A new beginning…

Finding my feet in living for Jesus.

Posts Tagged ‘french’

How many languages?!

Posted by lauraoli on November 10, 2010

Going to Madagascar was terrifying for many reasons. The main one was the language barrier. I speak English, and not really anything else. As those of you who read my blog know, I went to Montpellier earlier this year to brush up on my French – the language of the more educated and of the missionaries out in Mandritsara. Once I arrived, I realised just how limited my French actually was, and how much Malagasy was spoken in and around the hospital.

As the weeks went on, my French improved quite dramatically – I managed to spend time with English speaking doctors in the hospital, but there was another girl there from Switzerland who didn’t speak English, so we had to talk to each other in French. This was great, she was very patient with me and I carried around a dictionary on my ipod, so we were able to communicate pretty well!

Also, once a week there were bible studies for the missionaries – again in French. We were working through 1 Samuel, and for the first couple of weeks I had absolutely no idea what was going on. By the end of my visit however, it was really noticeable how much more I could understand.

But the really big thing that struck me out there with all the different languages was that all these people had a relationship with the same God. He transcends all languages and all cultures, and this was something I’d never had an opportunity to realise firsthand before. During the bible studies, if we were asked to read a section of the passage, everyone did so in the language of their bible – English, Dutch, German, Malagasy and French were all used. Prayers were said in any of these languages too, so even though I didn’t understand some of what was going on, they were still talking to the same God that I talk to when I pray in English. That’s pretty cool!

On one Saturday, we were having a ‘jolly Samedi’ (food, worship, chat, games etc) and 2 ½ year old Keziah announced she wanted to sing ‘My God is so big, so strong and so mighty…’ So we did. In English, French and Malagasy!

My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that he cannot do! (x2) The rivers are his, the mountains are his, the stars are his handiwork too, My God is so big, so strong and so mighty there’s nothing that he cannot do!

Mon Dieu est si grand, si fort et si puissant, rien n’est impossible à mon Dieu! (x2) Les monts sont à lui, les lacs sont à lui, les cieux sont sa création. Mon Dieu est si grand, si fort et si puissant, rien n’est impossible à mon Dieu!

Andriamanitro, lehibe sy mahery, tsy misy tsy hainy atao! (x2) Ny ranomasina, ny tanety koa, ny lanitra azy avoko, Andriamanitro, lehibe sy mahery, tsy misy tsy hainy atao!

And just to finish – here’s a video I took at the children’s holiday bible club of the kids singing this song.


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God truly is omnipresent!

Posted by lauraoli on July 3, 2010


One (major) issue of going to Madagascar for my elective is that I need to be able to communicate in French. The last time I did any French was for my GCSE, 8 years ago (that makes me feel SO old!) and so I have been trying to brush up on my skills. For the past few weeks I have been listening to some ‘teach-yourself-French’ CDs that a friend from church lent me, but I knew I needed to do a lot more to be at a decent standard by August. So this last week I have spent the week in Montpellier, on the south coast of France at Accent Francais language school.

I was really nervous about going to Montpellier, not only because my French really isn’t so good, but because I was being hosted by a French family and I was worried about whether I would get on with them. I found the first couple of days incredibly lonely and baffling, was quite emotional and began to count down the days until I could leave.

It was on the second night when I was feeling very low, I got out my bible to read and had the realisation that however lonely I was, and even though I didn’t understand the language, God was with me. It was a truth that I had known, but the reality of it hit me in those solitary hours.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.                                                                                                                                                                   Deuteronomy 31:8

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.                                                                                                                                 Joshua 1:9

These verses and the truth that they hold will be very comforting in Madagascar I expect!

The rest of the week went really well, I made friends with some of the other students,  began to understand a lot more of what my host said to me, and was actually quite sad to leave today! God definitely gave me the strength to get through the week.

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