Tag Archives: Madagascar

Jocelyn R. Plett: From Here to Far Away

by Jocelyn R. Plett

Less than a week remains (as of May 7) until we embark on our last journey off this great island (Madagascar). The emotions and stress of saying goodbye to friends, places, things, and experiences we most likely will never see again is overwhelming. The whole experience brings death to my mind more often than not.

As we mourn this life we’ve known for so many years, as we enjoy every “last” as fully as we are able, I ponder the bittersweet fact that life in Madagascar will go on after we leave, just as it has for centuries. Our friends will continue on with life without us, our staff will move on to new jobs with new employers. We will be remembered, surely, especially—I hope—by the things we have invested in.

But it is a harsh and glorious truth that it has not been us who has provided blessings to those around us so much as the Almighty God, who used us to bless them. I need not fear for them. The Lord remains here to continue to bless and provide for those who remain in this place.

Just as He is already in the new life awaiting us in the country we will move to. Preparing a place for us with good purpose and as great provision as He has given us in this life. Greater, even.

Beth Moore, in a Bible study video I watched long ago, spoke on the passing from this life to life after death. As she walked across the stage, she shed a big overcoat, exemplifying the act of shedding our physical body, yet continuing on with a new body. The old life, the overcoat, was left on an untidy heap in the middle of the stage while she continued her trajectory.

It was a vivid visual aid of the truth that life does not stop when we move from one life to another. Transitioning is understandably filled with turmoil. Our emotions and our bodies roil with love, sadness, stress, pain, perhaps, and fear of the unknown. It seems to me that human nature invariably clings to what we know and are comfortable with, even if the unknown is foretold to be infinitely better.

jrplett
Jocelyn R. Plett

In these days of our own trans-continental transition I cling to the hope that the same God who has provided for us, loved us, blessed us, comforted us in this life, is there not only on “the other side,” but will hold us in His hand as we make that step over the threshold. I choose to believe that the life waiting for us has even greater joys and gifts than this one has—and we have had many!

In our time of turmoil I must make the daily and conscious decision to trust that God is with us and that life on the other side of the ocean will be as blessed as this one has been. To the praise of His glorious grace.

Jocelyn R. Plett: Incomprehensible

by Jocelyn R. Plett

Praising God in a language I don’t understand helps me remember that God is infinitely bigger than the breath of my vocabulary and scope of comprehension. There is something mysterious and utterly marvellous in understanding the essence of what is being said—apart from the meaning.

When I stand in worship with the Malagasy believers, singing in their own language, the words and syllables trip up my tongue, so I just close my eyes and listen with my heart. I hear the love they sing to our Father.

I sense the submission and the expectation they have for Him to stir up the Spirit within their midst to change and guide them. I perceive the belief that He will provide for them even as He has done just recently with the new land that has been provided at just the right time for His church in Antananarivo.

I used to join the church in Liepaja, Latvia, on weekends to escape the confines of dormitory life in Lithuania. Sitting in the back of the draughty church building, the soothing sounds of Latvian praise and worship settling over me, I would ask with the utter conviction that it could happen for God to bestow upon me the gift of tongues—specifically those of Latvian, Lithuanian, and Russian.

Now I pray for the gift of French fluency and Malagasy comprehension. Yet even as I struggle to learn and absorb the vocabulary of these languages I marvel at how vast God is that He would create so many divergent people with multitudinous ways of perceiving and articulating the world around them.

I have grown to appreciate, even require, these friends of diverse cultures to show me more of who Jesus is, because I cannot comprehend the immensity of God with my own limited understanding. To quote Timothy Keller:

C.S. Lewis argues that it takes a community of people to get to know an individual person. Reflecting on his own friendships, he observed that some aspects of one of his friend’s personality were brought out only through interaction with a second friend. That meant if he lost the second friend, he lost the part of his first friend that was otherwise invisible. “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets.” If it takes a community to know an ordinary human being, how much more necessary would it be to get to know Jesus alongside others? By praying [and worshiping] with friends, you will be able to hear and see facets of Jesus that you have not yet perceived (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God, Tim Keller, Dutton, 2014, 119).

jrplett
Jocelyn R. Plett

We are the church within our local communities, joined to the global church. She is a deep pool of wisdom and understanding of our Lord and Saviour revealed by the Lord Himself to his Bride of many cultures. She is so beautiful. He is making her beautiful for Himself, and it is glorious in my eyes.