Greetings again from Madagascar!
Our second week here is almost over. The team is getting better at riding in all the sand and choosing the best path for their bike, so there are fewer spills and fewer repairs on the bikes having to be done. They are well practiced at teaching the Sunday school lesson, phonics and playing the games the kids like the best. They seem to be learning so much in personal devotions each morning and it so good to hear them share what impacted them during our sharing time. We have had good discussions in both the guys and the girls GG classes when we study how to become Godly men and women.
Monday Liva drove us 60km off the main road to go camping near a big waterfall. We arrived around 3pm and the team hiked down to the base of the waterfall to enjoy swimming in the crystal clear and very cold water below. For supper we made a campfire and roasted hot dogs. By the light of the fire and the full moon, we enjoyed a time of worship together and sang songs until it was time to sleep. With sleeping mats rolled out, the team slept out on the rock ledge next to the stream.
Tuesday morning we got up in time to see the sunrise over the waterfall and went in search of lemurs. We found a family of five lemurs who came down from the treetops to the lowest limbs to enjoy the bread crumbs we had. For about a half an hour, the team was able to take pictures, pet and feed the lemurs. Then we were off to explore the caves. With our flashlights in hand, a local guide led us about an hour into the darkness. The team saw lots of formations, deep caverns, bats and even a python. After a long and dusty ride back into town, the team enjoyed going out to a nice restaurant for pizza, ice cream and cold sodas. Then we took them to the supermarket so they could get some of the items they were running out of like laundry soap, toilet paper, deoderant and lots of chocolate.
Wednesday, Liva asked our team to do a few songs and testimonies to promote Teen Missions Boot Camp for the local television station. The TV crew came out to the base to film us. Cache Anderson, Caleb Owens, Mindy Potter and Marianna Potts gave testimonies and the team sang “Love the Lord Your God”, performed the “Colors” drama and did puppets. It aired twice on Wednesday.
The weather has been great. We are in the middle of dry season, so we have sunny days and cooler nights. We have a good breeze almost all day until sunset, so our clothes dry pretty fast.
Looking ahead, we will continue riding out to Sunday schools each day. Now that school is out, we have been able to move the times earlier so that we don’t have to ride home in the dark. This week’s Circuit is closer, so the rides are not as long and they don’t get quite as dusty. Friday, Nomena is hosting a teachers lunch. The teachers are celebrating the end of the school year and the BMWs and staff only have a few days until leaders arrive for Boot Camp, so we are all celebrating. We are getting a goat today that we will prepare this afternoon and cook it overnight to be ready for lunch on Friday. The teachers are all from different tribes and are going to wear the national dress of their tribe. There will be 20 of us, 20 teachers and 20 staff and students. Saturday we have two Sunday schools.
Thank you so much for keeping us in your prayers. We are so thankful for the health and safety God has given us this this summer. God has been so good.
A few words from the team:
Maddie True – Wow! Today has been a crazy day! I’m not quite sure where to begin. This morning we had Devos, Library Reading and Bible Marking. Afterwards, we fueled up the bikes and checked the oil. Next was laundry. Ahhh! Clean clothes! After lunch we rode out to our first Sunday school of this week’s Circuit. After a very long ride, we all made it safely to the Sunday school. We had a few complications along the way and it was late by the time we all got there. Everyone played games with the kids the whole time. I rode double on the way back because my bike was messed up. It was a good day!
Zach Campbell – Counting today, I’ve been away from my family for 34 days. When I wake up tomorrow, it will have been five weeks. That’s so crazy to think about. Anyway, we’ve been here in Madagascar for 12 days now. I thought I’d be super homesick by now, but, surprisingly, it’s kind of the opposite. I feel like I’m gonna be really sad when it comes time to leave all of the friends I’ve made. We’ve honestly become a family. So far, the highlight of the trip was two days ago. While we were camping at the waterfall, we had a night of worship around the campfire. Apparently, our joyful noise was a loud one, because in a matter of time, three people from a nearby village appeared…and they were carrying instruments. Though there was a language barrier, it was amazing being able to play music with some of the Malagasy people.
Deven Deck – So far on this mission trip, it has taught me many things, like trust. The driving with the motorcycles so far has been somewhat challenging but I’ll get through it. The Sunday School is amazing. To see the smiles on those kids’ faces when we teach is truly amazing. It’s been a blast here and I hope God will teach me more.
Adam Vaden – Last Sunday was interesting. We went to church and listened to two hours of Malagasy. I felt like a three year old in church with ADHD. Later we visited a village and we got to share the love of God with the kids and that was really great. I am really having an awesome time here!
Caleb Owens – Monday was one of most relaxing days yet. The bumpy road doesn’t exactly define relaxing, but it was an awesome time of bonding with teammates and just hanging out. We also had an awesome worship time at our bonfire that overlooked a 60 ft. waterfall pouring into a beautiful swimming hole. It may have been my favorite day yet.
Mindy Potter – Our first week on the Circuit was incredible! God is so good. I had a really hard time on the bike going through sand, and even burned my leg a bit, but I really grew closer to God through it. I know that I cannot do a single thing, so only through God’s power and strength does my bike stay up or do I get up and keep going when I drop it. God is great, and I am an undeserving servant.
Cache Anderson – Wow, the past week has been such a blur. God has used us in such an amazing way. Through Christ who empowers us, we led an entire village in worship and 50 people came to the Lord. It was such an amazing experience, I cannot even begin to describe it. God is teaching us all so much and I am so excited to see what else God has for us.
Beau Beck – On our days off from the Circuit, we had adventures. What we thought was going to be a ten-hour bus ride on Monday, actually began by getting in the back of a truck, not a comfortable bus. We proceeded to quickly leave the paved road and the endless bumps began. We arrived five hours later, beaten and broken, to see a wonderous waterfall and were instantly refreshed by swimming.