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Each day that passes in Madagascar we learn something new. We have found that nothing can really prepare you for living in a completely different culture except for experience itself. As our adventure continues and we progress in the language and culture, we are finding that what once used to be so strange to us is becoming more and more normal.
It has been one month now since we have moved into our very own home here in Madagascar and the Lord has given us many blessings…and one curse.
SOME BLESSINGS Less than one week after moving into our new home, someone climbed over our wall, snuck into our guards room, and stole his backpack and other small items. Though this event certainly helped heighten our awareness for theft in our own backyard, there were several blessings that came as a result. First, through it all, nobody was hurt or harmed. Second, we were able to meet our neighbors and begin to build a relationship with them. Though our landlord has actually heightened the physical wall between us and them, the spiritual wall is being broken down as we begin to share with them who we are and why we are here. Please pray that our neighbors would come to know Christ as their Savior.
A CURSE Our house just so happens to be situate next to a factory that makes cookies and all sorts of sweets. Instead of smelling dirty fumes and pollution all day, we smell the sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies. This has created inside of us a hunger (literally) for more cookies. It is truly a trial of faith!
OTHER EXCITING EVENTS I got pulled over by the Malagasy police for not wearing my seatbelt. I honestly did not think this was the law considering many vehicles do not even have seatbelts. I had to pay a fine of 20,000 ariary ($7).
We have restarted with the basics of a new language. One day when I was trying to buy oranges from a man, I insisted that I only wanted 8, yet I kept saying 5. When I took 8 and paid him for 5, he gave me a strange look but allowed me to have them anyway. It was not until that night that I realized my mistake! A few days later, I bought more oranges from him and gave him extra for my mistake!
We have learned that when two people try to communicate in their second languages, there is often some confusion. Rachael was ordering some lunchmeat from the deli one day and asked for 500 grams. The butcher repeated, “50.” Rachael replied, “500.” Finally, the butcher sliced one piece of lunchmeat (50 grams), and gave it to her! After a little more explanation, they resolved the problem with the lunchmeat. But, two minutes later, they repeated the same scenario with the cheese!
Finally, a short story about our girls. Moriah (age 5) tried to share the Gospel in French with a dear lady who has been helping us in our house. However, Moriah did not know the word for heaven, so she asked the lady if she was going to “go up” (meaning heaven). The sweet lady kindly looked at Moriah, thought for a moment, and said yes. She then quickly went upstairs and played with the girls for the rest of the afternoon! Though it was not exactly what Moriah had in mind, we are thankful for her willing heart to share the Gospel even when she doesn’t know all the right words.
As you can see, we have a lot to learn and get adjusted to still. We thank the Lord for this great privilege we have been afforded on account of your faithful and generous support. As always, our prayer is that we would see much fruit from our labors, all for God’s glory and to your account.