Sore legs and happy hearts. These words sum up how we feel at the end of the day. We took off at 6:00am and managed to drive the car a little bit further up the road. 10 minutes less walking is a great bonus! No canoe today so we had to walk across the river finding a shallower area where we could walk with water up to the waist. That was really fun!
We reached the village 15 minutes before the start of the conference and thus jumped right into it. I taught for 3 hours, the first session on how Christ rebukes those who serve Him heartlessly from Revelation 2, then a second session during which I took them through the different “walks” in Ephesians 4-6.
Meanwhile, Hasiniaina, Joeny and Onja did a great job with the kids once more. These kids were amazing, with their number growing from around 35 yesterday to over 150 today! They had so much fun singing, playing and were very attentive during the teaching time.
Lunch was a problematic time for us. They had set us apart in a separate hut from the rest of the group and killed a chicken for us while all the other attendees had rice and leaves. We did not ask for such special attention, but they insisted, and it felt to us like we would offend them if we refused it. So, we ate the delicious chicken yet still with somewhat of an uncomfortable aftertaste to it.
In the afternoon, the adults were split into different age groups and our team was in charge of the youths. We had around 150 of them gathered under the trees. Hasiniaina did a great job teaching on the importance of prayer in the life of the follower of Christ from the life of Epaphras. A very lively Q&A followed, and we were so pleased to see many of them asking deep and thoughtful questions. We ended up our time together with great singing. My heart almost burst a few times as I was just filled with joy to see these youths singing from their heart.
Now, any sanely-minded individual would have started the walk back to home base right after that time. But not us… we decided to stay in order to… play soccer with them. Yes, that’s how little we think through things at times as we were just excited to spend more time with them. Oh, and we had to walk for another 15 minutes with an extra 100-feet elevation to reach the pitch. Then, our team won the game… and so we decided to do another one! (By now, if you do facepalms as you read this I completely understand why…) At halftime of that second game, we finally came to our senses and asked to be subbed out and headed home.
The walk back was awfully steep, slow and hard. But we made it, somehow. We are tired yet still had to do our evening routine preparing meals, drawing water from the well and showering. The end of another “normal” day on the field.