Where Would You Like To Go?

November 30, 2012


I've decided that you know you live in a 3rd world country when...
you're asked what you're going to do on vacation and you answer with - search for playgrounds!
However funny this may sound - it is indeed true...and actually it's a whole lot of fun!!
Here's some snapshots of our time all around the Nairobi playgrounds!!


November 28, 2012

Earliest Decorating Ever

I love Jesus - just in case you didn't know.  I love Christmas time.  I cherish the real reason for the season and I also really enjoy Christmas decor.  So, when I realized that we wouldn't be back home from Kenya until after the 1st week of December...I decided we had to decorate before we left!  Granted, we don't have that many decorations here in Mada but we used all the ones that we had!!  On, November 10th (yes - I know how early it is) we decorated for Christmas at our house!  Which basically means we put up our tree.  It was fun watching Ryleigh with it all this year.  Last year, she was a bit too young to care too much for it but she was super helpful this time!
She even got a new ornament from Rock & Lhi Lhi!
Since the tree was up - she got to go ahead and open an early present from Uncle Tad & Aunt Laura!
And...we found decorations from last year from Nanna & Pop that we didn't use - these wall clings were perfect!  She'll love playing with them all through December!
I never took a shot of just the tree, but I'm glad I didn't because we got a package from Grangran & Grandma full of more fun decorations!  I'll take a pic when we get home!
FYI - malls in Kenya are already decorated for Christmas (since there is no decor for Thanksgiving here!) and it's been so much fun to see and experience!  Ryleigh loves the lit up snowmen!!

November 26, 2012

Lhi Lhi

We enjoyed having Lhi Lhi here so much!!  Everyday provided some new adventure.  Ryleigh and I loved having her help out in our Tulear ministries (see previous blogs) and had lots of fun around the house too!  On any given day we might have been doing the following...
singing Bible songs while playing in the sandbox
or going for a stroller ride around the neighborhood!
Even though Lhi Lhi doesn't speak Malagasy, she enjoyed going to worship with us at Mahavatse.
And then all too soon it was time for the long drive up to Tana...this pic was for you Rock!
After our longest part of the drive, we woke up the next morning to celebrate Lhi Lhi's 50th birthday!!
We miss you already Lhi Lhi but are so thankful you came!!
We love you!!

November 22, 2012

a heart full of thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!
We're enjoying a bit of cooler weather here in Nairobi, so it even feels a little like Thanksgiving!
My heart is full today for so many reasons and I'd like to share a few with you...

I hope that to anyone who knows me, they already know that the One whom I am most thankful for is Jesus Christ.  Without Him, I would truly be nothing.  He is who I long to reflect in everything I do, say, & even think.  Most days that goal seems very daunting but He promises through His strength all is possible.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving 8 years ago, I was introduced to the love of my life.  The world was say it was a random thing, that my friends and I needed one more person to play a card game that night and Steve was called to come play...I would say it was the divine intervention of the One who knew all things from the beginning of time.  I often watched movies growing up and hoped for a love like in the movies.  I've found that I'm beyond grateful for a God who is SO much bigger than that.  Our love is nothing like the movies.  There are more tears, deeper laughter, transparent feelings, true forgiveness, and a bond that only the Author of relationships could create.  I love him and he loves me - exactly as we are...the ugliness of our human nature covered by the gloriousness of His salvation.
Ryleigh - ha, some of you are rolling your eyes.  I know I blog about her all the time and fill your facebook feeds with random tidbits of info - but I love her.  My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for her and the gift of being her mother.  He has taught me and continues to teach me through being her mom, more and more about His love relationship with me as a daughter every single day.
I am grateful for the family He placed me in here on this earth and has allowed me to marry into.  We have so much fun when we are together and they are our greatest prayer supporters.  We love each of you!
Lastly, I am thankful for our friends and those that are practically extended family.  Some have been in our lives since we were children, new ones during college, and still others through seminary and now that we're on the field.  We are grateful for each of you and love you dearly!!

November 20, 2012

Manome Fisorana

The Wednesday before we left for our drive up to Tana, we spent the morning at the deaf school.  I prepared a devotional on Thanksgiving or "Manome Fisorana" which literally translates "to give thanks" and mom came up with an appropriate craft!  The children loved it and we "talked" about always giving God the thanks for everything in our lives.  We then proceeded to make handprints (feathers) and turkeys out of toilet paper rolls. 


They were pretty excited with the outcome and we had a great last visit with them!  I'm missing seeing them (because we're in Kenya) and look forward to getting a couple of visits in with them before their Christmas break!

November 9, 2012

Prayerwalk - Port of Tulear

Last week, we were near the port of Tulear...the first thing you'd notice if you were here would be the smell.  It's very...ummm...distinct.  There are lots of men and women who work around this area, waiting on boats to come in and catching fish.  The Lord really laid upon my heart that day to spend some time praying specifically for the people who work in this area -
 I thought I'd ask if you'd join me?
That they would know the One who controls the wind & sea -
"And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"" - Mark 4:41
That they would know the Giver of Rest -
"Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your sevant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed." - Ex. 23:12
That they would worship the Maker of the sea -
"The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker!" - Psalms 95:5-6
That they could become "fishers of men" -
"And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."" - Matt 4:19
 That they would trust the One who will always lead them -
"If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me." - Psalms 139:9-10

November 7, 2012

Day at the Beach

As most of you know Tulear is a coastal town on the Southwest side of Madagascar.  However, over the past year it seems to have become increasingly unsafe for us to visit the beaches here.  Due to this, we travel to a town about an hour from here, Ifaty, when we'd like to spend some time at the beach.  The soaring temps and mom visiting seemed like a perfect combo to make a quick trip up at the end of last week.  Ifaty has some nicer "resort" type areas and we decided to spend a night away from home and enjoy the scenery.  It ended up being cloudy and breezy the whole time we were there (plus a little rain!) but it was still a fun trip.  Here's a few pictures of our time there.
Ryles has no fear of the water - she loves being in it and around it!
Taking a stroll with Lhi Lhi
*My caption thing stopped working and I'm not sure why*
our little "monkey"
We love our blessing from the Lord!
I love when all you can see is ocean for miles and miles...Our God is SO big!
Lhi Lhi & Ryles taking a walk down to the beach
Such a daddy's girl - and momma is okay with that...well, most of the time! :)

November 6, 2012

Bush Time

Steve, Doug, & Nathan are headed out again this morning - prayers for their safety and health are always appreciated.  Please don't forget to pray over what they are traveling out there to do -
share His truths, His stories, & His salvation. 
"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Isaiah 55:10-11

November 5, 2012

I thank my God

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace..." - Paul from his letter to the Philippians.

I know no truer words when I think of how many of you have let us know how much you are praying for us while we serve here in Madagascar.  In particular, many of you have mentioned lately how you are interceding on behalf of Roxana and Lusika & the relationships that the Lord is building between them and me.  Things are going really well.  This past month, some social/cultural walls seemed to have broken down and I truly feel that Roxana and I are friends - not just acquantices - or I could refer to us as she does now "fianakaviana" (family).  This is possible because you are praying for HIM to work here...and HE is!!
Me, Roxana, Lessa (my mom) before lunch at Roxana's house
Ryleigh loves rice and tried a fresh mango!

Roxana, her husband, and a niece over at our house for lunch