DO recall was a police check point. They boarded the bus asking to see our passports. Groggily digging in my purse, I presented it to them and heard them ask, “Where are you going?” To which my mind (struggling to stay awake, mind you) and voice replied, “Madagascar!” Cocking their heads quizzically to the side, my more-alert companions assured them that we were indeed headed to Petauke. :P Let’s just say that if I ever need my brain I’m gonna have to lay off the Dramamine! :0)

5 – General training at camp regarding logistics (how to shower with a bucket, pee in a hole, etc) and lectures about rural vs. urban communities, oral cultures, etc.

6 – DFA: Meet government officials/leadership - Lauren, Heather, and I got to go to the Ministry of Health department and tour the local hospital. No surprise c-sections this time, but fun nonetheless!

7 – DFA: Men met with chief, ladies with the chief’s wife and District Commissioner’s wife. Let’s just say that no-bake cookies made their appearance…

8 – DFA: Medicine and the Spirit World – the rural version and digging deeper. Africans in general do not share all their knowledge as we Americans tend to. Knowledge is a form of power, so there needs to be a layer of trust before you get the more real answers.

9 – DFA: Church of another denomination. My group went to the local Anglican church and learned how to kneel, sit, stand, kneel, sit, stand (repeat ad-nauseum or until you have to bite your tongue you are laughing so hard :).

10 – DFA: Life cycle – childhood, youth, adulthood.

11 – DFA: Sharing your story.

12 – DFA: Community Development and Disaster relief. Helpful practice mostly for how to assess situations and how we can get Baptist Global Response’s assistance in a time of need.

On a side note, it was great living in a tent with Heather and Lauren this whole time, spending peaceful nights star-gazing and conversing around the campfire with friends old and new. For me it was a sweet time of resting in my Lord.

“Return to your rest, o my soul, for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.”
Psalm 116:7

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

“And He said to them, Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while…” Mark 6:31

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What is a DFA?!

“Cara, what did you do in Zambia for a month?” Here are the posts for those who want details – ha! Our days in the city of Lusaka generally started with small group study/storying. Mine was with Doug & Kathryn Taylor (thus it was splendiferous) and two national believers. Then we headed out in groups of three for our Daily Field Assignments until lunch. After lunch, we’d debrief the day and have lectures regarding African culture, etc.

23 – Intro day. Welcome to 40/40 in Lusaka, Zambia! Best moment of the day = arriving from the airport and getting big hugs from all of our friends amid screams of excitement. :)

24 – DFA: Observation Skills – see if you can figure out why they do what they do! Learning how to get insights into the culture by a very non-stalker sort of way. :P

25 – DFA: Group worship and learn how suffering is a gift (Phil. 1:27-30 & other passages).

26 – DFA: Basic Bio – how do you get to know someone in an African culture? Hint: greetings and goodbyes are the most important thing you can do right!

27 – DFA: What is a humanitarian – their answers might surprise you… We also had an “adventurous” meal near the market (Rose, the language helper for Lauren and me, is the one pictured above).

28 – DFA: Medicine and Heath – what do you do if someone gets sick? Go to a clinic, pray, visit the witch doctor…?

29 – DFA: Deaths and Funerals – traditions regarding these and a visit with a family who had recently lost a loved one to learn how to grieve with them.

30 – T4T (Training for Trainers) classes, and an adventure into the city of Lusaka for internet and a MOVIE.

1 – DFA: The long story.  Lauren and I had some great conversations with ladies who were sewing in the market. They had many questions about what the Bible REALLY said because they had been told much misinformation. Another man at the ice cream stand asked us to tell him the story because he had never heard it all the way through before.

2 – DFA: Church and eat with a national family - *sigh* this was day I ate caterpillars and kapenta, which are little, dried fish. I did slice off their eyeballs first because eating eyeballs, EWW! lol. The main food of Zambia is not rice like the Malagasy, but nshima. How to describe it? Think flavorless mashed potatoes with the consistency of play-dough and you’re pretty close. :P Heh heh. It’s really not that bad and makes for a good spoon, but I am very glad that our main food here in Madagascar is rice instead of it.

3 – DFA: Meet government officials/talk with leadership - in Africa it is so important who you know and who you have gotten permission from to be in the village you are in, doing the things you are doing.

Next up…VILLAGE LIFE. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Divine Encounter

Cackles of laughter filled the air as the mzungu (foreigner) pounded ground nuts and practiced carrying a baby on her back Zambian-style. See her there above? And that’s me on the right in the red-striped shirt. The girl was awkward at first with the large stick we use for the nuts, but strong. When I remarked on it, she said it was because she played trombone. Whatever that is. Boy, did she ask a lot of questions. All kinds of questions about our life cycles as Zambians – birth, puberty, marriage, and death. I was hesitant to share our secrets with a stranger, but after a while I warmed up to her.

As she told me her own testimony of God’s grace, her eyes grew big as she realized that today, May 10th, was the 19th anniversary of her own salvation. On top of that, this day is not only now my spiritual birthday, but also the day of my physical birth! Today I turn 25 years old, the same age as my new American friend. What an amazing day!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Hello friends!

Heather and I finally made it to our home in the rainforest - huzzah! It’s been a long and delightful journey to get here, but we are so excited to really truly be here now! In regards to what comes next I feel kind of like Solomon when he talked to our Lord and said, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in” (I Kings 3), but am looking forward to what He has planned for us and am trusting in His faithfulness to be our Guide. I'll be posting stories from the last month as I write them. :)

PRAISE the Lord for the time of learning and spending time with friends at 40/40 training in Zambia.
PRAISE the Lord for His blessings of safety, health, no lost bags, and great conversations during our travel.

PRAY that Heather and I would continue to increase our Malagasy even though our formal language time is over.
PRAY that we transition well to our new home in the rain forest.
PRAY for wisdom and clarity as we figure out what our vision of medical ministry looks like in the practical application.

I love you all,