We are very excited to share about an amazing opportunity that the Lord has opened for our family to step out in faith and serve:
It's hard to believe how quickly time flies and how fast the kids are growing up. Caleb (10 years old), Joanna (8), and Selah (6) recently started another year of school and are already busy with homework, soccer, and other activities. Josh is still working at the same company (almost 18 years!) and Amanda has started home schooling Joanna this year in addition to keeping the family and home running.
While life in Santa Barbara is good, we are very excited to share that the Lord has opened an opportunity for our family to spend a year in Madagascarto work alongside friends Jamie and Alissa Shattenburg that are missionaries in Mahajanga, a city on the northwestern coast of Madagascar. The plan is for our family to depart next summer (2016) and return to the U.S. the summer of 2017. Our main focus for the year is to start up a guesthouse in Mahajanga to host visitors and volunteers that come to support the Eden Reforestation projects, the Sarobidy Maternity Center, and Sarobidy Creations - a women's artisan craft project. These ministries are helping restore health to the people and land of Madagascar and employ 100's of local Malagasy people to help break the cycle of poverty. Most important, they facilitate relationships that allow Jesus to be shared with the people. Our friend Jamie recently traveled to a small village to survey a new reforestation planting site and, as a result, held the first ever church service in a village where Jesus and the Bible are considered 'taboo'.
This website is the primary place for us to share updates and for friends and family to check in during this year of planning and next year as we travel to Madagascar. We ask for your prayers for the work in Madagascar and for our family as we embark on this journey.
We also need help in raising the necessary financial support and humbly ask you to consider supporting our family and this amazing ministry. Donations will be used to start up the guesthouse and to cover our family's travel to Madagascar and expenses while living there.
We are also planning several get-togethers over the next couple of months and would love to share more about our plans and the ministries and projects that we will have the opportunity to support. Please let us know when we can get together to share more!
Josh and Amanda
The picture above shows newly planted mangrove trees in the tidal area of Bombetoka Bay near Mahajanga. These trees reduce erosion and serve as spawing grounds for fish and shrimp - vital food source and economic resource for the local people.