By Hannah Cullen
From the moment I first heard Faly entreat the students at The Master’s University to come to do ministry with him in Madagascar, the Lord put it on my heart to chase that supplication until it became a reality. Now that I’ve experienced what Madagascar has to offer and what fervent ministry is being done each week on the large African island, I am eager to witness more of what the Lord has in store for Faly and my other brothers and sisters in Christ serving there.
After landing in Antananarivo and driving through the busy city, I was surprised by the landscape. Maybe I was expecting to be in the jungle? Maybe I was expecting lemurs on the side of the road? What I did know was that I had been to Africa before but the scenery was far from what I had imagined it to be in Madagascar. I was reminded it was a third-world country.
Being immediately struck by the friendliness of Faly and his team, I was on the edge of my seat ready to get started with the next two weeks. We spent our first few days meeting people from church, adapting to the lifestyle and prepping for a Vacation Bible School (VBS). Then on our first Sunday afternoon, we went into the heart of the city to meet with children varying from ages 2-14, introduce ourselves and share some of our testimonies. The smiling faces on each child’s face brought instant joy to every member of our team. I would say it was a greater encouragement for us to experience the eagerness and generosity we received from them as they welcomed us into their classroom.
The more we discussed the logistics of the VBS, the more excited I was to have a massive sleepover with hundreds of kids. My teammate Sarah and I began preparing the crafts and all the supplies we needed to bring. Even so, there was a factor of mystery. We had no idea what our “craft room” would look like, how many kids would actually attend, if we had enough supplies, and whether or not the message behind each craft would leave an impact on at least one child. It was our first test of faith. Sure enough, on Monday morning, with the help of some of our team, Sarah and I began building our craft tables out of bricks and old doors. We had prayed the translators would understand our instructions to the kids and would know of ways to occupy their time with us. The the first wave of children came. It was just the right push and from then on we were motivated to bring the gospel into each craft, prayer and activity.
Whether we were washing our own dishes in a small water bucket or sleeping on a sheet of wood, those three days taught me three things: you don’t need a shower or mattress for a successful VBS, children around the world are virtually interested in the same thing, you can never have too many glue-sticks.
Prayer and flexibility gave way to an exciting, small week of worship, fellowship, and creativity to a team of Americans. Remembering why we were where we were was just the motivation we needed to set aside our comfort and serve a group of children who were thirsty for the pure milk of God’s Word. It is for that reason, our Savior never stopped providing for us.