Our day began later today and yet we were all still up early with the wildlife outside and the early sunrise. Today was cloudy, colder, and drizzly. It was actually long sleeve weather. Domoina's brother, our chef, and the other assistants had our morning ready with French pastries and eggs. We completed our morning devotions and then headed north for about an hour drive toward Tana. We arrived at a large Malagasy Lutheran Church in the town of Ilempona.
The drive today offered majestic views again of the rice fields and agricultural land. The fields were full of workers today harvesting crops, tilling the land by hand, and caring for their land. We drove through the area today where all of the apples are harvested, and the people were walking out onto the main road with full baskets of apples on their heads.
This particular church is large with beautiful stained glass windows, a tiled aisle, and decorative altar with wood carvings on each side. The pulpit was in the shape of a chalice and is high up in the air, about 15 stairs up, so that the pastor can reach the large congregation. Upon our arrival, the pastor began a brief church service of hymns and provided a brief homily to those waiting in the pews. He provided an analogy that us as foreigners are fatter and the Malagasy are skinnier because they have worms but that God will provide care. The pastor had a second analogy that some are physically sick but we are all sick with sin and have Jesus as our healer. One observation our team made this week is that faith is abundant here. We noticed people walking into the church and praying before receiving care.