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And that’s the end of our first term!
We are excited to be writing this letter from the United States where we have been busy readjusting to a life we had forgotten and a world seemingly moving at a much faster pace. As our first furlough has begun, it has been wonderful to see family and friends and to rehearse many of God’s blessings during our first term on the field.
As we consider those blessings, here is what God has been doing in our lives these last two months:
A Trip to the Coast
At the end of March, Dan had the opportunity to fly to a coastal city and visit some other missionaries. While there, he was able to preach four times and helped coordinate and preach at a youth event. It was a busy and hot few days, but the Lord really blessed and encouraged those who were involved.
April started with several printing projects. For the last several months, we have been working with other missionaries on a new hymn book. This included preparing the layout, proofing the text and then finding a local company to print the books. We thank the Lord that just before we left, we received 500 new hymn books and distributed them to the different missionaries involved. We, too, look forward to using these books in our future ministry when we return from furlough.
We also printed and assembled several hundred copies of discipleship books (to be used in the discipleship program we served in) and also a new devotional book for camp (to be used later this year). Printing sound, Biblical material is something that is much needed in the Malagasy language and our prayer and goal is to continue to put godly resources into the hands of the people. Many have gladly receive these resources and have been helped by the truths found inside.
April was also the last time for Dan to travel to the bush for a weekend filled with teaching and preaching. It has been exciting to see God at work in this place. On Easter Sunday, several young believers followed the Lord in baptism, celebrating the resurrection of our Savior by demonstrating their faith in the resurrected Christ!
In the Hospital
Amidst the projects and ministries, and just two weeks before we left, a new team member found herself with an unexpected medical emergency. After complaining of severe pain for a few days, it was determined that she had appendicitis which had to be operated on immediately. Being new to the country and not knowing the language made this emergency all the more challenging for her. However, along with our other friends and missionary team members, we were able to help translate and encourage them through this fearful situation. We thank the Lord that she is now fully recovered.
Salvation and Baptism
In April, after Dan preached at the monthly meeting of a juvenile prison, one young teenage boy accepted Christ as his Savior. Also in April, Dan had the privilege of baptizing Norbert, the husband of Jacqueline. We praise the Lord for his growth and desire to follow the Lord.
For the last two months, Rachael has been steadily packing up our house and preparing for our trip back to the States. When the day came, we set off for the airport where we had a wonderful send off by some good friends. As we said goodbye to Madagascar for this furlough, we look back with thankfulness to the Lord for calling us to this country. Though we are enjoying our time back in the states, we look forward to returning to Madagascar and continuing in the work God has called us to do. Thank you, as always, for your prayers and support for us in this exciting ministry!