We’ve been hosting some different volunteer teams throughout April and May. It is always a joy to have people visiting. We are helped by having new eyes on God’s work here and love the camaraderie as well. Short-term teams generally require a lot of energy, but these teams blessed us and our people far beyond any of our efforts hosting. Thankfully, both these teams came ready to learn and ready to serve the people living here, which are two main ingredients for a great time.
In April, we had Bill and Judy Grimme with us from Graceland Baptist Church. Both Bill and Judy have been here many times before. This time they came to attend the Baptist meeting we wrote about last time. They later shared their testimony as a married couple as a way to facilitate discussion among our churches about the importance of unity in marriage. It was very impactful conference and our pastors especially felt very affirmed and also prodded to strengthen marriages in our area. All along the way, Bill and Judy also assisted us, checking in on us and our own marriages as well as serving as mentors, which they have done throughout the 10 odd years they’ve been connected here.
Then in May we received Elko Baptist Church, which was led by Nathan’s father, Pastor Tom Baker. We were impressed with how well the team handled their first trip. For the majority of the team, this was their first time out of the country! We were honored by their trust in us and their eagerness to step into the unknown with open hearts and minds. Not only did they help us with various repairs, medical visits and trainings, as well as teaching (whether teaching English or Pastor Tom getting to preach in our church), but their mere presence in a drought-struck field or a ill-stocked clinic meant more than words can say to our Mahafaly family here. They have shown great faithfulness even now, back in the US, continuing the relationships they started here with texts and messages to new friends.
We also enjoyed having Nathan’s two brothers, Adam and Benjamin, for two weeks after. Having them here was, obviously, a blast! Plus, they got to experience life out in the bush staying out by themselves in Kilimary for a day. They now have some new brothers/uncles out there, definitely the highlight of their trip. We all miss all these people very much–especially Chyella who loved the attention, company, and getting to kiss everyone goodnight.
We now look forward to very soon hosting another couple of teams from our sending church in Raliegh, Southbridge. Summer is always fun as the weather cools down and visitors come. Our spirits are refreshed and we receive these teams as one of God’s many blessings working here in Madagascar and among the Mahafaly.