We’re Learning…

Posted by on October 1, 2023 in Blog | 0 comments

Over these many years, the Lord, in His mercy, has grown us and taught us through various trials and hardships, revealing to us His character– one of love, forgiveness, and unceasing grace. We have seen the vastness of His protection, His sovereignty, His compassion and His Holiness.  

We have so much more to learn about His nature and about ourselves as we desire to be more like Christ. We are thankful that He is never done with us! 

In the last 16 months, the Lord has been beckoning us to deepen our trust of Him in new ways. 

1. Ministry. A shift from full-time ministry in Madagascar to part-time ministry in Madagascar with full-time ministry in Kenya as we come alongside and disciple missionary kids through dorm parenting, Bible studies, mentoring and coaching. We praise the Lord for His extravagant gift of being with our kids during their high school years– something we never anticipated during their childhoods! We praise the Lord for the missionary kids that we have the privilege of coming alongside and mentoring! We praise Him for the gift of ministry in two locations!

2. Employment. Over a year ago, there was a sudden and unexpected change of leadership in Eden Reforestation Projects. Since then, Eden has moved away from an Employ to Plant model to one of carbon credits and forest landscape restoration. This has been a confusing and difficult transition as Jamie has poured the last 17 years into this organization and still believes in the original model. Thankfully, the Madagascar based leadership team remains strong and united as we pray together about the future. May we trust the Lord for His perfect plan, timing, and for wisdom that is beyond ourselves. 

3. Kids. Our oldest daughter, Isabella (17), returned to the USA with us for our home assignment this fall. After a few weeks in CA, she shared with us her heart’s desire to return to Kenya to complete the entirety of her senior year at Rift Valley Academy. Isabella came to the conclusion that the things that she looked forward to here in California will always be “here”. Meanwhile, her tribe of deeply connected friends and fellow missionary kids only have the next nine months together before they graduate and scatter across this big beautiful world. We’re so proud of Isabella and the ways she leaned into the Lord, sought Him in this decision and stepped forward in faith, following as He opened the doors for her. Nonetheless, we as parents, are continuing to learn how to trust the Lord with our sweet kids, especially when one is flying across the globe alone and within a week of being in Kenya, has sustained a moderate concussion! 

May we trust the Lord for His hand of healing over Isabella, for Isabella as she completes this first term of her senior year without us, and for wisdom as we parent from the opposite side of the globe, especially when college applications and essays are due!

4. Health. Though we’ve seen drastic improvement in our health, we’re still seeking answers for ongoing health challenges for Alissa. May we trust the Lord for answers and full restoration of health.

5. Finances. Our finances have taken a hit because of the shift within Eden Projects and the addition of a new ministry context in Kenya. We haven’t actively pursued financial partnership development for over 12 years as we’ve focused our efforts on ministry and fundraising for the Maternity Center. As a result, we’ve let our own financial needs go unattended. We are now at a place where we are greatly under-supported and the Lord is asking us to trust Him in this area as we regularly work with a fundraising coach and focus our attention on these efforts. May we trust Him for provision and that He will bring others to partner in these ministries. 

Ministry, employment, kids, health and finances…. The Lord is calling us to trust that He has our best interest in mind. He is asking us to trust that our future and that of our kids, ministry, health and finances rest in His hands.

An Inside Glimpse…

To give an inside glimpse of some of our unusual expenses because of overseas life and ministry… 

Airfare– Every 3 months we fly to Madagascar to continue the ministry in person. Madagascar remains a “destination” as airlines don’t fly through it en route to another country. As a result, tickets are routinely $5000+ for our family every 3 months.

Rift Valley Academy- though we volunteer at RVA as dorm parents, coaches, mentors and more, we ACTUALLY PAY RVA to do so! Yes… you read that right! As with all staff at RVA who are missionaries, not only do we raise our own support to be there and invest into the lives of missionary kids, we also PAY for to live on campus, our utilities, as well as tuition for our kid’s education! There are no financial perks that come with volunteering.

Dorm Parenting- have you ever fed 18 growing high school boys on any one occasion? We do so regularly twice a week in addition to birthdays and special occasions. RVA provides a small stipend of $12 per boy per term– less than $1 a week per student. As you can imagine, this doesn’t go far. Everything we do for the boys (outings, special events, birthday celebrations and food) over and above that comes out of our personal finances. 

Madagascar- As we continue to work in Madagascar and travel there every 3 months, we continue to rent our house, pay utilities and employ guards– a necessity in a third world country. As such, we also continue to pay their monthly wages, medical insurance, kids education and retirement. 

Health Insurance- As we all know, health insurance is expensive. Add in international health insurance with medical evacuation services and the price skyrockets. 

In all of this, we have full confidence that the Lord is still asking us to return to ministry in Africa at the end of December. When you support our family in ministry, your reach goes far beyond just us

* You’re pouring into the lives of missionary kids as they search and seek out their own relationship with Christ beyond that of their parents. These kids are dynamic and will undoubtedly, be world changers! 

* By supporting missionary kids, you’re also supporting the ministries of their families who are spread across Africa as they creatively and authentically share Christ so that others may know Him! 

* You’re ensuring health and life for mothers and babies through prenatal care, safe birth, postpartum and newborn services at the Sarobidy Maternity Center as well as being the hands of Jesus as they experience compassion and love. 

* You’re investing into Malagasy midwives who are sharpening their skills so that they can provide some of the best and most comprehensive midwifery care on the island. 

* You’re caring for communities and families as they care for God’s creation and are called to the Creator in the process. 

Would you prayerfully consider joining our financial partnership team and investing into all of the above and so much more that the Lord is doing in Madagascar and Kenya? If you already partner with us, thank you!! Would you prayerfully consider increasing your contribution? Any monthly amount, large or small, helps to close the gap so that we may return to Africa at the end of the year. 

There’s three ways you can join our team…

1. CLICK HERE and follow the link to set up your secure account with WorldVenture where you can proceed to make an on-going commitment or one-time gift. 

2. CALL (800) 487-4224 and select option #1 to speak with someone 8am-4pm MST (M-Th). 

3. MAIL a check to:

WorldVenture

20 Inverness Pl E

Englewood, CO 80112-5622

Please specify your donation by writing account #173 in the memo line. 

(Note, for tax purposes, our names should not appear on the check.)

May each of us further grow in our trust, reliance and obedience to Christ as He beckons us into a deeper relationship with Him!

With love, 

Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin

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