Ways of the WORD
From the Beginning to the End, God is.
God is the Author of our lives. He is writing each of our stories. For many people, their stories haven’t started, but that’s why we do what we do. That’s why we seek to fulfill the Great Commission.
Scripture is powerful. The living, active Word of God. It never returns void. When we read it, it fills our spirits and floods our souls. From early in my walk with the Lord, I knew I needed the Word of God. I began studying it. The same scriptures that I read on different days would speak to me in different ways. The more I grew with God, the more He continued to reveal Himself to me through His Word.
We have lived in Madagascar for 2 years and 8 months. We have been through ups and downs. We’ve had times of rejoicing and others of doubting. We’ve had relationships that have grown stronger and others that have fizzled out. Our lives have changed in so many ways as our family and lifestyle shifted with the changes of this new, different culture. Here are some excerpts from emails that my mom sent to friends and family back in the States while she and my dad were visiting us here in Madagascar:
April 9, 2014-- Arriving in Antananarivo was a culture change into poverty and narrow streets… Most people walk or run down the streets and no one is overweight. Our hotel is nice with a guard outside to protect our borrowed car... We ate dinner & breakfast at the hotel and this morning we went on a walk to the local "Walmart" type store about three blocks away to buy staples that they cannot find in Fort Dauphin. People stared at us and we looked like white giants as we walked through the crowded streets. Prices are very expensive here.
April 11, 2014-- We enjoyed our first visit to the beach in Fort Dauphin near Suzie's house. The girls had fun jumping the waves. The land is lush and green and the waves are big!! The roads are narrow with a lot of people walking or running down the streets. Many are carrying something to sell or carrying something bought at the little stores that line the streets and roads. About 10 Zebu (cows) were herded in front of the house this morning. There are only a few cars. Suzie & Adam are great guides and their command of the language puts us at ease. We had supper last night at Talinjoo, a restaurant resort with a beautiful setting on the hill over the ocean. To get there we went on a one lane dirt road with no room to pass. One car had to back down the hill to let one come off the hill. It had limited parking and we even met the cooks who cooked for 11 of us. The food was good but different as my hamburger had a fried egg on it and it had a bagel type bun. Charlie enjoyed homemade Cordon Blue. Adam & Charlie shopped the local stores this morning for our lunch and dinner. Suzie made a delicious homemade country chicken pot pie tonight, Phoebe's favorite and a new favorite for us!
April 26, 2014 (after almost 3 weeks in Madagascar)-- We are still amazed by the primitive lifestyle here in Madagascar. It was amazing and quite an adventure to travel to the bush with Suzie and family and their Journey girl, Ashley a week ago. It is good to be back in Fort Dauphin where Suzie lives and really get to see how they live and what they do. We are so thankful that Adam & Suzie can speak the Malagasy language!
Every day we go to the outdoor open market to buy our food for the day. We have bread and bananas for breakfast. One day we had cereal they brought from South Africa but it is gone now. If we have milk it comes from France in an unrefrigerated carton and taste strange. Most days for lunch we have egg, cheese and bacon sandwiches. They did find something like lunch meat one day but it was sliced real thin. Their big meal is at night. Suzie is an amazing cook and the menu depends on what is available. We have had homemade Chicken Pot Pie, Sweet & Sour Chicken, homemade biscuits & Gravy with Homemade chicken nuggets and the usual side dishes of rice, fresh green beans, carrots, green peppers, avocados and pineapple. We even had Mexican Food with homemade Tortillas one night. Charlie and I have taken the job to hand wash and dry the dishes each meal. The girls usually have this task so they are glad to have a break. I also help hang clothes on the line and get them off and help fold clothes. The sun is really hot for this! The girls also have this chore. Today we all cleaned the house. We usually have to sweep daily because the doors and windows are left open during the day and it gets sandy and buggy. At night they close the doors and windows and lock the downstairs up and we have a fan to bring us comfort when we sleep. It is really hot and humid here!! Some days it is really still but we had a breeze today which we enjoyed. It has only rained about three times and that was at night. The smells kind of get to me here. Most of the people cook outside and the charcoal smoke and food smells in the early morning especially wake me up. I have been taking allergy medicine most of the time I've been here. I have taken almost 2000 pictures to try to capture what it is like here. Words cannot describe it.
There are about four Bible Studies a week here that I have attended with Suzie and one with her family and their landlord and his family. Adam also trains others to do missionary work and works with the locals to prepare for other missionary groups to come on short trips. Adam preached the Easter sermon in the Malagasy language last Easter Sunday to a packed church. I videoed part of it.
My favorite thing to do is watch the local people walk back and forth in front of Suzie's home all day long. Most women carry their cargo on top of their head as they walk to and from the market. They carry their babies on their back at the same time. Men & children carry all sorts of items to sell and items bought. A few have shoes but many walk barefooted and some run. They carry live and dead chickens, vegetables, baskets, plants, charcoal and water etc. Buses pass by with people packed in like sardines and hanging off the sides and back. The top of the bus is loaded with their baggage, live goats tied down and chickens tied to the top and sides also. Quite a site!! The people are friendly and often sing and wave at us when going by. Most of the streets here in town are paved and some have sidewalks. In the bush it was like going back in time to an old west town with all dirt streets and animals loose and in the streets with ox carts with primitive wheels. Most everything here is about daily survival.
We have been to the beach two times and it is beautiful! The kids & Suzie especially like it. We have eaten out at four restaurants in town and the food is mostly good. Suzie booked an air conditioned hotel room for Charlie & me one night this week so they could have some family time before Phoebe left to go back to boarding school. She flew out by herself to the Capitol city where she stayed in a hotel Friday night and then caught her flight back to Kenya today. She made it there fine. Charlie and I really enjoyed having an air conditioned hotel room for the night. We slept great!!!. We have really enjoyed seeing everyone here. The kids are all so confident and grown up! River is changing every day. Tomorrow he will be 4 months old. It is fun to see how Suzie's family all works together.
As you can see, living life in a third world country is different. There are many attractions with beautiful scenery for tourism, but we live here. We have to make changes to the way we live; our likes and dislikes whether we like it or not have to change. Many things have to change. But in the midst of those changes, there is one thing that stays the same: God. His Word never changes! He is ever faithful!
We have the verse from Romans 10:14-15 on our prayer card.
“ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”
It reminds us of the calling God placed on our lives. As I think of what this verse means, I begin to reminisce, all God is; all God’s doing; all God still calls us to do! There are other verses that God continues to use to stir my heart. Each day I’m reminded to cling to his truths and stand firm with Him as my Rock, the Cornerstone.
- The new church plant in Tsihombe is meeting weekly.
- Southwestern Baptist Seminary and a group from Kentucky are here on a volunteer trip working to reach the Antandroy people.
- Panda and the puppies are doing well.
- River’s growing and is such a happy, good baby
- Emma & Baylee are finishing up the school year.
- Ashley is getting ready to head back to the States since she is finishing her term with us.
- Upcoming team from NGBF and other trips we will be taking
- Everything to fall into place for our stateside starting in November.
- Ashley to have direction for her future.
- New teammates coming
- Phoebe finishing her school year in July and coming home for break.
|CEIM Church new location|
|Panda and her puppies|
|River feeling the grass on his bare feet|
|SWBTS Volunteer Mission Team|