Updates from the Field

March 11, 2008

There is a candle in every soul, some brightly burning, some dark and cold. There is a Spirit, who brings a fire, ignites a candle, and makes his home. Carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the helpless, confused and torn. And hold out your candle, for all to see it, take your candle and go light your world, take your candle and go light your world. Frustrated brother, see how he's tried to, light his own candle, some other way. See how your sister, she's been robbed and lied to, still holds a candle without a flame. So carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the lonely, the tired and worn. Hold out your candle, for all to see it, take your candle, and go light your world, take your candle and go light your world. We are a family, who hearts are blazing, so lets raise our candles, and light up the sky. Prayin' to our Father, in the name of Jesus, make us a beacon in darkest times...carry your candle, run to the darkness, seek out the hopeless, deceived and worn. Hold out your candle, for all to see it, take your candle, go light your world, take your candle go light your world.

I woke up this morning with the tune of this song running through my head....We have some music on our computer and it connects up to the tv in the guest house and so we actually have good stereo sound. I found it in our music library and pushed play. As I stood there I was overwhelmed by the message the Lord was giving me through the words He spoke to Chris Rice in this song

I am a candle. Are you? The Lord confirmed in me this morning that I am a candle. It's not about being in Madagascar, not about trying to be bright or doing something special...it's just what I am, not because of me, because I really have nothing to offer...but because of what HE has to offer. A good friend sent this to me this week... II Cor. 4: 7 - 11 - (New Living Translation) 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

We get to be candles....we get to be beacons...we get to be held by God, tipped so that our fire touches anothers wick. We get to be a part of what GOD is doing, we get to walk with HIM on this earth in what He is doing. What else is there to do? What else fulfills? Being loved by God and getting to walk with Him...What else makes my heart burn?

This will be our last update until we get home...thanks for journeying with us...thanks for your prayers...we appreciate every bit. Yesterday and today were very full but I am too tired to report...I will have to wait until our return. I can tell you one thing though....today we went to the orphanage and my heart burned.

With love,



March 09, 2008

Hey All!

Since I haven't written yet I thought I would do a bit of review, I also added a few names to the list so some are just hearing for the first time.

It has been a different type of trip for us. It started out by me getting the flu just a day or two before we were scheduled to travel. So imagine trying to pack, collect medical supplies, get your house in order, prepare your kids and their schedules etc. while having a fever, aching body, and the beginnings of a sore throat. So on Tuesday I boarded the plane with the same fever, aching body, sore throat PLUS a honking cold sore on my lip! You can imagine how excited I was for this trip! So after 4 flights, 8 cold and flu pills and about 24 hours later we arrived in Madagascar with only one of our 4 pieces of luggage. Yep, 3 had been left behind in Paris. The one that came through had some medical supplies and gifts in it. So suffice it to say I have learned that next time I come I can pack light...one pair of pants and a couple of t shirts and a sweatshirt is all I need. And no, I still have not received my bags, maybe they will arrive on the day of our return?

Most of our time so far has been following up on past projects of Rivers of Life e.g. a chicken/egg business and tomorrow we will go check on the progress of the building of a small clinic that is being built by Rivers of Life and the Lutheran Church of Madagascar. We are also looking at what the church here is doing and what is next for Rivers in Madagascar if anything.

One new and fun thing we saw was the women of the Lutheran church who are located downtown in the city we are in. Twice a week they feed the poorest of the poor. We met about 8 women who were preparing and cooking rice and beans in an outdoor kitchen...all volunteers, cooking for about 80 people. We heard about their other projects, one in which they are training single moms in the trade of their choice. Teaching them how to budget, how to manage their business and income, how to manage their home, how to step up etc.

We have also visited another Lutheran Church in the city whose main mission is to serve the mentally handicapped, the demonicallly oppressed, and others. There are 90 people who live at this compound but about 75 of them are sick in some way or another. One boy, probably 14, sat with chains around his hands sitting on the ground. Around one of his ankles was a chain with a lock...I'm guessing so that he can be chained to the bed at night. We asked about him and the pastor said that he has been addicted to drugs and that he has had other problems too but that he has been there one month and will probably be there 3 more months and then returned home. The situations are troubling there so we are praying and will be going back tomorrow to get more answers to our questions.

Tuesday we will head to an orphanage that is run by the church, we will be praying together with the Directors and discussing possible ideas for participation between them and Rivers of Life. We will see what and if the Lord has plans for us to come alongside them in their mission of serving and loving the orphans in this place.

Wednesday we will be finishing up our contacts and packing our one suitcase to come home. If by chance we do get our 3 other bags, we will be unloading the rest of the gifts and medical supplies and heading to the market to purchase baskets, bags and purses to sell back home for a fund raiser to finish off the clinic that was mentioned above. It seems we just arrived yet we are planning our trip to come home...it's a funny thing isn't it?

Today I started to feel better, no aches except still in my throat....it's a good thing. It has been cooler here, the effects of a cyclone on the north coast but still the sun feels good when I sit out on the front porch of the guest house on the hospital grounds. It's a bit strange to come all the way over here and be inside in meetings without much (seemingly) accomplishments but I guess it is just the nature of the trip. We eat every meal except breakfast with Dr. Harison, Domoina and their children, it feels like family and we sit around talking around the table and in the living room late every night. Often the guitar is a must as Harison's family loves to sing, play and worship together. DSL (high speed internet) is 4 days new in their home so their boys are surfing the internet after 7pm when it doesn't cost them extra-we even found our home in ND via sattelite mapping. The world is getting smaller. Domoina tells of guys riding an ox cart full of rice harvest talking on a cell phone. The world is getting funny!

Well...thanks for listening...we covet your prayers for the last days of our time here. That we would see and hear what the Lord is asking of us and that we would be obedient to whatever that is. We don't want to just do good things but we want to do God's things. We read in Exodus 33 this morning and this is our heart cry as well as Rivers of Life...Moses said, "If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?"

So with that I leave you tonight, with much gratitude,



March 07, 2008

Dear Family,

We arrived after 11:00pm Wednesday evening Madagascar time. We received one suitcase then waited until the luggage Carousel stopped running and then proceeded to report our missing baggage. We hope to receive 3 of our 4 large suitcases tomorrow (Saturday). The missing bags hold mostly medical supplies and the majority of Kathie's clothes. Domoina (Dr. Harison's wife, our good friend and a sister in Christ) met us with a driver. Because of the late hour, we slept at a hotel in Antananarivo, the capital city. Thursday morning we grabbed coffee and eggs at a cafe and headed out on the 4 hour journey to Antsirabe. The Drive is Beautiful. As we prepare for our first day here I wanted to let you know of the tranquility of the guest house which we are staying in as we have on previous trips. Amie (a house maid) has stopped by with milk and bread, we have boiled water on the stove and had "Nescafe" Coffee. It is so good to have a physical refuge as well as our spiritual refuge. We will now spend some time with the Lord asking Him to equip us for the day and guide our steps.

We will try to send news soon.

Blessings on Your Day!



March 04, 2008

We have been planning our trip. Kathie has been putting together Medical Supplies and packing suitcases for a week or so. I have been preparing all the electronics and media gear we are bringing. MP3 Recorders, Digital Camera, video Camera, Computer, chargers, adapters, and on......and on...

I know we will forget something but I pray that as we depart today we will remember the one thing we can bring that will have everlasting effects. That we will not confuse the purpose of this trip. That we will carefully carry Jesus within us and be Jesus whenever and wherever as we travel.

Please Pray for us... that Jesus will be lifted up and visible as we walk with our friends in Madagascar and seek the Lord together for His plans.

Also Please pray for our boys Kyle(9) & Cole(11) They will be staying home while we are in Madagascar.

Keep checking back for more updates from the field.

For Christ,

Dan & Kathie