How could teaching in English possibly go wrong you ask?

Let me set the scene…. This afternoon I continued teaching the wordless book to the teens with Tatienne interpreting. Arriving at Pastor D’s house, we all assembled downstairs. With 18 teens sitting in a semi circle, I began teaching in English, pausing after each thought for Tatienne to interpret. So far this sounds like it would be safe. I wasn’t planning on spreading any language learning cheer, since I was teaching in English. Wrong. As I began to teach them The Gospel in Motion, I made the sign language letter ‘a’ with my hand while saying, “admit you have sinned.” I was met with horrified looks then everyone (including Tatienne) almost died laughing. Through the laughter (my hand had stopped on the ‘a’ trying to figure out what I had done to cause such a reaction) Tatienne said, “Stop! Stop! That is swearing!” My eyes widened with horror, hand dropping quickly to my side. Trying to regain control of my students I tried to explain amidst the laughter that it was a letter of the alphabet in American Sign Language. Needless to say, I didn’t use the letters ABC when demonstrating in English. We decided it would be best if I used the sign for the letter ‘m’ for all three since all three (admit, believe and  call) begin with ‘m’ in Malagasy. I spread plenty of cheer when I use Malagasy, but this has to be the first time I have spread cheer while using my own native language. Thank goodness no one takes anything I say or do too seriously at this point. J


Heart Beat

Aoka ny foko sy ny fonao
Hiara-mitempo tena iray….
The words, sung to the tune of Blessed Assurance say, let my heart and Your heart beat truly at one. As this has become my prayer each day, I see God’s heart beat all around me.
Laughing and chattering, groups of children in tattered clothing played below. From my vantage point on the roof of a neighboring building, I watched the children in the school court yard. Ropes were being swung as the girls gathered in groups to jump rope. Boys wrestled each other to the ground. Some raced around while others stood in circles talking. ‘Did any of them know of my Savior?’ I wondered. Would they ever get to hear? Where were the people God had called to reach these precious little ones? Maybe they themselves hadn’t heard yet….  
Two boys probably 8 and 10 slid in next to me on the taxi. Pressed up against me they wordlessly rode along holding tattered backpacks with broken zippers. I felt my heart breaking in two as I looked into their faces. My smile faded as it went unreturned, met with two sets of serious dark eyes. What did God have in mind for them when he created these beautiful little boys? Did they know that they were loved and infinitely special to God the Creator? Did they know that Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to become one of them? Did they know He sacrificed His life to purchase them? Would they ever get to hear?
These experiences have become daily occurrences that I gladly welcome as, caught up in language learning, I do not want to loose sight of God’s heart for the Malagasy children.


Akanjo or Akondro?

“Nividy akanjo kilo saseny aho,” I proudly announced to those around me. My attempt to use some new words and tell everyone I bought a half kilo of bananas immediately resulted in much laughter and shouts of, “no! no!” As I stopped to contemplate what went wrong I realized that I said akanjo, which is clothes instead of akondro which is bananas. Oh the joys of language learning! Currently I work with my language helper, Hoga, eight hours per week. Please pray that I will be able to get in another eight hours per week.
                On Sunday the children and youth group at church put on a performance. It was so much fun to watch them sing and dance! They are so cute and talented. For the last song they had the audience stand up, and everyone was clapping and dancing along. Before I knew what was happening, the pastor’s wife, who is a little older lady in her 70’s had grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. Imeadiately all eyes were on me and the pastor was motioning for me to come up on stage with everyone, thankfully his wife wasn’t about to let go of me. J While is was awkward, I found out that dancing along is a great way to make new friends!

                On Saturdays I teach a training class to about 16 of the teens here. I am going through the Christian Youth in Action training material with them to give it a trial run here in Madagascar before we actually do it with students who are unfamiliar with the wordless book and teaching children. They give me input after the lessons on what we could change to make it work better here. I am using interactive lessons that involve the teens in the learning process that Nancy Paulson put together for CYIA in WA. In WA they teach the teens the Gospel in Motion, which helps them remember the main points of the wordless book with hand motions put to the points. On Saturday I introduced it to the teens here. Now my project this week is to learn it in Malagasy so that on Saturday I can do it with them. J I made my poor language helper say is over and over again to me then listen to me butcher it over and over again yesterday…the practice is paying off though and I am pretty sure Hoga can say it in his sleep now.
A group of the teens work together during class.

The Gospel in Motion

The teens practiced the first page of the wordless book with each other during class.