Where Would You Like To Go?

March 28, 2012

Leaving On A Jet Plane

We're flying out tonight to Mada's capital and then on to Johannesburg, South Africa tomorrow!  Please be praying for our entire cluster who are in the process of traveling to Joburg for our annual meeting.  Thank you and I promise I will update as soon as I can!!

March 27, 2012

Blog Stalking

I can remember making fun of a co-worker (I love you!!) for being a blog stalker - it's true that I have become one.  I love reading about my friends' lives and how God is working.  I will also admit to reading people's who I have no idea who they are but I love how honestly and openly they talk about their struggles and God's constant victories.  Anyway, I really love when I am reading a blog and the Lord uses it to teach me something (that He's probably been trying to tell me for a while).  Read this on a friend's blog this past week and I just really thought it was a great and challenging thought.  I also really like this Rachel Jankovic - I've only recently been introduced to her as an author and so far - so good!

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.


by Rachel Jankovic

March 25, 2012

Planning

  If you hang around our team long enough, you're bound to hear something about Proverbs 16:9.  This verse says, "in his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."  We often laugh about how much plans are changed here.  Such was the case with Steve and Grant's latest trip out to the bush. 
   They left Sunday afternoon with plans to do storying at some villages during the 1st few days and end the week with 2 different baptisms.  Sunday, they drove to Kilimary and Besatra to set up a time for Grant to go through some stories that week.  Kilimary was able to meet on Monday at noon and Besatra did not have any free time until Wednesday.  Monday afternoon, they drove to Andremba and Tananasoa, the villages where the Baptism was to be done, to set up times with them.  Both said that Tuesday would work for them.  Tuesday morning they got up and drove back to Andremba.  Upon arriving, they realized that everyone was in the fields working and had somehow not remembered that they were to meet (even though they had set the time less than 24 hours ago!).  An hour and a half after the time they were supposed to begin, Grant was able to story through Jesus' temptation and a few other stories.  There were about 70 people who gathered (35 adults/35 children) and all seemed interested and several asked questions about the stories.  There are some Catholic beliefs floating around the village from where a Catholic Priest would come by and teach the people in the past.  Many try to mix what they've learned from him and what they are learning from the Bible.  From there they drove on to Tananasoa.  They had also forgotten about the meeting and the leader of the village was gone, so storying was unable to take place there.  The "rainy season" in the bush has not been very rainy - so they were also unable to do any baptisms this past week.  Due to several factors, they had to cut their trip short and came back home late Tuesday evening.  However, they know that the LORD is the One who determines their steps!! 
  Please pray for the people that live out in these villages.  Lift up their hearts & minds - that they might be able to understand and remember these stories of Truth.  Ask for the Lord to lead them out of the darkness into the Light.  Please continually lift up Grant as he is seeking the Lord's guidance in answering the questions that are asked after each story.  Please remember Steve as well as he is soaking in all there is to learn about the Mahafaly dialect and culture.

March 21, 2012

Satisfaction

My favorite verse for as long as I can remember has been Psalms 73:25-26
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
And also for as long as I can remember, the Lord continually uses it to teach me something new about whatever He has going on in my life at that moment.  Perhaps sometimes I forget the truth that “His word is alive and active”.
I am a “doer” more often than not.  I am an organizer.  I get satisfaction from completing tasks.  Are these bad qualities?  No, not in and of themselves – but they become bad when I use them to determine the value of who I am and the relationships that I am a part of.
The Lord has used the past 9 months in ways that I could have never fathomed.  He has been teaching me about satisfaction.  He’s shown me how I find my satisfaction and how I SHOULD find my satisfaction – in Him alone.  Oh, how easy it is to type that sentence…how much harder it is for me to actually live it out!! 
There are days that I struggle with the joy that I daily find in being a mom.  Why struggle with having joy?   I struggle because I feel like I should be doing “more”.  I feel like there should be a list of accomplishments at the end of every day...that I shouldn't have joy unless I have proof of these said accomplishments.
 I’m a missionary.  
I live in a foreign country.
 I am in the process of learning a 2nd language. 
I am surrounded by those who have no idea that there is a God who loves them. 
But what do I spend my days doing?  I change diapers.  I clean up messes.  I say “no mam”-- a lot.  I push a stroller.  I play with toys.  I watch Elmo.  I give kisses.  I receive kisses.  I read Ryleigh's favorite books.  I laugh at my precious baby girl. 
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t truly love doing each of these things.
However, there is seemingly a constant nagging in my mind that I’m not doing enough to be able to find satisfaction at the end of every day.  That I’m not doing enough to be worthy of being called a child of His.  That I'm not doing enough to receive His love.
My husband, whom the Lord uses in SO many ways in my life, called these thoughts out for what they are – LIES.  Lies from the father of lies. 
The Father of TRUTH tells me over and over in His word that there is nothing I can do to ever be worthy.  I can only dive head first into His grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.  He has called me His child – nothing can change that.  There is nothing I can do or not do that will undo the salvation He has freely given me. 
He has called me to be a mother.  He has called me to spend time teaching our daughter about Him and His love.  He has called me to this season in life.  He has also called me to be here in Madagascar while doing it.  He has called me to minister to others WHILE being a mom.  He calls me to do all things for His glory.  He says that I am enough - without any to do lists, or tasks to be completed.  Living the life He has called me to, loving Him completely and totally - that is enough.
My satisfaction, my sense of worth, my peace, and my joy
-should not come from any of these things-
-should never come from my to do list-
it should only come from Him. 
 From the One whom nothing on this earth holds a candle to.  He’s teaching me and I understand – now I just have to apply it – will you join me in praying for the application of this in my life?

March 19, 2012

Dreams Do Come True

This past Friday, the Lord provided a way for Steve and I to take a day trip out to Mahafaly Land.  Our friend & teammate Tessa, volunteered to watch Ryleigh for the day, so off we went!  We left early Friday morning
and oh did the Lord start our morning off right!!
It's 4 hours of hard driving to get out to Kilimary & Besatra, these are the two villages with which we have the best relationship and there are now believers at both villages!!  I'm not sure I can acurately describe how I felt driving up to Besatra.  The Lord had already given me an unexplainable peace about leaving Ryleigh for the day and then He gave me an unexplainable joy as I was greeted by faces such as these...
I sat, surrounded by children who were getting the biggest kick out of my taking their picture and then letting them see it on the back of my camera.

I went and sat with the ladies for a while too and was pleasantly surprised that one lady, Filao, knew official Malagasy.  This means that she was able to understand me and I could actually follow what she was saying as well!  Praise Him for ears that understand!!  The rest of the ladies mostly spoke/understood Mahafaly dialect but Filao served as a translator.  The ladies decided that the next time I came out it would be necessary for them to sit and braid my hair like theirs...personally, I can't wait!
If you have known me for any length of time - you know how long I have desired to simply sit in an African village and share His love with them, however I can.  I still have so far to go with the language but there are no words to describe how evident His love was - in them through their welcoming of me to their village and hopefully through me and my eagerness to communicate with them as much as I could.
Oh how faithful our Savior is to give us the desires that He has placed in our hearts!!  The only thing in the world that could have made the day more perfect is to have our little girl out there with us.  However, we know that she will be one day soon - all in His timing.  It was a dream 20+ years in the making for me and I feel sure she'll be out there before she's 2, so it sounds like she has it made to me!!  Through this trip, He taught me so much - all of which I'm sure will make it's way into the blog sooner or later...but for now I'll leave you with a few of the precious faces that are living over here on this side of the world.  Eyes, smiles, people, souls...that had never heard of the faithfulness of our God, of His forgiveness, of His perfect plan, or of His love until just a few short years ago...


March 15, 2012

Reading Lately

Perhaps my favorite “hobby” is reading.  Granted being a mom has limited my time for “fun reading” but the perks definitely outweigh changes such as this!  Anyway, when I have found time for reading over the past few months, I have come across quite a few quotes that I just really want to share…so here goes!

Yes, you will notice quite a few are from John Piper…I have recently discovered him thanks to a friend – and have found his insights can be rather addicting!

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else…all your life an unattainable ectasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness.  The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it.” – C. S. Lewis - The Problem of Pain

“Indifference to the pursuit of joy in God would be indifference to the glory of God, and that is sin.” – John Piper – When I Don’t Desire God

“They (women) are so wired to love, and the culture has so radically enforced this whole idea of love-love-love, that they don’t really know the men they are married to…to speak his language, remember: “The wife must respect her husband” (Eph. 5:33)” – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – Love & Respect

“God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him” – John Piper – Tested By Fire

“It is important to stick to principles, teach principles, and then sort out the details in light of them.  You need to look at what you think is happening in hearts and address that.”  - Rachel Jankovic  - Loving the Little Years

“The path of God-exalting joy will cost you your life…If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full…Treasuring life above Christ is a tragedy.” – John Piper – Don’t Waste Your Life

March 12, 2012

A Routine

It has been a crazy past month!  We have gotten settled in Tulear (complete with internet!!) and are starting to get back into a "routine".  Routine is quite a funny word to use for life here though because a "schedule" or "routine" is never set.  Time here is really not important to those who live here and our Americanized brains are still trying to adjust!  Some of you may be wondering why we're just now "adjusting" to this but remember for the first 6 months we had the schedule of being in language study everyday!!  Now that official language study is over, we are learning to just live life here in Tulear. 
The "normal" plan is that Steve goes out to the bush "Mahafaly Land" with Grant 2x a month.  Depending on what's going on in the villages, determines the length of their trip.  Last week they were only gone for 2 nights but in another week they'll be taking a week long trip.  Right now, Steve is going on these trips as a learner.  Grant would say that he is also still a learner but he is actually teaching Steve a lot!  Of course, no matter how long we are here, we will always be students of the language and culture here.  Alot of time is spent in simply reaching the villages as they are a good distance from Tulear and very rough roads.  First, they stop by the villages they'd like to teach at and try to set up times that will work for the people there. Going back to my 1st paragraph - sometimes these "appointments" work out and sometimes they don't - flexibility is key!! Steve has been throughly enjoying his time listening to the stories being presented in Mahafaly and just getting to the know the villages and the people.  He says that it's also been a huge challenge to become more fluent and to become familiar with all of the differences in official Malagasy (what we studied in language school) and the Mahafaly dialect.  Please keep praying for both of us in this aspect!

Meanwhile, Ryleigh and I are mostly trying to stay cool and I spend my days trying to keep up with my very active 14 month old!  We are very thankful to live in a neighborhood with LOTS of trees which makes walks around it as nice as it can be in a HOT town!  Ryleigh loves being in her stroller, so at least once a day we take prayer walks around our neighborhood - my prayer is that as Ryleigh gets older she'll understand the importance of praying for those who the Lord puts in our everyday life.  I am in the process of talking with the director of a deaf school here in Tulear for possible ministry opportunites.  Hopefully, ministry at this school will soon become a part of our weekly routine!

In the middle of trying to establish somewhat of a "routine", we are getting on a plane and flying to South Africa on March 29th!  We are headed there for the 2 Oceans Cluster Meeting.  While there we will be catching up on various doctor appointments and shots for Ryleigh.  We will be able to catch up with some good friends from FPO and are excited about seeing them!  Honestly, we're looking forward to"simple things" like being able to take Ryleigh to play on a playground, doing a little shopping and eating at a McDonalds too!!  We'll be staying in South Africa until we board a plane on April 19th to head to Zambia for a month long intensive training.  Needless to say, we'd really appreciate your prayers as we are about to have anything but a normal routine for the next 2 months! 

We are excited about all the Lord has in store for us and are beyond thankful for His faithfulness and provision in the days that have passed.  There is a lot going on and we wanted to keep you in the loop!  We love hearing from you so send us an email and let us know how we can be lifting you and your family up!

March 10, 2012

PB&J

Yes, it's technically on a tortilla instead of sandwich bread and maybe there was no jelly involved...however, I'd still say she's a fan!

March 7, 2012

Prayer Requests

There are a few things going on that we’d love for you to be lifting up to the Father…

*There are several trips out to the bush each month that Steve will be going on with Grant, Doug, & Nathan – please pray for their health, their language, & their relationship with the villages.

*Steve & I will both be actively seeking out the ministries the Lord would have for us to be a part of here in Tulear – please pray for open eyes & hearts to what our roles need to be.

*Although we have finished our official language school, we are still students of this language and culture!  Please keep praying for ears to hear correctly, minds to understand, & tongues to speak fluently.  Don’t forget to pray for Ryleigh in this area too – as she is learning 2 languages at once!

*April 19th-May 18th we will be in Zambia, Africa attending an intensive training for Sub Sahara Africa.  Please start praying now for a great learning experience and our health as we are traveling.

March 4, 2012

Some Days

Sometimes one of those “days” just sneaks up on me…it’s usually then that I’m especially grateful for words such as these…

“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 1:6

Thankful for His promises that I can cling to every single day.

March 3, 2012

Driver's License

Ryleigh is pretty thankful for her cousin Kaylee sharing fun toys with her!
This has become our child's favorite way to get around inside and outside!
1 going on 16!!!

March 2, 2012

Beach Bum

I have a feeling there will be many more days just like this one in the near future!

March 1, 2012

My Prayer

Proverbs 12:18 says, “The tongue of the wise brings healing”…as I read this one morning, I was immediately convicted of the things that come from my tongue. 
 I’m not sure that my husband or daughter would say that the words I speak always could be described as “healing”.  However, I knew from that moment that I desired for them to be.  The Lord gives so many instructions to us regarding our tongues – but they could all be summed up in this verse – don’t you think? 
 Praying for healing words today and every day that He gives me from now on in regards to everyone He puts in my path.
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