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!