First one back!
10 days after landing in Tana, 6 after my taxibrousse rolled into Mandritsara I was back where I belonged: room 4 of externes (outpatients) with my translator Madame Pirette raring to go and a fistful of carnets* waiting for me...
(* = small notebooks which patients bring to the hospital and we document/prescribe in)
The morning passed in a blur of rheumatic fever, fulminant TB and sniffling children, until, heart-sink, my first STD of the week walked in. Young chap, wife and 2 other girlfriends, purulent discharge, painful urination- pretty classic. HIV and syphilis tests were thankfully negative but then we come to the bit which is so difficult but so important: trying to paint a better vision for these young guys- to point them to Jesus and their need for forgiveness not just for these sins but all of them. To show them that the Biblical vision of sex within marriage alone isn't just repressed, prudish, anti-sex legalism, but a glorious part of God's grand design for them, their bodies and their wives and the way they were made to be and to live. It's complex stuff and almost impossible to express with my kindergarten level of Malagasy.
So Madame Pirette stepped in! Whilst I was still trying to assemble my thoughts in French to ask her to translate, she had understood my intentions and went for it: there followed a 4 or 5 minute conversation, little of which I followed, but which ended with him agreeing to read the tract we'd given him, and he seemed ready to think about this all seriously.
Only He and God can know whether he did indeed do either of those, but some seed was definitely sown, and I think most encouragingly/humbling, not by me!
All credit under God goes to Madame Pirette for that and a more timely reminder that we really are a team and it's not only those of us from Europe who are missionaries here, I can scarcely imagine.