Hello from Sunny Southern Madagascar!

Thank you for all your prayers, the weather seems to have officially turned and it has been downright paradise the last few days.  Daytime highs in the mid 70’s, nighttime lows in the mid 60’s and a constant warm breeze running through the camp.  

This weekend has been one of celebration.  We finished our last eyeglass clinic on Friday and  celebrated by an evening bonfire with the BMW/MSSM students and staff.  We sat around the campfire, sang songs and listened to Jada share for evening devotions.  After devotions we stayed around the campfire waiting to watch the total lunar eclipse.  Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in & we could only catch the beginning of eclipse before the moon hid behind the clouds and it began to lightly rain.  

Sunday we decided to have a joint church service here at the base.  Our head leader, Ryan, preached while the MSSM serenaded us with some lively worship songs.  At the conclusion of the service, we gave the team members and the Malagasies the opportunity to share what they have learned from each other or during their time here.  It was wonderful to hear in both English & Malagasy what God has been doing in everyone’s lives.  After the church service our team worked together to prepare and “American” lunch for everyone on the base.  We had spaghetti, green beans, homemade garlic/rosemary bread & no bake cookies.  Every last morsel was devoured.  At the end of lunch many photos were taken together and signatures & email addresses were exchanged.  Our head leaders left a special gift with the base coordinator and volunteered who have been helping us translate during our eyeglass clinics.  Many of our team members are from the NW & all of our leadership is from Oregon, so we gave everyone a Portland Timber’s shirt (our local Major League Soccer team).  They all wore them cheerfully.

Today the team is working on some different construction projects around the base.  A group has been digging a ditch over 1000+ feet across the property to bring water to the building we have been staying in.  Another group is working at cleaning up the property.  It has been good  to do some hard labor.

Tomorrow we will pack up our duffle bags and begin sorting through the items that we brought to decide what will stay and what we’ll take home.  I expect that many team members will leave some of their clothing behind because people have so little here.  

Wednesday we will wake up early (5am) and pack the tractor/trailer with our luggage for the 45 minute drive to the road.  We will then take down our tents and hike out to the road ourselves.  We will load up in vans and begin the 10+ hour drive to Ranomafana, a national park town that is known for its lemurs & tropical flora.  We hope to make a quick stop by the ocean on the way there to say that we’ve seen the Indian Ocean.  We will then spend the day in Ranomafana exploring the park and the natural hot springs in the area.  On Friday we will load up early in the van again and drive another 12+ hrs to Tana where we will do some last minute souvenir shopping and visit the zoo.  We will then prepare to fly out on Sunday.  

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support this summer.  It has been an amazing summer that I don’t think anyone will ever forget!  God has worked in dramatic ways in many of the team members’ lives and they are already talking about when they will get together again after the summer.  We appreciate your continued prayers as we travel and sightsee these last few days.

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