Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 12, 2010
So I've had it. My head has been itching for over a month. About a month ago Cole got lice. I bought him a hat at the market. I did not, however, think about washing it before he wore it and.....therein lies the introduction of lice to our home. I started itching really badly about a week after that. Randy checked my head but saw nothing.  About 2 weeks after that I asked him to check again. He said he saw what appeared to be dandrift, flakes of skin all over my scalp. Well, this made sense since I've been using a cheap shampoo. I figured it was just dandrift. So I went to a big grocery store about 30 minutes from our house to buy Head and Shoulders.

Two weeks of using Head and Shoulders and ….. no change for the good. Wednesday I felt like I wanted to take a brillo pad to my head. So when Helena came over for language learning I asked her if she would look at my head and see what she sees. So she parts my hair and takes a look and says,
Ohhhh, (tisk tisk tisk with her tongue) ratsy. Bibi baseka be. (tisk tisk tisk with her tongue)”
Translation “Ohhhh....bad....a very lot of bugs”
Great. And so we did language learning today with my head on her lap as she picked bugs out of my hair for 1 ½ hrs! Every 20 minutes or so I'd have to go wash them off of my hand (as that's where she was putting them) to make room for the next batch of bugs to meet their death through Helena's fingernails!
What a bonding experience. So glad I was here in Madagascar where it's normal to pick bugs out of your friends hair!

Well, it turns out I had such a bad case of lice after 1 month that I need to do this oil treatment every 3 days for a total of 4 times. Put special oil in your hair with a bag over your head for 30 minutes, so the oil doesn't get everywhere, and then rinse off with special shampoo. Randy and I decided to do everyones hair and make it a family bonding experience! Turns out that two days AFTER that wonderful evening Cole's got another batch. Great. Round two of oil and shampoo anyone? And so today we oiled our heads again and spent a the 30 minutes reading Aurther books to the boys. What fun.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thankful for grace

December 12, 2010
This week I talked to Miss Pre and Mr. Braun, the principals at MCA (the school where I teach). I shared with them what I shared with you in my last blog. I was very nervous. They both were very gracious. They said it was more important for me to obey what the Lord is telling me to do than to teach at MCA. “If God is telling you to leave here so that you can intercede, then He will also be faithful to provide what we need here at MCA”, said Miss Pre. I will be finishing up at MCA in December. In January I will be returning there for a day or two helping a new student settle into class and observing to see what, if any, special needs he may have. I need to follow through with this since I had promised his parents that I would do this. Also because MCA took him with the thought that I would be there to help with his transition. And so I will follow through with that.

I talked to the teachers this past Friday. They were very gracious and basically said the same thing Miss Pre had said. I told them that I would still be serving them, just not through teaching but through prayer. Right away hands went up with questions like, “Will you be praying just for the school or will you take personal prayer requests as well?”, “How should we get our prayer requests to you? Could you make a little box to put in the office for us?”, “Can I talk to you about my son this week? I need prayer on how to handle some difficult things with him.”

This, of course, brought great encouragement to me. I also talked to two parents with whom I've been working with their boys with special needs. Again, each of them totally understood and actually shared times when they felt the Lord calling them to do something, but they didn't listen right away either. So, basically, to sum it up, it was a very humbling, exhausting, but encouraging week. I feel at peace with the decision I made and am ready to see how the Lord is going to grow me and teach me in intercessory prayer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pride meet Humility

December 5, 2010

Well, I need to do something very difficult this week. Remember how I shared in an earlier blog my dilema between what I thought for years my ministry would be overseas versus what I felt the Lord was calling me to do now? Well, I'm finally giving in to the Lord. I feel He is calling me to a ministry of intercession and encouraging missionary woman. This means being available for hours of intercessory prayer each day which will not allow me the time to volunteer at MCA (the school where I'm teaching part-time).

I've been telling them that I would be available to help in their classes by helping with some of their special needs children. I've done this. However, they have continued to ask me to help with teaching English, or running games in English so the children can hear a native speaker. I keep telling them I don't not feel comfortable doing this as, though I speak English, I can not teach it. So, there has been a lot of confusion between what the teacehers are expecting verses what I'm I've said I would do and am willing to do. This Friday during their staff meeting I will talk to them. I need to ask the teachers at Madagascar Christian Acadamy to forgive me for the misscommunication. Communicating across different langauges and cultures is very difficult. I am very nervous as I know I will be letting them down, as far as their expectations. I have been praying that the Lord will prepare their hearts and that they would extend grace to me. I feel like this situation wouldn't have come up if I had just obeyed what the Lord was telling me to do a few months ago and not even started at MCA.

Why have I been running away from this new ministry? Well, I mentioned why I was running from ministering to missionary women (read earilier blog entry if you missed it) but why am I running from a ministry of prayer/intersession? It can be a very lonely calling. I am a social butterfly (understatement I know). I feel the Lord is calling me to spend a good part of everyday in intercessory prayer for Madagascar, missionaries, friends, family...whatever else He puts on my hearts. Therefore I need to keep my schedule free and flexible to follow His leading in prayer, and to be free to gather with missionary women one on one to pray with and encourage them. What if He doesn't bring them to me? What if I'm left all by myself with no plans for the week and I am faced with only having Him? Is He truly enough for me?

My Dad was reminding me of a time a year or so ago when it looked as if Randy and I wouldn't have health insurance for a few months before we went on AIM's health insurance. I was very worried about this. I was in the bathroom one day (for some reason God seems to talk to me there) and all of a sudden I started singing, “I'd rather have Jesus than health insurance” bawling my eyes out before the Lord as I allowed my spirit to lead me in truth rather than my body to lead me in anxiety. That scene is brought before me again as I write this. And so I'm going to write my own verses to that song. I encourage you to do the same during your quiet time with our Savior.

I'd rather have Jesus than meet with friends.
I'd rather have Jesus than teach special needs kids.
I'd rather have Jesus than plans to shop,
I'd rather have Jesus than to clean and mop (well, that's a no brainer)

Chorus : Than to be in front of a congregation leading songs, and plays, and music too.
I'd rather have Jesus than anything, this world could ever afford.

I'd rather have Jesus than a nice beach that's sandy.
I'd rather have Jesus than my favorite candy.
I'd rather have Jesus than chips to eat.
I'd rather have Jesus and lay at His feet.

I'd rather have Jesus than drive a car,
I'd rather have Jesus and have to walk far,
I'd rather have Jesus than cool jewelry.
I'd rather have Jesus than Seth, Cole, and Randy,
Now, this may make you laugh but these are the idols I have before the Lord. It's hard. I wrote this through tears. I now, publicly lay these idols down at His feet and encourage you to join me there.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

snowflakes and new teeth, how the two go together.

November 28th
So last Friday Helena came over just to hang out and speak in Malagasy. We didn't do our normal recording and language learning since she can't pronounce the words correctly due to having all but 5 of her teeth pulled last week! I had decided that we would start to decorate the livingroom to suprise the boys when they got home from school. I strung up green yard (not very festive but the colour we had) from one window curtain to the others and we were going to make snow flakes to hang so it looked like it was snowing in the room! So I said to Helena, let me show you how we make snowflakes. I got out some paper, folded it several times and did some cutting. I opened it up and …. VOILA!, a snowflake. I said to her, “ Now they don't have to look all the same you can cut them differently so they all look different. Do you understand how to do it?” She then shook her head politely, “yes” and took a piece of paper and started folding it differently. “Ok” I thought, “she doesn't get it”. But I just let it go and went on cutting out my own snowflakes. The idea is that each day the boys and I will make a few to hang up and then by Christmas it will look like a blizzard in our livingroom! After a few minutes Helena said (in Malagasy), “What do you think about this”? Jaw drop. There she sits holding a BEAUTIFUL 4D snowflake! And here I am working my little heart out thinking I'm making these beautiful 2D snowflakes! I was quite humbled! We had a good laugh!

As we continued to make our snowflakes we just hung out and chit chatted. I asked her what she normally did for Christmas and New Year's Eve. The conversation went something like this.
Helena: “We get together as a family and celebrate and eat together”
Me: “Family like who? Like your immediate family or like the WHOLE family?”
Helena: “My parents, my siblings, you and Randy and the boys, my cousin....”
Me: “Did you just say, 'Me and Randy and the boys'”?
Helena: “Well, yah, you're family”.
Me: cry like a baby....still crying like a baby “We weren't sure what we were going to do for Christmas. We thought we would just have a quiet day at home. Thank you so much!”

So on Christmas we are having Helena and her family here at the house, and then for New Years Day we will go over to Helena's house. I CAN'T wait! We are SO blessed. We have heard from so many foreigners, “Making friends (heart to heart friends) takes a lot of time here. Don't feel discouraged. Sometimes it takes several years before you're considered a close friend of the family.” Thank you Lord for Helena and her family.

We continued to sip tea, cut snowflakes, and talk.
Helena: “What are you doing this Wednesday?”
Me: “I have the morning free. Just need to pick up the boys from school at 12:15”
Helena: “Want to come with me to get my new teeth?”
Never thought I'd hear a sentence like that! I just cracked up laughing at her! Thankfully she wasn't offended! I just explained that (as an American) that was a funny thing to hear from a friend who was only 24! She has a good sense of humor and said, “Yeah, well, I'm ready to get my teeth and have more teeth than my 1 year old”!

And so, I will go with Helena to get her new teeth this Wednesday. What an honour!
(So we went to get the new teeth. Her husband Haja, mom, and daughter came as well!)
Please note the new beautiful teeth in the picture!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's your vision?

In church yesterday the pastor was talking about the importance of having a vision for your life to give it purpose, to remind us what we're working towards. This message really hit me deeply. What is my vision for life, for this year? I really struggle with this. I've always had a heart to give “beauty for ashes”. I assumed that when I came here to Mada I would work with the downcast and “lowly”, if you will. However, since I've been here I have found that the Lord is opening up doors for me to minister to Missionary women. Now....which way do I go?

Why do I want to help the “downcast and lowly”?
  1. It's just in my heart to reach those whom others would label as “not worthy, too dirty, too uneducated, beneath us”.
  2. I'm sure I would be seen as “doing good”, “suffering for Jesus”, “I couldn't do that so I'll support Megan”.
  3. I enjoy being in a developing country and the challenges that come with it.

Why am I struggling with using my time here to support and encourage missionary women?
  1. It's not as much of a cultural experience as I'd like.
  2. Will people see that as missions work and be willing to support me as I support those who are literally sharing the gospel?
  3. It's not what I planned on doing. I've drempt about being overseas for over 20 years and NEVER did I dream about supporting and helping other foreigners there, it was to help the nationals. This isn't what I planned.
And yet, I've seen how much it is NEEDED for missionaries to have other foreigners to connect with, share their hearts with, their hurts, frustrations, joys, and sorrows. As I meet these beautiful women they just naturally start sharing their hearts with me. Somehow we feel drawn together. How is it that my SPIRIT can feel so drawn towards these women but my HEART is with the Malagasy?

I understand that I can do both, have a balance. I just don't want to be seen as one of those Vazhas (foreigners) who hang out with other foreigners and not with the Malagasy. I can't stand people like that. CRAP....I just realized what I wrote. I'm concerned about what other people think of the work that I'm doing. I'm counting on others to provide my provisions based on how they view my “works” rather than depending on the Lord to provide because I'm following His leading. Oh pride, why dost though taunt me!

So, why am I blogging this? Because I need prayer. I need the Lord to guide me in how I spend my time and with whom, besides my family. Time is precious. I want to have a clear vision so that I can use my time to the fullest to encourage those I've been sent here to encourage. Maybe it's both the Malagasy and the missionary women. That's very posible. I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing. Sometimes, doing the right thing is just taking a step forward in the morning and being fully present to embrace whatever comes my way at that MOMENT. It seems so simple doesn't it?

I understand that things will look differently depending on what stage of life we are in as a family. Of course there is the obvious.
  1. To bring honour and glory to my Lord
  2. To love and honour my husband
  3. To disciple my boys to be Godly men of integrity
  4. To be a safe haven for those who need it.
  5. To sit in the mud and mourn with those who mourn, and laugh and rejoice with those who rejoice.

And so I will continue to seek His face and ask for a clear vision, for today, for this year, for my life.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Never expected that to happen today!

Mommy! Quick! I think I see a chameleon!” We were just talking yesterday about how the Malagasy children find these great chameleons right by our house in the “wild” that people back home would pay big bucks to have. We never see them! I ran outside as fast as I could. Sure enough. This sucker was BIG! My head started to swirl a little. “Be brave Megan. This is for the happiness of your children. I don't think these things are poisonous. Do they have teeth? Don't think about it. Just do it”.  All of a sudden, before my senses got a hold of me, I hear myself shouting out orders. “Seth, go get the big stick from the hallway. Cole, got get the wash bin from the extra room”. Stick in hand and wash bucket ready for action I silently remind myself, “steady girl, steady”. GOT IT!!

We ran into the house with the poor creature trying it's best to look really big and hissing, except he doesn't make any sound. Randy comes down the stairs. “Wow, honey, that is a big chameleon!” I just looked up at him with a big smile, I was so proud of my accomplishment! We then spent the next ½ hour watching him, trying to touch him, and then screaming or jumping (just a little bit) when he'd turn around and flash his toothless mouth at us!

OK Megan, you only live once. How often are you going to have a wild chameleon in your house? Go for it. Pick it up. You know deep down inside you there lives a brave Steve Irwin want-to-be. You can do it. Be the “chameleon hunter” that you know you can be” I take a deep breath after giving myself a pep talk, put on the yellow rubber dish gloves, and go for it.

Slowly, step by step I found myself becoming more brave. The boys on the other hand, climbed up onto the mantle of the fireplace! I truly believe that that toothless chameleon and I bonded. Don't we look cute together?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Who needs a "snow day" when you can have a "coup day"?!

This week was a little bit different as we didn't have school Wednesday due to political elections. There were some reports of protests and rioting with cars being burnt (some say it was just car tires) and some guns going off but otherwise it was a fairly peaceful day. We did hear, however, that there was a coup attempt Wednesday – thus the gun fire and burning tires. We weren't sure how Thursday was going to go. Do we just get up and go to school as planned? We hadn't heard anything from the American Embassy so off to school we went on Thursday just as if it was another day. And it was.

Today (Friday) started off just like any other day. We all got ready and walked to school together. Randy then left and took the taxi-bé to work. I stayed at school today to help in one of the classrooms. At 10:30 the morning break bell went off. All the teachers and students piled out of the classrooms for their snack and morning break. As I was walking out of the classroom I realized that there were many fewer children than normal. Just as I was thinking this one of the teachers came up to me and asked, “Aren't you going to get your kids and go home?” “No, I know I'm not usually here on Fridays, but I'm helping out today in Miss Anza's class”. She looked at me with a little bit of confusion in her eyes and responded with, “You haven't heard the news have you?”

Well, it turns out that the President put a message out to the public that everyone should evacuate from the Ivato area (not our area but the one up by the airport). He said that if negotiations didn't go well between the government and those in the military who attempted the coup that the government would take back the military base they were in with whatever force was needed. Then there was news that there was shooting in Talatamaty which is the community we have to walk through to go to school (though this was never substantiated.)

The Ivato schools were closing early and all the other Vahza's at MCA(which is about 5 other families) came and got their children and now even the Malagasy were showing up to take their children home. I called Randy and we decided that the kids and I would just stay until the end of the school day ,which is 12:30 on Fridays, and that Randy would just stay at work as he would have to travel right through Talatamaty to get home. There were some teachers who weren't sure if they could get home so I told them they could just walk home with us through the rice patties (safest way) and stay at our house until things calmed down.

So, the day continued! Break finished and we went back into our classrooms. We had an assembly for the older children at 12:00 pm. The principal came in and asked, “Do you know what's going on right now?” The children replied, “A coup's taking over....fighting...Are we in a war?” Miss Pree continued, “We are not in a war, but there are people who are not happy with our government. But we don't need to be afraid.” And then she read Psalm 23. I was sitting there thinking, “this is THE strangest assembly I have ever experienced in my life!” As I looked around me I realized the children didn't seem to be nervous or afraid. Then I realized, “Oh yeah, they went through this already just last year so it's not new for them”. Things just went on. The kids sang through their Christmas music for the program coming up in December. Life goes on.

So Randy got a ride to school and then the 4 of us walked home the normal way. There didn't seem to be anything too drastically different. There were a few stores closed that are usually open. Shop Rite had closed one of their two gates to avoid people running through the parking lot in case of an emergency.

So, Randy got to have a ½ day of work. We lovingly called this day “coup day” instead of “snow day”. So we went home and made lunch and planned on watching the end of The Sound of Music. We started watching it during the first “coup day” Wednesday night! We thought it was appropriate to finish it during this one as well! A huge thunderstorm rolled in and we could hardly hear the movie! We desperately needed the rain. Randy said, “you know, the hotter people are the more irritated and willing they are to fight, maybe the rain will calm things down a bit.” Thank you Lord for the rain.

No, we don't feel we are in any danger as of right now. We are being wise in our decisions. We were supposed to have a prayer meeting tonight with AIM but it was canceled, and rightly so safety wise. Please pray for this country. We will eventually leave it, but these dear Malagasy people won't. It is sad to see our friends morn the fact that they do not have a government who takes their best interest to heart. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow holds. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carts Crawling with crunchy Critters by Randy

Occasionally we are asked how the political situation affects us. Usually we say that we have no idea. Things have been the way they are the whole time we have been here. We are told by some people that there are some differences – like you used to be able to get much better ice cream and fresh milk (but the ousted President owned the dairy company – so no more) or that taxi bé drivers drive however they want because they have paid off the police. But others say that not much has changed.
Often we hear things from my dad in the States. He is tracking the political situation on the web. He recently said that because foreign aid has stopped coming to Mada the Malagasy cannot afford to spray for pests this year. So, there is expected to be a huge plague of locusts.
We recently met some other AIM missionaries who work in the south of the country (about 300 miles away). (Geographically and climate-wise think that we live in SanDiego and they live in central Texas.) They said that in the past there was lots of spraying of pesticide (by helicopter) but not really this year. So, they have seen the locusts come before and expect it to be worse this year.
What they say happens is that when the locusts come everyone grabs their mosquito nets or whatever container they can and they run for the fields. They scoop up all the locusts they can, and the children sit and pluck off all the wings. Then they dump mounds of maroon (not green) insects into carts. It's an amazing picture - (I wish I could see it myself) – oxcarts full of wriggling and writhing wingless insects. And where do they take them? To the market of course! They sell them to eat! Apparently, you boil them and then fry them with a few spices. Supposedly, it is quite the delicasie. Many people box them up and send them up country to relatives. (I guess it's like bringing salt water taffy home from the shore.)
We are told that a few people privately pay for spraying in their fields. So, you can buy dead or alive locusts in the market. Of course the dead ones were killed with insecticide.
So, the plague turns out to be a bumper crop of protein for people who get very little meat. But they are well aware that if they are not diligent in catching all the locusts they will lose their planted crops and have nothing to eat later on.
If you want to know more about the Bara people of southern Mada you can check out this link I found:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Free range chickens and haircuts

So Randy and I were talking about how here in Madagascar they have free range chickens and how Americans would love the sound of that, especially those who want animals to have a nice life until they are ....well....consumed shall we say?.  And so I thought I'd show you what a free range chicken in Madagascar looks like.  See picture above.  Incase there are any doubts about what you see I'll explain it to you.  These free range chickens are eating to their hearts content in the sewers on the side of the road.  yummy.

And so this week Randy begged me to give him a haircut as his hair is getting REALLY long.  I finally gave in.  I got the shaver out and we decided to start on the longest setting which is 4.  ummmm  shouldn't have done the whole head in 4....Too bad Randy's not like a potato head.  I could just switch his hair...bad....very bad.  Hence, no picture of new haircut.

By the by, I changed my blog site a little bit.  You can now leave a comment even if you aren't a member on google.  I did this be honest.... I need feedback people!  There have been a few of you who have commented and I've loved it!  It gives me the umph to keep writing!  So.......if you read the blog could you please leave a comment every now and again for my encouragement?  THANKS!!

Ok, this entry is me just ...well....blah blah blahing.  Have a great day and know that we are too!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The importance of being both a big cow and a little cow (otherwise known as “zebu” here in Mada)

This morning as we headed out our gate to walk to church we saw one of the men from the mud huts behind out house training a baby zebu. As I watched, the scene infront of me really spoke to my heart. There was an adult zebu who was yoked to a zebu who looked to be like a tweenager. The tweenager had no idea how to work together with another zebu in the yoke and so he was fighting, even though he was being wipped repeatedly by the owner. For a little while he just did nothing and let the adult zebu pull him along. Eventually he got tired of that and started walking along side the adult zebu. Later in the day I saw the same team again, but this time there was less wipping and more working together.

This scene reminded me of the importance of mentoring the younger people in our lives. They have no idea how to go through life. They watch others around them and try things, somethings work, other things lead them to falling on their “butt-tongs” (as my children call it). I went through the same things when I was younger. Thankfully I always had an adult, besides my mom and dad, who would walk beside me and share their testamony with me of things they tried when they were my age. Things that worked and things that didn't.

Looking at this team of zebu reiderated the importance to me of having a mentor, even now as an adult. But I can't stop there. I must also be that big zebu to a younger zebu. It is so important to offer ourselves to a younger generation to walk beside them, encourage them, listen to them, laugh with them, and cry with them.

Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? Don't know where to start? Just look around you and pray that the Lord will put someone on your heart and put you on someone's heart to create these amazing give and take relationships. I strongly encourage you to take a step forward in this area. I find that I get just as much encouragement from my mentor as I do from my “mentie”. It's also a nice way to break generational gaps and learn from one another. I think that if this happened more regularly in the church that there would be less quaraling and bickering about traditional verses contemporary worship and we would all be willing to differ to one another so that together we can worship the same God, who is both traditional and contemporary!

Just some food for thought.

Oh, and by the way, to my mentors and menties, and you know who you are , thanks for a fun and challanging ride!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010 Rescue Rangers!

So today as we were walking on the way home from school we saw a man walk up holding three tiny puppies by their legs and watched in horror as he chucked them into a bush! I asked him if he didn't want them any more (seemed obvious but just wanted to make sure). He said, “No”. So I let the boys pick one. We walked on towards our house and stopped at a friends house to see if she and her husband would want it. They said no, and explained why the guy probably throw them out. Apparently most female dogs are thrown out as puppies. As they get older the females are the ones held responsible for having more puppies and when they are in heat all the stray male dogs come “knockin' at the door” so to speak. Now, I'm not normally one to “rescue” animals, but I just couldn't help myself. So my friend gave me the number of a South African lady who is an animal rights activist and has set up a shelter here in Tana. I called her and she wanted all three right away as she was afraid they would die soon without proper attention. So the boys and I walked back to where the other puppies were and walked back into town and met her to give her the puppies. It was easier just to meet her than to try and give her directions on how to come to our house as there are no road names and no address. So, that was one of our “good deeds” today. The boys were excited to help and excited to tell Daddy all about it. Once he, Randy, heard the story he was very glad for the South African lady because that meant we didn't have another dog!

November 1, 2010 good get away that started badly...well...not really

So on October 26th we left to go to Ampefy, Madagascar, a nice little town known as the center of Madagascar. Randy was driving since we were borrowing an automatic car. We were to pick up two of our Korean missionaries on the way and then meet about 35 others at a small hotel that had separate “bungalows” with a big meeting room/dinning room. It was perfect for our conference.

On the way there we were pulled over by the police at a police check. As it turns out the inspection for the car we were driving was out of date by one month. We were told that they would impound it for 10 days and the owner would have to pay a pretty pricey fine. What to do? We prayed and got out of the car. Some of the other team members drove past us and pulled over. There was not much they could do so they went on ahead. The owner of the car (also a team member) came over and after about 1 hr worked things out. So in the end, he didn't have to pay a fine; he didn't have to have his car impounded, and a friend of his loaned us his car (a stick shift, so I had to drive) and took the out of date car to be brought up to date).

In the mean time during the hour of working things out with the police the boys and I went down to the river to watch the women wash clothes. They invited us over, so I rolled up my pants and went in to get a quick lesson on washing clothes in the river. I told the woman, after she was done teaching me, to go sit on a rock and take a break and let me do some washing for her. Well, I'm such a wimp that after about 10 minutes my back was hurting and my hands were on their way to feeling raw! These woman are such hard and dedicated workers!

We finally got to the place were we were having conference. It was a nice week. Busy, but nice. There were three women from England who came over to run a children's program during the morning teaching sessions. They were great! And what as so admirable about them was that the youngest one was 60 and they all had such great energy! The boys had a blast with about 10 other children ranging in age from 1-10 years of age. There was also a 28 year old Malagasy man helping too.

I really enjoyed getting to know the other missionaries and hearing their stories from the past year. I learned SO much about how to encourage missionaries and what questions to ask when I'm back in the States and other missionaries are home on furlough! These missionaries give up more than I can imagine, and yet still their hearts are hard after Jesus. So encouraging!

We went for a few outings during our free times in the afternoons. We went to some waterfalls. BEAUTIFUL!!!! And, of course just like any other man out there, Randy had to jump off of them. He couldn't go all the way to the top as it was the end of the dry season and the water wasn't deep enough for that, but it was deep enough to jump a ridiculously long way! We also went to see the ummmm....nuts, what the heck are they called again? The..... wait, I've got to go ask Randy I'm having a brain fart. Ah yes, the geysers! AMAZING!!! They were not as big as Old Faithful mind you but they were beautiful, and the colors of the soil, water, and the back ground of mountains....breathtaking! You can see pictures on my facebook page. If you need to friend me it's “Megan Kirk Gehlert”.

And so, we were encouraged by the week. It was a little strange coming back to Tana. The week felt like a “wrap it up”, reentry week and we felt as if it prepared us to go back to the US. So, there were some mixed emotions for all four of us. In fact Cole just informed me that he's not going back to school tomorrow.

And so, we will spend this week getting back into school, work, Malagasy living and talking. It's not that we want to leave Madagascar it's just that we'd like to have a nice afternoon meal with our family and friends, ya know?

October 25th, 2010 Pick pockets, packages, and brownies oh my!

So we decided to journey into Tana City on our own as a family today. We needed to pick up a package at the post office. So, off we went. Walked 2 kilometers to catch a taxi-be. Took the taxi-be to where we get off to go to Tana City Church. Got another taxi-be and into Tana we went. As we were getting near to our drop off near the train station traffic was very backed up so people just started getting off the taxi-be and walking the rest of the way. We decided to do the same thing. Seth got off first with me right behind him, however, before I was able to get off the traffic started to move (slowly mind you). Seth looked back in horror thinking he was being left behind. Poor guy. I knew we weren't going more than 10 feet but he didn't know that. He ran after us crying. I got off as quickly as I could and scooped him up. He was so scared! Oh, my heart just melted for him!

Once we were all back together (this all took place in like 2 minutes mind you) off the taxi-be and on the “side walk” we headed through the market towards the post office. Seth and I were in front of Randy and Cole about 10 feet. It's packed full with people and you need to hold onto you personal items as if your life depended it! I kept looking back to make sure Randy was in my sight. About a minute later he called my name. I turned around and he just smiled at me. “Ok, he calls my name in the middle of complete chaos and smiles at me.....he's so sweet”. As we entered the post office he told me that a group of 5 men walked up right behind me and Seth, and one man went in front of us. Randy called my name because it was obvious to him that they were pick pockets. Now, for our parent's sake, let me just explain that pick pocketing is VERY common, especially in Tana's market areas, however, they do not HURT you, they just steal from you! So anyway, when Randy called my name I stopped walking and turned around and the men dispersed! Ah, my night in shining armor!

So, we made it to the post office safely. Our package was delightful! Halloween decorations! We also got a nice letter from grandparent's with pictures of the boys stuffed animals! OH, they LOVED that! We then ventured back out into chaos (the market). Now, I love going to markets because it's a great place to practice my malagasy! The boys needed new sneakers as theirs are coming apart from climbing trees, running on rocks, dirt, hard grass..... So we bought one pair of shoes, two Madagascar shirts for the boys and two “baseball” hats. In the middle of talking with a seller a man walked by and went to go into one of my side pockets of my purse. Little did he know that they were closed with velcro....hello?...loud rip..... I smacked his hand and gave him the hairy eyeball look, but he never made eye contact with me. So, I've decided that next week with my language helper I will learn the phrase “Stealing is a lazy person's job” or “Are you seriously trying to steal from me?” and make a nice stink:) I will ask Helena what an appropriate phrase would be for me to say loudly to make a stink but not be disrespectful!

We made it through the market and went and sat on some steps to rest a little bit. Randy and Cole weren't feeling up to par. After about a 10 minute rest we went to find a restaurant that has become the talk of the town among foreigners: The Cookie Shop. Need I say more people! It was started by a Malagasy woman who had been in America and had loved Starbucks. She came back home to Tana and started her own! They had GREAT bagel sandwiches, different kinds of cookies, including chocolate chips (which are VERY hard to find here), ice cream sundaes on brownies, and milkshakes!!!!! Poor Randy. His stomach wasn't feeling well so he just had a juice smoothie drink. I took it pretty easy too as I didn't want to over do it ya know? I just had a chicken melt bagel with pickles, cucumbers, cheese, and mayo, a chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and cool whip, and then a chocolate milkshake. Not too bad right? RIGHT???
Oh, my mouth was SOOOOOO happy!

And when we arrived at the cookie shop we ran into friends (and very close neighbors) of ours who had driven into town. So, we were able to get a lift home. Ah, what an adventure!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Was that the dog? No, just a flower pot

October 18, 2010 
So a missionary friend of ours is gone for the week and offered to let us have her car! BLESSING!!! The biggest thing I was so excited about was that I could bulk up on groceries and not have to walk 1 ½ miles carrying groceries in my arms! So today we went to do some running around to the different grocery stores near Tana. First we had to get the car out of the yard. Tiana, our guard, had pulled it inside our gate after our party yesturday. We had left it out in the “alley way” so there was more room in the yard. Now, I was told that the car had power steering. Yeah. NOT. It literally took me 8 minutes to do about a 7 point ½ turn....that's right ….. a ½ turn, to get the car out of the yard. At one point I heard a thump. Was that the dog? No, just a flower pot. Upps, sorry Sarah and Daniel, (the missionaries whose house we're renting) we'll have to add that to the list of things we need to replace!

And so, off we went. Not to bad for the first time driving in a third world culture! I could have hit a pedestrian, a scooter, a taxi-be, a car, a dog, zebu, but.....I only hit a flower pot. The boys thought it was a great ride and were encouraging me constantly. Even Randy, at one point said, “wow honey, playing chicken with a taxi-be, you're really becoming Malagasy”. You see, there are “sides” of the road you're supposed to drive on. However, you don't really have to stay on your side if you don't want too. For instance, if you want to pass someone, you just drive on the other side of the road whether there is someone coming the other way or not. How these people don't have more accidents I don't know. To say the least,when we got back home I looked at Randy and said, “I'm going to go inside, get a tall glass of cold water, and be by myself to calm down”.

And that, people, was my first experience driving in Madagascar. Almost like Mario Kart! And though I was nervous I have to say, I kind of liked the danger in it all! God help us.

Pure contentment!

October 17, 2010 A Heart Filled With Joy
Today was the day! The day I've been waiting for all week! My birthday party! So yesterday, Helena, my language helper, her husband, Haza, and her mother, Florentine, and I walked to the neighboring town (about 25 min) to get freshly made juice ( five 2 liter bottles) and then walked to the market (about 15 min) and bought 25 chicken legs/thighs, and lots of vegetables and rice! We then walked home and spent the morning cooking the chicken over a small charcoal “pit” and chopped vegetables while sitting on the floor (they only have two stools and they were full). We had a great time talking and laughing and chopping!

So today around 2:00 pm people started showing up. My friends who helped me cook yestureday plus Florintine's husband, Roger, and niece, Sin (pronouced Seen) and baby (Lida) came first. Our guard and house keeper, Tiana and Jeannin and their two boys, and Neeree and Tony (they own and run a small veggie stand down the road from us where we buy banana's every day) came on Malagasy time, 2:40. Fiona (English) and her husband Narilanto (Malagasy) and their son, Marcus, came as well. They are missionaries with YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

I greeted them, thanked them all for coming, explained what was for lunch and then prayed....all in Malagasy! I was SO nervous and had practiced this with Helena all week! Now I really wanted to bless these hard working people who have been SO kind and helpful to us since we've been here. So, with Helena's help, I had made the food they would have had at a big party. We made Chicken Makasohka (ginger) and rice with veggies. We then had LOTS of fruit and Randy made Carrot Cake!!!!! (Boy was that a hit!) After eating I got out my balloons and made everyone a balloon animal/flower. They loved it! Then I opened my presents. I was so touched when I opened my presents, which I wasn't expecting. I had told everyone to “just come and eat and celebrate, don't bring anything!” I received all hand made things! Florinitine made me a skirt. Haza made me a doll house out of a pizza box! I was amazed at the details! And Tony made me a BEAUTIFUL vase! Oh, tears, tears, tears, tears! I felt so loved and SO special. These people don't have much. So the fact that they put time and energy into their gifts was the greatest gift of all! It was trurly humbling!

After everything started to die down several of our guests stayed and helped clean everything up! I really like that part of the culture! It was so nice to just chit chat and laugh when I couldn't, for the life of me, understand what they were saying to me! The day was truly fulfilling. Pure contentment.

Friday, October 15, 2010

He called me Malagasy!!!

So, walking everywhere has it's advantages because you really get to know your neighborhood and your neighbors! Walking the kids to school, we always pass the same group of young men who sit on the side of the road with their carts waiting for someone to come along and ask them to work for the day. This group of men started off just staring at the boys and I as we walked by. I would greet them in malagasy and they would just stare. After about a two weeks they started greeting us back. It's kind of like dealing with the greeters at Walmart. We had to train them how to greet us as well! Last week we were walking to school and I didn't greet them because I was busy talking to the boys. One of the guys shouted out “Manahoana Faza”, Good morning foreigner. Now, when children call us faza we don't mind so much but when older people do it it's just fairly annoying and somewhat rude. So I answered him back with “Manahoana Malagasy”. All his friends cracked up laughing! So this is how we greated each other last week. This week as we were walking to school he called out, “Manahoana Malagasy” to which I replied, “Manahoana faza”. Laughter! It's a common language that brings smiles to everyones face!

Introducing my husband, the blogger

October 10: The Sound of Silence
Guest Blogger: Randy

Every week morning the main road from the airport to Tana becomes very congested right at the point where our little road empties on to it. So, many times as we ride in the taxi be' we are entertained by the “in flight movie” of watching the bus negotiate through taffic. Many times you sit there and say to yourself, “We're going to hit that car!” and then surprisingly we don't. Well, just this past week - we did. My taxi-be' was edging past another taxi-be' and I said to myself “He's going to hit that side mirror”. And sure enough we did. Now I expected we would stop and the drivers would talk and that it would probably take a very long time. I was considering getting off and walking to my next bus. But, this did not happen. The surprising thing was that NO ONE seemed to notice. No one turned their head. No one blinked an eye lid. No one made any noises – not even a grunt. The man asleep across from me continued to drool on himself. The driver didn't say a word. The only thing that happened was that the guy who rides in the back – the one who lets people on and off and who collects the money – he swung out the door (literally) to see if there was any damage to our taxi-be'. (He didn't seem to care about the other one.) He then swung back in without saying a word and the driver stepped on the gas to cover the next 20 feet as fast as he could before he had to slam on the brakes before he rear ended the next car. When I mentioned all this to Megan that same night she said the same exact thing had happened to her - and again: Nothing! I know nothing! (Captain Shultz anyone?)

October 10: A Different Kind of Return Policy
Guest Blogger: Randy

It is very obvious that here in Madagascar when you buy something at the roadside market you can not return it. But we are still not sure about the more Western stores – like the South African supermarket, Shop Rite. Our guess is.....“no.” But I just realized the other day that you are not left “holding the bag” entirely if you choose a defective product. We somehow broke the electric tea kettle here at the house. So, I went to Shop Rite and bought a new one. As I was checking out, the women at the register asked if I wanted to go to the service desk and test the tea kettle. So, I did. Not only did the man unpack the box, ask someone to get him some water to heat in it, and eventually plug it in to see that it actually heated water – but when he unpacked the box he found that it had the wrong plug on it. So, he cut off the old plug for me and rewired the correct plug for me right there. I think that is pretty good service.

October 10: Small Towns Are All the Same
Guest Blogger: Randy

Did you know that I bought a toaster oven for my birthday? Did you know that we bought a new electric tea kettle? Well, the entire town of Ambohinambo does. You see – we don't have a car. That means we have to walk home. Since the larger appliances like toaster ovens and electric tea kettles do not fit in the small bags they have here everyone in town can see what I bought. And surely the whole way home carrying the box everyone stared at me and gave this knowing smile like “Ah, I always wondered who bought those things there.”

This happened a third time as well. But that time it was with flowers. You see, my wife told me when we lived in America that I didn't need to buy her flowers. She preferred we spent our money on other things, since flowers were expensive. But when she found out that flowers at the road side market were fairly cheap she told me I could buy her flowers whenever I wanted.

So, one day I was able to stop and get her some roses on my way home from teaching. I couldn't exactly stick them in my backpack, so all along the walk home everyone was staring at me. All the women seemed to either be jealous that they weren't getting any from their man or glad for “some lucky woman”. All the guys gave a knowing smile as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Randy's birthday party

My Birthday Party 9/19/10
Guest Blogger: Randy

My birthday was on Sunday, September 19. What I wanted for my birthday was to hang out with friends. So, I threw my own party. I was not sure who to invite. My list kept getting longer. I started out with all the AIM missionaries. Then I invited the AMI staff. (Most of them are not AIM missionaries.) Because of the size of our house I had to stop at that. I had wanted to invite our guard and his wife, our language helpers and another missionary family, but there was no more room. I really did not want everyone to be vahzah (foreigners) but the Malagasy AMI staff could not make it and so it turned out to be that anyway.
Between our house and AMI there is a new bakery that makes the best baguettes. They are also a pizzeria and make special order cakes too. In order to reduce the work for the party I decided to order pizzas and cakes from there. Besides, they had a special buy 2 get one free deal on Sundays.
I stopped by the bakery on my way home from work one night to order the pizzas and cakes and I met the owner, a Frenchman named Nicholos. (Previously I had only met the Malagasy who worked for him.) Nicholos is a philosopher about his pizza. He basically serves one pizza and believes you should like it. You can't really order a plain pizza. I did manage to get him to leave off the large chunks of vegetables. (Smaller pieces were already mixed into the 'mix' that is his pizza.) And then as we talked he would say – but we do have another kind of pizza – and then he would wax philosophical about that one. After I agreed to try 2 of those he mentioned that there was yet another kind of pizza....I stuck with the first two kinds. (The second one I really liked. Don't ask me to explain it. It had some kind of crème fraiche and bacon on it.)
Nicholos's English is about as good as my French so we would keep switching between the two. For about a week I kept running into him – at the market, at his bakery, etc. He insisted that I come by for a cake sampling before I actually pick up the cakes. He would offer me free fruit drinks to try. It was great.
In the end I had 6 pizzas and 2 cakes delivered to our house. But since it is really hard to explain how to get to our house – and there are no street names or American type addresses to speak of – I had to take some friends and meet the delivery people about a 10 minutes walk away from the house at a church that everyone knew the location of.
The people who ended up attending my party consisted of a Korean woman and her 3 boys (her husband wanted to come but was busy with another short term missions team), four single Korean women, a Dutch woman, an Austrian woman, two Canadian women, our family and one single South African guy.
Now I mention this because it illustrates something. There is a derth of single men in missions. The other AIM missionaries who live around here who could not come are either married couples or single women. At our training at AIM's headquarters there were two single women training with us. The cover story of one of the mission magazines here in the house says “Where are the Men?”. Maybe you know the answer to this. Maybe some of the reasons have to do with linguistics – women generally do better with language and communication than men. Maybe learning a foreign language scares men more than women? Maybe it has to do with all the reasons that “Men Hate Going to Church” (see the book). Maybe it has to do with the way western culture has been in the past – men in the workplace – women at home (which if they're not married might free them up to go overseas???). And somehow now that women are not at home it still effects things? I don't know. Maybe with all the single women in missions single guys get hitched soon after starting? Again – I really don't know. If you're a single guy – have you considered foreign missions? (Do you play the piano?)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Introducing: MacGyver, my HUSBAND!

Hang in there people!  This blog from the guest blogger isn't quite as boring as the last one!
Guest Blogger: Randy

Mondays are usually my day off. But during the week leading up to AMI night (think youth retreat with adults) I had so much work to do I had to go in and work on my day off while the boys were in school. When I got to AMI I didn't need to use the keys I had been given because Estelle, the woman who cleans, was there. There are also two Korean, single women who live at AMI. While I was there one of them said she was leaving to go meet up with the other one in Tana. A little after 11 am, Estelle, left. So, I was all alone at the school. I had planned to meet Megan after she picked up the boys at Shop Rite so we could all walk home together. So, at the right time I packed up my stuff and went to go home. Now AMI is basically a large fancy house with a wall around it. (All middle class and upper class houses have walls around them.) In the wall there is a door and a gate. After I locked the two front doors of the school itself I went to go out the door in the wall. This door had been locked by Estelle. When I got my keys out I found that none of them worked in this door. So, I went over to the gate – where the vehicles come in and out. I found out I could get out the gate, but I had no way of locking it once I was outside. And it was not safe to leave it open. So, I went around to the back of AMI where there are two very tiny “houses” within the wall of the gate. (I'm still not sure who lives here. I know the guard used to live here – he just moved out – even though he is still the guard.) I was going to ask someone to let me out and lock the gate behind me. But no one was home there either. So, I was alone at AMI and locked in.
I discovered that if I had some rope I could engineer a device to lock the gate once I was outside. So, I went back in the building and looked for rope – no rope. I did find a box of keys – lots of keys. So, I took the box out to the gate and tried them. First set of keys...second set of keys...key number luck. No keys for the front gate.
By this time it was passed the time I was supposed to meet Megan. When I called her on the cell phone she said, “I'll be right there. We're just leaving the pharmacy.” To which I replied, “Yes, but I'm not there yet.”
Finally I made a rope out of plastic bags, a towel and a table cover. I let myself out and then threw the improvised rope over the gate and took the two taxi-be's to Shop Rite (which is on the way to our house). When I finally made it to Shop Rite and was inside the store one of the Shop Rite guards that we know saw Megan walking by and told her I was there. (She had run into someone she knew and had been talking the whole time.) So, we did get to go home together.
The next morning Estelle comes into the teacher's office at AMI and tells the acting administrator that she thinks someone tried to break in because she found the “rope” lying inside the driveway.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Troublesome cultural issues.

September 27, 2010 
This morning I was sitting on our couch working on some computer things when all of a sudden I heard the sounds of scissors cutting. I looked and saw Seth and Cole. They were coloring at the dinning room table. So, what was making that cutting sound? I looked out the window and to my utter was Tiana, our guard and gardener. He was squatting down on the ground walking like a duck, and he was cutting the grass.....with a small pair of shears! I was mortified. I already struggle, deeply, with having house help. (I have yet to meet a missionary who hasn't struggled with the idea of having house help.)

I was talking to a missionary friend of mine, Jocelynn, on the phone this afternoon. She explained a truth to me that I didn't know before, which appears to be true in a lot of developing countries around the world. She said, “When a foreigner comes to live here, that foreigner is looked at as someone who can provide a few good paying jobs for the nationals. They can provide a job for a guard, a house cleaner, a nanny, a gardener..... In fact (and I didn't know this before until now) if, as a foreigner, you don't provide those jobs, in some countries such as Madagascar, you are seen as selfish and self centered, not caring at all for the people of the land in which you just moved to.

So, herein lies the difficult and touchy situation. In the foreign land you are, in some way, expected to provide these jobs. Yet, in the land where I come from having a guard, house cleaner, and nanny often speaks of wealth and high maintenance. You know I'm right. And so, often times, missionaries feel uncomfortable mentioning that they have this type of help to their friends and family because of how it is perceived in America.

And so, I was glad that Jocelynn told me this, though it's still an awkward topic for me. She actually told me of a book that talked about this very subject. I needed to them remind myself that we are providing these beautiful people with jobs.

So I wanted to encourage you, and myself, and tell you of a family that you are having a positive effect on by supporting our family here in Madagascar. Tiana is our night guard and gardener. Where we are staying in Madagascar it is strongly recommended that you have, at least, a night guard for your safety. This is because, as a foreigner you will be marked for an easy robbery. We also have footsiefootsy, our dog, for this reason. Between her and Tiana (and God) we feel (and have been) very safe. Jeannine is Tiana's wife. She is our house help. She comes twice a week to clean the house and do our laundry (by hand). This beautiful couple have two sons. Right now they live in a one room shack made out of planks of wood. Connected to this one room is another shack, this one with only three sides, where their three pigs live. Their boys run in and out of the pens, bare foot. Tiana and Jeannine are working hard to save enough money in order to build a small home on family land out in the country side. By your supporting us, and by us giving them a job, they are able to save up money towards their goal. So, thank you so much for helping provide for Tiana and Jeannine!

Swim as fast as you can Cockroach, but you're not getting away, and other amazing stories!

October 8, 2010
Woke up this morning and ran to go puke in the bathroom, intestinal bug. As I was hugging the porcaline bowl I saw before me a cockroach that had fallen into the toilet but was trying to swim to safety. I vomited all over the big sucker! HA! Take that you stinkin' cockroach! Revenge is mine!

On a more serious note, I can't even believe all the things that the Lord allowed me to see this week. I know that He does miracles on a regular basis, but let's face it, I'm usually too busy to see them. This Wednesday my language helper, and friend, Helena came over. She looked very sad and distracted. Here, her husband's sister and 3 children showed up Tuesday. Apparently her nephew was sick and needed to go to the hospital. Tiana, Helena's sister in law, believes that Helena and her husband, Haja, have lots of money since the both have jobs. It's quite the opposite. The live in a little one room “house”. However, Tiana was expecting that Helena feed them all and provide for them. Helena had been up all the night before praying and asking God to provide food for them to feed their guests. Now that same afternoon I was going to a seamstress to get a sundress made for my birthday. In the light of things I realized that my dress wasn't really that important. Not often, as Americans, are we faced with the decision of, “Do I buy a dress for myself, or do I take my friend food shopping so they can eat this week”...quite literally! So we went food shopping instead. That afternoon a missionary friend of mine calls me, not knowing anything that happened earlier that day, and says, “Meg, I know this sounds sort of tacky but I'm not sure what to get you for your birthday and I was wondering if I could just pay for your dress to be made.” HELLO!!!! I just started bawling! My God loves me so much that he wants to provide a silly little dress that I was looking forward to getting! Now, I understand that some of you will think I'm silly for thinking God is providing these things...but....I do!

So, later that evening I was to call a missionary doctor to see when and if he could see Faniva (Helena's nephew, a little 3 year old boy who's testicle is literally the size of my fist). After talking to him I was to walk to Helena's to let them know what the scoop was. Well, the plumber came to our house (did I mention that we had contacted the plumber 1 month ago?) and it looked as if he wasn't going to leave until too late so that I couldn't make it to Helena's to tell them that we could go to the doctor together on Friday. (It's not safe here to walk after dark, by yourself, as a foreigner.) So, what could I do? I wanted Helena to hear the good news, because I didn't want her to be up all night worrying again. So, I prayed, “Lord, I know you hear me and I know that you speak to Helena, would you please tell her to come here tonight so I can share with her this good news?” Ten minutes later.....ding dong at our gate. Guess who? Helena. She had a “feeling” that I couldn't make it to her house and thought she would come over and see what was going on! CRAZY!!!!!

That's not all folks. The story continues! This morning I was to meet Helena, Tiana, and Faniva and go with them to the doctor's house. Believe it or not they wanted me to come along to translate for them! Need I remind you people that I've only been here 2 months! Anyway, last night around 6:00 I got violently sick...throwing up and diarrhea, you get the nasty picture right? No need for details. Anyway, didn't sleep well last night as I was constantly running to the toilet and bucket. This morning, same thing. So what could I do but pray. “Lord, Helena is really nervous about going to an American doctor on her own, she'd really like me to go. I can't right now. Would you please block up both ends of me and give my body strength to walk 1 ½ miles to the taxi-be and then another 1 mile to the doctors, and back again?” Mind you, I was nervous. I had no energy. But I headed for Helena's singing, “I walk by faith and not by sight. I walk by faith for this little boy. I walk by faith and not by sight. I walk by faith with You my Lord”. Did I doubt? YES! I even packed an extra pair of pants in case well, you get the picture right? And guess what? 2 ½ hrs and NO diarrhea, and NO throwing up! I needed to stop several times as it felt like I was going to toss my cookies, but I didn't! On the way home the family put their money together to get me a taxi ride all the way to my house so I wouldn't have to walk, I must have looked really bad to them! I offered to pay and they refused. They wanted to give me a gift back. I no sooner walked into the house, and put it nicely ….. exploded! What great timing! That's the type of God that I serve. And you know what? Even if today didn't go like that and I did put a load in my pants on the way to the doctor, I would still think my God is an awesome God!