Dear Friends,

We so are thankful to be home and reunited with our four precious girls. We arrived safely on Monday evening (8/21). We had so many experiences that we'd love to share with you, so our desire is to send out a separate newsletter for each of the various places we ministered in and visited. For now, we just wanted to send a quick note and share our hearts with you. We are excited to show you a bit more of what life and ministry would look like in Madagascar in future letters. Thank you for your continuous prayers for us during this trip.

Scroll down for more pics and a note from each of us.
Excited to wear their new Malagasy dresses
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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.

Matthew 10:37-39
“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.”

Matthew 19:27-30
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,
David Ellingson
So happy to have daddy home

A Note from Ashley:

I am so thankful for God's abundant faithfulness to us this summer. To say that taking this trip was "a bit scary" or that "I was nervous" would be an understatement. Looking back though, I am so glad that I took this step of faith. God used this trip to draw me closer to Himself through prayer and learning to trust Him more than ever.

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

God did far more abundantly beyond all that we asked for. God showed me His power to provide, to sustain, and to answer prayers in every aspect. This trip was humbling from the moment we began to plan and prepare, to the time we landed back in L.A. I am humbled because of God's grace, your overflowing support, and the gratitude of those we ministered to.

As soon as we got home, life was back to being full and busy. It was a joyous reunion to be back together with our daughters. The girls and I needed to start our homeschool routine right away, so there was little time to rest. David began classes the very next morning. Since being home, my heart and mind are still processing and pondering all that took place. Our trip was like traveling to another world completely. The experiences and people I encountered are constantly in my thoughts.

We look forward to sharing more about all that took place, but for now, I simply want to say "thank you" once again. I can't tell you how many times on the trip I had peace because I knew we were being prayed for.

For Christ's glory alone,
First seconds back together after 3 weeks apart

Praise Report:

  • We praise God for keeping our little girls safe, healthy, and happy while we were gone and reuniting our family.
  • We praise God for the work He is doing in our hearts in and through this trip.
  • We praise God for all of you supporting us through prayer, financial gifts, and caring for our girls.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for David's last year of seminary, especially for much growth and equipping this final year.
  • Pray for wisdom and patience for Ashley as she homeschools and cares for the family.
  • Pray for Ashley as she works towards meeting the requirements for a Biblical Counseling Certification.
  • Pray for God to bring clarity and direction for us for future ministry.
  • Pray for the other Madagascar team families: the Ravoahangys and the Nelsons.
  • Pray for God to strengthen the churches in Madagascar.

Faly's Ministry Blog:

We also wanted to let you know to checkout the ministry blog maintained by Faly. This has some pictures, video, and updates from each part of this trip:
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