Taking Time to Look Back, As We Look Ahead
With a few tears in our eyes and a slight ache in our hearts we left our families behind, including our two oldest daughters, to return to the field. We enjoyed a busy seven months on furlough and were ready to return to the work the Lord has called us to in Madagascar.
Eight years ago, we began this journey as God clearly called us to proclaim the Gospel to the Antandroy people. After a couple years of language and culture studies we moved to the city of Fort Dauphin and began entering towns and villages in the region of Androy. We had been told not to expect any converts; that the field would need a lot of work to prepare hearts to receive Christ. The Malagasy people in the high lands asked why we would go to a place where the tribes are so fierce and stubborn. We knew the Lord had called us, so we went.
Now after much prayer, proclamation and discipleship, we have seen such a great harvest; unlike we ever imagined. Our goal continues to be empowering the Malagasy to reach their own. Reaching their own, they are doing and more! Almost weekly new areas are being reached with the Gospel. New believers are going out with leaders of these towns and villages to share, teach and disciple the unreached.
Our jobs have shifted from entry and evangelism to healthy church assessment and leadership development. We still go out to check on the churches; pray and encourage them, as well as verify they are seeking to stay true to God and His Word. But the job has grown as well. Many of you know that Adam is the ACL (Associate Cluster Leader) for Madagascar. That means he helps supervise our missionaries and keep us connect and united with our conventions. We started with a heart not only for Antandroy men and women to know Christ, but that the nation would be converted to Christianity. We are seeing that come to fruition. There’s still a lot of work to be done!!
Here’s the most exciting part: There are plans for Malagasy men that have been well trained to begin taking over the work to train and teach theological and missiological studies. The level of theological training is increasing around the island. Please pray for all the parts and details to come together.
As we look back over the past eight years, we never could have predicted how the Lord would move; every part of His plan seeming to come together in His due time. I’m sure we’ve thwarted the work at times, but by His grace, more and more Malagasy are coming to know Christ!
Pray for the leaders to continue to grow and go. Pray for us to be so sensitive to the Spirit that we don’t miss an opportunity to make much of Christ as we look ahead.
*We made it back to Mada. All our luggage made it (although the box to the bike would not allow for us to get it all the way to Fort Dauphin.)
*We’re getting over jet lag, time change and getting used to the heat.
*Our families back in the States seem to be doing well.
*Wisdom and grace in the busy schedule we have over the next 3 months.
*Discernment in how we spend our time and what we pour ourselves into as we get settled in.
*Schooling for Baylee and River to finish this school year. (They did the first 6 months in public school in the States.)
We had a lot of luggage and a lot of help.
The flights were long (24 hours in the air, plus 35 hours in layovers for a total of 59 hours in transit),
but we made the most of our time.
Our dog, Cowboy, was happy we were home, once he remembered who we were. He was only 9 months old when we left him to come on furlough.
It was a joy and quite refreshing to worship with the Malagasy people again. It was encouraging to remember the songs and still understand the sermon in Malagasy.