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Fifa & Jessica Rakotovao Newsletter (Fall 2021)

Fifa & Jessica Rakotovao Newsletter (Fall 2021)

Boot Camp

Boot Camp was a memorable time! For those of you who don’t know, Boot Camp is a short time of 10-14 days where we train and teach young people from the ages of 13-19 God’s Word, training them to share their faith and teaching them skills such as carpentry, how to mic cement, how to apply cement to a wall, how to use a shovel, teamwork, and a lot lot more! Then after Boot Camp, they go to their field projects which are between 0-16 hours away to put into action everything they were taught at Boot Camp. After their project time, they all return to Teen Missions Mahajanga for Debrief where we teach them to share with every other team what they experienced and t how to share with their families and friends what they did and also, how to keep their spiritual walk with the Lord on the right path. 

We both were quite busy with teaching and taking pictures along with our other responsibilities. I taught English and Fifa taught Drama. Fifa was also in charge of the Obstacle Course and the work projects and I was in charge of taking pictures and videos. 

Fifa also led a team which was here at the base. The project was to start constructing the driveway into Teen Missions. They started by making the road as flat as they could and then they also fixed up the pathway for when it rains. In addition, the team worked on painting buildings and continuing construction on a new bathroom block. Fifa really loved to pour into their lives and disciple them. It was very difficult sometimes because there was a lot of stubborn kids, but we know the Lord worked in them. He and the other leaders were able to do Bible studies with the kids, both girls and boys together and separately. And they were able to help teach them to memorize God’s Word in the form of 40 verses. In two weeks time, most of the team members were able to memorize all of them and repeat them back to you! Wow! What a way to hide God’s Word in their hearts! We know God will use it in His time to help encourage them when they need it! 

I mostly stayed at home with my mother-in-law and Phoebe. They were able to come and visit the team each day. The most valuable time for the kids was getting Phoebe to talk and laugh. She smiles so quickly when she remembers somebody! She is so precious! She can say ‘neny’ which means mama. She realized that she wants to eat the same as we do. She’ll cry until we give her a spoon so she can ‘eat’ too. And when we prepare her a banana or the liquid from rice then she sits patiently watching us. She also loves to see us working on whatever we’re doing whether cooking or cleaning. She especially likes to see us wash laundry. 

Juline was on the other Teen Missions team. Their project was to paint the buildings of the public school they have here on the base. She loved every moment with her team and cherished learning God’s Word. Her favorite time was going out door-to-door and preaching the Gospel. 

What God has taught us

God has taught Jessica how to be a mother. I wasn’t accustomed to raising a baby before, so this is all very new to me and to Fifa too. I’m learning how much sacrifice is involved in raising up children for the Lord, how the parents need to change to set an example for the children, how if they want a child surrendered to Christ and obedient to Him then they need to do that first, how a mother comes last in everything, even if it means that she loses something in the process. She puts her husband, children and guests before herself. And that is really hard sometimes.

God taught Fifa a lot on the team. First patience because he was about to give up on the kids because they were so stubborn. But God told him to not give up on them, but to try his best to reach them. After trying and praying with them, we saw some changes in them. Also he was tested by having more responsibilities when the Coordinators were gone, and it was pretty difficult. It was hard to manage all of those things together, but God saw him through. 

After Boot Camp

There is a short lapse between the finish of Boot Camp and the start of the next semester for the Bible school students. During this time, Fifa and I were hard at work catching up on some missed reports, brainstorming ways to help the Sunday school ministry, and going out on the circuit to witness firsthand the impact of the circuit riders. The Sunday school ministry is a part of Teen Missions that supports the graduates and interns of the Bible school students to go out to reach villages for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Every week they go to 5-8 villages and hold a class to teach and encourage the kids and adults in the village. Fifa and I get to translate the stories from every Sunday school each month and send them back to the Florida Headquarters of Teen Missions International. When Fifa went out to the farthest circuit, about five hours away from the base, it was during the dry season. During the wet season, it is about eight hours away. The motorcycle broke down and he was stuck over there for three days. But it’s better than the two weeks  he was stuck over there in April. Anyways, we truly appreciate all of your prayers on our behalf. We are all safe and healthy.

Juline went home to be close to her family. She is now starting her new school year in the 5th grade. She was sad to leave us, but so much more excited to rejoin her friends and family back home. We are still supporting her and two other children in Vangaindrano to go to school. Hopefully, next year she can come back and visit us during her vacation time.

Testimony

Here is one such story from the 6th circuit:

This is a testimony of a church elder in the village Bongolava: My point of view of the circuit riders is that they are so helpful for us with preaching the Gospel. Since they came to our village, there are more young people attending church and more kids are hearing God’s Word regularly. The method of the circuit riders teaching is so new and refreshing for us and helps us to rejuvenate our thirst for the Lord. As they use different kinds of materials, it helps the people to understand Biblical concepts quickly. For many of the Christians who turned away from the church, or have become lazy to attend, they are starting to come again and get serious about their faith. After the circuit riders donated Bibles to those who had none, then the people became faithful to do God’s will. They have brought lots of change to our village. Many don’t go to the bar anymore and you don’t see as many people on the street anymore each Sunday, because they’re in church. We thank God for them.

Love in Christ,

Fifaliana and Jessica