The sun comes up. It’s somewhere between 5 and 5:30 am. Somewhere beyond the walls of the house a rooster crows. Contrary to popular belief they do not only crow at sunrise to wake the farmer, they actually crow all night to keep the missionary awake! The constant hum of the oscillating fan produces a very deep and restful sleep through the cock-a-doodle-do’s. I start the coffee pot and then step over to the sink and open the window. I love the windows in this house – white paned, long, vertical glass doors that swing in when I open them in the mornings. I flip the curtains up over the top of the window doors to hold them open and let the breeze and sunlight in. The smell of charcoal and wood burning fills the air as the neighbors start their fires to begin their breakfast. I slice a piece of bread from the loaf purchased at the local bakery yesterday and pop it in the toaster. As toast and coffee are brewing, I slip out the back door with the load of wet laundry from the washing machine that started at bedtime and hang it on the line. When it is dry this afternoon it will be quite stiff and scratchy and have a tinge of charcoal smell – it’s a comforting smell and reminds me of camping with my grandparents when I was small. I return to the dining room table with coffee and toast and see a pair of big, beautiful blue eyes staring beneath a mop of curly brown hair. My Ashley is awake and is ready to read with me. After pouring her a bowl of cereal we open our Book to Daniel.

In the first chapter, Daniel is taken captive, ushered into Babylon and forced to learn a different language and culture in order to serve in the king’s palace. Language and culture. I smile as this is our “job” right now too, only we haven’t been taken captive, we’ve willingly followed God’s leading. What catches my eye a few times in this chapter is the acts of God: God delivers the king of Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, God caused the official to show favor to Daniel, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. I see quite clearly that nothing was out of focus looking through the window of Daniel’s life, God orchestrated everything – it was not left to chance. He was faithful to obediently worship God in this circumstance, not for his own sake but because God deserved his worship. God lead him into a position and gave him the knowledge and wisdom to lead him through. God has lead us into a situation – living in another culture to tell others about His story – and we must trust him for the wisdom and knowledge to learn the language and culture here.

By the time we are finished reading the first chapter another pair of eyes has joined us and a bowl of cereal has been placed before this little snuggly man. We finish our small discussion and pray that God will heal the weak bellies in our household that seem to want to interrupt our morning.  We place our cereal bowls into the sink, get dressed, apply sunscreen to everyone, brush the teeth and out the door we go. Today we are meeting Nina, a new Malagasy friend that translates for us as we walk through the town learning the culture in which we live…

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