Language learning – Learning a language is a lot like solving the following quantum mechanics equation that I stole from the internet (if you are a quantum mechanics major, I apologize for insulting your intelligence with the use of such a “simple” equation):

The deuteron is a nucleus of “heavy hydrogen” consisting of one proton and one neutron. As a simple model for this nucleus, consider a single particle of mass m moving in a fixed spherically -symmetric potential V(r), defined by V(r) =−V 0 for r < r0 and V(r)= 0 for r > r 0. This is called a spherical square-well potential. Assume that the particle is in a bound state with l=0… 
(I decided not to finish the equation since I probably lost most of you, including myself, after the word deuteron, but you get the point.)

Reading this quantum mechanics equation is a lot like trying to understand Malagasy.  While I recognize a few words it is impossible to make sense of an entire sentence, let alone a whole paragraph.  While listening to the Malagasy people I can pick out a few words (which is an accomplishment in and of itself), but I have no idea what they are truly trying to say.
Then there is the occasional misinterpretation.  For example:  vady and vody are completely different words although they sound very similar.  One means a spouse (vady), the other your backside (vody).  You do not want to make that mistake when introducing your lovely bride!

Please pray for supernatural understanding, patience and grace as we learn this language.

Meeting with a local church pastor – I have developed, in a very short amount of time, a great friendship with a local pastor in Antsirabe.  His name is Kris and he pastors a local Baptist church in town.  He has the heart of a missionary which has led to our strong kinship.  We have been meeting each week to discuss faith, family, and the daily burdens of leading the church.  He is also a musician and song writer!

Please pray for Kris as he leads his growing church to fulfill their God-given mission in Antsaribe and around the world.

Starting a band – I have taken on the challenge of developing a band.  In the few weeks that we’ve been in Anstirabe, pastor Kris has allowed me to begin working with members of his church in order to expand their worship.  Somehow I always get myself into these situations, but I secretly love doing it!  The Malagasy songs are written in the Do-Re-Mi style of writing (think Sound of Music).  It has been a challenge to not only communicate with a group of non-English speaking musicians, but also transition my own thinking away from notes and chord charts to Do-Re-Mi’s and Fa-So-La’s.

Please pray for this young, inexperienced group of musicians as they seek to glorify God in their worship.

Building relationships with Malagasy families – Our family has developed a strong relationship with two Malagasy families.  Our language teacher, Fanja (pronounced Fanza), as well as our children’s language teacher, Nina and their respective families have become very good friends of ours.  Andrew and I play basketball on Saturday mornings from 6:30 – 8:00 with Nina’s husband Tina (who is an unbeliever) and a number of other men from the neighborhood.  We have joined Nina in praying for his salvation.  

We ate dinner at Fanja’s house last Friday night, and although our children and their children could not speak each other’s language, they played and laughed as if there were no barriers.

Please pray that our relationship with Nina and Fanja will lead to the salvation of their unsaved  friends and family members.

How the work in Madagascar is even possible — Christmas is right around the corner and with it comes a great opportunity for you and your church to support the work here in Madagascar and around the world through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.  There are over 7.0 billion people of which 3.9 billion have limited or no access to the Gospel.  There are currently 4,854 Southern Baptist Missionaries serving overseas with the IMB (which includes approximately 4,000 children!) working in 134 countries to serve 874 people groups.  Please prayerfully consider supporting the global work of the IMB (International Mission Board) through the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

Please pray for the annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering as well as the financial demands of countless other mission’s organizations who support the needs of spreading the gospel around the world.

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