What a privilege to lead the Madagascar team this summer! Our team rode motorcycles into remote villages and ran daily Sunday schools.
We stayed at the Teen Missions base in Mahajanga, a coastal town on the northwest side of Madagascar. We lived in a large building with five dorm rooms lining each side of the main room. Everyone had a bed, mattress and mosquito net. There were lots of mosquitoes in the evening and no screens on the windows. Every room had a toilet and shower. I had a huge kitchen with a fridge, freezer, propane stove and oven and even running water (most of the time). The power did go out a few times and we had to cook, serve dinner and eat by the light of a few candles.
Liva and Nomena Rakotomalala have been on staff with Teen Missions in Madagascar for over 10 years. It was a blessing to serve with them. Liva rode with the team each day to Sunday school so he could translate for us. He also was able to drive us to town when we needed to go shopping or visit the doctor. Nomena did an amazing job hosting us while we were at the base.
Our ministry was very simple. We helped teach 12 Sunday schools that operate year-round in 12 different villages. While at the Sunday school, we told the Bible story, taught English phonics, sang songs and played games with the children. We ministered together with the Circuit Riders who didn’t speak any English. We rode out on motorcycles to the Sunday Schools each day Wednesday through Sunday with the circuit rider missionaries. We had to travel straight through the middle of town where the streets were filled with cars, people and animals. Then we had to travel far off the main road to reach each village. The dirt “roads” had miles of sand that slowed us down, along with ox carts and sometimes small herds of cattle. It took up to two hours to reach our destination. Some days we were out for 10 hours before returning to the base. Every day was an adventure!
Week 1 Attendance: 570 Decisions for Christ: 205
Week 2 Attendance: 400 Decisions for Christ: 130
Week 3 Attendance: 183 Decisions for Christ: 10
Total Attendance: 1153 Total Decisions: 345
Teen Missions runs an elementary school at the base for over 400 children. One day the entire school lined up in the schoolyard to watch our presentation. Our team got up on a roof to perform dramas and sing songs with the children.
Our team made a promotional video for Teen Missions in Madagascar. The local television crew came out to the base to film us. We sang a few songs and shared testimonies. The broadcast aired multiple times on stations all over the country.
Near the end of our summer, over 100 youth came from near and far to attend the Madagascar Boot Camp. Each night at rally, our team shared a cheer, two songs and a drama. Mindy Potter was chosen to be Miss Piggy, so she checked the tent sites each morning and announced the scores during rally.
Weekend Camping Trip – Driving the truck off the main road on the sandy dirt roads took us seven hours to travel 60km. We arrived tired, hot and dusty. We 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 go to bed. With sleeping mats rolled out under the stars, we slept out on the rock ledge next to the stream at the top of the waterfall. The next morning we got up in time to see the beautiful sunrise over the waterfall and then 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 nearby. With flashlights in hand, a local guide led us about an hour way back into the darkness. The team saw lots of formations, deep caverns, bats and even a python.
Cocoa Beach and Coco Beach-
Just before we flew to Madagascar we took the team a few miles down the road to Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Ocean and then while in Madagascar one Sunday afternoon after church, we drove a few miles down the road from the base and the team was able to swim at Coco Beach on the Indian Ocean.
We visited the zoo to see the many species of lemurs native only to Madagascar. The zoo keepers allowed us to go inside to interact with the lemurs. The lemurs ate honey out of our hands and licked the honey off our cheeks.
After Debrief ended, I jumped straight back into work. We had over 80 registrations for 2014 Teams come in over the summer and we needed to print support letters and prayer cards for each of them and get them out in the mail. Then it was time to start working on our biggest publication of the year, a 32-page mailer featuring summer highlights and next year’s teams. The brochure went to the press on October 28. We are doing a run of 175, 000 brochures. We will do our big mailing week to send out 90,000 of them just before Thanksgiving. With over 300 registrations now, there are a few teams already full, including the motorcycle team to Madagascar.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and financial support.
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