I wanted to provide a quick glimpse into our ministry and more importantly what drives the Mahafaly work forward . . . our leaders.
We recently pulled up into two villages with a problem: our villages were not going to have transportation for the upcoming meeting that is half-a-day travel on foot. While we could have suggested solutions for the problem, we needed to present the problem to our leaders. One, because their solutions are usually better-fitted to their context, and two, because we are trying to teach them how to do this on their own–so that when we are not here one day they will continue driving the work forward.
So, we pulled into Besatra. Emora was sitting there, having just gotten off what we would call an 8 hour work shift (4am to noon) working his fields. He’s tired and he hasn’t eaten yet. We catch up for a minute and then explain the situation. Emora says, whatever we do, we’re not canceling the upcoming meeting. They will do whatever they need to do and see how God provides. If they set out at 2am they can make it. Otherwise they’ll be caught in the sun and die from heat exhaustion (like a couple from a nearby town who ran out of water while traveling). Emora then offers that we need to talk with the other furtherest out town, Kilimary. So we head out, Emora still tired and still having not eaten.
The whole ride there, Emora is filling us in on the ups and down of ministry. The arguments between other leaders he’s tried to calm, the baptisms he’s done, the people he’s shared the gospel with and groups he’s teaching. All in the middle of the busy planting season.
We pull into Kilimary to find our guy. Estifihezy has just spent all morning walking to town 5K away and sitting in on town business meetings. We show up, talk a little bit and figure out that they can pull together as a church and send an oxcart with water on it and all make it on foot. Then, still without anyone having lunch, we all load up again and ride out to talk with the hosting village. By the end of the day, we had a plan for everyone, a plan decided on by our leaders and a plan in which they could take pride.
These guys know hard work, long days, and sacrifice. They do it all the time. And without these guys, and especially how God uses them, nothing would happen here.