“That was the funniest set of pictures I have ever seen!” James tried to calm his laughter.
“Gee, Buckley, you looked great with mud covering your face, string tied around your boots and your backpack balancing on your head as you were trudging through the stream!” Tim Wilson called out to Buckley.
"Well, as you know, Tim, I had a very good reason for being that way!" Again there was a burst of laughter among the group.
The Kylers, Pennings and Wilsons were seated around one of many circular tables, desserts dishes cleared of any evidence of cake. The tables were decorated rustically and adorned with colors matching the different teams. Soft music was again heard as the laughter subsided.
“I can’t believe that we will now be on our way to Madagascar!” Mitchell commented with wonder. How he had managed to live through the week, he still didn’t know. He did know that he was relying on God to be his main strength.
“I know it,” William nodded, his fingers playing with his napkin. “I’m excited to see what God has in store now!”
“Amen to that!" Buckley smiled proudly at his son.
"So, I'm curious to see what you all or y'all as Buckley says, learned this week. Would anyone like to start?" James put his elbows on the table and folded this hands together.
After some silence, William started. "I think what I have learned this week was something that God has been trying to teach for awhile, I just didn't know it until this week." He cleared his throat, then continued.
"When I was younger I enjoyed working by myself and getting things accomplished on my own. I didn't like trying to work together with my siblings to accomplish a task. If my parents wanted a certain task down, then I would much rather do it by myself then with all of them. One time Dad asked me if I would like to clean out this one shed we have. It would be quite the task and Dad suggested that I take Jack and my sister, Shannon, to go tackle the project. I replied that I was quite capable of doing it myself and set off to to accomplish it. Little did I know that it would take me several days to completely clean out the shed. This week I have learned the joy and unity that comes through working together to accomplish a mission. God has taught me to be more humble and willing to work with others."
James nodded his up and down thoughtfully. "Praise the Lord for that! I remember having to learn a lesson like that before. Well, does anyone else want to share something?"
Ben, sitting quietly and doing his best to be patient while some other men and boys shared testimonies from the week, decided to look around. His quick eyes suddenly stopped on the figures of Mr. and Mrs. Cades. They were in a corner talking quietly to each other and Mr. Cades kept motion his hands toward their table. Ben frowned and wondered what they were up to. They both then turned to look toward their table and immediately both stopped talking when they noticed Ben watching them. Quickly, the couple exited the room. Shaking his head, Ben was confused at what he saw. I'll have to tell Dad about that. That couple sure is up to something suspicious.
Later that evening back in their room, Ben remembered to tell his Dad what he saw.
James frowned. "Well, son I don't know what they were up to, but we need to remember to love them as Christ loves us. We can also keep a look out for any other suspicious activity."
"But think about it Dad, could they somehow be the ones behind the threats? I mean who else would have access to our personal emails?" Mitchell suggested.
"I suppose it's possible.."
"And what about what Mitchell and I saw? I haven't noticed any strangers around here at all. The only ones besides us is the staff workers," Josiah added.
"Okay guys, maybe we should spend some time praying and asking God to protect us and to show us who is behind all this. We can also pray for the people that are behind this. Perhaps their not saved." And with that they went to their knees, petitioning their Heavenly Father.
The next morning each unit packed up and headed to the airport. This time they would be leaving through the international side, so passports were close at hand. Several hours later the large group arrived in Mahajanga, Madagascar, the regional capital of Madagascar.
"Flight 202 no vonona ho entana pickup. Flight 202 luggage is now ready for pickup."
"That's us," Mr. Bates called out.
"Oh great there's mine," Josiah reached out and grabbed his suitcase.
"Mitchell, I think those ones right there are ours as well," James pointed out.
"Ah... yes they are." Philip and Mitchel quickly grabbed the suitcases.
Soon the luggage conveyor belt was empty.
"Uh, Dad, I'm missing my dufflebag that has my laptop in it," Mitchell approached his Dad, concern etched his voice.
"That's strange because the Wilson's are missing two important bags as well," James shook his head. What else can go wrong?
"Dad! Dad!" Alec came rushing up.
"What is it Alec?"
"I went to the bathroom with Josiah and I had my passport with me, but now it's gone! Josiah and I searched the bathroom high and low. Then I remembered that come out of the bathroom I was bumped into by someone. That's when I noticed it was gone!"
James took a deep breath. God, what now?