Last week we traveled to Tana to prepare and start some mission mobilization meetings. We also had the opportunity to attend a large missionary gathering with over 300 people.
The missionary gathering was located around an hour or so outside of Tana, in the countryside. I was happy to get back to this place, since it had been years since I had visited my friends Faly and Clara and their center. It was great to be back and see the amazing changes there and how their ministry is growing.
During the gathering as well, I was able to see friends that I hadn’t see in years. Some of them were surprised to see me there, they didn’t expect me to be there, so it was good surprise. Some of use were able to take time and catch up on each other’s lives and what God is doing.
Besides taking photos at the mission mobilization meetings, I also was able to take photos at the missionary gathering. There were other photographers there as well. When I wasn’t taking photos inside the church for the gathering, I went outside and talked to the kids and took their photos. Once I started taking their photos, it was hard to get away and continue taking photos inside the church.
Some of the kids were from that village we were in, others came just for that day. The kids were shy at first, but once I started talking Malagasy to them, and started taking photos (and showing them their photos), they opened up and kept wanting me to take pictures.
For the worship time at the missionary gathering, we had the privilege to have the Tana Gospel Choir (TGC) to lead the time. They did an awesome job. They are total of around 50 people in the choir; some singing, some playing instruments, some doing the sound system. They were in Tamatave a few weeks ago and I had the opportunity to hear them sing for the first time. They really have an amazing gift. My favorite is when the trumpet and saxaphone play…
While I was there, as I stood in the doorway of the church, I look down at a couple of the boys from the village. They were also standing there in the doorway. As I looked, I noticed their shoes, and on the back they said TOMS. I was so excited, they were wearing TOMS shoes!!! Later when they were outside, I asked one of the boys where they got their shoes. He told me he got them at school. And than I asked if it was okay to take a photo of them. I forgot to later ask him or even my friends there, if a team had come to pass out the shoes or who gave them to the kids. I’m glad that these kids had a pair of shoes to wear, to protect their feet!
One of my friends, Celestine, that I saw, I used to work with years ago in Tana. She has a ministry of children and family in Tana, where all of her family members live. She has ministry for all of her brothers and sisters and their families. I have met a lot of them in the years past, and I was able to see some of them again this past week. I was happy to see some of the kids, that were little when I saw them last, are all grown up. They were so excited and happy to see me there, a couple of them ran right up to me and gave me a big hug.
Even though it was cold in Tana, it was still a great week. And it’s good to be back here in Tamatave, to continue the mission mobilization meetings this week.