The Last Newsletter


'Til the Day I Die

      I made a potentially critical mistake when I moved back to the States in June. I said goodbye to my home, friends, and ministry; preparing to follow God in the new direction He has been leading me. When I arrived in the States, just having left everything I love, I started down the road of thinking that I could never be happy living in the States and wondering why God had once again called me to a new mission field that required so much sacrifice. I had forgotten my one true passion and it took a song on the radio to remind me that I was heading down a dangerous road. The song talked about our passion that keeps us running and swinging for the fence no matter what happens in our lives. That passion isn’t a place or even a job, it is Jesus Christ. My passion had somehow shifted and become all about me and what I wanted. As I listened, I remembered that my true passion has never been Madagascar. No, the passion that is deep in my heart and has never changed is my Savior, Jesus Christ. I realized in that moment that it didn’t matter where I lived or if I was in full-time ministry in Madagascar or a special education teacher and foster /adoptive parent in Spokane. He and He alone is my  passion. Which means that I can find joy wherever I am. I can swing for the fence no matter what God asks me to do. The song continued: 
‘Til the wheels fall off
‘Til the spotlight fades
I will lift your banner high
And til the walls crash in
For the rest of my days
I'll lay it all on the line
Til the day I die
It's Your name I'll glorify          
As I listened, I knew that for the rest of my days, until the day I die, I will follow my Savior and do anything He asks me to do. I will wave His banner and glorify His name wherever I am and in whatever I do. Over the last seven years, you have partnered with me to reach the children of Madagascar and train the next generation of missionaries there. It took all of us to make it happen and it was amazing to watch God work. I hope that you will continue to pray for CEF Madagascar and passionately follow our Savior wherever He may lead and however He may want to use you. Let’s commit to waving the banner of Jesus wherever we are and living to glorify His name, until the day we die.

The Whirlwind

Three days. Three days after coming back to the States, I was offered a teaching job in Cheney. The interview was set up the night before I had even left Madagascar. Not that I have ever doubted, even once, this past year that God is leading me in a new direction, but it was further confirmation that I am right where God wants me. When the school year starts I will be teaching special education at Betz elementary.           Three weeks. Three weeks after returning, God led me to the perfect house for my family on the north side of Spokane. I put in an offer which was accepted and the closing date is at the end of July.       Three months. In September, when I will have been back in the States for three months, I will be going to orientation with Antioch Adoption, which is the organization I will be adopting through. By the end of July, I will have finished my foster parent
classes, just in time to start teaching in  August.            During this crazy whirlwind, I have seen God’s hand guiding me every step of the way. I can’t wait to see how He will continue to work.          I would love to stay in-touch with you through this new journey. My new email address is tararachelle@gmail.com, and of course Facebook is also a great way to stay in touch. You can also find CEF Madagascar’s Facebook page to stay up to date with the ministry there!

This is Not the End      

    I have always felt that programs and organizations run best when they are nationally run. So the first year of Christian Youth in Action I asked God to show me the people he had chosen to one day run CYIA so that I could work closely with them and train them. Within a few weeks, I knew that God had chosen Rinoh, Landry, and Hasina. I invited them to join me in running CYIA. They agreed and we not only became a team and worked together, but became best friends as well. Over the last few years, as I first felt that God might move me on, and this last year when I knew for sure, I have slowly been transitioning out of CYIA, giving them more responsibility and making sure they were a part of every aspect of the training. By last year, I was there, but let them run everything. As I left Madagascar, I knew that with them leading CYIA, it would grow like never before. Over this last month the reports have been coming in.          The National Conference is in September and the Child Evangelism Fellowship® directors noticed that a lot of chapters will be bringing their CYIA teens to conference and other chapters will be bringing teens because they want to start CYIA next year and want their teens to meet Rinoh, Landry and Hasina and get a feel for CEF. So for the first time, there will be a large number of teens at National Conference. The CYIA team was invited to do pull out sessions for these kids and also do a presentation and promotion for CYIA during the conference. CYIA in Moramanga this year is from July 21—August 1 and CYIA in Ranomafana is from August 11—22. Both of these chapters have been very active in CYIA and have large groups of teens who come every year. Each year, the team puts on two CYIA camps, rotating between the chapters who request them. As I think back on how God has used CYIA these last four years and the incredible things He has done in the lives of the teens and the children who have been reached with the Gospel, I must say that I am so glad it doesn’t end here. This is really only the beginning. Whenever you are reminded of Madagascar, remember to pray for the CYIA leadership team, the ministry they are doing and the many teens whose lives have been impacted through CYIA. I will post updates and prayer requests from them on Facebook so that we can continue to partner with them through prayer and encourage them in the work they are doing for our Savior! 

We had a great year of Good News Clubs! Hundreds of  children were impacted as they heard the Gospel and learned to grow in their faith.

We have spent a lot of time this year preparing for and planning CYIA. They learned computers, made visuals, prepared 5 Day Club kits, and created schedules.

Rinoh, Hasina and Landry love the ministry of CYIA and are well equipped to lead the program!

He’s here! Landry and Nirina’s
baby, Nokasaina, was born at the end of June.

Hasina is at Childrens Ministries Institute until September.

Prayer Requests
Pray for the team as they have two CYIA camps this year. CYIA Moramanga is July 21—August 1 and CYIA Ranomafana is August 11—22.
Pray for the teens who will be attending CYIA this year, that God will work in their lives and give them a heart to serve Him.
Pray that the CYIA promotion at the national conference in September is God glorifying and gets new chapters excited about CYIA.
Praise Reports:
Praise God for the CYIA team He has raised up to take over the work.
Praise God for each of the Good News Club prayer partners He provided over the school year. 


January 2016 Newsletter

Heart Change
   I walked into one of my new junior high Good News Clubs in October and was taken completely by surprise. My students whispered continuously. They couldn’t stay in their seats and constantly interrupted with silly, off topic questions.  This scenario repeated itself over and over  at my many junior high clubs. I quickly realized that these clubs brought special challenges. I decided my goal for the year was for them to fall in love with their Savior and to be grounded in the Word of God, knowing how to study the Bible and how to feed themselves spiritually.

   We started having ‘quiet time’ together at the beginning of club. We would read a verse, then ask ourselves questions about it, finding out what message God had for us. I was surprised at the changes that began to take place. They begin to love this time. They would see things in the verses that I hadn't even noticed. They found application for their own lives, and when I mentioned they could bring their Bibles to club to read, instead of reading the verse visual, the idea was met with enthusiasm. In just two months, many of these clubs have changed. They have an excitement to study the Word and even share what changes they made in their lives over the week to follow God. I am so thankful for how God is working and can’t wait to see what the next six months hold for these junior high students.

These three seventh graders participate in Good News Club with enthusiasm
and are beginning to have their own quiet times during the week. 
Passing the Baton
   While I was preparing to serve overseas, I was given a baton at a CEF conference and challenged to ‘pass the baton’ and raise up the next generation of missionaries. Since then, that has been my goal. I don’t want to run Christian Youth in Action here in Madagascar forever. I want to give it over to the Malagasy workers. God has blessed me with an amazing team of young people to train up. Slowly they have been taking on more responsibility. This year, Rinoh, Landry and I are co-running CYIA. Over the last year, I have realized it is time for me to pass the baton on to them. They are ready to take over completely and I need to step back and let go. I have seen their integrity. Their love for God. Their passion for CYIA. And I have seen their wisdom as problems have come up during CYIA and they figure out the best way to solve the issues. This year, we decided, in
preparing for me to step back, that we would get together once a week and talk about everything CYIA and make sure they feel completely ready to run the program without me. I am so excited to see what God will do with CYIA as my team takes over and I thank Him for these young people who I know are more than ready to take on this new responsibility.
Seasons Change
  I remember wondering two years ago, while I was in Washington on home assignment, what in the world would ever make me leave Madagascar. I hated being away from “home” and spent my time counting down the days until I could go back to the one place in the world were I feel most at home, here in Madagascar. It was when I got back here that the Holy Spirit began whispering in my heart that living here isn’t forever.
   I spent six months trying to drown out His voice. But it kept getting louder and more insistent. He began to revive a dream I had while growing up, of working with foster kids. He showed me that my work here is done. My team is ready to take over and He has a new job for me. I began to accept the idea, but decided that it was probably still a few years out, which I was totally okay with.
   Then in July, I noticed that my visa is up in September 2016. Horrified, I realized this was God telling me that I had a year left. I begged Him to let me extend my visa. Even just another six months. But the answer was clear. My job here is done. As my team and I traveled around putting on CYIA camps over the summer vacation, I was still struggling with the idea of leaving my job, friends and home, all which I love so much. In a last effort to stop the inevitable, I told God that if He really wanted me to leave all that I love, again, that He would have to change the burden in my heart.
   For ten years my driving passion and burden has been reaching the Malagasy children and training up the next generation of Malagasy teens to love and serve God. Ten years. If God could take away that burden, which has never changed, and give me a new one, then I would accept that all this was from Him. It happened. One day in August, I read Isaiah 58:12 which says, “Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” God whispered in my heart that I had a new job. To restore that which is broken.
   It was then I realized He wanted me to, not just work in the foster care system, but to adopt teenage girls in the system who probably have no hope of having a forever family at their age. And in an instant, God replaced the burden that had filled my heart for ten years with a deep love for my daughters and a desire to do whatever it takes, even leaving all that I love, to raise them up to be passionate followers of Jesus and mighty warriors who enter the fight and serve their Lord.
   This summer, I will be heading back to the States and preparing to do things I never thought I would have to think about. Things like finding a job as a special education teacher, buying a house and car and living in the States again. While the prospect is still intimidating, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is calling and I am simply following Him. So while I am sad to see this season of living in Madagascar go, I am excited about the season ahead of continuing to follow God and seeing Him transform my daughters’ lives. 
The views as we travel from one school to another are stunning.
Madagascar is truly a beautiful island!
This is one of my new Good News Clubs of second and third graders that
Hasina and I teach at a small private school.
Fanja (Pastor Diavolana’s wife), Hasina and I often teach at the same schools.
We took a vacation together over Christmas break and went to the coastal town of Morondava on the south western side of Madagascar.

We got to see spectacular baobab trees, which none of us had ever
seen first hand, go to parks in the area, and best of all, spend a lot of time together.

Prayer Requests:
Pray for wisdom for me as I prepare to hand Christian Youth in Action® (CYIA) over to my team this year.
Pray that God will continue to prepare Rinoh, Landry, Hasina and Nirina as they take over CYIA.
Pray that the hundreds of kids who come to Good News Club® each week will become passionate followers of Jesus and grow in their walks with God.
Praise Reports:
Praise God for the CYIA team He has raised up to take over the work.
Praise God for each of the Good News Club prayer partners He provided over the school year. 



God is Always Working. Even in the Rain.

Dark gray clouds hung low over Antananarivo. The pounding rain had finally dwindled to a drizzle by late afternoon.The weather was so terrible, that a lot of the schools canceled classes; yet, a tall thin man stood in his slacks and suit jacket in the muddy school yard, shielded by a small umbrella. Waiting.

It all started five days earlier when Hasina and I went out looking for a new school to fill our Thursday morning time slot. We went to a small school nearby, and were greeted by the two teachers. We asked to speak to the principal and they told us that he had two schools and lived far away, but they could give him a message and set up a time for him to stop by and meet with us. So we explained who we were and that we would love to have Good News Clubs at their school once a week. To our complete surprise, both teachers absolutely loved the idea that their students might be able to hear the Word of God. They went on and on about how much their students needed the Lord and how wonderful it would be to have us teach them. So they told us to come back in five days and they would send a message to the principal that we wanted to meet with him. As we left, we were hopeful that the teachers would pass on, not just the information, but their enthusiasm for the Good News Clubs as well and that the principal would be just as excited as they were.

Five days later, I woke up to rain pounding on the roof. It rained and poured all morning. In the afternoon Hasina stopped by and we headed out to the school in the drizzling, muddy mess. We wondered if the principal would show up. The weather was terrible and he lived far away. He would have to make a special trip just for us. But we went anyway. As we climbed out of the bus near the school, we were so proud of how perfectly on time we were. The bus had taken forever to fill up with people and be on it’s way, so we thought we would be late. As we climbed the muddy hill to the school, a tall thin man stood in his slacks and suit jacket in the muddy school yard, shielded by a small umbrella. Waiting. We stared at each other in shock, first that he had shown up and second that he was early and waiting for us. After introductions were made, he chatted away as though he had known us for a long time. We went through our spill about Good News Club, what we teach, and showed him the visuals we use. But it didn’t matter at that point. We knew he was already totally excited about having Good News Clubs at his school. Then we got to the tricky part. We couldn’t work around whatever schedule they might have. We only had time on Thursday mornings. So we hesitantly asked about the time, and he replied, whenever you can come works just great for us. When you come knocking, we will be ready. And with that, the time was set. Thursday morning.

By this time, his little nephew had come down the hill and was standing by his uncle. When there was a break in the  conversation, he shyly said, “Hi Zoky Hasina.” We both did a double take, wondering how he knew Hasina since we had never taught in this part of town. Turns out he goes to the school by my house and is in one of Hasina’s Good News Clubs there. His uncle, who had teasingly told us that once we started he wanted us to come every week, but not just when we felt like it, seemed to take note and was amazed that his nephew had Good News Clubs in his school too. We were serious about wanting to teach his kids. And he was serious about wanting his kids taught the Word of God.

We walked away in complete shock. He had come all this way to meet us. We had arrived on time, even though we should have been late with how long the bus took. Good News Clubs had been set up standing in the rain in a muddy school yard. He was excited, the teachers were excited, and even his nephew went to Good News Club. And, Thursday mornings worked for them.  We looked at each other and asked, “What just happened?? What a God thing!!” So, bright and early Thursday morning, two new Good News Clubs will be starting up at a brand new school. We praise God for all He did and can’t wait to teach these precious kids!


Christmas Party Club 2014

Saturday was the big day. The Christmas Party Club that 2500 Good News Club kids were coming to from all over Madagascar. Many government officials, pastors, and principals had also been invited to this event that was kicking off the 20 year anniversary of CEF in Madagascar. Everything that you can possibly imagine went wrong. It all started with my hair straightner dying and seeing that my kittens had covered my entire kitchen in a bag of sugar as I walked out the door. While I thought these things were about as bad as it could get, I was wrong. I arrive at the school that I was going to the party with. Our bus filled with excited children and took off toward the party. Only to get stuck in traffic. For two hours. Our fed up bus driver stopped about a 20 minute walk from the party and told us we could walk the rest of the way. He was done and had an appointment he was already late for. We walked the rest of the way and arrived only to find that we weren’t the only ones who were late. The entire chapter that I work with was late because the road was closed. The school I went with didn’t know about the closed road and was on the detour route that everyone else had to take. J  How the main road heading into town gets closed the last Saturday before Christmas is beyond me, but it happened. One school walked the entire way. Other schools took long detours.

Hasina showed up at one of our schools only to find that both buses they had counted on where stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it because of the closed road. With excited children and parents waiting in the school yard, Hasina and a teacher went out to try to locate another bus. All the drivers refused, hoping for a day off because of the closed road. Finally, one driver agreed.

Hours after the kids were suppose to arrive, kids from our chapter finally began to trickle in. Thankfully, the kids were asked to arrive early, so even this delay wasn’t as bad as it could have been. My job during the club was to stand at the bottom of the bleachers and hold visuals. I stood there, holding visuals and looking that the kids that had come from three of the schools Hasina and I teach at. All three schools we had just started a little over a month ago. The teachers, principals, and parents knew nothing about CEF other than that Hasina and I showed up each week to teach the Bible to their kids. I couldn’t help but praise God for each of our students.

The room was filled with about 2500 kids. Each of the five chapters here in Tana had their kids wearing a different color of ribbon from the wordless book around their neck. Hasina’s and my kids were wearing black ribbons. CEF workers lined the bottom of the bleachers, holding visuals. We got to the invitation at the end of the Bible lesson and they were asked to raise their hands if they were ready to accept Jesus, then led in a prayer. I watched as a parents who had come with one of our schools raised her hand, along with many other hands all over the gym. Her lips moved as she prayed, accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Right then and there I wanted to cry as I realized that all the traffic and bus issues didn’t matter at all. God was still at work. This was worth everything.


Not only was there a club for the kids, but people stood up and shared their stories of how God was using CEF in their schools, in their lives and in the lives of their children. To wrap up, the children who traveled from regions outside of Tana put on a short program.

Here are some of the CYIA students from Ranomafana along with some GNC kids!

Afterwards, as the children filed out, the teachers and principals of our schools stopped to talk to me. They were all smiles. They went on and on about how wonderful it had all been, and about how excited they were about CEF. Two of them said excitedly, “this is amazing! Whenever you put on anything we will be here. And if we can’t be here to support you, we will send others to go for us.” Then today, Monday, we went to their school Christmas party. One of the teachers stood up infront of the parents and explained how excited she was about CEF and how amazing Saturday had been. She retold a testimony from a principal who had shared, saying she couldn’t stop thinking about what he had said.

After the Chrismas Party Club wrapped up, the kids had left and we had cleaned up, we were all starting to think of going home, but there weren’t any buses heading back toward the south where my friends and I live. But we didn’t walk home. We hitched a ride in the back of a covered pick-up truck that was taking supplies back to Pastor D’s house and just happened to have room for the seven of us. Isn’t God amazing??

Today, as I walked home, I knew that despite all that had happened with traffic, buses, and road closures, God had worked in the lives of those who had come. And isn’t that what the day was all about anyway? Best of all, there is no way to explain this event other than that it was truly a God thing! Only He could have brought it all together!


October Newsletter

Meet the Teens

Veronique: Last year, Veronique attended Christian Youth in Action® for the first time. She struggled and was scared to teach the kids. But after CYIA, she told me she wanted to be a missionary like me. This year, she was back but things were very different. She did an amazing job teaching, she spoke with enthusiasm and was very animated as she taught. She stayed up late the night before she was to teach the missionary story working on the story and all during practice time the next morning, she prepared diligently. But when she got up to do a demo for her team, she couldn’t get through the story and ended up crying. During lunch I worked with her on the story. After talking to her supervisor, we decided to give her a choice whether or not she would teach or let her supervisor do it. We saw she had worked very hard and we didn’t want it to be a bad experience at club. She chose to do it. The reason she had worked so hard was because of how much she wanted to teach and she wasn’t looking for a way out. Her supervisor excitedly shared with me after club that she had told the story so well, she got the children involved, told the story in an engaging way and even would put down the book to act things out. She learned that day that as she worked hard, God would help her and speak through her. The CEF director told me later she had seen that Veronique had written in a school paper that she wanted to be a missionary.

Ismael and Setra: Both of these boys’ mothers’ told us that since CYIA last year, they were different. They are now good examples to their younger sisters and brothers and help around the house. That is what CYIA is all about. It’s not just about training teens teach 5-Day Clubs, it’s also about helping them grow in their walk with God and become good examples to the kids they teach.

Malala: Although Malala is quiet and reserved, she doesn’t let that stop her from teaching 5-Day Clubs. One day after clubs, we all walked up to her house because she lives up on one of the mountains surrounding the village and from her house you can see for forever. The front of the house was hardly wider than my arm span and the peak of the roof was hardly taller than me. Nine people live in her house. She literally has nothing, and yet has everything because she loves God’s and is ready to serve Him, even if it means doing things that are outside of her comfort zone. The next morning, she came to Henriette’s house carrying an arm load of gifts: A tall stalk of sugar cane and a backpack full of mangahazo. As she shyly presented her gifts to us, I wanted to cry. How could she, having seemingly nothing, still give us so much? Then and there I thanked God for her and the example she had given me of true generosity, and asked Him to give me a  heart like hers.

The Staff Behind the Teens 
      One by one, the teens stood up and introduced themselves on the first day of Christian Youth in Action. Each of them stated their name and who their Good News Club® teacher was. Behind each teen who comes to CYIA, there is a GNC teacher who has been pouring into their life.
Harline: Harline is our CEF education director and also works with the Northern Antananarivo chapter. After the first day of CYIA, she was telling me how excited she was because the teens had been coming to her Good News Clubs since they were small, and now here they were, learning to teach kids themselves. Harline’s daughter was one of the CYIA students. She is only 13, but does an outstanding job teaching. I know that the fact that this amazing 13 year old loves and serves God, following in her mother’s footsteps, is a testimony of Harline’s love for God and how well she has served Him, not just in being busy with the work of CEF, but in raising her children to love and serve God too.
Henriette: Henriette lives in Ranomafana, a small town in the middle of the rainforest. Last year she told me how excited she was about CYIA because she was getting older and knew she wouldn’t be able to continue reaching the children forever, but in her words, the teens are the hope of CEF in Ranomafana. Last year during CYIA, I watched as she poured into those teens. She did nothing half way. She raised all the money needed for CYIA and wouldn’t accept any money from me. She did fun things with the teens after clubs, like showing them how to make bread wrapped in leaves. She told me she was happy I was there because the teens needed someone to look up to; someone young. But after just the first day I knew the teens looked up to her and loved her, it didn’t matter how old she was. They saw how much she loved them and they loved her right back. Those teens work so hard, love God with all their hearts and passionately serve Him. It’s not because of CYIA or the white girl who comes once a year It’s because of Henriette, her deep love for God, and how much she has poured into their lives. This year, every single one of the students from last year was back, including three new students.
The reason there is such a great group of CYIA students here in Madagascar is the many CEF workers here, who like Harline and Henriette, pour into the lives of their GNC kids.
Miarinzato may only be 11, but she is an amazing teacher. Her enthusiasm during training, prep time, club and whatever it is that she is doing is contagious.

Landry, Rinoh and I were blessed to get to spend a week and half in Ranomafana for CYIA, serving alongside Henriette.

Harline, Seheno and Lalasoa prepared lunch for all of us each day and even prepared a huge feast on the last day of CYIA to celebrate.

24 teens attended the Southern/Western Antananarivo CYIA, 15 in Ranomafana, and 6 for the Northern Antananarvio CYIA.

This club had  about 100 kids, and even the supervisors said they had never seen such a rowdy group of kids with fist fights breaking out randomly among other distractions. The teens did a great job dealing with it and where thrilled to see the children who accepted Jesus change and begin trying to get their friends to be quiet so they could hear the lesson.
Fun Fact:  Almost half of the world's chameleons (about 60 different species) are found only in Madagascar.
Prayer Requests:
Pray that the Christian Youth in Action® teens will continue growing in their walk with God during the school year.
Pray for the Good News Clubs that are starting up and for the children who will be attending.
Pray that me and the CEF workers here will serve God whole heartedly out of our love for Him and grow to become more like Him each day.
Praise Reports:
Praise God for the teens who attended Christian Youth in Action this year, and the new CYIA that started in Northern Antananarivo.
Praise God for each of the children who attended 5-Day Club and those who accepted Jesus.