Archive for the ‘Preparations’Category

An Early Departure

IMG_8279Just before church Wednesday night, we learned of a possible schedule conflict that would cause Daniel to miss his flight from South Africa to Madagascar. After a few phone calls to my sister following the service, we had the flight rescheduled for Thursday evening, instead of Friday evening. Ah, the adrenaline rush!

It was neat to see how God arranged our planning ahead of time so that we had taken care of most of the important details ahead of time. Details even down to Daniel’s choice to wash the car, change the oil, and cut the grass on Wednesday instead of Thursday; details that included Daniel’s preparation of collecting all the items he’d be taking with him and the shipped in items for some missionaries there. We had reserved Thursday to spend some time together as a family, and planned to spend time just enjoying our last day together. But God had other plans, and we had a wonderful trip down to Atlanta and the airport, in spite an earlier departure than we had originally planned.


Flying standby can have disadvantages, but it also comes with a few perks. For Daniel, it meant a discounted ticket, and a last-minute move to first class. :) I’m praying he’ll be able to have a physically refreshing and spiritually profitable trip, as much as a 15-hour flight can be. We are so thankful for all the help that my sister Kelly and here husband Erik have been in helping us arrange our flights with Delta!


As I write, Daniel is now in the air and should be arriving tomorrow evening in South Africa, Lord willing. We would appreciate your prayers as we are one step closer to what we believe will be a crucial step in discerning where in Madagscar God would eventually have us begin our ministry. We are thankful for the great encouragement we have had from so many praying friends and family, and now covet your prayer more than ever. Hana Kate and I would also appreciate prayer for God’s grace and strength while our daddy and beloved husband are away.


Our pastor has been recently preaching on prayer preceding our Wednesday night prayer time, and preached a couple of weeks ago on perservering prayer. I was personally challenged to return to continuing in prayer for God to open the door for Hana Kate and I to also be able visit Madagascar during this survey trip. God has promised that He will not give his children stones when they ask for bread, or snakes when we ask for fish. But often we give up in our persistent prayer because we assume too quickly that it is not God’s will, when instead God desires our persistence in prayer. For now, though, the bread that God has clearly given to us is for us to be apart, at least for the present. Yet still, I will persist in prayer, knowing all the while that my gracious Father loves to give His children good gifts; and I will persist in accepting His good and perfect gifts as He sovereignly gives..


07 2009

Praying for Safety and Other More Important Things

I promise that this blog won’t consist of merely my quoting from books and biographies. Although most of those guys are better worth your reading time, I will eventually post information about what I’m seeing and learning in Madagascar. That’s just a few days away. In the meantime, I want to share a few words from a book that I’ve been reading.

The title of the book is Crazy Love, written by a pastor named Francis Chan. Something he wrote made me think of a prayer request I often unthinkingly ask for during this trip. The excerpt below comes from a section called “Risk Takers” on page 131.

Haven’t we all prayed the following prayer? Lord, we pray for safety as we travel. We ask that no one gets hurt on this trip. Please keep everyone safe until we return. And bring us back safely. In Jesus name we pray, amen.

The exact wording may vary a bit, but that is the standard prayer we recite before leaving on mission trips, retreats, vacations, and business trips.

We are consumed by safety. Obsessed with it, actually. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority. We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.

Would you be willing to pray this prayer? God bring me closer to you during this trip, whatever it takes…

People who are obsessed with Jesus aren’t consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God’s kingdom…than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.

(Until Friday, you can download the entire audio book for free from Christian Audio. It’s worth the few minutes you may snatch listening to it during a commute or exercise time. Obviously, the fact that God has used this book to convict and motivate me does not mean that I wholeheartedly agree with Francis Chan, Cornerstone Church, or the book. But you probably already knew that.).


07 2009

Destination Fort Dauphin: Confirmed

Bay at Tolanaro

Today, I was able to purchase tickets from Antananarivo, the capitol of Madagascar, to Fort Dauphin, a city located in the extreme south of the island. Fort Dauphin, alternately known as Tolanaro, Tolagnaro and Taolagnaro, is a regional capitol, recognized for its beauty and economic promise. On my return flight to Antananarivo, I will have a layover in Tulear, another city I wanted to visit.

Countryside near Fort Dauphin.

Countryside near Fort Dauphin.

I choose to visit and research Fort Dauphin for the following reasons: Read the rest of this entry →


07 2009

The Test: Will the Filter Work?

Several days ago, I posted a poll: would you drink water from the Reedy River? I was happy to learn that none of the polled population habitually quaffs Reedy River water. This post explains why I asked the question.

Madagascar has a severe shortage of clean drinking water. Only 14% of the country’s rural population has access to water that is considered safe to drink. That’s a staggering number, considering that 80% of Madagascar’s 20+ million people live in rural areas.

When Keren visited Madagascar a few years ago, her team drank water carried from a well and hand-pumped through a filter. The filter they used to purify their water was designed to last for three months. It lasted just over 2 weeks before it needed to be changed. Here is a picture of a young man on her team holding up a new filter next to the 2-week old filter.

Left: new filter. Right: filter used for 2 1/2 weeks. Center: young man.

Left: new filter. Right: filter used for 2 1/2 weeks.

We will be traveling to rural areas that do not have a clean water source. If we were to drink the available water, our delicate (translation: wimpy) western immune systems would do even worse than the Malagasy immune systems. (In fact, even with the filter, everyone on Keren’s team did get quite sick from water/food-borne pathogens.) Thus, we will need to bring or supply our own purified drinking water. To prepare for this, I purchased a water bottle that is supposed to filter out harmful bacteria and other impurities. My plan was to test the bottle’s effectiveness by using it to drink water from a known harmful source. Read the rest of this entry →


07 2009

Finding Interpreters


Right now I’m trying to locate an interpreter who can accompany us on our travels. The primary language spoken in Madagascar is Malagasy. (No, they don’t teach that in any language institutes in the United States.) To truly profit from a survey trip, it’s essential to communicate with the nationals, not just English-speaking missionaries. Please pray that God will lead me to a believing interpreter who understands the importance and purpose of our trip, and who can speak English, Malagasy and French.

I just got off the phone with a man living in Antananarivo who has served as an interpreter for missionaries on bush survey trips before. We had a six-minute conversation, in which my Malagasy calling card chewed through about fifteen minutes of call time. He graciously told me he would think about it, and asked for a call back tomorrow.


07 2009

Purchasing Tickets, Round Two!

Air Madagascar

Air Madagascar plane

We got our refund from Keren’s ticket (US to S. Africa) and are purchasing Daniel’s second ticket: from Joburg to MADAGASCAR! These are round trip, so now Daniel can make there and back, Lord willing!

Next up, continuing to arrange helicopter flights to visit several remote locations! Believe it or not, it’s less expensive than regular airfare.

Yup, that’s a real Air Madagascar plane. The little emblem on the end? That’s a Traveler’s Palm, famous in Madagascar..


06 2009