In just a few short weeks, we’ll be about 10,000 miles away, on the other side of the world – nearly the direct opposite of where we are now (in more ways than just geographically).  As kids we often think that if we dug straight through the earth from where we are, we’d pop out somewhere in China.  But in reality you’d be in the Indian Ocean, with Madagascar as your nearest landmass.  They call that an “antipode” – the direct opposite point on the earth from you.  (It’s also the name of an enjoyable book by Heather Heying about biology and culture in Madagascar.)

We only have a little further to go.  Not much at all really.  And then we’ll be further along than we’ve ever been.  We’ve been to Madagascar a couple times before actually.  But now we’re finally starting our careers, as missionaries, and we’ve been on that path for a LONG time and haven’t yet arrived.  But it’s not much further now.

Matimu being dedicated at Emmaus Road Church, our home church in Tulsa, OK

Matimu being dedicated at Emmaus Road Church, our home church in Tulsa, OK

It’s interesting how some of the biggest, most important, and best things in life are such a long time in coming.  We planned for our son, Matimu, for a long time before he was conceived.  Even then he spent 9 months forming in the womb before we met him.  Then, when his time approached, it was just a couple short but dramatic days (still longer than most labors) and he arrived!  And everything’s changed now; for the better for sure.  But after all that time of waiting, it was a relatively short, though climactic, time that brought about such a huge change, a great and permanent change.

I think we’re again in that time now.  This vision has been gestating in me for over 12 years and since then we’ve been preparing for it, waiting for it, rearranging our lives for it, but it’s been a LONG time.  And now, with less than 3 weeks before we leave the country, we’re in that climactic moment.  Before this month is up we’ll have been to Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri twice, back and forth to Oklahoma each time, and in South Africa for a stop-over before Madagascar.  The time is short but it’s filled with so many things happening, preparations still to make, so many people to see and wave goodbye to, and so many emotions.  We’re in that short and dramatic transitional period before the long-anticipated thing arrives.  And when it does arrive, soon, our lives will be forever changed, for the better no doubt.

It’s strange being on the cusp of something so huge.  Just a little bit further before we go such a long ways.  And now that we’re here, it’s happened so fast!  Everything is coming together and is nearly ready.  This time, while often stressful for us, has also been quite amazing.  We’ve received an overwhelming outpouring of support from so many of you, our friends and family, and we know we’ve been truly blessed.

Before we started down this path, we knew that we would not only need, but also rely on support from many of you – financial, prayers, and otherwise.  But what we didn’t realize was how incredible it is to be in the middle of all this.  Much more than simply meeting a need, our supporters are literally joining our work.  Nothing that we do from this point forward would be possible without you.  And I think it would also be far less meaningful.  There’s something we’ve experienced through this that I’m still struggling to put into words.  But somewhere in the meeting of us following our call and giving it all we have, and our friends and family giving up some of what they have, even when some of them have very little, just to make that happen in our lives and in the lives of all the Malagasy people we’ll encounter, then something bigger than just those two things results.  All I can really say is that we’re forever grateful and amazed and simply blessed to be doing this and to have so many of you join with us.

Almost all of our details are complete.  Our plane tickets are purchased and we fly out of the US on the 29th of September.  Our visas are approved.  Arrangements are made with our language teacher and housing for our first 6 months in Madagascar.  We’re busy packing and choosing what few things we can fit in our luggage allowance and take with us.  We’re about to start cleaning out our apartment and we’ll be giving away whatever we don’t take with us.  This is it for us!

Matimu's packing all his toys and getting ready for the big move!

Matimu’s packing all his toys and getting ready for the big move!

Even our monthly financial support is nearly complete.  Just a little further!  We have a little more than two-thirds of what we need committed and it’s enough for us to pay for all our living expenses in Madagascar so that we can do our work with the Malagasy people there month after month and year after year.  THANK YOU to everyone who’s committed to join our work already.  It’s happening!

The final third of our budget is intended to be set aside for medical/health savings and for return trips home every 2 years or so, as well as for us to support local Malagasy missionaries as they go out to their fellow country-men.  So if you’ve been considering joining our work with us by supporting us financially, this would be a great time to let us know.  If you’re unable to participate financially or you’re not interested or don’t feel it’s right for you, please don’t feel pressured by this message.  We’re not trying to coerce anyone – we fully believe that God is able and willing to make it happen by specifically bringing those he’s called to join us that way.  And we’ll always live within whatever budget we receive.  But if you are one of those that God is bringing to join our work through financial support, please let us know!  You can go to our website to see more info about how to give.

This upcoming week is our last week in Tulsa, so that we can spend the rest of our time just with family who live out-of-state.  We’re very sad to go and leave so many great friends and our church families behind, but we plan to go out with a bang! On Saturday, Sept. 17th, we’re being ordained as missionaries by Emmaus Road Church.  Afterwards we’re having a going-away party.  If you’re in the Tulsa, OK area, or willing to travel, we’d love to see you there.  The church service is going to start at 6 pm and the party will be afterwards around 7:45 pm.  Both will be at our church at 16th & Boston near downtown Tulsa.  You can see more details on the Facebook event page.

And that’s it.  We have just a little further to go, and then a long ways!  This is the big move for us and we don’t currently have plans for moving back, only returning for visits.  Our anticipated time is nearly here and things will never be the same for us.  Thanks to all of you for supporting us in a myriad of ways, and please keep praying for us.  We’d stay near all of you if we could, but we’re compelled to follow where God leads us and we’re happy to go with him wherever it may be.  So write us often, let us know how you’re doing, pray for us, even plan to visit!  We’ll miss all of you, but we’ll keep in touch.

In Christ,
Adam, Lora, and Matimu Willard

Adam, Lora, and Matimu Willard