Where Would You Like To Go?

May 28, 2014

A Gem

It's 2012 and we have recently moved to the town of Tulear.  The stench of the town meets you like an invisible wall as you enter it's limits.  It seems almost comical that it is indeed a "beach town" because it looks nothing like what you'd imagine one should look like.  Tulear is poverty stricken and seemingly always busy yet everyone seems to be just sitting around.

After a few months, I realize one of my favorite places is the craft market by the ocean.  The curios (souviners) for sale are fun to browse through and the ladies that work there make it fun to practice language.  By October of that year, it became a place that I frequented weekly.  I would pousse over to the market, and gracefully uneventfully step stumble out of the pousse.  Using lots of hand guestures and broken Malagasy, I'd make sure the driver would wait for me.  As I'm carefully walking  over the pot holes and pieces of trash, I laugh to myself because I realize the driver isn't going to leave me stranded because I haven't paid him yet.  I smile and say "Salama" to the ladies selling bonbon (candy) at the onset of the market and duck my head under the lambas (wraps) for sale that are flying in the wind.
I nod & smile to the ladies who are always there, as I peer through the necklaces and souviners that hang along the pathway. Luxia leans back from her perch on a tiny stool and waves at me down the dirt path.  The way she always knows exactly when to lean back and wave at me, reminds me that my Malagasy must still be very foriegn sounding...Luxia knows as soon as she hears it that it's me.  I've never been to visit her when she doesn't have a smile on her face and makes me feel welcome.  She stands up to greet me and kisses me on each cheek...something I doubt I'll ever be accustomed to.  She graciously offers me the tiny wooden bench that looks like it may snap under my weight and I tell her that I don't mind just sitting on the floor.
The curios that she sells in her shop seem to be the same ones that are always there, and I wonder again how this shop supports her whole family. Yet, I notice that she already has lunch cooking in her black pot to the side of her booth.  I make a mental note to be sure and leave before lunch time because otherwise she will offer me some of whatever little they have.  After checking in with one another, and her asking where Ryleigh is (which she always does even though she knows what the answer will be), she walks and gets her Bible out of a colorful basket.
Luxia grew up in a Catholic church and knows a good deal about the Bible but rarely read it for herself because she was taught to simply listen to the priest and believe what he said.  Watching her now, open up His word for herself is such a joy.  She is literate and has throughly enjoyed reading the Malagasy Bible for herself.  We've worked our way through the plan of salvation and a track in the national language.  She has learned that the answers to each question are not found through me or a priest but through God's word.
Fast forward to 2014 and Luxia is working on memorizing the ST4T set via an AudiBible that is in her dialect.  She is meeting with a coworker and sharing these stories as well as telling them to her girls every night.  Luxia is a gem - truly, she makes my life sparkle after time spent with her.  Her patience is astounding as she listens & helps me with my dialect and always encourages me to pray in Malagsy no matter how hard it may be for her to understand.  I am grateful that the Lord chose for our paths to cross.  She has reminded me to always pay attention to who the Lord brings in my life from day to day.  Some of the greatest relationships for His kingdom may begin in a place that you never expected.

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