It is not very often that we get asked that question here in Madagascar! The assumption is that if you are a foreigner you are fluent in French and when you aren't, people often think you are joking. If then you actually speak Malagasy, the people are shocked! The English speaking population here is minimal at best, so imagine our surprise to discover an ESL class being held near our house! Our friends and co-workers, the Hailes family (their blog is on the list to the right), found out about the class first and began to tell us about it. Immediately, I knew it was something I wanted to learn more about. The class meets nightly (due to school being in session during the day), and there are about 150 or so students. The students range in age from about 17-28. There are two levels of classes and the second level is very proficient in English (writing, reading, & speaking).
I went for the 1st time last week with Tessa (also a friend and co-worker - whose blog is also there on the right!) and we were shocked at the number of students and how well they spoke English. Several, when we first arrived, excitedly asked "You speak English?!?". It was slightly comical because we are never asked about the English language here! It was a fun night of getting to know one another, explaining why we lived in Madagascar, and answering questions that they had about the Bible, Jesus, and temptations.
This past Thursday night, I was eager to take mom with me because I knew she'd enjoy being able to communicate in her heart language with Malagasy people! Mr. Harrison (a Malagasy man who is the lead teacher for the class), greeted us and set us up with the 2nd level class.
We had about 50 students and enjoyed our time with them very much. It's been amazing to me the questions that they ask. Their comprehension level is astounding and they desire to know all they can about the Bible, a relationship with Jesus, and how to live to please Him here on this earth. These students have been beyond encouraging to me for the past two weeks. It's fun to be able to share His truths in my heart langauge even while in Madagascar!
We have explained to these students about Christians in the United States who are praying on their behalf. We have told them that if they are already believers that you are praying for them to grow deeper in their walk with Christ and that if they are not that you are praying for their understanding and acceptance of how to be a child of the One True God. Please also pray for this ministry outlet, that relationships will be built, and His truth would be proclaimed. Also, I'd ask that you pray that as we share in English (our heart language) that it would be a reminder of how important it is to continue to learn the Mahafaly's heart language and dialect.