April 12, 2011
This morning we decided to take it easy since the past 2 days were full of adventure! Randy took the kids to school and then went off to work. Marsha and I got ready and walked to my friend Helena's house to say goodbye as Marsha was leaving this afternoon.
After chit chatting at Helena's we walked with her into Talatamaty and then went our seperate ways. Marsha and I walked the back road towards our house so that we didn't have to walk in the smog of all the morning traffic on the main road. I can't tell you how many times I've walked down this road. It's a quaint little back road with houses, some small kiosks, and a school. It's a very nice walk. As we were walking Marsha felt a tug on her arm and turned just in time to see a man yank her camera off her arm and take off running!
She screamed and felt compelled to run after him! Though Marsha wouldn't typically pursue someone robbing her, with the compelling she felt inside and the encouragement I gave as I shouted "get that man!". Next thing I knew she took off her flip-flops and holding them in her hand started running full speed ahead! At first she actually got ahold of his shirt which threw him off balance enough that it made sense to keep trying to catch this man. The only thing I knew to do instinctively was to yell “stop in Jesus name!” (not at Marsha but at the man). Then I took off after her knowing that she didn't have a clue where she was or where she was going or how to get back! Down through dirt paths we ran. What a sight it must have been. One Malagasy man running for his life away from one vaza (foreigner) with no shoes on and one vaza shouting, “Stop in Jesus name! God make him give the camera back!” Now, I was shouting this in English so it wasn't like I was saying these things to make him feel guilty, I was literally calling on God!
Before we knew it, we were on the other side of a VERY busy street with many Malagasy pointing the direction the 'bad man' went. But, alas, we couldn't see him. By this point I was so out of breath I was gasping for air! I just kept saying, “ratsy lelah! Maka ny ratsy lelah!” Which I later found out was the comparison of saying “...man bad! Get man bad!”.....so my Malagasy isn't perfect....
Soon we rounded a corner where I saw a group of young men, maybe in their 20s. As soon as they saw us they looked at each other and started walking the opposite direction! I yelled in Malagasy “Can you help us find the man bad that took my friend's camera?” One man turned around with what looked like a guilty face, so I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I'm sorry, but I am only able to speak Malagasy a little bit. I'm learning. Can you please help us find the man bad who took my friends camera?” He finally turned and walked towards me. His friends followed him. I had the thought in my head, and so did Marsha, that these men were friends with the man who stole her camera and they were feeling guilty because they knew about the situation. One of the other men quickly said that they were unable to help us, they didn't know anything. So, I said, “ok, thanks for helping us anyway” and we turned to walk towards home. After walking about 4 minutes we heard a yell. We turned around....and there at the top of our road were the men we had just talked to holding up Marsha's camera!
We ran up to them with huge smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes and thanked them profusely! We shook hands and then left. For the next 3 ½ hrs, as that's all we had left before Marsha had to get on the plane, we sat on the deck of a restaurant over looking a rice field and ate lunch, drank tea, and talked about all the miracles that God did during that ½ hr of our lives!
1 The man didn't try to hurt us when Marsha turned to run after him Marsha didn't get anything dangerous in her feet while she ran barefoot
2 I didn't brake anything running after her (for those of you who know me you know that's a miracle!)
3 We don't remember crossing the busy street which means there must have been NO traffic.....VERY unusual
4 I could speak Malagasy enough to make a connection with the young men who ended up helping us
5 WE GOT THE CAMERA BACK WITH NOT A SCRATCH ON IT!
6 The men didn't ask for any money!
After dropping Marsha off at the airport and picking up the boys from school I was sitting in the living room with the doors opened. I was just relaxing and enjoying the breeze and thanking God for ALL He's done for us. All of a sudden I heard a knock on the gate door. Yup...it was 3 of the men who had helped us. I greeted them in Malagasy and thanked them for being such good men that they would help us out. They continued to stand there. John Pierre, our guard, was standing next to me, so I asked him, “What are they waiting for?” He said, “I think they are hoping you will give them some money.” bummer. That kind of ruins the story doesn't it? So I just looked at them and said in Malagasy, “I thought you were helping us because you were good men, not because you wanted money. I think that God is very happy with you that you helped us, but I'm not going to give you money. We are missionaries here and didn't have enough money to come here and help for a year so we had to ask for money from a lot of people around us. (Although I have to say it was very awkward saying this knowing that I had more money than they did.) I think that you helped us because you are very good men. Thank you SO much for being very good men, but I'm not going to give you money because you helped us. I'm very sorry. Maybe just helping us out is enough. Again, thank you for being very good men.” I then shook their hands and went into the yard and closed the gate behind me.
The amazing thing is NOT ONLY did all these miracles happen but God was teaching us and still is teaching us so much through that ½ hr!
1 He's teaching us about His ability to protect us.
2 He's teaching us about His ability to provide extravagantly for us.
3 He's given those men a chance to just do good rather than bad.
4 He's teaching us to trust Him as He guides us through our day.
5 He's taking us on adventures that we may never understand fully but know that they will, somehow, bring glory to God.
Lord, could I have a boring day tomorrow.....please?