Short-term service 2011—Report by Barbara
Provisional translation by the webmaster:
My summer outreach 2011 in Madagascar started with a dream I had about two years ago, Jesus met me, He called me with a gentle voice by my name: “Barbara”, and led me behind a curtain, where He gave me summer dresses and a straw hat. He said to me: “Everything you will need, I will give you!”
Of this dream I was reminded by the Holy Spirit, as I deliberated in January this year, where I should go in the summer of 2011. So I knew that it would go to a hot country and that I would not go there on holiday but in the service of Jesus.
So I began to search for the “where”, the Holy Spirit led me eventually to Madagascar, where I was then for seven weeks. I had several training sessions, both in a restaurant in the town of Port-Bergé and at a “primary school” and at a “secondary school” in Ambohitsara midway through the bush in the northwest of Madagascar.
I had no idea what would await me there, but I knew that Jesus will be with me, that He would equip me with all I would need, that I will stand under His grace and under His protection. So I flew to Madagascar on 19 July 2011 and was very relaxed.
From the beginning to the end of my outreach I could experience God’s guidance, He gave me wisdom and the necessary know-how for the sundry training sessions. I also had from first to last day absolutely no health problems.
The people there are extremely friendly, benevolent and hospitable. I was able to encourage them and give them valuable tips and pass on new ideas. I could bring out much of themselves, so that their self-confidence could increase.
I also was able to pass on God’s word in the local congregations and pray for many people. Anyone for whom I prayed for healing was healed in Jesus’ name. So for example, the village elder received his sight again (he was able again to see his oxen, after he was nearly blind), a woman was freed from her one-year headache, as well as from her stomach disorder and her permanent backache, a child was healed of malaria, a young woman teacher who was bitten by a scorpion, had no discomfort anymore after one day, a 5-year-old boy got free from high fever, …, the list would continue much longer.
The young teachers in the bush go strengthened and motivated into the new school year. I was shocked at how these teachers have to teach. Besides classrooms, a blackboard and their own school books, they have absolutely nothing—no materials for the lessons, no illustrative material, simply nothing. Shocking! And yet about 280 students are taught every day and they are making good progress!
What’s more, the people in the bush live in extreme simplicity: without electricity, without possibilities to communicate to the outside world, no water on the spot (must daily be brought by ox carts—about 20 minutes single travel time!), no stove (cooked is on the soil on small charcoal stoves), only one room for each family, accessible only on foot or by ox carts (30 km away from the nearest city, i.e. about 8 hours to walk or “drive”), no medical care, no “shop” , not even a market …, but the people seem to cope well with this.
For me, this life situation was not really a challenge because I am used to adjust to the respective situation. The only challenge were the nightly visits of the rats, which, as soon as it was dark in my room, ran to and fro on the roof beams, threw dirt down, piped, gnawed and in part were quite noisy. But pretty soon I got used to the visitors and after a few nights I did not found them so bad anymore, since I was protected under my mosquito net and they did not visit me in my bed!
It is dear to my heart to visit these valuable people again and to serve them, once the Lord Jesus will unlock finances and time.