Where Would You Like To Go?

November 30, 2011

Ifaty

Our SW Mada team had our prayer retreat in a town that's about an hour outside of Tulear.  We had such a great time doing team challenges, sharing our testimonies, discussing strategies for reaching the people groups, and spending some time in prayer for each other and the Malagasy people.  The Hailes family are also a part of our SW team but they were unable to join us due to language classes - we sure missed you guys!  Here's a few pictures from our time there - it was BEAUTIFUL!!

Family pic at lunch one day
The view from where we did most of our meetings
Ryleigh and Titus hanging out
Enjoying some R&R in the pool
Ryleigh's new favorite food :)
SW Mada Team Pic (minus the Hailes!)
Ryleigh wants YOU to come visit!!

November 29, 2011

Thanks Jericho!

Thank you so much for our package full of Christmas goodies!  The gift cards are perfect for updating our music collection and Kindle books via Amazon.  Ryleigh already saw the toy and is loving it - so we thought it was okay for it to be an early Christmas gift.  You ladies are so sweet to think of us!  Oh, and we recieved the package on Thanksgiving, therefore deciding Rotel needed to be a new Thanksgiving dish!  It was delicious!  Thanks again for the package but most importantly your prayers!!

November 28, 2011

1st Beach Trip

After this view greeting us as we arrived in Tulear on Thursday, we couldn't wait to check out the beach the next day with the Waller family!
The wind was blowing a little more than usual so water was pretty muddy looking but Ryleigh didn't mind.  She loved every moment of it. 
She even discovered a new favorite finger food...SAND!!
Steve decided to walk around a little bit and found another place for us to check out.  This area was perfect for our kiddos.  The first 200 yards or so was completely calm and about ankle deep.  The water was clear and the bottom was all sand - no rocks!  Ryleigh had the best time crawling around and splashing in the water.  She will definitely be a beach bum! 
Looking forward to moving here in February!!

November 26, 2011

Beautiful Drive

Where in the world can you start off with scenes like this...
after a few hours, enter a rainforest...
only to be followed by this...
and then have your view change to this...
see a sunset like this...
and then end your day looking at this??

Only in Madagascar!!  What a gorgeous place the Lord has called us to serve Him in!  We were filled with a sense of wonder as we saw His splendor as we topped every hill with a new and gorgeous view.  At the same time our hearts could not help but be broken over all of those who see these breathtaking creations every day and still have not heard of the One who created them.  Please remember to lift up all of the people who live here who have never heard the name of Jesus.

November 25, 2011

Adopt A Village

We hope you each had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours did not go quite as planned, since we had to cut our trip to Tulear short, but we serve a gracious & loving God who takes care of us no matter what our plans might be!! 
I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about our SW Mada team site - Madabout Stories - I encourage you to take a few minutes to go and check it out.  It's full of info on our team, the SW Mada people groups, prayer requests, ministry updates, & the Adopt A Village info.  The latter is what I'd like to tell you more about today. 

As most of you know we had our SW Mada prayer retreat this past weekend (blog updates are coming soon with more info on our trip).  One thing we talked about was how incredibly God was moving among some of the villages of the Mahafaly (our people group).  A huge reason behind this is because of all the prayer coverage that has happened over the past 2-3 years.  Our supervisiors, the Waller family (check out their blog here), saw what a big part prayer played in reaching the Mahafaly and designed the Adopt A Village prayer ministry. 
By going here you can read all about it and sign up to adopt a village yourself!  There are currently 13 Mahafaly villages to adopt and we encourage you to read a little on each of them and see where the Lord directs you.  Our hope is that your Sunday School class, Bible Study group, GAs/RAs/Awanas, congregation, homeschool group, etc. will adopt one!  The length of time to adopt is up to you.  Once you have adopted a group to pray for you will be able to recieve updates/pictures/prayer requests as the SW team travels out to these villages.  Obviously some villages have more info than others right now due to where the villages are located.  Prayer is the greatest gift you can give to our team and we each value it SO much!  If you have any questions feel free to send us an email, comment on this blog, or email us through the MadaboutStories website.  We look forward to seeing which village your group chooses to adopt!

November 24, 2011

Thankful

Every good and perfect gift comes from our Father above...thankful today for parents who always taught me that this was true.  Thankful for parents who raised me to know that I should be thankful every day of the year for the gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone.  I could never be more thankful for anything else than for the sacrifice that He gave to save me.  Because of this gift, of being a child of the Creator of the world, I have quite a few other things to also be thankful for this year.  I'd just like to take some time today to share a few of those with you...

4 days after the start of 2011 our most precious blessing of the year arrived...
thankful for a healthy baby girl.
The next months were filled with sweet memories of spending time with the best families anyone could ask for...
thankful for the love that is shared
In May, Ryleigh and I were able to see this beautiful girl graduate high school...
thankful for how the Lord works out all the details
May 19th, we celebrated 4 years of marriage...
thankful for the love of my best friend and opportunities to serve our Father together.
July was full of many new things, but one was being able to see this beautiful woman go on her 1st ever international mission trip...
thankful for her heart of service.
We arrived safely in Madagascar...
thankful for protection and a God who fulfills the desires He places in our hearts.
Our SWMada team (as of July) finally all got to be in the same place at the same time...
thankful for 3 new units that have now been added to this team!
The past 11 months have been full of memories, emotions, and most of all thankfulness...words can not express how thankful we are for all of our friends, prayer churches, prayer partners, the IMB, and every single Sunday School/VBS/GA/DT teacher along the way - you have each played an intricate role in our lives and for that we give Him all the glory!  We are thankful for you! Love you!

November 20, 2011

LMCO 2011

The theme for this year's Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is...

His Heart, His Hands, His Voice

The focus scripture is Acts 1:8, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I thought I'd give you some "fast facts" from the LMCO resources available at http://www.imb.org/

World evangelization

• 11,659 people groups worldwide; 6.8 billion people

• 6,744 unreached people groups (less than 2 percent evangelical but active church planting)

• 3,789 unreached, unengaged people groups (among whom no one is spreading the Gospel)

• 817 people groups directly or indirectly engaged by IMB personnel

(as reported in April 2011 Global Status of Evangelical Christianity)

Missionaries

• 5,013 missionaries

• 4,246 long-term missionaries

• 767 short-term missionaries)

(as of March 16, 2011)

Church growth

• 29,237 new churches

• 360,876 baptisms

(as reported in 2010 Annual Statistical Report)

The average cost to support an individual missionary:

• $46,700 a year

• $3,890 a month

• $900 a week

• $128 a day

• $5.30 an hour

• $.09 a minute

Reported April 2011. Support includes housing, salary, children's education, medical expenses, retirement and more.

So...what can you do?  Exactly what He has called you to do. 

Pray.  Give.  Go.

Be His Heart, His Hands, His Voice

November 15, 2011

Prayer Request

We'll be headed out first thing in the morning to start the 13 hour trip down to Tulear!  We have been so excited and are anxious to get on the road.  We'd really appreciate you taking time to specifically lift up this trip to the Father over the next 11 days.  Here's a breakdown of what we'll be doing so you can be "in the loop"!

Nov. 16 - drive about 7 hours to a small town to stay the night (safety while traveling, no carsickness too!)
Nov. 17 - drive about 6 hours to TULEAR!! (safety, health)
Nov. 18 - spend time in Tulear, learn a little bit about what will soon be our home
Nov. 19 - Nov. 21 - go with SW team to Ifaty for a prayer retreat (renewal, sweet time with the Father, safety in traveling, team bonding)
Nov.22 - Nov. 23 - spending a night out in the bush (having a hard time believing that we're really getting to do this as I'm typing) and meeting some of our 1st Mahafaly people (health, building relationships, language)
Nov. 24 - Thanksgiving with our team at the Waller's house (fellowship, our families in the States)
Nov. 25 - Nov. 26 - driving the 13 hours back to Antsirabe (safety, health)

Thank you in advance for lifting us up!  We praise Him for your faithfulness!  Can't wait to update you when we get back!

November 13, 2011

Packages

Why do I look like this when we get a package??
Because you never know what might be in them!!
A new toy from Gran Gran & Grandma
all of our aunts & uncles keep us well stocked with goodies...
(this one specifically is thanks to aunt carmen & uncle tommy)
yummy snacks & elmo stuff from Rock & Lhi Lhi
and even Nala gets to join in on the action sometimes!
Mom & Dad says there's even some more stuff that I can't see till Christmas!  We can't wait!!
Thank you for thinking about us and sending us things from home...it means a lot!!

November 11, 2011

Pool Play Date

Last Friday afternoon, our friends, Pastor Chris and Tina, came over with their two boys.  Ryleigh was excited to have Timothy (2) and Stephen (1) to play with!  Tina and her boys come over once a week so Ryleigh can have some friends to play with and I can practice my Malagasy with Tina. 
Timothy is such a cutie and loves the "ballina"...
After some pizza, it was time to try out the pool!
Stephen was a little intimadated at first by how big it was compared to his bathtub...but soon grew to love it!
Although it was their first time in a pool, the boys ended up enjoying the water almost as much as our sweet girl did.
Thankful for a cool place during this HOT weather!

November 8, 2011

Toriteny Velona

During class this past week, Mme Lalao mentioned the phrase, "Toriteny Velona".
I looked at Steve and he looked at me - apparently neither of us had any idea what this meant.  We knew "velona" means "alive" because it's what people say after someone sneezes.  However we were slightly lost with the first word.  She explained that it meant we should each be a "living sermon".  Steve and I loved it!  What a great phrase and reminder!
 Are we being living sermons to the world around us? 
As followers of Christ, we are called to live a life worthy of the gospel!
I'll leave you thinking about that statement from Paul and this cute picture that has nothing to do with the blog post :)

November 4, 2011

10 Months Old!!

Ryleigh, The time between these months seems to get faster and faster!
As of this morning you weigh 19lbs (40%) and are 28.5 inches long (66%)!
You are such a little wiggle worm!
Your dad and I decided to do a top 10 of this past month in honor of today...
TOP 10
10.You have started splashing like crazy in the bathtub and then erupting into shrieks of laughter.
9. You say something that resembles "the end" everytime we finish a book.
8. When eating finger foods you want something in both hands...oh FYI this 80's little strawberry outfit?  Yep, it was your mom's when she was a little girl - I'd say you look quite adorable in it!
7. You love being in your walker and zooming across the floor.
6. Anytime we lay you in the bed, you immediately go into "frog" position.
5. You still bring a smile to every single Malagasy face that sees you.
4. You have learned to drink from a straw (and talk with your hands apparently!)
3. You are a master army crawler and can get anywhere you want.
2. You will snuggle up on our shoulder when you are tired and won't move until we've sung a song to you.
1. You love scrunching up your face at us because it always makes us laugh.
Sweet girl this list could go on forever with all of the things we love about you.  We thank Him for every moment we get to spend with you. 
We love you Ryleigh Elizabeth!
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