Sunday Worship

I left about 7 AM this morning to go to church. Jeremy guided me on the bus, we had no exchanges on the way, but still took about an hour to travel. We got to church and Pastor David Rakotonirina wasn't there yet so we sat outside in the occasional misty rain, greeted people and just enjoyed the outdoors. The catechist came and greeted us, insisted that I was a missionary. OK I won't argue long!

Then they got a phone call that Pastor was sick and wouldn't be there, so they came and asked me to lead the service. Ay yay yay. When there is a need, a pastor has to step up and care for the sheep, so I said I would. They found a gown that fit (no paraments, but thats not always available in Madagascar anyway). They have deacons who wear a white robe as they assist in the service, pretty much like ushers for the most part. So I read the service, leading the worship. I read in Malagasy, pretty well, except for the parts that are supposed to be sung. There they have SO-FA (you know of that from the movie). The problem is that the words are broken into syllables for singing, but that way I can't recognize the words. The Words of Institution I said in English and the dismissal of the people also. I distributed both bread and wine separates to 5 or 6 tables. The people said they were very happy to have me there and to assit them. I was told that they are part of a circuit rider system of 4 or 5 churchs. In addition, I was told of areas in Madagascar where there are 15 church circuit riders. There is a great need for more pastoral training.

Then there was a doctor who had come up to Antananarivo for another reason, had never heard of me. But he came to church, helped translate some for me. And then we talked. He is from Edjeda, a sister hospital to the one my father founded in Manambaro in the south (Manambaro is in the east, Edjeda serves the west). I had been wondering how to visit them, so here the Lord has provided a time and place for us to meet. Certainly neither of us expected this in the morning.

You see how God keeps watching over us, and how letting Him guide everything works out far better than we could plan.