“Is that a country?”
“How do you spell that?”
Well, guess that means there’s no Sprint Service in Madagascar!
Having already been there, I knew, of course, that there was no Sprint service in Mada, but called to add international calling so that we could still use our phones in transit and in emergencies.
If you are like the Sprint lady and missed the Madagascar movie, here are a few *facts about the COUNTRY:
- Off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is an island the size of Texas.
- A population of over 22 million, 90% of whom live on $2.00 a day.
- A history of tumultuous government that has officially been a constitutional democracy since 1992.
- A diverse climate with plateaus, beaches, highland peaks, swamps and tropical beaches and forests.
- Approximately 90% of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic.
- Official language is Malagasy and secondary is French
- Approximately half practice the traditional religion of ancestor worship.
- School is free on the island for ages 6-13, but the quality is weak with high rates of grade repetition and drop out. Teacher to Pupil ration: 47:1
We leave tomorrow for this fascinating country, our team of eleven embarking on a very different kind of mission trip…
The term “mission trip” can conjure up a lot of different pictures your mind. This idea of being “on mission” will bring to mind everything from humanitarian acts of service to ministry and evangelism. This trip is different for us than any that we’ve ever done in the past.
We became aware of this opportunity to serve over 2 years ago when we were asked to bring a team to South Africa to help facilitate an annual gathering of regional missionaries. The purpose of this annual meeting is to bring together these missionary families and singles for a time of encouragement and renewal. We were greatly disappointed when the meeting was cancelled due to a lack of funds. (DON’T FORGET your giving DOES make a difference!–give through your local church or here.)
Many of these missionaries are in difficult places, physically and emotionally–but also socially. They can go long periods of time without speaking their native tongue to anyone other than family. They are constantly learning new languages and customs and adjusting to a completely different lifestyle. They don’t want to be called heroes and often don’t want to call what they do “a sacrifice”. They are simply living out their calling: they are living a missional lifestyle.
When we received another opportunity to help lead one of these meetings, we were thrilled to accept. This coming week we will be leading the missionary children in Vacation Bible School — teaching them God’s Word as we love on them and give them opportunities to do what children love to do: play with other children.
Their parents will be enjoying worship in English, with a band coming to lead music and my pastor-husband preaching. It starts Sunday and ends Wednesday–and I’m already sensing how short a time it will be. What an opportunity for us–and a solemn responsibility to use our time wisely to bless these missionaries and their families. We know that God is going before us and will lead us. His love never fails… pray that we are faithful.
We are prayed up, pumped up, and packed up! So, for those of you that are prayer warriors out there, won’t you join us by praying for us as we go?
Let’s do this!