Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pressure

We have had a great month of ministry and seeing the Lord at work.  It seems hard to believe that the Lord has done all that has been accomplished in just one month.  We are so thankful for how He is working and we desire to give Him all the glory and the honor for all the good things that are happening here in the South of Madagascar.  We have reached five years of service with the IMB and we are reminded many times of why we came here in the first place.  We have been reminded of the urgency to see the Lord do great things. 

Thus, we do find ourselves living under pressure.  We feel it in many different ways but one of the issues we face is how much time do we really have to work here in Madagascar?  How long will the Lord wait until He comes again?  The answer is simply that we don't know.  We just seek to be faithful to the gift he gives us each day here on earth.  We also are people of vision, planning and strategy.  We want to do things at the right time, for the right reasons and to make much of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  We also just don't want to follow commercialized methods of ministry but be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading.  So we find ourselves asking this question:  If we knew Christ was coming back in six months what would we do differently?  We hope and pray that many things would be the same but there are also little simple daily actions that we would absolutely change.  We believe that we are in a very important season of seeing the Lord's work flourish.  We have more leaders trained, more believers, more baptisms, and more churches than ever before here in the South of Mada but there is so much more to do.  We haven't even begun to shatter the silence.

We were able to watch the final of the Copa America and see the penalty kick shootout.  We as Argentina fans were ecstatic when Romero stopped the first Chilean PK but then we as so many others were just speechless as we saw the best player in the world miss his kick.  It was evident that he stepped up there wanting to make the kick not just for himself but for all the Argentines.  The inner-pressure and the external pressures were just too much and he over did it.  In our ministry here in the South of Madagascar we just have to remember to be faithful in the moment.  We don't do things for our church, convention, family, friends or even ourselves.  We do them to make much of Jesus Christ.  We don't want to step beyond where the Spirit of God is moving.  We don't want to over do it or under do it.  We have to trust that God is in control and that He will work things out according to His good, perfect and pleasing will.  We have to remember that it is not about us but it is us just being willing to take those steps of faith that will allow God's Kingdom and His will to come here on earth as in heaven.

Praises:
The trainings in Fort Dauphin went very well.  People have been taking what they learned and are sharing and training up others.
Phoebe and Emma have finished up another school year
We had a safe bush trip.
We have some teammates from different organizations joining us

Prayer Request:
For our national partners to stay founded in the Lord and willing to share and train others
The famine in the Madagascar and Sub-Saharan Africa
Baylee as she starts 6th grade
New career teammates to join us here in the South of Madagascar.  We will be working alone for a while.

Teaching out in Beloha

Visited a new village and cast vision and shared out of Mark 1

Praising God for time with the Kayiuki's.  They are a neat couple

 Closing Ceremonies of SWBTS Class

Serve to Lead
 Gathering to Head out and share



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Lord is Moving


As we shared last month, the Lord is moving!
It was a great time of celebration on May 16th as 15 people were baptized from 3 different locations.  The villages came together and worshipped as the men and women were baptized.  Praise God there was water and that His Spirit continues to move.  Pray for water so 30 more can be baptized soon.
There are a number of preaching points that are very close to becoming church.  Pray for the leaders in these areas and for faithfulness on their part to step out and follow the leading of the Lord.
As a family, we have been going with the flow.  Car trouble early in May left us without a car for over two weeks.  We were thankful for our national partner, Rado, and the team from Kentucky as they were able to go out and fulfill some of the trainings that Adam was going to do, as well as give us a much better idea of the individual needs of villages around Androy.  Further, Adam was able to rent a car for the weekend to celebrate the baptisms of the 15 and encourage those villages.
Now we are waiting in anticipation to see all the Lord is going to do in the near future!
Southwestern Seminary  is coming to train many of our national partners.  It will be a full two weeks of training and ministry.  The seminary class will be May 30-June 9 and will have a celebration upon completion.  There is one class for the men and another for the women.
PRAISES:
*Baylee completed 5th grade
*Our Hands-On students completed their term
*Phoebe and Emma are doing well as they finish up their Junior and Sophomore years at RVA.  (They’ll finish July 12th.)
*There are many exciting things going on with volunteers and missionaries coming and going.  Also, the way the Lord is moving in the national conventions here in Madagascar.  We can’t wait to share more in the coming months!!
*15 were baptized from villages surrounding Tsihombe
*About 30 are waiting on water in order to follow in baptism
*New churches are forming

PRAYER REQUESTS:
*Travel mercies and logistics for both the SWBTS mission team and our national partners traveling from the bush villages
*The families of those traveling, specifically the national partner’s families to be taken care of while they’re away for 2 weeks.

*Teacher’s who will be presenting the material to the students.  And student to receive the teaching clearly.  I am praying the following verses for all those involved.

o   Psalm 25:4-5 “Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

*Adam as he continues to work out the details and leads all the people involved.

*Suzie, Rachel and the kids as they help out as needed.

*Good health for all

Let us know what activities you and your church will be involved in this summer so we can be praying for you too!
 Water!


 Farewell to our Hands-On Students for a Job well done!
Sweet siblings!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Hardships Amidst Exciting Times


The Lord is at work in South Madagascar!  Here are a few things going on this month:

11 students are attending THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION BY EXTENSION courses here in Fort Dauphin

4 students are attending SEMINARY in other parts of the island and will be returning soon

3 Malagasy students are attending SOUTHWESTERN Seminary and will return to lead their fellow countrymen

80 Malagasy partners will be TRAINED by Southwestern Seminary this month

8 were BAPTIZED in Tsihombe

16 are awaiting TRAINING ON BAPTISM around Tranoroa

2 groups are ready to BECOME CHURCH PLANTS around Tranoroa

3 NEW MISSIONARIES are headed to serve alongside us from USA and Ecuador
When we sit back and look at all the Lord is doing we are amazed! 
We have been in Fort Dauphin for 3 years now and it blows our minds how much the Spirit has moved, how many have been saved and how many are serving the Lord whole-heartedly now.  Lives have been changed, churches have been planted and the Word of God is spreading!  This doesn't come without hardships and struggles.  We returned in early April from medical appointments and a meeting.  We had a few ailments that we needed to get checked out and then were refreshed at our cluster meeting.  Some health issues returned a good report, while others brought more concern.  The biggest news is that Adam will need to have back surgery.  He will have a disc replaced and another fused.  The doctor is amazed at all Adam has been able to continue to do despite the degenerated and prolapsed discs, but gave him the go-ahead to wait on surgery until October.  Suzie will also have a less serious procedure as her great sephanous vein is no longer working.  She will get radio ablation frequency to collapse the vein and hopefully prevent further varicose veins in her left calf.  Fortunately, Suzie's procedure is also non-urgent and will be done in October.  Both surgeries will be in South Africa.  We'll keep you posted on the outcomes! Other hardships are in the hands of our nationals.  With the drought, lack of financial support and spiritual warfare, some of our partners struggle daily to stay the course.  Pray alongside us that they would "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called them heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14)
Praises:
*God is moving!
*Phoebe and Emma had a good break and are working hard to complete their third and final term of this school year. (Finish in July)
*Baylee will finish 5th grade this month
*There has been some rain in Androy!  Some crops were replanted and should yield a small harvest.  Pray for at least one or two more good rains to ensure a plentiful harvest!
Prayer Requests:
*Health concerns
*Perseverance for us and our national partners
*Plans for new missionaries to fall into place
*Details of volunteer teams to work out
*Southwestern trip and training to go well
*Travel mercies for volunteer teams and national partners coming into Fort Dauphin for the training
 Baptism in ocean
 Celebrating with those who were baptized
 (Above and below) Family Vacation

 (Above and below) Pastor's and Wives' Prayer Retreat

Childcare for the Pastor's and Wives' Prayer Retreat

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Prayer Walking Drive


Almost four years ago, a group of 12 volunteers raised a couple thousand dollars each in order to come and pray over a vast area of Southern Madagascar.  They yearned to speak the truth of the Gospel, but a majority of the 40 hours they spent on this trip was traversing bumpy, harsh, taxing curves, rocks and sand whilst praying.  Upon arrival in a town where they could rest, they would struggle out of the vehicle, regaining mobility in their aching bodies and attempt to recoup in order to do it for another 10 hours the next day.  Amidst the discomfort, the group would pray in each village along the main road of Androy (South Madagascar):  Tranoroa, Beloha, Tsihombe, & Ambovombe.  Turning back after the third day of travels, they faced deep, wet mud holes.  The rain was a miracle because Androy is a desert and doesn't get much rain.  In each village the volunteers had prayed in as they passed by, it had rained.  The Antandroy people were amazed and excited.  They knew there was something different about our group.  Now, there is a group of believers meeting in each of these villages.  Two of these villages have churches that have been planted.  Here's a picture of a few of the pastors in the area:


The underlying component to these new believers, new groups and new churches was prayer!

Prayer has continued to be the power behind the Holy Spirit moving among the Antandroy people.

If you would commit to praying alongside us for the Antandroy people, let us hear from you!  I am fasting lunch on Tuesday’s.  If you are so led, fast alongside me and let’s see how the Lord opens the floodgates and brings the nation of Madagascar to Himself.  Also, let us know specific ways we can be praying for you!
Praises:
*New believers are being baptized and evangelizing among surrounding villages
*We're enjoying being all together as a family this month while Phoebe and Emma are on break from school.
*We enjoyed a time of worship and preaching at our meeting we just finished.
Prayer Requests:
*Sweet time together and in doing ministry together as a family.
*We would be faithful in sharing and discipling new believers.
*We'll be having a prayer retreat for our national partners and their wives next week.
*Diana- a co-missionary coming from Ecuador to work with us.
*Preparations for short term teams coming in the next few months.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Power Struggles

Driving through the rough roads in Androy land we set our eyes for the goal ahead.  We are heading out to train trainers, encourage local believers, and set up some baptism services.  Full of hope and excitement we drive down the road re-capturing the beauty of the desert.  Then reality begins to hit us.  All the fields are burnt up.  The corn didn't make it.  The balahazo (kasava) is small.  The fields are being cleaned out.  Another year of no real harvest.  We continue on the long journey but as we pass by field after field with no new crops our hearts begin to break within us.  We begin to just pray within our soul asking the Lord to send rain and to help these people out.

We arrive at the first town and visit a local pastor.  He just had a baby.  Praise the Lord!  We rejoice with him and give a small gift according to customs due to the new baby.  We begin to chat and it is evident that the people are beginning to suffer.  We press on down the road and at every stop the news is the same.  For a people group of herders and farmers rain and crops are essential for survival.  The news is that everyone has used up or about to use up their reserves they had saved up for the tough times.  Last year they had little to no crops and so they have already been living off of the reserves.  We can absolutely see that desperation is setting in.

So the question comes to our mind.  What do we do with desperation?  There is a Malagasy proverb that basically states that "the hungry stomach leads to the spirit wandering".  In essence, the people become willing to try anything.  We didn't have many answers at the time.  We encouraged them and we shared with them that the Lord is in charge of all things and even things that seem bad and difficult He can use for His Glory.  Let's ask Him to make these tough times into times of Him displaying His greatness.  We couldn't offer much.  We gave no promises, we just let them know that we cared.  We finished every meeting we had by asking the Lord to send rain. 

We knew that to ask God to send rain would be a power struggle for everyone in the village.  Does the creator God really have power?  Can he do more than the witch doctors who haven't come through on what they said?  A power struggle it was and we boldly claimed that God could and would send rain.  We asked our churches and preaching points in different areas to circle up and look out towards all directions and ask the Lord to send healing to the land.  We circled up and hit all directions and each person asked the Lord to send rain. 

We finished the prayer time and said our good byes.  Leaving the areas of ministry we diligently search through the blue clear skies for clouds to roll in.  We are able to spot a small cloud in the distance.  Then as we begin our journey back home we begin to notice that the sky is filling up with clouds.  Even greater, we notice what seems to be rain falling in the distance.  God is doing it!  He is sending rain where there has been no rain.  We praise Him silently hoping for a downpour of His blessings on the land.  Each place we prayed, the Lord answered our prayers and He sent rain.  Thought it wasn't a lot it was a powerful message to all.  God is able and He is willing we just need to ask with faith and trust Him.

The rains are late and since our last trip it hasn't really rained a lot besides what God did after we prayed.  However, the message has been received by the people that God does care.  We are seeking ways to help out.  We don't have enough food to feed the almost 2 million people being effected by this famine but we can start with a few.  Thanks to your generous giving to missions and thanks to BGR (Baptist Global Relief) we have received some emergency relief funds to help supplement the food for several locations.  By no means will it be enough but we do pray that the Lord will multiply this gift and work miracles in the lives of the people.

Praises:
We had a good bush trip and we have seen the Lord do great and Mighty things
We have more baptisms planned for this month
Adam was able to see Phoebe and Emma at RVA and they are doing well
The Minton's finally made it to the States and the SoMad team is adjusting well

Prayer Request
We will be having the food distribution over the next couple of weeks. 
We have some trips coming forth and doctor appointments
Phoebe and Emma to be encouraged and feel energized for all the events they are involved in
Baylee to adjust well with her good friends on STAS

 Dry Fields

 Finished up a prayer time

 Prayer Circles

 Prayer Circles

God Answering Prayers