M erry Christmas everyone!
We hope this letter finds you well and enjoying the holidays with your family and friends. And if you’ve got cool weather too, please send a little bit down our way. I wouldn’t mind making a trade right about now!
We also have some good news on our side that we’d love to share with you. Many of you have read or heard about some of the struggles we’ve been having with transport since we moved to the small island of Nosy Mitsio in August. Since then we’ve been stranded in the ocean three times (not moving in the direction we should be going, or not moving anywhere for hours on end) and we’ve missed scheduled dates of return to mainland Madagascar almost every time. Much of our food (which must be transported from mainland Madagascar to Nosy Mitsio, because there is no regular food supply on the island) has spoiled during times of waiting and some of our valuables have been broken in overcrowded and overloaded boats during the return trips.
We’ve constantly been looking for a positive solution, both for us as a family, and for our team members who will be arriving next year; while at the same time we’ve put our efforts into moving forward with building our home and building our team members’ homes in preparation of their arrival next July. Because we’re the team leaders and because nobody has attempted this work and in these conditions before, the responsibility for finding a solution has fallen on us. On Nosy Mitsio, there is only one person who owns a boat with a motor, and both his equipment and his scheduling is very unreliable (two of the three times we’ve been stranded in the ocean have been with him). Those on Nosy Mitsio who own ocean-going canoes usually don’t take passengers outside their families, and they could never accommodate our whole team. The mainland port we access when going to and from Nosy Mitsio is a very small port and those with boats there use them regularly for their own work, and are unable to sell them. The one person there who was willing to rent a boat and motor to us actually cheated us instead, and disappeared with the first month’s rental money. Other options we’ve looked into have turned out to be off-limits culturally (which would break trust with the people we’re here to share Jesus with), or are simply as unreliable as everything else. Finding a solution to these challenges has been difficult, to say the least!
T he good news is that we’ve finally found an answer! Recently, the logistics officer in our partner organization came to visit us in Nosy Mitsio, to observe and help out with building our team members’ homes, and especially to help find a transport solution. We followed all our leads and we’ve found a well-priced very new wooden boat for sale in the northernmost city of Madagascar. It’s the same style as local boats that come and go to Nosy Mitsio, but with a few minor differences that make it even more suited to docking in the port and to safety on the open ocean. We’ve already made an agreement with the boat builder and he’s also adding some modifications such as a small security cabin for putting valuables (so they don’t get broken anymore!) and a shade to protect from the heavy sun during the hours at sea. We’re also sourcing a strong brand new motor and a backup motor, both of which should be available within a month. From there, it’s just a 2-day trip to drive the boat down to Nosy Mitsio, and of course many more hours I’ll spend learning to drive and maintain our new boat in our local waters.
This is great news for us and for our team! The boat will be used by our whole team so Lora and I won’t be sole owners of it – instead all of us in the team will be contributing to the price of ownership, use, and maintenance. The amount that we need to contribute up-front as a family is $2800.
T he $2800 for our share in purchasing this boat and motor is a one-time cost and we’re asking any of you to seek God and see if he’s leading you to help us in this way. If so, you can contribute towards it in the same way that we always receive donations. You can give online through credit card, or you can send a check to our home church (pay to the order of “Sanctuary Church” with “Willard Missions” written in the memo line).
Adam & Lora Willard
c/o Sanctuary Church
PO Box 700217
Tulsa, OK 74170
More details for both of those options are here on our website: “How to Donate”
Any donations that we receive beyond our normal budget during the next couple of months will go entirely towards the purchase of this boat, with no percentage being withheld or going towards anything or anyone else. It’s also 100% tax-deductible. So if you would like to help us and our team have safe and reliable transport over the ocean, please pray about it and see if God is leading you to join our work in this way! Together we trust God that he is bringing the Antakarana people into his Kingdom, through this work that he’s called us to.
UPDATE (12/18/2013 10:00 pm): We’ve just been informed that one of our supporters is currently willing to match all funds donated towards this boat for up to $1400. That means that during this time, however much you give will be doubled until we have all that we need.
W e’re praying for all of you during these holidays, that God would open your eyes and your hearts to see more and more what it means that he entered our world, as one of us; that through his death and resurrection he takes us as we are and he makes us new – he make all things new! – and he leads us to participate in his work that’s bringing and building his everlasting Kingdom. What does that look like in your and your family’s lives? What does that look like all around you? We pray that God reveals himself to you and gives you the strength to follow him.
Adam, Lora, and Matimu Willard