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 As it turns out the inspection for the car we were driving was out of date by one month.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have to have his car impounded, and a friend of his loaned us his car (a stick shift, so I had to drive) and took the out of date car to be brought up to date).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?