Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Extreme

It seems that we have come the end of another month and as we look back it doesn't seem like we did a lot even though we have been under a lot of stress.  And then, we begin to look back over it all and realize that the Lord allowed us to accomplish more than we often felt like we could handle.  So, we gladly say to you all "The Lord is good all the time".  We know that there are many of us feeling uncertain about what the future holds.  We would like to just say that even if the worsts scenarios take place God is still good.  Therefore, don't worry about tomorrow but let us all strive to live a life that displays the Lord's goodness in all that we do.  We are living as Toby Mac says in "Extreme Days".



You may be asking yourselves what have you guys done that is so extreme?  Honestly, we don't feel like we are very extreme at all.  What we will say is that our God's love and care for his people has allowed us to accomplish extreme things for His glory and honor.  We started out January slow.  We were just chasing around different people getting ready for a large food distribution.  Nothing out of the ordinary until Adam's trip to the US came.  From that point until now it has been a marathon and we are still running.  Yes, Adam was in the US for a meeting.  He wishes he could've seen more of you.  The meeting went well and Suzie and the kids did okay while he was away.  Suzie was put in charge of helping finalize some beans and salt and some other little items needed for the food distribution.  On top of her normal everyday duties of teaching Baylee and chasing after River.



Upon Adam's arrival, back to Fort Dauphin we began to finalize everything for the first part of our food distribution for over 2,000 people in Androy land.  We provided food for each of them for 60 days.  We would like to say that this is a difficult task no matter where you do it.  Doing it in Africa adds to the level of difficulty.  We had many moving pieces and not being able to get out to areas post-back surgery for Adam added a little more stress with the preparation.  Despite set-backs and horrific road conditions we distributed the food to all the locations and everyone on our list received the aide they were needing.  We are so thankful for our national partners who spent countless hours making sure this went well.  It is a miracle it all went as smooth as it went.  We heard from someone working with another organization that once they pulled up the people mobbed their truck and they have no idea who received the food.  We can thankfully say that we know those who needed it most received help.



This made all the phone calls, hundreds of trips in and out of town, pre-planning hours and discussions worthwhile.  The Lord proved Himself faithful to answer all of our prayers.  We have heard positive reports about how it all went and that there are already new villages asking for our believers to come in and share with them the hope that they have in Christ Jesus.  We still have another area to distribute food to but it is on a much smaller scale then the Androy distribution.  Please pray for it to go well.  We also will begin to have community development discussions that will hopefully come up with projects that will help the Malagasy people come up with long-term solutions to their problems.  We just don't want to give and feel happy but we want to see them become Extreme in all they do.



So, to close this update we would like to say that not only are we seeing the Lord meet physical needs through the seed distribution, food distribution, and rains but he has also meeting the spiritual needs of the people.  Over the past two months we have not seen 90 people follow the Lord in obedience through baptism.  Furthermore, we are seeing evidence life change that is impacting not just households but entire communities.  Please pray for the Lord to continue to work in such extreme ways in the South of Madagascar.


Praises:
Adam had a safe trip and Suzie and the kids did well
Despite some little illnesses here and there we have been relatively healthy
The food distribution was complete
90 people were baptized in Androy land

Prayer Request:
Upcoming trips
Church plants and preaching points to be encouraged and to stay grounded on the Word of God
Financial needs
Diana, Alex and Rachel
The work being done among the Mahafaly, Masikoro, Bara, and Vezo
More IMB workers to join us in the Lord's work here.

 Checks and balances

 Fenomila from Andovoke (31 new believers in this village)

 Hard work

 Somebody is old?

 That's a road not a river bed

 Tranoroa.  One of the hardest hit places with the famine

 Dalaza in Evazy

 Pastor Mihasoa in Bevitike

Adam got to hang with his parents in New Orleans while at his meeting


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Even to Odd but Same Job

As we start up a New Year we have found ourselves looking ahead while at the same time looking back.  This has been healthy, encouraging and discouraging, challenging, and full of hope for us.  We have been amazed at how the Lord has done so many amazing things among the people groups here in the South of Madagascar.  In particular how He has allowed us to be a part of His work among the Tandroy and Tanosy peoples.  As we see His hand at work we continuously find ourselves being humbled as we are so unworthy of the many blessings that He has poured out on us.  Not just with some of the fruits of ministry but with the love given, kindness shown and prayers prayed on our behalf.  We are most definitely unworthy of it all.  So as we close out this even year of 2016 and enter into an odd year of 2017 we say to you all that our job hasn't changed.  Our desire is to make much of Jesus Christ the King of Kings and to see His Kingdom come.  So as we push forward we turn our eyes, thoughts, dreams and needs upon Him who can do more than we ever thought or imagined.  To Him be the Glory and Honor!

What Happened in 2016:

The number of leaders in Androy and Tanosy Regions increased.  We now have 90+ leaders living out their faith.
The number of churches has increased.  We now have 14 churches meeting in the Androy and Tanosy Regions.
The number of believers involved in Bible Study has increased by over 300 in both regions.
We have provided aide through school supplies, Bibles, food and training for over 1300 people in both regions.
We had leaders disappoint us and fall into temptation
We had major health issues arise and questioned if we could complete the year
We have spent too much time worrying about how the future will work. (Money, college for kids, job security, cars for kiddos as they go off to college, the work here in general, health)
We saw the team in Fort Dauphin deplete to only our family left do to different reasons
We have felt overwhelmed and incapable of doing the job alone without any other IMB units with us
Had wonderful Hands On students come and serve alongside us.
We were able to visit family and friends in the US thanks to a training that was not on the calendar at the beginning of the year.
God provided GCC Teammates
God has been good!

How can you pray for 2017:

Leaders to stay founded on the Word of God.
New leaders to rise-up
Churches to plant other churches
Finances for it all
Our health to get better and for continued health
Phoebe as she graduates High School and begins life at TAMU
Emma to finish her Junior year well
Baylee to find new friends here in Fort Dauphin
River to continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom of God
For our GCC teammates the Karyuki's and Diana
SoMad team members to live out justice, love compassion and to follow God with humble hearts
New Team members to come from within the IMB

Thanks for everything!

 Phoebe and Emma back to RVA and Baylee got to go to Camp

 Were privileged to serve alongside these two young ladies

 Made special memories while we were all together


 Enjoyed a hot Christmas

 Trained leaders and got updates on the work in Androy and Tanosy lands

 River is 3!!!



 We fed our national partners American food.  It's an acquired taste for them



Helped and attended the wedding at our local church

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Leading from the Outside in an Inside Community


This past month has been one of many trainings.  We started off the month by doing trainings with our national partners and continued with some language training, and finished with a time of learning how to better work within our master strategy plans, while packing in time for Suzie to have surgery on her leg.  This has been a busy month and it has entailed a lot of traveling.  Praise the Lord we made all our flights and we have stayed relatively healthy through it all.

As we have participated and led out in these trainings we have realized that we still have a lot of work in becoming native with our people.  We love the Malagasy people, we attempt to live life in a way that shows honor to their culture (food, lifestyle, business practices, greetings, etc…), work hand in hand with them and speak their language. However, we have also realized that it might be that we will always be outsiders in an insider community.

What does this mean?  It means that in most the places where we have invested ourselves the people live in community.  They make decisions together, they farm together, they eat together, they plan life together etc...  That doesn’t mean there aren’t individualities in the people it just means that when the big picture is given there is a togetherness in how they live out their lives.  Our desire is to one day be an insider with them.  We know that they love us and respect us and we all have a desire to see the Kingdom of God come.

This is the key to how we can be effective in our ministry.  We take the One thing that matters most and set Him as the vision for us all to follow.  Therefore, we ourselves aren’t the ones leading.  We just follow and obey the one who has all power and authority.  We follow Christ and trust that He will be the uniting factor for the work that He has called us to.  This is in only reason that we have a hint of success.  It is all because of Him.  He has allowed us clear outsiders to have influence in communities.  He has allowed us to train and equip these people so that the Gospel of Christ can be heard by all in Madagascar not by means of the outsider’s but by those who are insiders within their own communities.  Therefore, we faithfully submit ourselves to the Lord and ask and pray for Him to bring up leaders within the Malagasy people themselves.  We expect to see thousands of new believers grow up in Christ Jesus and we expect to see thousands of disciples going and sharing with their friends, families, neighbors, regions, provinces, country and to other nations the amazing story about Jesus Christ.
Praises:
The Trainings went very well and our national partners are motivated to seeing God's Kingdom come
We had safe travels to all of our destinations so far
Suzie had a successful procedure on her leg
Baylee and River are getting over their colds and feeling much better
The Lord is alive and at work

Prayer Request:
Adam's back surgery and recuperation
Suzie to continue to heal well
Safe travels back to Madagascar
National partners, hands on girls and Diana
Phoebe, Emma and Baylee have lots of school work to complete
Wisdom for us all.

 Tsihombe Training

 Relaxing in Indonesia

 New Animal Adventures

 Working Hard

 Second Group

 Becoming more of an Insider

 Stroll

Places to go and When

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Workers from the Harvest

As of Oct. 4th, we have been serving in Madagascar for FIVE YEARS!  In some ways, it seems like we’ve been here for FOREVER.  In other ways, it’s been no time at all.  What a great time to reflect and see all that God has done, is doing and still desires to do!
As I write this, there are over 30 people being trained in the city of Tsihombe by a Malagasy pastor from Toliara.  He is teaching them how to train trainers.  The goal is reproducibility.  Even more than the reproducibility, the question remains, is the disciple REPRODUCING?  Men and women from around Androy have come together to be better equipped to share their faith.  They are hungry not only for Spiritual food, but for clarity on the best way to share that Spiritual food and tell the story of Jesus.  This weekend the training will continue but for another group meeting here in Fort Dauphin.  Many Antanosy people and other tribes will come together to receive the same training.
About a year ago, we went to a training on church planting.  As we were being faced with IMB personnel leaving the field for various reasons, Luke 10:2 was revealed to us in new light.  It says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest.”  In the 5 years we’ve been here and particularly the 3 ½ that we’ve been in Fort Dauphin and working hard in Androy, we’ve seen workers being raised up from the harvest and going back out into the harvest!  It’s an incredible and beautiful thing to see!  It’s come with some failures and heart-ache, but so much more with rejoicing and excitement for how God can use those who desire to be his children!
The timing of this training is key as we will spend the next 5-6 weeks out of the country.  Our desire and continued prayer is that these men and women who are being trained will immediately put their training to practice.  We hope to have a few teams of Malagasy believers going out to the villages and checking the progress.  We can barely contain our excitement for how we see the Lord’s hand leading this movement!!!

Praises:
*We’ve had a great month living alongside a missionary family from another organization.  We’ve both learned so much from each other and our kids have also enjoyed each other’s company.  We will part ways on Oct. 4th, but will stay in touch and continue learning from each other.
*Phoebe and Emma are half way through their first term of this school year at RVA.
*Our Hands-On girls and Ecuadorian missionary are doing an incredible job learning language, developing relationships and discipling some young ladies.
*Adam only had one major flare-up with his back this month.

Prayer Requests:
*Continued leadership development and execution of the trainings for our Malagasy leaders.
*Upcoming travels, meetings and surgeries. 
*Hands-On girls and Ecuadorian missionary as they hold the fort down while we’re gone.
*Ecuadorian missionary, Diana, as she’s dealing with a bad rash.

 River Having Fun with his friends

 Beach Time

 Silly kid

 Blazing New Trails with Diana and the Hands On Girls

 Sharing the Gospel in Behazomanga

Having Fun in Marovato with National Partners

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Time


As we look over the past couple of months we have realized how precious time is.  Time is fleeting.  We have traveled back to the past and then to the future again.  We have lived/stayed in different time zones and visited multiple countries and States.  As we made all of these travels and events we learned that adjusting to time and all of its changes can be challenging.

We enjoyed our time in the US but as we look back it was just a Texas tornado.  It came and it went and it was a wild ride for the entire time.  It was so nice to see some friends and family but we mixed in so many things that by the time it came to pack up to leave we were exhausted.  This is not to say that we wouldn’t do this again but it is to say that we have learned a little from this time spent in the US.

Time teaches us things as well.  As we have been here in Madagascar we have realized that time has taught us many things about our Malagasy friends.  We have learned so much about the culture and we are forever different because of it.  We have also learned to try and make the most of the time given to us.  There are so many things happening around us that if we don’t just take some time and breathe it begins to overwhelm us.

Working in the front lines of missions we have learned that time can stand still as well.  Time means so much to us as Americans but to our nationals it isn’t as big of a priority.  In church planting we tend to try to work on timetables but one thing the Lord has shown over and over through his word and throughout history is that His timetable is not our timetable.  He doesn’t work according to our desires.  We have a responsibility to submit ourselves to Lord and to His desires and His timetable. 

What does this mean?  Trust in the Lord and believe that He has a plan.  He holds all things together and He is in charge of time.  The Lord will bring about the harvest in His do time and provide the workers.  We are to just be faithful servants.  As we go through time the only thing that really matters is that we are being obedient to the Lord and His calling.  The accolades of man and any earthly rewards don’t matter if we aren’t walking in the Lord’s plan/timetable.


Praises:
We had a great trip to the US and enjoyed time with friends and family
Phoebe and Emma had a good time in F/D and have made it back to RVA safely
We have seen the Lord use His vision to motivate others to want to serve Him
Our Hands on Girls and Diana have arrived safely
We think the Land Cruiser is back in working order.

Prayer Request:
For the upcoming events happening.  Trainings, bush trips, friends coming and going, and family times.
For our Church leaders to stay motivated and committed to the Lord
For the extreme drought taking place in the South of Mada.  May we have wisdom on how to proceed with help
For Phoebe in her Senior year of High School, Emma in her Junior year of High School and Baylee as she works on 6th Grade.
For future plans for universities for P and E, financial blessing to pay for said universities and for Baylee and River to continue to grow in the Lord.

 We were able to see a few sights in London

 We enjoyed some really good food in the States

 Catching up with some SoMad peeps. 
 Sweet times with family

 Good byes are so hard but thankful for Grace at airports

 Visited Church in Toliara

 Two men from Androy land finished their Biblical Training program

 New Workers for SoMad Team

 Everyone headed their separate ways once again.

Shared at the CEIM Convention