Sunday, October 20, 2013
We had spent our first week in Antsaribe researching the differences in Malagasy culture. I was intrigued by the similarities. To my surprise what people do in Madagascar (eat, sleep, go to the bathroom) is very similar to what people do in the States. How they do it is very different, but those thoughts are for another day.
Monday we were tourists. We traveled around town with our translator asking the people of Antsaribe tourist type questions (“What is that building?” and “Where can I buy bread?”). On Tuesday we asked church related questions (“Where do you go to church?” and “Where do you pray?”). Wednesday we asked questions from a missionaries’ point of view (“What is a missionary?” and “What should a missionary be doing in Madagascar?”). On Thursday we asked various medical questions (“How often do you go to a doctor?” and “What other options do you have when you're sick?”). But on Friday we were tasked with asking the most important question of all...“Do you know Jesus?”.
Several encounters throughout the week led us to believe that many knew of Jesus, but very few knew Jesus.
I talked to Erin that morning about the question of purpose. I was not questioning our purpose, but rather wondering what the Malagasy people would say to the question, “Why are we here on earth?”. I wondered if the question of purpose would effectively lead us to the “bigger” question.
Soon I would find out!
We turned down a main street near the center of town and there - among the countless street merchants, tourists, beggars and children - was a young man sitting alone in the median of the street. We introduced ourselves and then without hesitation I asked him...“Why are you here?” - “What is your purpose on this earth?” (Rather bold, I thought.)
His answer amazed me. He said he had been sitting there questioning that very thing! He had recently graduated and did not know what to do next. He did not have a purpose and was questioning his direction in life.
We shared with him God’s answer to his life questions and further explained how God's Word gives the answers. His religious background kept him blinded to the truth, but eventually he understood the freeing message of God's amazing gospel. Without prompting he prayed one of the most doctrinally sound prayers that I’ve ever heard from a new believer.
After he prayed to receive Christ I explained to him that he now had a life purpose. Out of a love for what Christ had done for him on the cross he could now spend his life sharing this Good News (gospel) with everyone he meets. I asked him if there was anyone he knew who did not know the gospel. Before he could answer we noticed a young man sitting near our group who had been eavesdropping on our conversation. I asked him if he thought the young man knew the gospel. His response - “Do you think I should tell him?”. I said, “Go ahead!”. And he did!
Immediate reproduction...how awesome is that!
Pray for this man as he begins to walk with Christ. We will prayerfully be able to walk beside him over the next few months as we live in Antsirabe.