“LORD, I cannot wait to enter Your Temple. I am so excited!”
The desire to be in God’s house that Psalm 84 expresses is deeply rooted in Gabrielah’s heart. He is a subsistence farmer from Mahazengy, a small village in Madagascar. His wrinkled face and short black hair with patches of grey render him the looks of an elderly man, but you would never guess he’s 95.
The only Evangelical church nearby is in Ampatolampy, a village seven miles from Gabrielah’s home. “I am excited to walk to church every morning,” he says. Admittedly, “walking” is a euphemism because Gabrielah has a physical challenge. He doesn’t seem to care, though. “I joyfully limp along the road with great expectations,” he smiles, seated on the floor, resting against the crudely hewn rocks of the church wall.
To Gabrielah, whose five children live far away, attending church was a remedy against loneliness. Little did he know that things would become even better when Project Philip started in his church. “I cannot read and write, but I wholeheartedly attended the Bible study program until the end,” he beams. On graduation day, Gabrielah received an Audio Bible. The venerable man’s eyes shine as he reaches for his pocket to take out the device. “I enjoy listening to the Audio Bible every day and even at night,” he expresses his gratitude.
Gabrielah promises he will not backslide but remain faithful. “The very thought of going to the house of the Lord brings me unspeakable joy,” he says. “I am so happy to be a part of this community of believers! I am always cheerful when I go to church, even if I have to walk.”
No doubt, the old man often searches for Psalm 84 on his Audio Bible. “One day in your Temple is better than a thousand days anywhere else. Serving as a guard at the gate of my God’s house is better than living in the homes of the wicked.”