Determined, passionate, and always up for adventure, Bishop Todd leads the Anglican Church in southern Madagascar. He’s a bit introverted and quiet at times, but get him talking about the work of the church (or world news) and he lights up and can talk for hours. The churches demand non-stop work from him, but I’m amazed how, even at the end of a long stressful day, he is always patient with the Malagasy people.
Patsy is the warm and extroverted wife of Todd. Whereas Todd is most energized by to prospect of planting churches in the villages around the south, Patsy is energized by specifically serving and loving the people around her. She is perceptive, and has much wisdom to share when I am confused or suffering from culture shock. She is sanity in this crazy place.
Victor is a missionary from Kenya, and leads a small church here in Toliara. He is a great friend, and very gifted with languages. Part of that is probably because he loves being with people and can completely lose track of time talking with a group of friends. He was with me constantly during our trip to Morondava, and I learned much from his joy in the midst of any circumstance.
Pronounced oolee, for several years Holy has been Bishop Todd’s sole administrative assistant: a secretary, interpreter, and accountant all rolled into one. Originally from the capital of Madagascar, she moved down here because the Bishop’s work can barely function without her. We share the upstairs guest apartment here at the church, and I almost never see her without work to do. Her English is very good, and without her I probably would have been lost the first couple weeks. We both share the fact that, though not specifically Anglican, we love serving the Bishop. Oh, and she was also a children’s leader with Bible Study Fellowship, just like my mom.
Houses here in Toliara are surrounded by walls and have a guard. Pierre is the guard here at the church and lives with his family in the apartment below me. At first, he also served as my guide around Toliara, escorting me from one government building to another as we worked on getting my visa. His English is so so, and most of our walking conversation consisted of him pointing to things and saying, “hazo” (tree), “lalana” (street), “ankizy” (child), etc.
Pierre’s wife, and a great cook, I eat all my meals with her and Pierre. She always has a huge smile, which gets even bigger the moment I say anything in Malagasy. “Ahhh, mahay betsaka Malagasy ianao!” (Ahhh, you speak Malagasy so well!) She has learned to make banana bread, which is the best!
Elizabeth is the english teacher, who runs the English learning lab downstairs every morning. She can understand English well, but has trouble speaking. I had a fun experience earlier this week teaching her how to send an email.
Pronounced Benza, and short for Benjamin, Benja is an Evangelist that helps lead a small church plant on the edge of town. He, his wife, and his two children share the apartment downstairs with Pierre’s family. He is twenty eight, and a couple weeks ago I helped him study English for his high school exams. He is always super happy, but sadly I understand little of what he says. He seems to talk at the speed of sound.
Lova is Janet’s niece, also living in the downstairs apartment. One of the shyest people I have met, I only catch glimpses of her before she literally goes and hides. Holy had to fetch her in order to take this picture.
Me (not pictured)
I’m very brazzled.