“We are going to go on a hike to the top of the hill tomorrow.” said Pastor Kirsten on Saturday night. The plan was to go to church and then bus out of town a bit for a picnic lunch at the top of the hill by the Mary statue. I was super excited. All my life I have been an outdoorsy girl and getting out of the hustle and bustle of the city made my heart leap for joy.
Sunday morning came with cool weather. It gets down into the low 50s at night and this morning I was greeted with a nice breeze and a clear blue sky. A perfect day for a walk to church and then a hike. Church is always going to be an adventure for vazaha (foreigners). I don’t know about you, but I am used to 1 hour services where I can understand 100% of everything that is going on. That is the complete opposite here, at least for now. Each of us have our own hymnal, bible, communion cup, and order of service in Malagasy and English. Last Sunday I was just trying to get my feet under me so this week, after a week of language learning, I was able to follow the service easier.
If you would ask me what the sermon was about, or what the songs we sang were, I wouldn’t be able to tell you at all. But, the reading were all posted so while they were being read in Malagasy, I had my bible open to the English. Then when my mind started to flit to thousands of other things during the 3.5 hour service, I would open my bible again and reread the scripture. It helped focus me and bring me back to the reason I was there, to worship.
“Mora mora.” Is a phrase that is used all the time here. It means slowly slowly. It is a reminder to be patient. The walk back from church was intentionally slow. I found that I enjoyed the pace. It was able to greet people on the street and look at everything that was being sold. If I would have been walking quickly (like I typically do) I would have missed out on the beauty that was hiding.
Beauty is everywhere. Today I saw this beauty from a hilltop. A quick bus ride took us to the edge of town where we all got out and started to walk, slowly. Soon I was breathing deeply with each step. Up we went. 12 women on a mission up a mountain to see the view. Nothing was going to stop us. At every bend we would stop and look out at the town of Antsirabe. All the noise was below us. Now all I heard was the wind through the trees, the occasional laugh from our group and my breath….in and out, in and out.
I wish I could have had every one of you on this walk with me. Sometimes a hike is just what my soul needs. Today it was! I felt like one with the earth, sky and wind. I kept having to say to myself over and over “You are in Madagascar. You followed your dream of getting back to Africa. You are here!”
So, slowly I walk on. Despite my fears and questions, I walk on. Sometimes our feet my fail us, and we may fall, but we get back up and move on. I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that I am not alone on this journey. God is by my side. When my feet are tired and dirty, I know that God is there help me rest, and there are friends there to help me wash my feet clean. This isn’t a journey I am to do alone. I thankfully have wonderful people near and far supporting me as I move forward. Mora mora!