Winter Newsletter: Toilet Paper and Ponchos

Toilet Paper and Ponchos
    Knowing that I would be back in the States in mid-December through the beginning of July for furlough, I used the last few months to try to prepare myself for the culture shock that was sure to come. And while the change has been going fairly well these last two weeks, there have been a few bumps in the road. Seeing toilet paper in a public restroom still totally throws me off. That is definitely a luxury we don’t have in Madagascar. Or there was the time I went shopping with my sisters and we walked by a display of Christmas tree skirts that, in my defense, looked an awful lot like ponchos and I said, “Aw, can’t you see Kelsie wearing that?” And Christa looked at me funny and replied, “Tara, we are in America; those are Christmas tree skirts, not ponchos” then burst into laughter. And while I already can’t wait to go back home, I am totally enjoying the time with my family and can’t wait to see all of you! Be sure to give me a call or send an email so we can find a time to see each other and catch up! I am also available to speak at small groups and churches.
One of my favorite parts about being back in the States so far has been hanging out with all of my siblings and meeting my new sister and brother. Six is just so much more fun than four!
Followers of Jesus
    Princia and her friends skipped along beside me as we left Good News Club. They chattered excitedly as we walked. “So, we get to do that EVERY Wednesday? It is so much fun learning about God! Why is it just an hour? That is too short, we should make it two hours.” As I listened to their chatter, I couldn’t help but smile. They were new to the school and it had been their first-ever Good News Club. When I gave the invitation, their hands had shot up and stayed up, waving excitedly, even after I told the kids to put their hands down and look up. Then, after explaining that if they had raised their hand to show they wanted to believe in Jesus, that they could stay after club, they reminded me about it the rest of the club. “Zoky Tara, we stay after club, right? Where did you say we should meet you after club? Don’t forget, I want to believe in Jesus afterwards.” And when the end of club rolled around that day, they accepted Jesus as their Savior. And every Wednesday for one hour, in that public school in Madagascar, these precious girls and their classmates learn how to become whole-hearted followers of Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than that!
  Students lining up outside their classrooms at the beginning of the day. At this school, we have    
        Good News Clubs in every grade, preschool through eighth grade over a two-day period.

  It used to be that I could either teach my class or manage it, but not both. Then a few months ago, I realized that I was doing both. It is amazing to have language skills that allow you to teach the class and simultaneously be moving around the room, giving certain little guys the “teacher eye,” putting your hand on them or making eye contact and shaking your head no. Who knew that requires multi-tasking skills??

Even though we didn’t get a white Christmas, it was great going to the Christmas Eve service at my church and spending time with family.


My parents, all the siblings and I went on a tour of the Christmas lights at the Coeur D’ Alene Resort. It was very, very cold, especially coming off a tropical island, but lots of fun!


I Would Like to Introduce You to...
     The big question that has been running through my mind lately is, How do I structure the Christian Youth in Action program in Madagascar so that it lives on long after I am gone? As I have prayed about this issue, the answer seems to be creating not only a leadership team among the CYIA students—students who have the potential to eventually help with training—but also getting together a teaching team who will travel with me and train the students. The idea is that they will eventually take over the leadership of Christian Youth in Action. After praying and searching for a teaching team who is passionate about working with teens and has a heart to reach the children of Madagascar, God pointed out Nirina, Rinoh, Landry and Hasina. And while they are all young, their passion for the ministry and heart for God makes them the perfect team. I met three of the four in 2006 when I went to Madagascar on a summer mission trip. It is crazy to think that even as we were teaching 5-Day Clubs together seven years ago, God was placing us together for a reason. Each of them has grown up in Pastor Diavolana’s Good News Club, has taught 5-Day Clubs for years and loves God with all his/her heart.
I can’t wait to see how God uses the CYIA teaching team to train teens and reach children throughout Madagascar! Please be praying that their passion for the ministry of CYIA will continue to grow and that they will be whole-hearted followers of Jesus!

Prayer Requests:
Pray for me as I work on raising support during furlough.
Pray for the Christian Youth In Action® teaching team, that they will follow God whole- heartedly and be diligent in preparing for CYIA.
Pray for the children who have accepted Jesus at Good News Clubs this year—that they will become whole-hearted followers of Jesus.

Praise Reports:
Praise God for each of the Good News Club® children who have accepted Jesus as their Savior so far this school year.
Praise God for the CYIA teaching team and how He is and will use them to reach children in Madagascar.