(Sandy, one of our translators, at the school site)
Decision point: what would you do? The hut you are sleeping in is hot and stuffy. It’s hard to sleep. You can choose to get out of your sleeping bag for comfort, but with that, run the risk of rats nibbling at your toes. They’ve already run over your friend’s feet…
We had a good time with our volunteer team, and are praising the Lord for the Truth that was shared while they were here. The Foibe Roof for the Children project has begun, and has provided us with many opportunities for evangelism and relationship building. Right now, it looks like the entire building will be finished mid-June. We were there last week, and are planning another trip to help with the completion! :) This last week we had the neat opportunity to teach the teacher how to teach the Word and incorporate it into the children’s daily lessons!
Sitting in the hut of the chief of Foibe, he told us we were doing the right thing by spending time with the people, because developing relationships is the only way the people will ever trust us. Even now, over 50 years after Madagascar won their independence, the people still think every white person is a French colonizer coming to make them work or to kill them. Only in the last few years have they stopped fearing even the footprints of the foreigners (evident, of course, because we wear shoes ;).
Flies buzzing around us as we shell beans, the chief’s teenage daughter tells me she didn’t like the fighting in the movie we showed. She didn’t understand why Jesus had to die. She certainly wouldn’t and couldn’t have died for the world. I walk her through The Story, emphasizing our need for a perfect blood sacrifice. A basket full of beans later, she looks me in the eye, “It’s clear now!” Oh, how we are praying that many more understand why our Lord had to die and what His victory over death means for believers today!
A lot of people here take tobacco, an expensive (and dangerous) addiction. They put it in powder form between their bottom teeth and lip or in the sides of their mouth, many times a day. Children as young as one year old see their parents doing this and are invited to do the same. One girl I talked with told me that when she was four or five she got terribly ill. Her parents came to her and said, “If you can take tobacco, we know you will live. But if you do not, we will accept the fact now that you are going to die. Frightened, she stuffed it in her mouth. Now over a decade later she says, “To me, tobacco is life.”
The people in Beremby evidenced that do not know how to worship God. They believe “the ancestral spirits deserve respect just like God. We pray to them like we pray God – only on Sundays we pray to God, but when there are special events or important times we pray to the ancestors.” Worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25) has brought them no hope.
Ever thankful for your prayers,
P.S. Oh, about the decision point? I chose the heat. :-)