O Christmas Tree

Christmas is coming, though being hot and sticky all the time and my pealing sunburn seems to be telling me differently. Reguardless, the approach of Christmas has brought up some fun stories and contemplation.

A few weeks back I was piled into the back row of a van along with several of the teens as we drove to the waterfall with students who where here for training. On the top of a distant hill I saw what I thought looked almost like an orchard. Wanting to know what kind of trees they were I pointed them out and asked the teen next to me, "What is growing on top of that hill?" He answered with a word I didn't recognize. Still thinking along the lines of an orchard, my next question was, "Can you eat it?" (I have been perfecting the art of asking questions to find out things I want to know) He gave me a weird look and then everyone within hearing started laughing. He carefully pronounced the word again, and when met with my blank stare, the girl next to him carefully said, "Christmas tree." My question was repeated through out the day and brought lots of laughter. And the question remains, can you eat a Christmas? Who knows...

Standing on the landing of the Alpha School with several of the students, we began discussing Christmas and they were asking about Christmas in America. I told them a little about it and said I was still waiting for the snow here because Christmas without snow just isn't ok. One of the students, with a big grin, said, "oh we have snow!" And pointed to the white fluffy clouds floating across and bright blue sky. "It stays up in the sky here." I am now my hopeful then ever that there will be snow for Christmas even if I do wear the coolest outfit I have for church and sweat the whole day. :)

The approach of the holiday season has not only brought about fun stories but contemplation. On Black Friday I was squeezed into the taxi be on my way to work with Haja on Malagasy. Looking out the window I saw everyone going about their lives as usual. Women sat by veggie stands on the side of the road. Men walked by pulling impossibly large loads on carts behind them. Children carried stacks of bricks on their heads. I thought of the crowds of people that I knew would be waiting outside stores in America waiting to crowd in and buy more stuff when they already had more then anyone here would ever even dream about. What does it look like to have "enough?" How can my two worlds, the one I grew up in and the one I now live in be so different? If only...if only those in America could see what I see everyday. If only the Malagasy people had enough. But then, what is enough?

One of names for God that I have always loved is Emmanuel. God with us. Each Christmas (and many times through out the year) I think back to a series of sermons at my church a few years back entitled 'He stooped to make us great.' It has always amazed me that Jesus was willing to come to earth for us. This year more then ever I can't seem to wrap my mind around the idea that Jesus left Heaven, came down here, and became one of us. Not because He had to but for love. For us. I am thankful for His example of sacrifical love more then ever this Christmas. This Christmas will most definately different then any Christmas I have had before, but one thing is for sure. More then ever before I will be celebrating Andriamanitra amsika! (God with us)


More First's

The trainings, Instructors Of Teachers II and Teaching Children Effectively II, completed, the teens and I stood staring at all the tables we had just maneuvered down the twisting staircase of the three story training location. Now to get the tables back to Pastor D's house, preferably in a timely fashion. The boys began hoisting the tables up and placing them on the girl's heads. Remembering back to 2006 and the attempt at trying to carry water on my head (which was a complete and hylarious failure), I decided it was time to try again. Hestitantly and with laughter, Tojo lifted up a table and placed it on my head. To my great surprise, and the surprise of everyone around, I was able to get to Pastor D's without even so much as a close call. I think you could almost use the word graceful. :)
Bright and early the next morning the CEF of Madagascar staff conference began. Staff conferences in WA had always been fun and I was hoping this one would turn out the same. About 30 CEF staff from all over the country were there (all Malagasy except one couple from South Africa). For two days, from 8 in the morning until 8 at night the meetings continued. Sitting and listening to Malagasy all day was a great opportunity for listening practice. I was surprised how much I was able to follow. Pastor D gave me the opportunity to share about CYIA. The staff seemed excited to see CYIA come here. I most enjoyed getting to know all the staff and the opportunity to practice my Malagasy with new people. They teased me endlessly when my fear of large cockroaches became known. I even got to participate in my first Malagasy skit. Thankfully, my group was assigned the story of Lazarus. It was unanomously decided that I should be Lazarus who was dead most of the time, didn't have any lines, and only had to come out of the grave when called. :)
As I continue learning the language and the culture, I am thankful for each new adventure.  Thank you for praying for me!


My World Through the Eyes of Another

As Janet and I walked around the city, she snapped pictures like crazy. I was taken back in time to when I first arrived and everything was new and different; picture worth. Pausing along the way as Janet took another picture; I realized that this was now my world. I couldn’t even imagine having to return to the USA and leaving behind this country. These people, even the ones I just pass along the street, have touched my heart in a way I can’t describe except to say that God is working in my heart to make my heart’s desire match His. I am so thankful for each of you who support me through financial support and prayer. Since you are having such a big impact in my world, I thought you might want to catch of glimpse of what it looks like.

The name of the city nearest mine is written across the hill behind my house.

Rush hour traffic includes not just cars and taxis but cows and carts of all sorts as well. It is completely normal to be dodging cows also on their way home as I walk from Pastor D's house to the taxi stop in the evenings.

This is the beautiful captial city of Antananarivo, which is where I live.

This man is waiting for a taxi be with a bunch of baskets. The baskets will be sold and then are often filled with vegetables, produce, ducks or chickens that are being taken to market. The people carry these baskets on their heads.

This is one of the fruit stands where I often buy fruit.

This man pulls a cart around delivering various goods to different locations. These carts are often piled high and several men pull/push them.

This is the market closest to my house where I often buy vegetables. The people who run the stands are used to my halting Malagasy and have alot of fun talking (or trying to...) to me. :)
 Thank you for investing your resources into this beautiful world that God has called us to.


What Does a Cow Say?

What does a cow say?? The question brings memories flooding back. A little red toy barn complete with a set of farm animals. When you opened the door there was the sound of a cow, ‘moo!’ I remember the times I was suppose to be taking a nap in my room and played with my farm instead, trying to stifle the ‘moo’ as I opened the door to let the animals out of the barn so mom wouldn’t hear. (Yes, mom, I did that….) Or there was the toy that had a wheel you spun and correctly matched the sound it made with the animal. ‘Moo!’ said the cow. For the last 26 years cows have always said ‘moo,’ whether they were real or just toys. Cows don’t ‘moo’ anymore. They ‘maa.’ “Cows don’t even say ‘moo’ here!!” I found myself retorting when discovering this fact.
I have been slowly learning that everything here is different then the world I grew up in.  Cows don’t say ‘moo.’ When you get hurt you don’t say ‘ouch.’ The appropriate response is ‘ahy!’ (that’s right, just like a pirate!!) Instead of haha, you say heyhey, and the list goes on. Learning a whole new way of looking at the world and responding to it often feels like an uphill battle. Many days I find myself going to bed wondering if I made any progress that day. Was I any more ‘Malagasy’ today then I was yesterday? Is my vocabulary any bigger? Did I understand more? Could I participate more?
This last week was an eye opener. Janet Walker arrived on Wednesday. She will be helping to teach an Instructor of Teachers 2 training here this month. I figured I would be thrilled to death being free to speak English with another native speaker. I thought I’d love meeting the other English trainers and trainees. To my great shock, it was just the opposite. I was far more comfortable just hanging out with the Malagasy family who I have grown to love and who accept me despite the color of my skin and the plethora of cultural and language blunders I make. I found myself talking to the English speakers in Malagasy by accident. Given the choice, I preferred to be with my Malagasy family and speak Malagasy rather then speak English and try to fit back into the culture I left behind. Today I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a little more Malagasy today then I was yesterday. My vocabulary is a little bigger. I understood and was able to participate a little bit more. Even though I am still working at learning the culture and the language, and far from being fluent at either, I must confess it brought a smile to my face to hear on several occasions my Malagasy family tell one of the English speakers, “She’s Malagasy.”
Janet arrived with a few free days before the training started, so on Friday, several of the boys and I took her to the zoo.



On Monday evening I answered a knock at my door.  One of the teens had stopped by with a basket that was pinned closed. Inside was a new addition to my house. When the basket was opened, a little gray/brown tabby kitten crawled out. There hasn’t been a dull moment here since. He has endless energy and is either busy getting into everything imaginable or he is sleeping on someone’s lap. His favorite antic so far has been climbing up anyone’s pants who is cooking or doing the dishes to get a good view. He digs his claws in and just hangs there watching what is going on. His name is Sangy, which means messing around in Malagasy. J
Last night a few of the boys came over to meet him. We went to the market to get veggies and some meat for dinner. At the first market, we couldn’t get the meat we wanted so we walked to a different one. On the way, one of the boys mentioned that we needed to find some meat because we have Sangy. I thought he said if we couldn’t find any meat then at least we have Sangy….like to eat…. After my horrified reaction, thankfully, we got the miscommunication straightened out. J


More Then Just a Song

Have you ever worshiped God in a language that wasn’t even your own?  I don’t mean have you sung a song about God in another language. I mean have you ever connected with God, spilling out your heart in a language other then your own?
In the often crazy world of going through the process of learning a new culture and language, God has been reminding me over and over to cling to Him and run to Him. He alone is more then able to hold my world in His hands. Isaiah 40 and Psalm 90 are favorite chapters that get read often.
A few of the teens came over last night and we begin discussing music, and the fact that I really need to work on learning some songs…more then just the songs we sing with the kid. As I enjoyed having an actual conversation in Malagasy, I asked them to write the words to a song they often sing at Bible Study on Sunday nights since it isn’t in my hymn book and I love the tune. I figured I would learn a few new words and be able to sing along next time they sing it. My plan was to have them write the words so that I could ask Haja the meaning the next day. Sitting down together, I decided to ask them about the meaning of one of the words, since they know some English. To my great thrill, they explained the meaning of each of the words I didn’t know to me in Malagasy, and the exciting part was that I understood! Even more amazing was the meaning behind the song. It talks about God being our dwelling place forever, our shelter during storms, and how he carries us. The end of the song professes trust in God and a declaration to live under His shelter forever. It was truly a God thing as we sat there discussing this amazing song that was an expression of what God had been doing in my heart. Being able to sing from my heart to God in this language that each day I strain to learn and comprehend, made me fall in love with Malagasy all over again and increased my desire that this beautiful language becomes my heart language.
They let me record them singing it so that I can practice and learn it by heart. What amazing kids. J I wish you could hear it and sing it along with me, but I figure you might at least like to see what it looks like.
Efa fonenanay hatrizay hatrizay ianao Tompo o
Fialofanay amin’ oram-pahavanatra ianao
Fan a inona hiseho sy izay ho entin’ny hapitso
Efa fonenanay hatrizay hatrizay ianao hatrizay ka hatramin’ izao

                Tompo o matoky anao foana aho
                Mialoka aminao foana aho
                Efa fonenanay ianao hatrizay ka hatramin’izao



I used to think I was pretty decent at playing the game Taboo. A group of people are divided into two teams, and people from the teams go back and forth drawing cards and trying to get the other members of their team to say the word on the card but they can’t say four or five words that are listed on the card that would usually be used to describe the word. Basically you have to be creative with how you explain the word and talk fast.
Madagascar has taken Taboo to a whole new level. So you don’t know a word, no problem. You just need to find a way to describe it using words you do know. For example, as it is becoming warm outside, I often take advantage of the sun rays in an attempt work on the tan, so that I don’t feel like I glow quite so much. No one seems to understand why I am sitting in the sun, and as they cower in the shade, they often ask why are you sitting in the sun?? Aren’t you hot?? Is there a word for ‘tanning’ in Malagasy? I’m not sure, but if there is I don’t know it. So my response is, “Mila maka loko aho” (I need to get some color). This always makes everyone laugh, and some people even offer to trade skin colors with me. I still haven’t learned the word for tanning, but “Mila maka loko” has become common knowledge and they even use it to explain to others why I am sitting in the sun.
Next time I play Taboo with you, I am pretty sure I’ll beat your socks off, unless of course you are another missionary in a similar situation…then game on!


The Latest News Headlines

The New Visa has Arrived!
The new five year visa has arrived! After putting in the application, it was done within days. Thank you so much for your prayers, it was definitely a God thing since I have heard many stories of people here in Madagascar having a hard time getting a visa.

Sunday School Picnic
On Saturday I went along with about 100 kids and teachers from church on a picnic. We all piled into two vehicles and were on our way. At first I was met with shy smiles, as I haven’t had a chance to get to know any of the kids. As soon as ten of the teens and I started playing a rambunctious game of Uno that all changed. By the end of the day I was constantly surrounded by a crowd of kids who where teaching me Malagasy games and trying to teach me new words. Now whenever I walk through the neighborhood, they call my name and say hello, even if I am on one bridge and they are on another.  The problem is I don’t recognize which of the kids were on the picnic and which ones I am suppose to know, so my solution has been to be extra friendly to all the kids just in case…. J

Is Laughter Good or Bad?
This is the question I am still trying to figure out. Today while working with Haja on Malagasy he couldn’t keep from laughing whenever I said two of the words. I finally asked what in the world I was doing wrong and he explained that my accent when I said those words was just like the accent from the countryside he is from. He assured me this wasn’t a bad thing, but he still couldn’t keep from laughing every time which made me slightly nervous.


Dear Dad and Grandpa,

Remember the many times we went fishing when I was growing up? Then I would watch (or try not to watch…) while you cleaned the fish up at the trailer? Or how bout those times we took video tapes of you guys cleaning the fish? Why did we even do that? Though the videos are hilarious so I guess it was worth it. J
Well, one of my favorite foods here is fish, especially the ones that are fried whole so you can eat the fins and everything. But I realized that I love to eat them but don’t know how to prepare them… So, when a few of the teens came over the other week we bought fish to fry. I decided to ask one of the boys to show me how to prepare them. Sleeves rolled up and equipped with knives, the two of us stood over the sink, the plate of slimy fish staring us down (literally). First I found myself gripping the slimy fish in one hand and using a knife to scrap scales off the fish. I learned that how you hold the knife is very important. After holding it wrong I had fish scales flying all over. Then we were cutting a slit in the bottom of the fish, squeezing out the guts and putting our fingers up the hole to make sure all the guts were out. Trying to appear unfazed, I pulled out strings of guts with my eyes half closed, and trying to keep the horrified looks off my face. Sitting down to eat that night, I couldn’t help but feel a small sense of self satisfaction that I had finally cleaned a fish. I must say, they were some of the most delicious fish I have ever eaten, except of course the ones from Twin Lakes.
Dad and Grandpa, thank you for introducing me to fish early on. All those hours in the boat fishing and cleaning paid off! I am sure I owe all the credit to you that I was able to complete this task with my dignity and appetite still in check at the end. J Thank you for preparing me well for the task God created me for here in Madagascar.
All my love,                             


Ampefy, Madagascar

Lost for words, I stood at the top of the waterfall, watching the water plunge down to a pool far below that was surrounded by greenery and rocks. The only words I could come up with were, “Author! Author!”
I went to Ampefy, Madagascar with the Alpha School students, three of whom are the teens I teach on Saturdays. They all study English at the Alpha School, and I go there to study Malagasy with one of the teachers, Haja. After several hours squeezed into a packed out vehicle, bumping along dusty roads that were far from smooth, we finally arrived. Climbing to the bottom of the waterfall, we were delighted to find that you could feel the mist from the water even from the far side of the pool.
After enjoying the waterfall, we went to some hot springs to eat lunch. The hot springs were beautiful! Pictures can’t do justice, but I thought I would share a few anyway. J
Surrounded by the magnificent beauty of nature, I felt comfortingly small and insignificant. It was a reminder that God is in complete control. That is comforting when surrounded with a new language and putting in a visa application with two weeks left until I need it. How thankful I am He is in control!
                                                                     Lily Waterfall

The bridge across the river made me slightly nervous....

 Claudia, Hasina and Lanto are three of the girls who teach Good News Clubs and 5-Day Clubs. They come over to my house every Wednesday to hang out. They practice their English and I practice my Malagasy. :)

Hot Springs

Haja is my language helper who teaches English at the Alpha School. Tatienne lives with me and has been amazing helping me learn the in's and out's of life here in Madagascar.


5-Day Club

Wait….Did that really just happen?? Did I just understand an entire sentence of the lesson being taught??
Myself, Tatienne and four of the teens went to Tsiroanomandidy to teach two 5-Day Clubs at the end of July. Clubs were a great place to listen to Malagasy, as they are more at my level then adult conversations. The teens were also helpful as they would tell me about the stories they were going to tell on the way to club and teaching me some of the words I would hear. Short conversations with kids at club, comprehension during lessons, being able to have mouthed conversations with the teens from across the room, and laughing with them over a Malagasy conversation was encouraging.
The best part of the week was seeing the kids who came to club and watching God work in their lives and draw many of them to Himself. As I sat in club, I couldn’t believe how blessed we are that God has called us to reach these precious children.
The week was a challenging one as well as a good one. I saw things that broke my heart and things that filled me with anger at what was going on and the lies that the children were being made to believe. I returned to Antananarivo with my eyes opened to the great need for the Gospel here in Madagascar.
                                  One of the teens teaching the Missionary Story at one of the clubs.

These are the children who came to one of our clubs.


Is it possible there is a light at the end of the tunnel??

Could that be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel??
My eyes widen in surprise as I lift the glass to my mouth and suddenly realize that I can read and understand every word of the verse (John 4:14) that is written on it.
Signs inside the taxi be and along the road have started taking on new meaning as, with great joy, I realize I can understand them.
My phone beeps with a Malagasy text message that I am able to respond to in Malagasy. Though, I must say, one of the teens gave me a crash course on Malagasy text lingo that totally went over my head. I am thinking they need to stay away from that for a while yet…. J
I still cringe when my phone rings and it’s someone who doesn’t know English which means I will be floundering for Malagasy words and straining to understand, but I can care on an easy convo!
Children at 5-Day Club excitedly ask me questions when they realize I am learning Malagasy. It was amazing to be able to talk to them in their own language, even if it is just easy questions, which I have been longing to do for years.
When I respond to people at the market and along the road in Malagasy I am met with comments like, “Ah, Malagasy” or “Malagasy Vasa!” (a vasa is a foreigner).
Maneuvering the market by myself for the first time on Friday and buying veggies and meat  by the kilo, pile, and cup was an exciting victory. Word quickly spread from table to table that they needed to give me the prices in Malagasy numbers not French as I moved around the market.
I hold on to the small victories as for each of them there are many frustrations.
One of the boys at club who had a learning disability excitedly ran up, grabbed my hand and began telling me how he had accepted Jesus. How I wanted to be able to understand everything he said and respond to him adequately!
One of the teens will sit down beside me or take my arm as we are out walking and tell me about something that is going on at home or at school or something that makes them sad or scared. In those times, more then ever, I long to fully understand them and talk with them.
Prayer Requests:
Please pray that my comprehension with come quickly when people talk to me. Often they tell me something, and I recognize all the words, but it takes a minute to come up with the meaning for each word and put it all together in my head.
Also pray that I will be able to remember the words I know and figure out how to respond to people quicker. Ten minutes after a convo I realize I could have answered in Malagasy.


How could teaching in English possibly go wrong you ask?

Let me set the scene…. This afternoon I continued teaching the wordless book to the teens with Tatienne interpreting. Arriving at Pastor D’s house, we all assembled downstairs. With 18 teens sitting in a semi circle, I began teaching in English, pausing after each thought for Tatienne to interpret. So far this sounds like it would be safe. I wasn’t planning on spreading any language learning cheer, since I was teaching in English. Wrong. As I began to teach them The Gospel in Motion, I made the sign language letter ‘a’ with my hand while saying, “admit you have sinned.” I was met with horrified looks then everyone (including Tatienne) almost died laughing. Through the laughter (my hand had stopped on the ‘a’ trying to figure out what I had done to cause such a reaction) Tatienne said, “Stop! Stop! That is swearing!” My eyes widened with horror, hand dropping quickly to my side. Trying to regain control of my students I tried to explain amidst the laughter that it was a letter of the alphabet in American Sign Language. Needless to say, I didn’t use the letters ABC when demonstrating in English. We decided it would be best if I used the sign for the letter ‘m’ for all three since all three (admit, believe and  call) begin with ‘m’ in Malagasy. I spread plenty of cheer when I use Malagasy, but this has to be the first time I have spread cheer while using my own native language. Thank goodness no one takes anything I say or do too seriously at this point. J


Heart Beat

Aoka ny foko sy ny fonao
Hiara-mitempo tena iray….
The words, sung to the tune of Blessed Assurance say, let my heart and Your heart beat truly at one. As this has become my prayer each day, I see God’s heart beat all around me.
Laughing and chattering, groups of children in tattered clothing played below. From my vantage point on the roof of a neighboring building, I watched the children in the school court yard. Ropes were being swung as the girls gathered in groups to jump rope. Boys wrestled each other to the ground. Some raced around while others stood in circles talking. ‘Did any of them know of my Savior?’ I wondered. Would they ever get to hear? Where were the people God had called to reach these precious little ones? Maybe they themselves hadn’t heard yet….  
Two boys probably 8 and 10 slid in next to me on the taxi. Pressed up against me they wordlessly rode along holding tattered backpacks with broken zippers. I felt my heart breaking in two as I looked into their faces. My smile faded as it went unreturned, met with two sets of serious dark eyes. What did God have in mind for them when he created these beautiful little boys? Did they know that they were loved and infinitely special to God the Creator? Did they know that Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to become one of them? Did they know He sacrificed His life to purchase them? Would they ever get to hear?
These experiences have become daily occurrences that I gladly welcome as, caught up in language learning, I do not want to loose sight of God’s heart for the Malagasy children.


Akanjo or Akondro?

“Nividy akanjo kilo saseny aho,” I proudly announced to those around me. My attempt to use some new words and tell everyone I bought a half kilo of bananas immediately resulted in much laughter and shouts of, “no! no!” As I stopped to contemplate what went wrong I realized that I said akanjo, which is clothes instead of akondro which is bananas. Oh the joys of language learning! Currently I work with my language helper, Hoga, eight hours per week. Please pray that I will be able to get in another eight hours per week.
                On Sunday the children and youth group at church put on a performance. It was so much fun to watch them sing and dance! They are so cute and talented. For the last song they had the audience stand up, and everyone was clapping and dancing along. Before I knew what was happening, the pastor’s wife, who is a little older lady in her 70’s had grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. Imeadiately all eyes were on me and the pastor was motioning for me to come up on stage with everyone, thankfully his wife wasn’t about to let go of me. J While is was awkward, I found out that dancing along is a great way to make new friends!

                On Saturdays I teach a training class to about 16 of the teens here. I am going through the Christian Youth in Action training material with them to give it a trial run here in Madagascar before we actually do it with students who are unfamiliar with the wordless book and teaching children. They give me input after the lessons on what we could change to make it work better here. I am using interactive lessons that involve the teens in the learning process that Nancy Paulson put together for CYIA in WA. In WA they teach the teens the Gospel in Motion, which helps them remember the main points of the wordless book with hand motions put to the points. On Saturday I introduced it to the teens here. Now my project this week is to learn it in Malagasy so that on Saturday I can do it with them. J I made my poor language helper say is over and over again to me then listen to me butcher it over and over again yesterday…the practice is paying off though and I am pretty sure Hoga can say it in his sleep now.
A group of the teens work together during class.

The Gospel in Motion

The teens practiced the first page of the wordless book with each other during class.


Tips for Riding the Taxi Be (Bay)

Just incase any of you are planning on taking the taxi be anywhere tomorrow, I thought I would give you a few hints that I have learned over the past four weeks to make your ride a little more comfortable.

1. If you are fortunate enough to have your choice of seats there are a few things you need to look for.
     a. If the seat is over a wheel, leg room is almost non exsistant. Choose a seat that is not over a wheel.
     b. If the window is open, be aware that it might be stuck that way. Choose a seat that is not by an 
        open window unless it is hot and you don't mind windblown hair.
     c. If at all possible sit as far towards the back as possible. This way you can't see out the windshield and
        are spared be scared to death as you weave in and out and around traffic.
2. If you are getting on a crowded taxi be, know that taking your jacket off or putting it on once you are
    inside is impossible. Do this before entering the vehicle.
3. Never take more with you then you are able and/or willing to hold on your lap.
4. Don't bother looking for a seat belt. There are enough other passangers riding with you that you are snugg
   and secure. No need to worry. :) (today I was one of 40 passengers on a taxi be that had 24 seats)
5. The numbers on the front of the taxi be do matter. Be sure you get on the right number to get where you
   want to go.
6. All taxi be's go to Pastor D's house. No need to check the number as long as you are coming from my
   town. :)

I hope after these tips come in handy next time you take the taxi be!


Home Sweet Home

The last few weeks have been busy with learning the ropes of life here in Madagscar. This is the downstairs floor of the house I am renting.

On Tuesday I got a washing machine!! Isn't it beautiful and shiney?? I tested it out and it works great. :)

This is my stove, oven and microwave. You wouldn't believe how much you can do with it!

This is my refrigerator and kitchen cupboard. Everything is labeled with little white cards so I learn the Malagasy words for everything. :)

Thank you for praying for me and your support. It is exciting to begin the next step of this journey.


Trip Update

The day got off to a great start yesterday as my sister (Kelsie) and I got a few of the lasts seats on a plane to Seattle where she lives and where I was flying out of. The plane we were going to take got canceled. The Seattle airport worked out great and the flight left on time. However, there is one thing that I should mention. If you are planning on running around the airport with luggage that weighs more then you do, please get one of those carts to put it all on. Hopefully I'll be smart enough to follow my own advice next time. ;) I don't remember much about the flight out of Seattle to New York, it was the perfect opportunity to get some sleep. Upon arriving in New York I found out our plane to South Africa got delayed 12 hours. Currently I am sitting in a hotel room provided by the airline awaiting my flight out at midnight. I will arrive in Madagascar on June 2nd now instead of on the 1st. (if all goes according to the plan here) Traveling is always so much fun. :)


Up, up and away!

The day has finally come!! After getting all the loose ends wrapped up, finishing school, and packing, I am flying out today!! I fly to New York, South Africa, then Madagascar. On June 1st (around 12pm their time) I will land in Madagascar and language learning will begin. :) Thank you for praying for me and your faithful support.


Plane Tickets and a Visa

On May 30th I will be heading to Madagascar! It is exciting, and scary, to have plane tickets and my visa. On one hand, I can't wait to be there, jump into the culture, learn the language and work with the Malagasy children and teens. But on the other side, being away from Madagascar for three years makes it easy to forget why I am doing what I am doing and just focus on everything I will be leaving behind. As I pack and tie up loose ends in these last 26 days, I am praying that God will renew my passion for the work he has called me to each day so that when departure day rolls around I will be nothing but excited as I board the plane, looking forward to what is ahead.

                                                      My visa!                                                                  


Missionary Training School

Yesterday I got back from a week at CEF headquarters in Warrenton, MO. It was wonderful to finish all my training and spend time with three friends who are also heading overseas in the next few months. On Wednesday we each got the privilege of raising our country's flag and praying for our country. Each week different flags are raised in the international plaza that represent the countries CEF is in and target countries.

My prayer partner from headquarters and I raised the Malagasy flag.

   Ashley is heading to Honduras. Chelsey is going to Burkina Faso. Nadine is going to Taiwan

All our flags were flying at the international plaza.


Language Training

The first few weeks in Colorado were filled with learning non English sounds and becoming aware of what my mouth and tongue were doing as we practiced drills. We also spent time listening to sounds and identifying them. After going over the Malagasy phonetics chart with one of the instructors, I realized I have alot to work on since I can't even make some of the sounds...yet. :) We also learned how to work with a language helper. I got to practice doing activities with a German language helper. It was alot of fun and there was plenty to laugh about. I'm really happy I don't have to learn German. :) I can't wait to begin working with Malagasy language helpers when I get to Madagascar!

These are some of the classmates in my drill group. During drills we
spent alot of time looking in little mirror and watching our mouths
and tongues as we imitated the sounds our drill instructors made.

We spent some time exploring Colorado on the weekend. My favorite place so far is Garden of the Gods.


Children's Ministry Conference

Today I will be driving from Spokane to Longview to teach several sessions at a Children's Ministry Conference tomorrow. It is put on by CEF of Longview. I am looking forward to the opportunity to teach. During one of the sessions I will be sharing about CEF of Madagascar. Please pray that I will be able to effectively teach and that God will use this conference to challenge those attending to reach children both in Washington and in Madagascar.


Heart for Missions

One of the Good News Club teachers here in Washington shared a precious story with me. The kids at this club have been praying for me and take an offering each week. The teacher said, "At one of our Good News Clubs in December, during our missionary time, it was time to take the offering. A little girl disappeared briefly and came walking back in with a big smile on her face and a piggy bank in her hands. She walked to the front seat and sat down. Some of her friends gathered around her as she proceeded to empty her piggy bank into the offering plate. Here is a picture." As I pray that the last 5% of my support will come in by the end of the month, I am amazed how God even uses children to answer my prayers. I know God has wonderful plans for this little girl's life. Her heart for missions is humbling.