More About the Willards...
Surprised by a post-Ramadan flash mob at our house today! Out of nowhere, about 50 guys showed up to do some singing and dancing, to greet us and to give us a blessing for the year to come. We were also expected to treat them with bread and juice which we definitely did NOT have ready and waiting for a group that big. But we improvised quickly and they moved on to the next village. We're always learning more about the local culture, but it'd be great if sometimes we learned something ahead of time, before we're expected to know how to respond!
We have a new story up on our website! It's about an especially terrible plant that grows on our island, and about the invisible things in life that grab our attention and control our lives. Let me know what you think!
The Unseen World | Madagascar Missions
Bat is a delicacy here in Madagascar and now is the season for it, so I ate bat for lunch today! Not as good as I hoped, mostly because there wasn't much meat on it at all. The meat tasted mostly like chicken, but had a funny sort-of dry aftertaste. The sauce was nice though. The second photo is bats being sold at the market here in Ambilobe. There are a TON of huge bats on Nosy Mitsio, but no one eats them there because most people have a taboo against them.
Wow, we've got some crazy luck, not always good. We got back into town last night and just as we were unloading our things at the hotel (one we don't usually stay at, but because the others were full), a guy came up and said to us and to the hotel manager, "There's a fire up there!" As we looked up to the third floor (we were supposed to stay on the second), there was a bright flickering light through the ventilation holes in the wall, and it was getting brighter and smoke rising up! In a few minutes, the fire must've been pretty big, because it was really bright and lots of smoke rising up and people running around causing a commotion. I started putting all our things back in the vehicle, for fear of some kind of repeat like with the taxi moto burning down with some of our luggage in it a few weeks ago.
It turns out the top floor has no rooms and is completely under renovation, and a steel girder that was cut through had some molten sparks land on a foam mattress which eventually (I guess it smoldered for a while) caught on fire and burned brightly. Thankfully they got the fire out quickly with water and we wound up staying here after all. There really weren't any better choices. Crazy luck though!
Please pray for the parents and the children of Nosy Mitsio. Currently there is a boat going around Nosy Mitsio to the schools and villages trying to buy children for $2500 each, and they’re presenting what they’re saying are “government papers” authorizing them to do it. Please pray that the parents won’t be tempted to destroy their children’s lives for the sake of a quick profit. Please pray that those doing the human trafficking will be caught and brought to justice. Pray for those who are already their victims, that God will bring them liberation and new life. Pray that one way or another, that boat would leave Nosy Mitsio right now and won't find any more victims wherever it goes next.
Prayer Requests | Madagascar Missions
Everyone's talking about #humantrafficking these days, but I never thought we'd see it so close up and out in the open! Lora just told me that for the last couple of days, there's been a nice unregistered boat (with a white guy and some Malagasy guys) prowling around Nosy Mitsio and the schools there trying to buy people's kids. They have "papers from the government" saying they're authorized to do it and they're offering people about $2500 per kid. As tempting of an offer as that must be around here, thankfully no one on Nosy Mitsio seems interested yet and they're upset about the guys' presence and they kept their kids home from school today to try to protect them. Unfortunately though, those guys already have a couple kids on the boat that they bought somewhere else, probably from #nosybe . People's depravity reaches to even the smallest and furthest corners of the world - always looking for more to devour!
It's a shame that nobody knows who we could possibly call about this and get them to try to stop the guys. I don't know if Madagascar really even has any sort of boat patrols who could show up to Nosy Mitsio and do anything about it. It doesn't seem like it though.
Just came to town from Nosy Mitsio today and had the smoothest trip ever over the ocean. Then the taxi-moto (aka "tuk tuk") we took to town caught on fire not long after leaving the Port. It completely burnt up! Thankfully nothing of ours that was too expensive or important burnt down with it and most of our things escaped just fine. It's always an adventure around here!
Since our last month’s newsletter, many things have been happening in our lives here in Madagascar. So here’s a quick update: My sister came to visit and experience Madagascar with us for a few weeks. Matimu had his first birthday and is now standing up, climbing, and cruising around the room on his own! Our first phase of learning here in Madagascar is finished…
We’d been looking forward to this trip for months, with both hope and fear. We couldn’t wait to see the place where we’ll live for the next few years and meet the Antakarana people to whom God is calling us. Our boat was speeding over the ocean towards it: the unknown place…