VIDEO: On Distant Shores

This video is about our ongoing mission to reach the Antakarana people of Madagascar. It showcases the lifestyle of the Antakarana on Nosy Mitsio, their religious beliefs and rituals, and our team’s efforts at church-planting among them.

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VIDEO: Nosy Mitsio | 001

A short video introducing the Antakarana people, our team, and our work on Nosy Mitsio.  All the footage is of the Antakarana people.  This video was made by Tori Alverson, an AIM TIMO member from the nearby island of Nosy Be where she worked among the Sakalava people.

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VIDEO: YWAM Tamatave DTS 2012 slideshow

This is a slideshow (with a few videos) put together by me and one of the students for the party at the end of the Discipleship Training School at YWAM Tamatave (Madagascar) in October 2012.  You’ll enjoy the interesting photos and video from our work (through the 3 different teams) in the rural villages during the 5 months of DTS.

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If you would like to be a part of the work the Willards are doing in Madagascar, you can give a tax-deductible gift today.

Video Introduction

Watch this video for an introduction to the Antakarana people and our work among them

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This last year has been pretty tough on most people I know. We've had some tough times in our family too, including right now - trying to determine new careers and new lives here in the US (something we never planned on) and even by this point still being not at all sure how that's going to end up.

But that's one thing that's so amazing about this holiday today, Easter. It's the declaration that one man's defiance of the natural order of things: accepting a punishment he didn't deserve, submitting to a death he could've easily avoided, and demonstrating that death itself has no lasting hold over him - that this declaration applies not just to him but to *all* of us who find life and identity in him. Jesus did these things as a foretaste of what *all* of us can have in him.

Life is tough. Even the best of us are brought low by the natural decay inherent in this creation, and by the combined apathy and antipathy of others - no matter how hard we might struggle against it. The story of Jesus acknowledges that fully - there is no denial there. But Jesus has a different response than most of us would - instead of fighting against all this as if it's a struggle he could possibly win, he chooses to let it go, and let God his Father take the reigns and take the glory, and in so doing he defeats death and decay itself - not just for himself, but once and for all, and for all of us.

So in this tough life, and in this tough year that so many of us have experienced (and so many have had it harder than my family has), I take comfort that we're living with the continual hope of Easter. That Jesus's resurrection is a foretaste of what's to come. That death and decay has its moment (and so many of us are living in that moment right now), but it's only momentary. If we choose to be in Jesus, we can release our struggles to him, knowing that in him resurrection has the final say.

I hope that Easter this year can be a transition point to a gentler year, one with a renewed and more realized hope in each of our lives. I think we have at least a few reasons to expect that might happen. But even if that doesn't happen for all of us, or for any of us... at least let Easter remind us that these trials and these challenges will not have the final say; it's neither our responsibility nor in our strength to fully overcome these things ourselves. But in Jesus we *will* have resurrection. That much, at least, is already determined.
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We spoke briefly with Nuckiline this morning and she said things are still going well there with the discipleship group in Antanamazava! She said that tomorrow they'll be starting a new Bible story set, one that Nuckiline will be starting the translation for (into the Antakarana language) herself. We're excited to hear Nuckiline taking the initiative to move forward into the next stage of ongoing discipleship with the people there! We were also able to connect her with colleagues of ours that are doing similar work in eastern Madagascar, so they can visit and encourage one another.

After being in the US for several weeks now, it was so great to hear her voice and hear that things are going well!
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We're wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! This is our first thanksgiving in the US in 10 years!

We're thankful most of all for our God who takes care of us in all things, the big and the small. He doesn't always promise that the paths he leads us on are easy, but he promises to be with us and take care of us along the way, and we've seen that to be so very true in our lives!

We're so thankful that God has directed us these last months, and he's opened the doors for us to leave Madagascar and to return safely and relatively smoothly to here in the US, and he's taken care of all of our needs along the way.

We're very thankful for incredibly generous friends and relatives who helped us get here and who've provided hospitality and transport for us (both transport along the way and also a great long-term vehicle for our family).

We're thankful for friends of family (people who don't even know us personally) who've provided a great place for us to quarantine as a family here in the US - right next door to Lora's parents. They've even offered for us to stay in this home for the next few months until we discern our next steps and get our own place. What great generosity to come from those who are strangers to us!

We're thankful that though our personal plans for life sometimes change suddenly and drastically, none of this catches God by surprise... he knows what we've been through, he knows where we're at now, and he knows what's ahead. He's with us through it all and he graciously offers us one opportunity after the next to participate with him in the advancement of his Kingdom here on earth, in all things to draw us and those around us closer to him in Jesus and to empower us for his good works by the love and strengthening of his Holy Spirit.
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We heard again from Nuckiline - in Antanamazava they shared the Jesus film in Antakarana language this week. A *whole* lot of people were there to watch it, and they will finish the last bit of the film and do follow-up next week.

Nuckiline also had the opportunity to coach the regular discipleship group members into how to share their testimonies (big or small) with lots of people on a regular basis. And shell be preparing them for leading new simple discipleship groups of those interested in joining once the Jesus film is finished.

Praise God for all the great testimonies coming from northern Madagascar, even after we left! God knows the right timing and the right methods in all things! And while we would love to still be there participating directly with Nuckiline in all of this, and to be able to see firsthand all these great results that we worked towards for so many years, but we know that Gods ways are better than ours, and this is a situation where its better that we should go because the works God wants to do through them there in our absence are greater than he could do with our presence. We simply praise God that his Kingdom is coming to the Antakarana people, and the foundation for his Church, a strong and multiplying one, is being built among them!

We fly out of Madagascar tomorrow (Saturday) and arrive in the US on Sunday. We dont know what the future holds for us, nor even if its in Gods plans for us ever to return to Madagascar in the future (though its still very much in our hearts to do that). But we praise God for the time he gave us here, and for the small pioneering part he privileged us to play in seeing many future generations of Antakarana people have the opportunity to know Jesus and to serve him and his Kingdom!  

Please pray for us as we transition to the next season God has for us: that God would protect us and our loved ones as we return to the US during the height of the covid-19 spread; that God would make it clear to us what our next steps are - whether a season of waiting or active pursuit of whatever task/role he has for us next; and pray for our two boys as they leave the country of their childhood to go live in a new country and new culture that theyre almost totally unfamiliar with.  

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support for many years now. Once we leave Madagascar, I will probably only provide infrequent updates in the future. But please always keep in your prayers the Antakarana people, Nuckiline in her leadership role in the work, and the future generations of disciples being made there - that they would have the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to persevere and grow, and multiply the reach of Gods Kingdom until everyone in northern Madagascar has an opportunity to know Jesus and be discipled together in following him.

We heard again from Nuckiline - in Antanamazava they shared the Jesus film in Antakarana language this week. A *whole* lot of people were there to watch it, and they will finish the last bit of the film and do follow-up next week.

Nuckiline also had the opportunity to coach the regular discipleship group members into how to share their testimonies (big or small) with lots of people on a regular basis. And she'll be preparing them for leading new simple discipleship groups of those interested in joining once the Jesus film is finished.

Praise God for all the great testimonies coming from northern Madagascar, even after we left! God knows the right timing and the right methods in all things! And while we would love to still be there participating directly with Nuckiline in all of this, and to be able to see firsthand all these great results that we worked towards for so many years, but we know that God's ways are better than ours, and this is a situation where "it's better that we should go" because the works God wants to do through them there in our absence are greater than he could do with our presence. We simply praise God that his Kingdom is coming to the Antakarana people, and the foundation for his Church, a strong and multiplying one, is being built among them!

We fly out of Madagascar tomorrow (Saturday) and arrive in the US on Sunday. We don't know what the future holds for us, nor even if it's in God's plans for us ever to return to Madagascar in the future (though it's still very much in our hearts to do that). But we praise God for the time he gave us here, and for the small pioneering part he privileged us to play in seeing many future generations of Antakarana people have the opportunity to know Jesus and to serve him and his Kingdom!

Please pray for us as we transition to the next season God has for us: that God would protect us and our loved ones as we return to the US during the height of the covid-19 spread; that God would make it clear to us what our next steps are - whether a season of waiting or active pursuit of whatever task/role he has for us next; and pray for our two boys as they leave the country of their childhood to go live in a new country and new culture that they're almost totally unfamiliar with.

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and support for many years now. Once we leave Madagascar, I will probably only provide infrequent updates in the future. But please always keep in your prayers the Antakarana people, Nuckiline in her leadership role in the work, and the future generations of disciples being made there - that they would have the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit to persevere and grow, and multiply the reach of God's Kingdom until everyone in northern Madagascar has an opportunity to know Jesus and be discipled together in following him.
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May God continue to bless the work in Madagascar for His glory!

Praise God almighty! His wisdom is perfect! Glory to His kingdom.

God bless you lavishly Thanks so much

Y es good my friend

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