Hello my Friends, Family and Supporters,
God is good and I feel very privileged right now. Not only was it a privilege to take a trip to Madagascar to help the TMI base there, it is a privilege to come home, sleep in my own bed, wash my clothes in a washer and dryer and any number of other conveniences that we take for granted in this country. I think I missed my washer and dryer the most – that and Mountain Dew!!
At the core people are the same all around the world, but when you get to see how others live, you realize what a privilege and blessing it is to live in the United States. God has called me to Teen Missions to do whatever needs done and I am very thankful for the opportunities I get to travel and help out in other countries (as well as getting to live here in paradise ) and I couldn’t be happier. God is so good!
I left Orlando, traveling with Tim Gon (who I left in Madagascar) on February 20 at 6 a.m. After about 20 hours in the air (not counting layovers) and a 12-hour wild bus ride, we arrived at the base in Mahajanga on Wednesday night. It seems that all the bus drivers there need to make that trip from Antananarivo to Mahajanga in record time. The curvy mountainous roads make staying in your seat a bit difficult at those speeds. But God is good and we made the trip safely! The view however, was spectacular!
I stayed for two months, helping our Madagascar base get their finances up-to-date and putting into place a new bookkeeping system that will eventually be used at all our overseas bases, as well as training the coordinators to use it. I also got to help start a Saturday morning MSSM Sunday School which will continue to be held each week at the base. We had 50-100 kids come every Saturday morning for a Bible lesson, phonics lesson, games and songs. It was fun to see how much the kids enjoyed it. I got to teach the Bible story with one of our Bible school students translating for the kids and I also helped teach the students to keep it going each week.
Tim, who traveled with me, and Jessica, who had already been there for a few weeks, are interns from our Bible school here and they will be staying for an entire year. About a week after Tim and I arrived, we decided we would like to go to town to see and “experience” the local market. So on Sunday, we asked the coordinator if we could take a student who speaks English with us to help us with the language. He let four or five students go with us, all of which needed to practice their English. It was a fun day and quite funny as we tried our best to understand what they were saying to us and trying to make them understand what we wanted to do. We walked a very long way that day and we all laughed about it for a day or two as we retold our experience to the people back at the base. The next weekend when I asked the students who wanted to take the Americans to town, nobody volunteered!
Jessica and I did go to town alone a couple of times. Jessica was very prepared, armed with a map telling her where the stores were that she needed to find and with the Malagasy words she needed to get her business taken care of (she has made great strides in learning the language). I was just there for moral support and the adventure of it all. We went to a grocery store and the post office, bought some delicious fried food on the street and actually took a taxi (3-wheel motorcycle) back to the base!
Tim and Jessica are both doing a great job helping out at the base there, which has been shorthanded for a while. They are learning the language and will be a huge blessing to Liva and Nomena, the base coordinators, as well as the staff and students.
As happy as I am to be home, the staff and students in Madagascar are amazing and I miss them. I hope to see them all again someday. They are all learning English and Liva gives them lots of opportunities to practice it, so maybe one day some of them will get to come to Florida to visit us here.
In other news – I will be leading the team to Tanzania this summer. It is a backpacking team that will backpack on Mt. Kilimanjaro at the end of our time there. However, the main purpose of the team will be to continue construction of some of the buildings at the TMI base there. Our Bible school there is newly established and construction for needed facilities is an ongoing project. We will continue what other teams and the students and staff have been working on. As of now, the plan is that I will stay on for a couple of weeks to train the staff there to use the new bookkeeping system.
Amid all the news of excessive rain and flooding all around the Midwest and Northeast (I pray you are all safe), it has been very dry here. We’ve had virtually no rain this spring and there have been forest fires all around us here in central Florida. We will be holding our annual AIDS Orphans Mud Run this Saturday, May 6, and we need a lot of rain – not only for that fundraising event but to revive the earth and remove the danger of more fires.
Thank you all once again for your faithful prayers and financial support. I appreciate you more than I can ever put into words. I praise God for you every single day, for your part in making it possible that I get to be here to work. Thank you so much and God bless you!
- Rain in Florida
- Sunshine in other parts of the country
- Safety for all the teams that will be traveling this summer
- Wisdom for the leaders of our teams – it’s a huge responsibility to help a group of teenagers experience missions on these trips and we all need an extra measure of wisdom as we do our best to create a positive, fun and rewarding experience for each one on these teams.
Serving Him with You,