Saturday arrived. I put on my dress and made my way to Nicolas’ house, all the while feeling very uncomfortable wearing a dress, which is the second time since about junior high that I have worn one. I arrived on time, which is very early by Malagasy standards. Many people were busily setting up for the reception and preparing food. It didn’t take long before I was helping prepare tomatoes, and making trips to Pastor Di’s house for more chairs with the girls. Then we all piled into several vans that would be transporting the wedding guests that day.
The first step of a Malagasy wedding is the groom and all the guests ride over to the bride’s house to get her. Isn't she cute?? Then they each ride in separate cars to the county offices.
Here at the county office, they are given a marriage certificate which is signed by each of them and several witnesses.
Now they are legally married. Everyone then rides to the church for the wedding ceremony which is much like an American wedding ceremony. Pastor Di gave an amazing message on love from John 3:16. Then Pastor Guston officiated.
As we were eating, people were talking turns singing up front. As the eating came to an end, and the cake was cut, they began requesting certain people to come up and sing. First it was the bride and groom, then the parents of the groom, the parents of the bride, and the pastor and his wife. I quickly saw where this was going. How could I avoid being called on? Pretty much impossible. I sat there watching everyone sing and accepted my fate. I knew before coming here that my Malagasy friends love to sing and dance and that meant I needed to love those things as well. And then it happened, a guy I didn’t know grabbed the mic and pointed out that I hadn’t participated yet, and asked me to come up front and sing. What do you do when you aren’t someone who should be singing behind a mic, but suddenly have no way out? My solution was to ask the teens to sing with me. So with about 8 or 10 of them, we sang several songs together. After this, the tables were moved to make room for dancing. Knowing it was important to the girls, I joined them in dancing to some of our favorite songs. So here you have it, a picture of me, in a dress, singing behind a mic.
Saturday was not just a time to step outside of my comfort zone and adopt more of the culture here, but it was a lot of fun. All throughout the day I thoroughly enjoyed being able to understand and participate in conversations, understand almost everything during the wedding, and sitting by Nombana, Pastor Di’s youngest son, and playing with him. Even the singing and dancing was an amazing opportunity to continue connecting with the girls. To each of you who has been praying for me this last year as I learn the language and culture, thank you so much!