A Note from David:
What a joy it was to be back together as a family! Our girls did so well while staying with both sets of their grandparents in Tucson, Arizona. We thank the Lord for wonderful parents and for all of you who so diligently prayed for our kids while we were away so long. Ashley did so well too, even though we both missed the kiddos. God answered all of our prayers!
Our trip to Madagascar was amazing. It was both better than we expected and harder than we expected. You may wonder how those two feelings can coexist, so let me explain.
Harder than we expected
Daily life in Madagascar was challenging and in many ways, Ashley and I felt like fish out of water. The environment was largely foreign to us and at times overwhelming. Most of what was "normal" in Madagascar was not normal in the States. The roads, the buildings, the stores, the traffic, the bathrooms, the food, the smells, the homes, the poverty, the transportation, the bugs, and the culture were all very different. So many things that we take for granted in the U.S. (like running water, toilets, toilet paper, electricity, etc.) were not readily available in many places. It was also clear that as white foreigners we would stand out a lot! It was honestly hard to picture living there with my wife and four blonde girls. We came back with a greater appreciation for the simple things we often forget to be grateful for.
Better than we expected
Many things in Madagascar were different, but, one thing that was the same was the experience of an immediate bond with those who also loved our Lord Jesus Christ. The highlight of our trip was ministering to and worshiping alongside the Christians we met. Many were willing to endure great hardships and expense just to have the opportunity to hear the Word of God faithfully explained. Their hunger for Scripture was humbling. It spurred us on to take greater advantage of the wealth of biblical teaching we have at our fingertips. What a joy it was to minister in a context where people are so hungry for truth!
This trip not only confirmed the hunger these Christians had for biblical teaching, but the urgent need for it. It was clear to the whole team that these churches needed to bolster their biblical convictions and solidify their grasp of sound theology. It was encouraging that they also saw their need and even urged us to return to provide further instruction.
In summary, the ministry in Madagascar was amazing, but life in Madagascar would likely be challenging for our family. Since we have returned, we have been praying and seeking the wisdom, advice, and prayers of others, including missionaries and our elders.
Considering the Lordship of Christ over all things, especially our own lives, we have recently been meditating on these passages.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “[...] everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.”
For the Glory and Worship of Christ,