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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve

It's hard to believe that this is our third Christmas in Madagascar! We are still getting accustomed to warmer temperatures at Christmastime. 

This year will be low-key, not much in the way of company, or busyness. In a way, it's super nice to have a relaxing holiday season with nowhere to go, and nothing to do. But the other part of us really misses extended family at home and all that we could or would be involved with around them.

A little glimpse into our house this time of year:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas News in Your Box

Merry Christmas!

Please feel free to download this copy of our December news. If you would like to receive it directly to your inbox please send us an email ( barbers . rk @ gmail  . com ) and we will add you right away!

Blessings as you enter the holiday season and celebrate the beginning of a new year.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Laundry vs. Crocodile---When Help is Declined.

Recently MAF was called to help bring an individual to the city for surgery. This man was unfortunate enough to receive a crocodile bite on his arm, and now requires immediate medical attention due to limited resources in the bush, and his injury becoming gangrenous--now a possible life-threatening situation.

Crocodiles are a very real threat to the locals who live out in the country.

Laundry--a very normal activity of daily life in the bush is done in local rivers and bodies of water. Murky, dirty waters, are perfect hiding spots for crocodiles. These crocodiles pose a real threat to people going about normal daily activities such as laundry. This is exactly how this man, whom MAF was called about, received his crocodile bite. Doing laundry.

This is the even sadder part of the story. Due to the amount of spirit worship, and tribal beliefs on the island, there's a huge amount of bondage to superstitions and what-not. We have been told by others that it's not uncommon for people to feel as though they must save or hang on to amputated appendages for their afterlife.. one of my friends has had a first-hand experience viewing a saved hand or foot of an unfortunate person.

The man who suffered this trauma from the crocodile to his arm was too afraid for various reasons to come to the city where he could have received help. After counsel and explanations of the help available, he still declined. MAF did not do the flight. The man was not brought to Tana.

Situations where help is refused do occur. And it's a reminder for us to continually pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten hearts, and for their souls to be saved; that many people would be released from the bondage of superstitions, and they would find freedom in Jesus alone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two Short Weeks in Canada!

At the end of August, Faith and I (Karina) had the privilege of traveling to Canada for my brother's wedding. We are so thankful that we were able to make the trip. It was short, but so worth it! Faith briefly reconnected with her close friends and cousins during our trip, and spent quality time with Oma and Grandparents on Vancouver Island. Summer even decided to stick around for us, which was a bonus!

Flying from Tana to Paris (10.5 hours), we left 4 hours after the scheduled flight time, so we were thankful to know a hotel room was waiting for us at Paris airport.
 Plane food..... enough said.
 Faith and I enjoyed a free hotel room and dinner and breakfast on Air France because of a delay with our flights, causing us to miss our connection.
 On the train shuttle in Charles de Gaulle airport (Paris).
 I was so thankful for a short sleep in Paris. This made the 30+ hour trip much more doable, and I think lessened our jet-lag on the other end. Here we are waiting for our next 10.5hour flight to Seattle.
Drinking fountains - excitement for any MK I think.
 So happy to be on the plane! (Again)  :)
One of our first errands of business while we were in Canada - renew mom's library card, and enjoy the library!

We attended my brother's wedding near the end of our stay in Canada, and it was such a beautiful wedding. Congratulations Ricky and Krista! We are looking forward to seeing you again next summer!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oops, A Month Gone By!

At the Hangar, this month has been full of audits, meetings, creating and editing documents... and of course serving by flying lots!

Our pilot has been busy carrying the load of flying solo for the past month. Sadly, it was time to say good-bye to our interim pilot family as they returned to Holland. But in a few short weeks we will say Hello to a new family who will serve alongside us in Madagascar. As well, at the end of August we are looking forward to welcoming back our other Swiss Pilot--they have been on furlough since February. Faith is also very excited, since she has been missing her good friend who is part of their family.  :)

The past several weeks have felt like we've said a lot of goodbyes. Even though there really hasn't been that many. First our Dutch pilot family--we always knew their stint in Madagascar would be temporary, but I found myself super sad when the time came for them to leave. They really had become a part of our team here, and I wished they could have stayed. Then, good friends of ours (pictured on the left) had to leave and return to America due to health issues in the family. This was really sad. They have children close in age to ours, and we really bonded over the last year with them. Unfortunately, they probably won't be able to return to Madagascar, because the air quality here is so poor, and they are pretty certain their health issues were directly related. It was sobering to me when Faith went to say goodbye to their oldest son she said, "Bye Eli. See you in Heaven." She didn't sound sad or anything. To her, it was matter-of fact. (She was sad later, Eli & Zoey.) 

Anyways, it struck me that this was how my children might experience many of their close friendships here on the field. Temporary. Because of the language barrier, it is difficult for them to become close to local malagasy kids who are here to stay. So, our community remains to be amongst many western families who speak English. I'm thankful there are a lot! But, it is a little complicated, up and down, or inconsistent, with families leaving on furlough, or moving away permanently. I hear myself telling the children that we will see their friends 6 months from now, or even next year. Of course, this kind of time frame to a 4 year old is difficult to understand, but on the other hand, it can seem like a small lifetime to them! I pray that my kids won't become discouraged saying goodbye regularly. And that they wouldn't be afraid to grow close to others, to risk their hearts--in a healthy way. 

For Rob and I, we are recognizing that we cannot become unwilling to grow in friendship with others simply because we don't know how long that friendship can last in this transient missionary community. Isn't that selfish? Being friends with people isn't all about what we can gain from them. It's really about giving. Look at Jesus and how he interacted in relationships knowing that His time on earth was a mere 33 years. Yet it didn't stop him from investing in others, and growing close to others, even investing in those who would eventually deny knowing him! Are we willing to live with these risks as we make relationships?

A couple pictures  :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Day in Pictures

6:00am: I'm up and having my coffee and a bit of quiet until the crew gets up.

7:00-7:30am: Wesley is grabbing his go-to breakfast, homemade granola. After breakfast the kids are cleaning their rooms and playing Lego. Calvin colored, played with play-doh and did stickers all morning.
8:30am: I made Lalao, our househelper, a list for the market. And she quickly returned carrying the goods as per usual--on her head. I have no idea how she does this, or the masses of women who do it all of the time around the town. Amazing!

9:30am: We left the house to do some errands. We went to Shoprite, which is very near to our house. I also let Faith take pictures along the way. :)

Even in Madagascar, at Shoprite, they keep the gum and candy conveniently located at the cashier for kids to want while we are waiting in line.

Banner showing Malagasy support for the World Cup
Our next errand was to a place called Hutte Canadienne. This is a poultry/pork/egg/dairy farm. I have more recently been buying all of our milk and eggs here. Any milk you buy at the grocery store is high heat treated, or long-life milk, and we much prefer this milk! Not to mention I prefer their price, almost half.  So we do this errand on Tuesday and Friday mornings after I call ahead and make our order.

Not the fanciest of places, to be sure - but I've been happy with their products so far.

More pictures by Faith - visiting dad at work - sharing the croissants, and having a coffee. 
Fuelling the truck at the local Shell station
When we got home around 11:00, I had a craving for almond chocolate biscotti. So while the kids were busy playing, baking started.

Before lunch, the kids enjoyed playing a dice game with cards on the floor. I read a book on my e-reader after we built a fire.

1:00-3:00pm: Dad comes home for lunch, and then the kids have quiet time. I make sure and test the biscotti and drink tea. :) I also use some time to work on a cable-knit patterned scarf. The kids color Owls in the Family coloring pages while we do our read alouds. Love that book. We also finished Pedro's Journal, a really fun book from the perspective of a ship's boy on Christopher Columbus' voyage to America. The kids watch Wild Kratts on YouTube.

Calvin using the Tag Reader - such a great toy!

4:30pm: Dad is home from work - stoking the fire whilst being attacked by a little ghost (Calvin). 

5:30pm: And just in time to make dinner, the power is out.

7:00pm: Bathtime and bedtime, thankfully with electricity.

Post-Kids'-Bedtime, parents' relaxing quiet time.
8:00pm: And I'm sitting down with milk coffee ready to prepare this blog post and watch Blue Bloods with Rob.

And that's our day. A little peak into our lives. Not overly exciting, however not without small surprises. Please keep MAF Madagascar in your prayers, especially this week, as the team here faces an audit from the local aviation authority. The Program Manager, who is supposed to be on furlough in Holland right now, also had to return for a week to help with the audit. We are a 1-pilot program right now, and about 7 weeks away from welcoming our second pilot back from furlough in Switzerland.This adds busyness to the remaining staff members right now.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Independence Day in Antananarivo

Photo Source

Photo Source
This is what Independence Day looks like in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Colorful paper lanterns everywhere, and fireworks are being sold at road-side vendors.

We had our own little paper lantern parade in the dark. The kids looked forward to this night, with fond memories of their last Independence day in Madagascar two years ago.  :) Fun.

Madagascar was a former French colony, and became an independent country in 1960.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Heat! Yay!

Our latest project at the house - finished! (aka. functional) Rob would still like to make a wooden frame to go around to hide the rough edges and make it look pretty. But for now, we are enjoying our newest source of heat upstairs where we often relax together at the end of the day.

Rob started this welding project at the MAF Garage during July 2012, our first winter in Madagascar. The following June we came to Canada and enjoyed summer with everybody there! And when this winter arrived in June we were all anxious to see the project finished and working! 


Bashing the existing fireplace hole to make room for the insert Rob built.

Have I mentioned that I'm super thankful for my husband's God-gifted ingenuity?  :)