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. 


1 comment:

Domoina said...

Thank you Tara for your heart. We as Malagasy we are blessed. Misaotra betsaka.