Friday, March 3, 2017

Hailes Travails

Life on the mission field is one of difficulties to say the least.  This isn't to say that our friends at home don't have difficulties but when you are dealing with things with a limited infrastructure it creates more challenges.  It is many times in the midst of these difficulties that we find ourselves growing in the Lord but it isn't always easy or pleasurable.  Despite these difficulties we have grateful hearts for what the Lord has done. 

One things is for sure about our time on the field.  The constant separation from the family causes great stress on us.  We do better when we do things together.  We have learned to function within the circumstances we currently live in but they do wear on us.  This past month we have had many days apart.  These days were for a good reason as Suzie was able to visit Phoebe and Emma but all the trips add up.  We are thankful that our kids get to study at a great school and they are happy but honestly not being all together is a sore subject for us. 

Despite the limitations set upon us from being a family living in two different countries we continue to press on.  We continue to train up leaders and hear the stories of how God is using them for His glory.  Honestly, not being able to go out to the bush because of Adam's back and seeing these things first hand really hurts.  God is at work and we desire to be right in the thick of things but as of now we are just coaching from 60+ miles away.  Even though we're not there we are encouraged with how the Lord is allowing His Kingdom to progress in the Anosy and Androy regions. We dealt with some serious issues with our national partners head on through much prayer and love.  We also just walked through the Word of God together and worked hand in hand on planning for the future. 

Adam's back is getting stronger and healthier but during one of the trainings there was a small disaster in one of the homes we are caring for and as Adam was going to check on things he fell down the stairs.  He probably missed two or three steps and landed on his left hip pretty hard.  Since this fall he has had some pains in the areas of his disc replacement.  Praise the Lord it wasn't worse and he is beginning to feel stronger and healthier again.  He has a check up next week and we are praying that he will be released and be able to go out to the bush again in April.

We also have been seeking to finalize the large part of our food distribution.  Nothing is simple where we live.  Last month the roads were in terrible condition and the Lord answered prayers.  This month we are dealing with sections of the road being closed for repairs and seeking to find ways around them to make sure the food makes it to those in need.  We have planned, prayed, organized ourselves and implemented a way to distribute these goods in a way that will cause the least amount of conflict and benefit those who need it most.  Thus far, the complaints are few and the words of thanksgiving are many.  God has been so good to us all.

Living on the mission field takes a toll on the kiddos as well.  Yes, they will have experiences that will shape them in ways that the average American kid will never understand but at times I think our kids would rather just be another average kiddo.  The constant good byes to people they learn to love has a great effect on them and as they grow older they need to learn how to deal with these emotions.  We have seen firsthand that the struggles are real and we are doing our best to ensure that they will remain healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Our kiddos are awesome and we are so proud of them.  They truly are seeking to honor the Lord.

We aren't trying to be gloomy on this update but we want to give you all a sense of the reality in which we are living.  God is still on His throne and we are dedicated to serving Him.  Today's struggles will be an encouragement to others in the future.  To God be the glory in the good times and the difficult times.  Finally, we are so thankful for the love and support we have from our family and friends back home and on the field.

Praises:
We were able to train up leaders from the bush and the reports are amazing.  God is doing great things.
Suzie had a safe trip to Kenya and was able to spend some quality time with Phoebe and Emma
We got in state tuition for Phoebe at TAMU. 
Our food distributions have been received with thanksgiving.
We were able to set up the house and have things in order for us to go to South Africa.  We made it safely.

Prayer Request:
For our family to heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Phoebe and Emma to finish off their terms well and have a great learning experience in their next excursions before Vac.
The harvest fields (physically and spiritually) in the South of Madagascar to produce much fruit.
Our local churches in Mada and in the US to stand strong and be obedient to God's Word.

 Unexpected training but good time with Brothers.

 River has been puny this month but still creative

 The rear brakes had issues but thankfully it was an easy fix overall.  Now we need to order parts.

 River the photographer at one of our training times

 Valentines dates

 The view

Suzie with Phoebe and Emma at Banquet

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