Friday, December 24, 2010
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and with justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7
The zeal of the LORD has performed this and the Child has been born! Hooray! May you celebrate a WONDERFUL Christmas day filled with love and joy and gratefulness to our Saviour. I love you all! Cara :)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Note of caution: I know this update is entitled “Children & Babies,” but due to some mature themes, you may not want to read this update to them.
I was just trying to get to know our new porter, Tsabo. Sitting across the fire from him in the hut, I ask some general questions:
“How old are you?” Twenty-five.
“Are you married?” Yes.
“How long have you been married?” Four years.
“Do you have any children?” Yes.
“How many?” Four.
“How old are they?” The youngest is three and the oldest is fifteen.
Wait. Fifteen? Quick mathematics swirl around my head. “You had your first child at ten?! “ Tsabo chuckles at my jaw (which is hanging open) and eyes (which are open even wider). Yes.
My mind knows the Malagasy culture encourages early sexual activity and marriage as young as twelve, but still I was shocked. At ten years old I was playing dress up and having tea parties. We had an invisible friend named Fred in my ten year old Sunday School class. When the teachers would try to make us sit together, Fred would sit in between the boys and the girls because the boys didn’t want to sit by us girls and vice versa! Here those boys are fathers. And the girls aren’t playing dress up. They’re dressing their newborn babies.
Also, do the math for when Tsabo got married. Eleven years AFTER he had a child with his sipa (girlfriend). This is not at all uncommon. The relationship commitment level is very low for most couples here, and it is standard and accepted practice to have sex with people before you get married and with others even after you are. Oh how hearts and lives are hurt by that! There is another way!
One of our newest lessons is on “God’s Plan.” It tells God’s basic plan for our lives and then goes on to talk about God’s plan for our relationships. While taught in a culturally appropriate way, it is very anti-cultural. We head out to the villages this Wednesday through Saturday. Please pray that God would be preparing the people to hear the truth of this lesson from God’s Word. May their ears be opened and hearts be soft to consider this controversial message about relationships.
I hope to write another update before Christmas, but in case I don’t, a blessing for you all for the joyous season from Numbers 6: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” The Prince of Peace has come to earth (Isaiah 9:6) that we may have life (John 10:10).
One quick medical story I wanted to share with you guys. In our “When To Go To The Doctor” lesson, we teach a lot about fever. Different illnesses that can cause it, treatment, etc. After the lesson, we give Tylenol out to each family after teaching VERY clearly on how and when to take it. A little old woman came and got some Tylenol and thanked us profusely. She then stepped to the side and started talking with her neighbors. She had problems with shortness of breath and wondered if the Tylenol could help out. One helpful chap exclaimed, “Oh yes! Just take three Tylenol pills at once and your shortness of breath will be gone forever!” AHHHHH! Oh my. Lack of medical knowledge is so huge here. We try so hard to teach over and over about ANY medication we give out because of things just like this, but sometimes it seems like an uphill battle. We were also informed that you contact AIDS by touching money right after an infected person or by wearing someone else’s underwear (why would you even do that?). Please pray that God would give us wisdom as we seek to teach medical truth to the people here, as well as spiritual!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Hey guys! Sorry I haven't posted lately! Quick update for you: I had a FANTASTIC trip to my sister's wedding (the pic is all of her siblings ;) and am headed out early tomorrow morning for the rest of the week in the villages of Ambodivoahangy and Fanolafana. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement! Love ya!