On Thursday, Sue, with help from Matthew and Ann (the US lady mentioned in an earlier post), and with Zafy as interpreter and further helper, were working in the banner-making session, and Simon was laboring on the bookkeeping.
What were Todd and Patsy doing?
In the morning, Todd, accompanied by Venerable Theodore (the Archdeacon) and Ann’s husband Dick, visited a town about 10 miles from Toliara, where a new group of Christians has recently formed. As it’s well off the paved road, the trip took 45 minutes or more each way. No fewer than 140 people turned up to meet with them! When asked, the group dated their beginning back a mere few months, more specifically to 29 March 2014. Todd and the others talked and prayed with the group in the shade of a large tree and an improvised awning. They also viewed a piece of land which someone wishes to donate so that a church may be built. Todd plans to send a student catechist so that candidates can be prepared for baptism (sounds like learning on the job in size!), and maybe a priest can visit once a month. Basically, the diocese is growing faster than staff can be trained.
Patsy had arranged to spend the latter part of the morning with Lucia, the beautiful young Malagasy woman mentioned in our post about the English-language service at Ankilifaly last Saturday. Patsy had asked Lucia to bring some of her crafts for Patsy to buy. (They are very fine. We decided to buy them from Patsy to use as gifts.) Patsy paid Lucia an amount that should enable Lucia to pay rent and look after herself and her child for the next month. Patsy has enough funds to continue to buy some of Lucia’s crafts over a few months while she works to help Lucia develop various channels to try to sell her work on an ongoing basis.
Todd and Patsy did several other things in the day, but I want to share some reflections with you on the two activities I’ve just described. Both the seedling church and Patsy’s efforts to assist Lucia are in their infancy. For purposes of reflection, however, let’s assume that both succeed.
If you or I had helped to plant and establish a brand new church, or to enable a desperately-needy craftsperson establish a livelihood, I imagine we might someday look back on such achievements as among the highlights of our entire lives. Yet in Todd and Patsy’s ministry here, such achievements take place on a fairly frequent basis. And that, of course, is why Sue and I have delighted to be supporters of their ministry since we met them, and why we commend them to you.