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Monday, December 30, 2013

Around Town

I took these pictures from the car window as we drove into town to find our Christmas tree this month

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas 2013

Advent Storybook and 24 Candles
Christmas arrived with much anticipation.

We celebrated the month of December with Advent Calendars, 4 - one for each child. We started out with three, with the kids on a rotating schedule taking turns with each calendar, but Faith created a fourth Calendar so no one would require a "day off." :)

Christmas Eve was a wonderful evening shared with friends. Cheese Fondue and plenty of sweet treats after. The kids watched a movie while the adults visited into the evening.

Christmas Day was quiet - cinnamon buns and hot chocolate for breakfast, sharing gifts and building new Lego sets together, a water fight outside in the mid-morning sun, and a family roast beef dinner late in the afternoon. It was a fun day. I think we tired Calvin out, because on Christmas Day and Boxing Day he fell asleep in the afternoon (not normal for him anymore) on Rob's lap, and then on mine while I was reading new books to the kids.




Now we anticipate the new year coming in next week. We would ask that you pray for the country of Madagascar and the political situation here. December 20th, the second round of presidential elections were held and we are praying for peace as the results are announced on January 7th. If the "right" guy doesn't win, there very well may be some unrest amongst the people, which could make for some excitement around here. We are praying things remain peaceful, to say the least. And beyond that, we are praying that when the elected official does get into office, he has the good of Madagascar in mind as things move forward.

Speaking of political unrest, please also keep South Sudan in your prayers. Our MAF team was evacuated to Kenya last week because of the dangerous situation there. So over the holiday season, other MAF families have blessed workers from South Sudan in their homes as they spend Christmas away from "home." You can read actual news of the evacuation from MAF UK's website here

We hope your family also had a merry Christmas, and we wish you a happy new year!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Newsletter


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Community







We are blessed with a fairly large community of fellow missionaries in Madagascar. Within this group effort has been made to form ties between families, to build a support system for each other, and to provide opportunities for friendships, for adults and children outside of the ministries each of us are involved in.

It's a tricky group. One in which you find yourself the 'newbie' and the 'oldie' all at the same time. Because furloughs happen, and new workers join all the time, there are always new people and old people coming and going. There are always new faces. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with the changes. But if we look past how often we meet with any particular group of the same families and individuals, and look at why each of us is present, it's really easy to make connections and bond. Not only are we all serving in a country other than where our passport is issued from, we are all servants of Christ. We are all part of the big family of believers.

We had the privilege of hosting this month's gathering, and it was so much fun to have over 50 people over in the yard and the kids playing games. Even though the rain sprinkled a little bit, it didn't dampen the fun the kids had together and the adults' fellowship with one another. We are so thankful for this community. And even though we recognize individuals come and go often, we pray that each one is blessed when they spend time together in this group, knowing we have the same Father and we're on the same mission.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Your Home is Burglarized

This lady was badly injured last week when her home was burglarized in their remote village. She was expecting a baby, and she suffered injuries requiring medical attention.






These pictures were taken by our Swiss Pilot, and the team preparing to bring the injured back to Tana. The doctor pictured, is Dr. Fernand, a local Malagasy doctor who spends a lot of time working with MAF on medical safari teams.

Once they arrived at the Hangar, a German missionary midwife used her ambulance to help transport the injured woman and unborn baby to the local hospital. The baby was later delivered prematurely, but the latest news we have is that both of them are doing well.

Please click on the pictures to see larger versions of them.

Fruits de la Saison

November brings the mango rains around Madagascar. All of the fruit stands are stacked high with green mangos.



This green box pictured above is a solar oven we purchased this summer for dehydrating fruits, even though it can be used for cooking. My missionary friends have told me of their experience cooking pizza, and breads, and even whole chickens inside, but I have yet to try that. But I want to!

Rob built the dehydrating rack inside, so it could accompany a few layers of fruits. Otherwise the solar oven is just an empty box, no racks included.



I have also discovered that his innovative drying racks make perfect cooling racks after a morning of baking!



All 'round, great success!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Spring in Mada / Fall in BC



and back in Madagascar - jumping in banana leaves is just as fun!



Monday, October 28, 2013

Creativity




Our homeschool was enriched with the discovery of these caterpillers yesterday in our yard. A hippotion celerio

By the end of the day I was feeling a little sorry for their new-found "pets" as the kids carried them in baskets, and rode their bikes around, with the caterpillers precariously hanging on. However, this morning, I'm not feeling as sorry for them after discovering what they inevitably turn into! Large - yucky looking moths. I have since learned, that most adults moths are not really pests, and do not even eat. They drink nectar. The real notorious agricultural pest happens to be when they are in the caterpiller stage. It's the laying of eggs, and gross amount of eating these guys do before undergoing their change to the moth stage that poses difficulties on farmers and gardens.

Despite all of that, and my (Karina) lack of love for insects and bugs, diversity around here never ceases to amaze me. From all of the different plants and yes, even the creepy-crawlies, it shows me that we serve an Almighty Creative God!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Life-Giver


Everywhere we look new life is popping up around us in Madagascar. I love this time of year here, as well as the time when everything is full bloom and filling every empty space in our yard. But right now, each new bud and bloom is another reminder of the Who is behind it all.

We have moved plants from here to there. Some new pots have been placed at our front door, and clippings have been planted in them---hoping that beauty will take the place of once empty space.

The larger bushes that we pruned way back at the beginning of winter show signs of early life. Little greenery dots branches.

We can sow, but we can't grow these beauties. I look outside and creation truly does declare the wonders of God. He is behind each bud as it opens, and forming each tender petal. He gives life to these incredible creations.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display
knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the
earth,
their words to the ends of the
world.
Psalm 19:1-4






Election Day 2013

Today is election day in Madagascar. This is the first presidential election held since the coup in 2009.

The article linked here explains why no elections have gone ahead yet. This particular one was scheduled for July of this year, but because international funding was pulled from Madagascar from the European Union after they found out that the former president who was ousted was running again, elections were cancelled.

Follow this link to learn more about it:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24585831

Meanwhile, please pray for a peaceful few weeks after the ballots have been counted. Likely, with +30 electoral candidates, few are expecting anybody will receive over 51% of the votes, therefore a second round will probably ensue come December.

Please pray for fairness, and peace, and that a good leader would be elected in this country!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Back in Mada and Snippets of the Long Journey

We made it! After a very long journey, we made it back to Madagascar. It's still hard for me to believe that my very young family has done this plane ride 3 times! One lady in the airport remarked how little all of our children were and couldn't believe how much they had flown already in their lives. It's funny because Faith met a little boy at a park, while in Canada, and they were chatting about whereabouts they lived. And when the boy mentioned to Faith that he'd never been on a plane before, Faith looked at him as though he were from outer space! Little does she realize that flying/travel, the way our family does it, isn't normal for most children her age.

Once the long travels were over, and we stepped foot into our home, I was happily surprised to feel at home again. I was preparing myself (Karina) for a somewhat foreign feeling, or "Really? This is our home?" Perhaps I was just happy to have those 32 hours behind us. But when we woke up the next morning (3:30am), no, it really did feel good to be back.

 
Here we are at Vancouver International Airport bright and early in the morning! We left Mission at 4:30 to arrive in Vancouver at 6:00. Our first 3-hour flight to Minneapolis would leave at 8:30.
On the first flight. Joyanne with Dad, and Wesley is on the other side of him.
 Happy to be on the first flight. :)
This is in Minneapolis airport. This cafe/bar had a personal Ipad at every single place setting (easily over 100) where you could order food or drinks or even buy electronics and have them brought right to your table. The kids were kept entertained during our entire 3 hour layover in this area.







This is in the airport terminal at Paris. There's a great children's play place nearby the gate where we needed to board our flight for Tana. The kids were so happy to run around for an hour, after the first 8 hour flight, before boarding the plane again for another 11 hours! Considering they basically pulled an all-nighter on that Minneapolis-Paris flight, they were pretty chipper here. :)

... waiting for our bags at Tana International airport (approximately 11:30pm local time, Sunday evening) 




Only 4 items of 12 that we checked in Vancouver were missing at the airport! Not bad. Rob and Michel went to get 3 of them which arrived early the next morning. And the last item should have arrived at the airport as I type this.

What's next? Rob returns to the hangar today (Wednesday)--Not terribly jet-lagged anymore. I am organizing school-material and putting away things we brought from Canada.

Thank you for praying for us and following us on our journey. We are certain it's only because of all the prayer support and God's grace that we have been able to make this long journey again with our family.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Speaking Update & Fun in the Big City

Please note that we are not speaking at Surrey Alliance, rather it's called Surrey Christian Alliance.

Yesterday we went into the city to pick up passports that we renewed a couple of weeks ago, and we made a day of it. We saw some of Rob's relatives, we toured Granville Island and the Toy Co., took the kids on the skytrain, aquabus, and a city bus. It was a fun day! Beautiful weather too. :)



Monday, August 12, 2013

As the Canadian Summer Begins to Fade...

We are six weeks away from heading back to Madagascar. The Canadian summer has been a fantastic time of connecting with people, spending quality time with people, and sharing about the ministry.

This past Saturday, we returned from a week at Sunnybrae Bible Camp in Salmon Arm. It was a great family time, as we attended with the extended Barber family. The cousins connected in a special way, and we were fed and challenged spiritually during the teaching sessions.


When we arrived back in Mission for a quick drop-off and pick-up of stuff before heading to the ferry and Vancouver Island, we noticed the crunchy orange leaves already sprinkled around the lawn and driveway. The seasons are changing here, and it's kind of nice to be a part of it. Even though there are seasons in Madagascar, they are certainly not as noticeable. Being in Canada has reminded us of what we miss here, but we are also missing home in Madagascar. Our hearts are feeling torn between the two places. I wish we could be in both places at once. But we have peace knowing God has us in Madagascar in this season.

Our days continue to be filled with visiting, shopping, arranging! We will try and have a few more Open Houses, on the Island and in Mission. This is a great way for us to connect with some of you, please come to one if you can. We will post those dates as they are arranged. Meanwhile, here is a peek at our formal sharing schedule:

Upcoming Sharing Times:
Aug. 15, Thu @ 2:00pm  Wakasiah Gospel Chapel (Island)
Aug. 18, Sun @ 10:00am Nanoose Evangelical Free Church (Island)
Aug. 25, Sun @ 10:30am Mission Evangelical Free Church (Mainland)
Sep. 1, Sun @ 10:30am Departure Bay Baptist Church (Island)
Sep. 8, Sun @ 7:00pm Departure Bay C&C Group (Island)
Sep. 15, Sun @ 9:30am Surrey Christian Alliance Church (Mainland)
Sep. 28, Sat Departure back to Madagascar

In between these dates, we are filling our time with individual visits, and shopping trips.
As you pray for us, please that our remaining weeks in Canada would be spent wisely, and we would really sense God leading us. As time nears for us to return to Madagascar, it's easy to feel panicked about needing to rush around and do last-minute things. Please pray that we would have peace in all things, and that we would be able to enjoy our moments here.