The Madagascar Eyeglass team is getting into the swing of things down here. Every morning we raise about 5:30am, the team enjoys the 30 minutes that the leaders give us to get up & get ready in the morning, this is so much better than the 5 minutes we had at Boot Camp. Our head male leader, Ryan, begins reading a chapter in the Bible around 5:50am, as the team members stumble into our common meeting area. Then everyone grabs their 5 gallon bucket and walk the 200 yards to our water source and fills their bucket to help the kitchen. Then the team break up into their daily work assignments, which they rotate between. 4-5 people are assigned to remain at the base to do work projects that are need there, then another group of 6-8 people are assigned to evaluate eyeglass needs when we visit a village, another group of 3-4 people are assigned to meet the medical needs in the village and finally 3-4 people will be playing with kids in the village. These groups spend 30 min preparing for their visit to the village while the female leaders & KP prepare breakfast. After breakfast the team has morning devotions and then prepare to leave for the nearby village.
Everyday the team will walk or ride in on the tractor to a local village to conduct eyeglass clinics. These walks can last for 1-2 hrs each way. Every team member is eager and excited to make these walks. Once the team arrives in a village they meet with the village elders and ask permission to conduct the eyeglass clinics. Lots of hands are shook and greetings given. Then the team will gather together everyone in the village and do a presentation for the village. Often this involves a song, drama and someone sharing a testimony or the gospel message. After everyone watches these performances, they are divided up between their needs. Medical needs are sent in one direction and eyeglass needs in another. Meanwhile the kids are all left to play games with the team members and BMW/MSSM students. These clinics can sometimes last 5-6 hours.
So far we have had the opportunity to visit 4 different villages. It is the goal of the MSSM program here that we visit all 14 villages that they MSSM Circuit Riders visit on a regular basis.
Once the team returns to the base they spend the remainder of the daylight hours catching up on their baths & laundry before dinner. After dinner we spend time doing our bible classes and having evening devotions. Bedtime can not come quick enough after our very full days.
This past weekend we had our first opportunity to attend church here in Vangaindrano. The team traveled into town and attended a church that is similar to an Assemblies of God church. Everyone enjoyed the lively music and strong preaching. The church was VERY warm and welcoming to the team. After the church service the team was surprised with a meeting with the local government representative in the Vangaindrano district (maybe similar to a governor?). We spent over an hour meeting with him & sharing about why we were in the area. He has had a very positive experience with Teen Missions & was excited to have us there. He provided the team with some yummy local snacks & everyone enjoyed fried meat pockets, crackers and cookies. After our meeting with the government representative, we visited the local market and the team had the opportunity to purchase souvenirs and wrap skirts. Everyone enjoyed their time in town.
This next week we hope to visit 5 more villages and begin working on extending the rally building for the boot camp. Everyone continues to enjoy the sights and experiences here in Madagascar and we are already grieving how little time we have here. Thank you for your continues prayers. Pray that we will use our time well.