Friday, August 19, 2016

Blessed be His Name

from the heart of our missionary family the Mayles

Sometimes in life we are asked to walk through difficult experiences. Our family is going through a dark season right now, and we are in need of your prayers. This week Angie is suffering the miscarriage of our fourth child. She was nearing the end of the first trimester when she began experiencing problems on Nosy Mitsio. The timing worked out for us to travel off the island with our AIM Madagascar Unit leader, Rosina, and AIM Medical Consultant, Geoff, who had been visiting our team. We were all able to travel together to Nosy Be, a much larger island south of Nosy Mitsio, where we received the sad news that our baby had not survived. We are being cared for beautifully during this time of loss by Rosina and our AIM family. We are staying in Rosina’s village until Angie is cleared medically. We will be going for a follow up appointment next week. Will you please be praying that physically no further interventions are needed and that Angie’s body will heal properly?
So where do we go from here? Our departure from the island nearly coincides with a previously scheduled extended time away from the island. We will be traveling to another region of Madagascar to do our “month out”. This is a part of the TIMO program where we spend one month with another missionary’s ministry learning from them. Following our month out is our yearly AIM Madagascar Unit retreat, and then we will be returning to Nosy Mitsio the end of October/early November for our final month on the island. In that month we hope to continue the Discovery Bible Studies that had begun in our village and continue working with our medical learners. In early December our TIMO term will finish, and we will be back in America mid-December.

What about after that? The simple answer: We simply do not know. Will you please be praying for our family as we continue to seek God to determine our next steps? We trust God has the perfect plan for us, but it is evidently not time for us to know quite yet what His perfect plan is.
Prayer Requests:
  • For complete, quick healing physically for Angie.
  • That this time of medical leave on Nosy Be will bring emotional healing to our family, and that we will be strengthened to finish the term well.
  • For God’s direction for our future to become clear to us.
  • For the Antakarana on Nosy Mitsio who will be without our team for two months. Pray that the Spirit will continue to work on the hearts of the people. The Word has been shared through our Bible Studies. Pray that it will remain in their hearts.
  • That the medical work that has begun on Nosy Mitsio will continue to move forward, even in our time away.
 Thank you in advance for the love, support, and prayers during this time.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Prayer for Russia

from the heart of our workers in russia

Our denomination, Christian and Missionary Alliance, has brought to our attention some disheartening news in relationship to the mission work being done in Russia. On June 30 the Russian Parliament passed legislation that will severely restrict missionary activity in Russia, making it very difficult for international workers to be able to effectively minister in the country. President Putin has until July 20 to either sign the legislation into law, veto it, or send it back for changes.

Will you pray with us that the President will veto this law, and that IW's from all organizations will be able to continue to minister throughout the country without the risk of being fined and deported? Actually, that is already beginning to happen more often these days, but a law like this would radically change the landscape of the work being done in the country.

Thank you so much for praying, and for asking others to pray as well.

UPDATE: Yesterday, President Putin unfortunately signed this new legislation into law.  Much of it will begin functioning within the next couple of weeks.  Can you please pray that we will find out what is needed in order for our workers to be able to stay and minister in Russia?  Right now we have more questions than answers.

We are confident that God is in control of the happenings in Russia, and that Christ's Church will continue to grow.  These events, although they were a surprise to us, are not to Him.  Please pray that he will work in our lives, and in the lives of Russian believers, building into us more faith, wisdom and courage as we walk with Him.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

When You're Called to Raise the Knife

from the heart of our missionary family the Mayles

Things have been happening here on Nosy Mitsio, and it is very exciting! Recently our team leader, Adam, was able to have a long conversation with a young man named Vazaha in his village. Vazaha has said that he wants to trust in Jesus but is afraid. Adam encouraged him to pray and to ask Jesus to show himself to him. At the same time, Vazaha’s family decided to entreat the ancestors for help in an unrelated problem. The next day, as our family was helping our community with the rice harvesting process, our head woman, Mama ny’ Fao, showed up quite drunk. Mind you, this is a woman who doesn’t drink alcohol. After a short while, everyone realized that Mama ny’ Fao was actually possessed by a tromba, or ancestral spirit. I (Angie) and a teammate, Kelly, were present. Some of the family actually asked us to pray for Mama ny’ Fao, but others present refused to let us pray for her. The spirit said many times that it was “afraid of the white things.” Eventually they told us that our presence was bothering the spirit and that we had to leave. We moved aside and continued to pray for Mama ny’ Fao together. They eventually were able to move her from the field to the village, where they began to have ceremonies to entreat the ancestors and figure out what the spirit wanted.

The next day, we were approached by the family and were asked to use our team boat to take Mama ny’ Fao to her home village so that they could continue to entreat the ancestors there. As a team, we could not assist them in practicing something that would not help, and would only bring more bondage and more fear. The only way to freedom from these spirits—freedom from the fear—is Jesus Christ. We knew that telling our village “no” (along with the reason why) could cause a huge negative effect on the relationships with our village. Would they react with anger, disappointment, distrust? We were anxious of the fallout that would come in the relationships we’d developed over the past year, with people who have become our family. But God gave us a peace that this was the time to take our stand. Just as Abraham placed Isaac, one he cherished so much, on the altar and raised the knife, so were we ready to sacrifice the relationships with our village.  In faith we were ready to take a stand for our God, who through his Son brought peace and freedom from fear and bondage. Shawn and I were on our way out the door to tell the village our decision when God blessed our faith. In the same way as God had provided the ram and told Abraham to stop, our friend came to the door and told us they did not need our help after all.

This situation has given us multiple opportunities to speak with our Malagasy family about the spirit’s fear of us and the reason: because we follow Jesus, His spirit resides in us. He is more powerful than the spirits and has the power to make them leave a person. THAT is the reason they are afraid. We have explained to them that we trust God and that if they want, we can pray to the Creator God in Jesus’ name and He will make the spirits leave. We have asked them if they are afraid of the spirits; the answer is a resounding YES! We explained that we are not afraid, because we follow Jesus and He is more powerful than the spirits, He protects us. We have expressed that it bothers us to see the spirits make them sick and afraid, and that we want them to know that they can trust Jesus and not be afraid!