I have been asked to do a couple of articles on my trip- so here is what I wrote. I finally got pictures posted this week on to FB and started writing again. Don’t pass out or anything. Thank you all for your patience and your notes saying you didn't hate me for not blogging :)
Madagascar is a beautiful country filled with rice fields, rolling hills, beautiful people, and even a few lemurs. It was a great honor to be able to visit the country of Madagascar and speak at their national ladies conference. Chris and Paula Richardson- both MKs are doing an excellent job in the work there. Chris is the third generation of the Richardson family that has worked in this nation. The work is strong and has an excellent foundation and is thriving and growing. The work in Madagascar is a great example of what the Lord will do through a single vision leadership. All of their churches are at capacity and their Bible School produces new workers every year. It was so moving to meet some of the leadership there. They are some of the most gracious and caring people you will meet.
Their worship is lively and there is a deepness about the people that you don’t often find even in thriving churches in North America. Chris and Paula are both excellent translators in the Malagasy language. Paula works on translating books into their language. They have a full printing press where the people can purchase songbooks, Bibles, and several other books. Again- growing people is their passion and it is evident in everything they do.
Jared and Richae are their two MKs. Jared is homeschooled there in Madagascar. Jared is one of the smartest MKs you will meet. He has a tender heart towards others and loves to laugh and make those around him laugh and have fun. He is doing excellent in school and will be leaving in the fall to attend Rift Valley Academy. RVA is a boarding school for MKs from around the world. Richae currently attends RVA. Chris attended this school when he was a teenager in Madagascar.
After leaving Madagascar I was able to travel to Nairobi Kenya and be with Mary, Warren, and Joash Groves. We were joined there by Richae who was on a long weekend break from her school. We had a great time of laughing, eating, and even went on a brief safari there in Nairobi. Mary is driving in Nairobi and doing an excellent job at attending college there. Mary has such a warm heart and a compassionate spirit. Warren is finishing up school and in the middle of writing a book. He is talented in so many ways. Joash is such a joy to be around. He is a natural comedian and full of life. He is also working on school in the ACE program. They are all 100% involved in the work of God and had recently helped their parents in a service where they did children’s ministry. They are doing such a great job in Nairobi!
We had a great time of devotion together on Sunday morning and God’s presence was there as we opened up and shared and prayed for each other. Of course we had to complete the afternoon with a great meal at the Nairobi Java House- an excellent restaurant if you ever get a chance to head to Kenya.
After a great weekend we headed north to the Rift Valley Academy otherwise known as home away from home for Richae. She has fully adapted into her boarding school culture. She is a natural leader and is loved and admired by all that meet her. She does excellent in her studies and applies herself in extracurricular activities as well. Her school has weekend outings where they go and minister to kids who are handicapped and also minister in a home which houses HIV positive children.
Rift Valley Academy is an amazing school. It was an honor to visit her school where so many of our Mks have attended. This is a school for MKs that has been in existence for 100 years. All of the teachers are fully sponsored to teach there which keeps the curriculum price down for the student. It was pretty awe inspiriting to realize that you are on a campus with 506 Missionary Kids. They start with Elementary age up to grade 12. It was a pleasure to see the campus, eat with Richae, and meet some of her friends. The Lord opened up a door to minister to the 9th and 10th grade girls. It was a special time for sure.
After returning to Nairobi it was a pleasure to have dinner with missionaries- Poitras, Sisco, Crumpackers, and even had a short time with the Smoaks. All of them as so special to me and I felt like this was a just a bonus from the Lord. I would love to have stayed up all night and hear their stories and ask even more questions than I did but I knew that I had a 3 AM departure the next morning.
Thank you Melinda, Candra, Jason, Jill, Orrin, and Gordon for sharing your parents and grandparents with the world. I know that there is not a day that goes by that you don’t think of them and wonder what they are doing on the other side of the world. Your daily sacrifice is noticed not only by those around you but greater yet- your reward is growing in heaven. I know there are days when it seems unfair, hard, and even lonely and for this I want to say- Thank you. You have every right to be proud of your parents. I know that I sure am. The last night I was in Africa I found myself at the side of my twin bed thanking the Lord for those that said yes to the call and pleading with the Lord to send others to fill shoes of those that are getting close to the retirement age. Who will go? The need for workers is so great. Where are the laborers?
After our sad goodbyes (a hard thing for all MKs) I headed off to Turkey for a day’s adventure with MK Rebecca Turner. She has been living in Istanbul teaching English for the past 5 years. Her life and burden really touched my heart. After prying into what prompted her to head to Turkey she told me of sitting in a Foreign Missions service at General Conference and seeing Else Lunds shoes on the stage. The question was asked- who will fill her shoes? Who will go? She knew that she had to do whatever she could for the kingdom. Her path led her to Istanbul where she has taught English in a private school. She has hosted many guest and has been a strength to the work there. We had a great time eating together, visiting the location of the orient express, seeing the blue mosque, and going through the spice market.
At the completion of this trip I found myself to be really reflective. I did not want to open up to anyone about the things I had experienced until I could wrap my brain around them myself. I want to thank Jerry and Vicki Richardson for having faith that I wouldn’t flop at the Ladies Conference in Madagascar. What a leap of faith you took. Thank you Paula and Chris Richardson, the Groves, the Crumpackers, and Rebecca Turner for your excellent hosting while in each country. Thank you even more so for your burden for missions and saying yes when others said no. I know that you have times of sacrifice, that you miss you friends and family in the US but you have remained strong and have chosen the path that few take. You and your families are and inspiration to all of us.
As an MK I find that each country I visit wraps itself around my heart. I remember as a teen and even an adult praying – God send me – I am available. Imagine my surprise when God would call me to minister to the very children, teens, and young adults of all of the nations. You all are my true heroes. If I can ever serve you or your family in any capacity- I think I speak for all of our team when I say- we are here for you. Thank you for saying yes to the call. Your life is a remarkable one. Embrace your journey, live your life hard, and know that you being used of God in such a great way we can’t help but marvel! You are loved and remembered daily in prayer. I guess we can sum it up by saying- you have my heart!