Where Would You Like To Go?

March 31, 2013

Because of the Resurrection...

We too can be resurrected from our sin filled life to a new abundant life in Christ Jesus!
Praising Him for His resurrection and the opportunity for these Mahafaly believers to symbolize their new life in Christ!

Grateful for all of our brother & sisters today in every nation!
If you want to know more about what His resurrection means for you - please send us an email!


March 30, 2013

A Father's Love

I love this picture...I loved the moment even more...watching the love of my life have such a deep love & concern for our daughter warms my heart...
it will also forever be, for me, a small glimpse into the GREAT love our Father has for us...
want to listen? Click here
want to read? Keep going...
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

- Phillips, Craig, & Dean

March 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for...
 ...a little girl who adores reading...
...a husband that I miss when we're apart...
...rain so that believers could be baptized...
...how every chore/activity can turn into a game...
in this case hide & seek :)

March 21, 2013

Wonderfully Made

Tuesday was my last visit with the deaf school for a while.  They will go on break after this week and by the time they resume class, we will be visiting family back in MS.  I've been wanting to do this project with them for a while (thanks to Steve's mom - Karen for the supplies!) and I thought it was a great final project for now!

Over the past few weeks I've been taking individual pictures of the students and Steve got them printed for me.  I've taken photos to the students before and they absolutely LOVE having photos to take home...so I figured this might go over well!  Back in August, Karen brought foam picture frames and decorations for each student to make their own frames.

I shared a Bible verse with the students...
“Hidera Anao aho; fa mahagaga sy mahatalanjona ny nanaovana ahy; Mahagaga ny asanao; Ary fantatry ny fanahiko marimarina izany.” Salamo 139:14

also known as:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well." Psalms 139:14

I told them that I knew they were each wonderfully made and how much God loves them. Then I shared with them that when they saw their pictures at home, that they should remember this verse.
I think they enjoyed it!!  We had fun!!

March 19, 2013

Tuesday Thoughts

all 3 of us have been fighting some type of stomach thing since saturday night.  ryleigh was great yesterday while steve & i were still struggling...then she wakes up with a fever this morning.  health seems to be a constant issue - we surely appreciate your prayers.  i'd ask for more prayers but i know that you already are...what a gift those prayers are to us.  thank you.

there's a lot going on.  we have 19 days until we board the plane to go to MS for vacation.  of those 19 days we're going to be home for 8 (with steve gone 4 of those to the bush!).  the rest of the days are spent traveling, at a team prayer retreat, traveling some more, and then at a subcluster annual meeting.  schools here are about to go on break, so these past two days have been my last ones with the deaf students and ESL students for a while.  plus, there are things we have to get in order home wise before we leave for vacation.  not to mention packing!

life here tends to not be hectic - even when you have a full schedule it's not really "busy" if that makes sense.  probably because we've learned that having a full schedule really means that there are things you'd like to do but who know if or when they'll actually happen. 

in the midst of all this, feelings of shame/guilt/etc creep in - sometimes over tiny details, sometimes over things i can't quite put my finger on...then i woke up to the freshness of this Truth this morning...

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."  Romans 8:1-2

followed by these insights from Sarah Young (Jesus Calling )-

"I SPEAK TO YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF YOUR BEING. Hear Me saying soothing words of Peace, assuring you of My Love. Do not listen to voices of accusation, for they are not from Me. I speak to you in love-tones, lifting you up. My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame. Let the Spirit take charge of your mind, combing out tangles of deception. Be transformed by the truth that I live within you."

there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus - you know, i can't figure out why in the world there wouldn't be...i deserve it with all that i am.  that is truth.  i do deserve it.  but He took my place - He has set me FREE from the law of sin and death.  if that's not the most refreshing breath of air i've had in a few days i don't know what is.  HE IS FREEDOM.

Sarah Young continues on with...
"The Light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace. Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears. Holiness is letting Me live through you. Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy. Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you. Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me; this is atheistic living. I want to inhabit all your moments—gracing your thoughts, words, and behavior."

to inhabit all of me - all of my moments - wow that is a beautiful thought
i'm so far from His grace pouring out of me in all i do and think but it is something i'd like to see happen - He promises us we can indeed do all things through Him - He's there, i just have to follow.

March 17, 2013

No More Excuses

Last week we went to the bush to do some Baptismal teachings in two villages and continue our regular story set in the other two.  Well things did not go as planned, as usual, and we were able to do only Baptismal teachings in one village and the regular stories in the other two, however in one of those villages, Besatra, we also added an impromptu Baptismal service. 
We arrived in the Besatra as normal and gathered a crowd; this time it was larger than it had been lately because "The Grant" had returned from outside of Madagascar and they wanted to see if he had become a regular Vazaha (white man) again or if he was still Mahafaly.
I continued in our church formation story set and did the story of the Macedonian call.  The story went ok and with the help of Michel, CEIM pastor in Betioky, they were able to get the story and retell it.  Grant then began to speak to the villagers and challenge the believers to step it up more and take on more responsibility.  He challenged them to select leaders for the church there and for all to share their faith with those around them.  An older, respected man from the east side of the village, who had not been to the story group in a while, began to speak and list off all of these excuses of why it was hard for them to share their faith and to know what to do (sound familiar to anyone?).  He said he could go and tell someone about Jesus and share the Bible stories with them, but if they asked him any questions that he would not know how to answer them at all.  We told him that it was ok if he did not have all of the answers.  Grant reassured him that we would go with him to help him share his faith.  
He then threw out the excuse that he had not been baptized yet either.  Then Grant asked if there were other believers who had yet to be baptized as well and another older man raised his hand as well.  Grant asked if there was water in the watering holes, although he knew there was due to the cyclone hitting three weeks ago, and they said there was plenty of water.  So, he asked them if they wanted to be baptized right now and they said yes.  The plan was set, they began to discuss where the deepest watering hole was and the two old men scurried home to put on their good clothes.  We then made our way with a group of about 30 people, including kids, to the water hole.  Michel and Grant talked to each person that was going to be baptized about their faith and then Kalaha, the president of Besatra, baptized the two older men, a younger man, and three girls who were around 10 years old.
Me with the group of men that went.
The whole group that went.
Michel with the two older men that got baptized. 
Kalaha going into the water to baptize.
One less excuse to not share his faith. 
One of the younger girls getting baptized.
Praise the Lord for what He is doing in Mahafaly Land and pray for boldness in the believers that they may share their faith.

March 14, 2013


Today, I'm thankful for...
~ the PureLove PureWater program through WMU that provides our water filters...
I honestly can't tell you how many gallons of water go through that filter on a weekly basis.
~ "big hugs" from Ryleigh,
she loves to give them almost all the time and they are sure to put a smile on your face
~ a truck that is capable of traveling safely to the bush and back - 
courtesy of YOUR giving to Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
~ imaginations - Ryleigh is in such a fun stage where she's starting to really "pretend"
 and I have to admit her parents have a lot of fun playing along!
~ popsicle molds - because on these hot days
 there are not too many things that could beat a yummy popsicle!
~ tea bags from the US - it may sound silly to some but there's something about being miles and miles away from MS and still having a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge!

March 11, 2013

Post from a friend

I really enjoy blogging - one of those reasons is because of a sweet and beautiful momma of 2 boys who also has been called to serve in a place that is still not quite "home" and the culture is different to the point of laughter at times.  While I knew of this gal back during my MC days, I have come to know her more as she shares her adventures through her blog.  Her transparency as a daughter of Christ, loving wife, and wisdom inspired mom - is more encouraging than words can say.  After gaining her permission, I want to share her blog post from today.  Just like what's become the norm, it spoke to my heart and resonated deep in my soul with words that I have been lifting to the Father...

I've been thinking lately about what kind of things I'd like for my kids to say about me when they grow old. Memories that I want seared into their little hearts.

There's only one problem with that kind of thought though.

I actually have to be kind and gentle if I want to be remembered as kind and gentle.

I actually have to practice patience and generosity if I want the memory of me to bear those fruits.

It would be easier if I could just write the list and have them memorize it, ready to quote at opportune or historic moments. But that isn't the way true character is revealed. It's revealed in a thousand tiny actions that make up a lifetime.

These tones that I catch after a morning of wild chases and dirt covered clothes, they will be the ones my children remember. The way I brush past that neighbor because I feel too busy to stop will teach them how I value people. The distraction of my attention by this and that will speak to them about what my priorities are.

Life is jostling me these days. And the overflow isn't always pretty.

So, I'm making a list yet, but it's not one for them to memorize, it's for me to bring before the Helper. Surely only the grace of God could change a woman like me, into a woman whose memory will be filled with generous and kind traits.

Thankfully, grace is here...in abundance.

thanks Laura for being willing to share!

March 8, 2013

The Friday 5

It has definitely been one of the longest weeks we've had in a long time...I started thinking it was Friday, way back on Tuesday!  We've been pretty busy, the temperatures are back to as hot as they were before the cyclone, and our electricity decides to take 6-8 hour breaks during the day (and sometimes at night too!)  So, here's a look into our week with Joy and
1. hot mornings and afternoons =  time with this cutie at the coolest place in town!
2. Thanks to Baptist Global Relief we have the funds to make relief buckets...pretty sure I have never been around so much rice (this isn't all of it...)
 3.  Ryleigh enjoyed taking breaks from the bucket work to play with Baby Jude!
 4. Lots of hours spent on the front porch/yard working on buckets - hopefully they will be finished and ready for distribution on Saturday!
 5. Our front yard was covered in 300 relief buckets...
Hoping you have a wonderful Friday!

March 7, 2013

Thankful Thursdays

Today, I am thankful for...

~ sweet & quiet moments with my Jesus
~ that this little boy and the rest of his family are back home
~ Baptist Global Relief that helps take care of disaster relief efforts
~that God can use problems like this for His glory
~ a husband whose 1st love is his Savior
~ for smiles such as this that are an ever present reminder of His faithfulness

March 5, 2013

Ice Painting

My friend Christina found this idea on a website and showed it to me a couple of weeks ago.  It was definitely a great way to keep cool when we were without electricty for a few days after the cylcone!
I used our muffin tin but if you have silicone trays of fun shapes that would be awesome!  The "paint" is simply water and a drop of food coloring.  From now on, it'll be a swimsuit activity so that I can throw her in the pool or tub when she's done!!