Putting the pieces together

Posted on Feb 8, 2014 | 1 comment

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Much like putting together a puzzle, we have the full picture to guide us, strategy on how to accomplish it, but some parts fall into place and others come with time.  When our family is working on a puzzle, people wander in and out to work on it, and they normally bring a fresh set of eyes that boost the progress.  Over time many come in to contribute a few pieces or maybe a whole section.  As the picture nears the finish most hang around to see the last pieces put into place to reveal that great picture accomplished.

This has been our journey to Missions. We feel the momentum of departure on the horizon, but we don’t exactly know when or how it will all come together.  We have the pieces in hand, we’re just not sure how they fit.  We are blessed by so many who have supported us,  you have boosted our momentum and we are ever closer to serving on the field. We trust that it will happen in His time and as we tell most people, “we are still plugging away at it.”
We had a goal for December 31st to be 60% of our monthly budget.  Being 60% meant that we would be eligible to attend our second to last training called Pre-Departure Training held at WorldVenture’s headquarters in Colorado. We knew we were close and were absolutely humbled to learn that, as of Dec 31st, we were 61.89%!! So, in the middle of January, off to Colorado we went for 3 days of training.  The first two days were essentially a look back on where we’ve been and the last day was a look to where we are headed these next few (prayerfully) months; emotionally, physically and spiritually.  We talked a lot about transition and walked a fine line between being so excited to be calling Madagascar home and realizing that we are and will soon be facing a lot of grieving.  We have already begun the process of saying our “good byes” to our things as we’ve been sorting, organizing, packing, tossing, and selling.  But the reality of truly beginning to say our goodbyes was hard.  It was difficult to show any emotion while talking about this process for fear of seeming weak in faith or emotionally unstable or to feel like others might question whether we are “doing the right thing” but the truth of the matter is that His calling on our lives, on our family for reconciling Madagascar was never in question.  He has gone before us, He has prepared our path, He is still right beside us and sometimes obedience is hard.  We know He is shaping and molding us for the Malagasy life.
Nine days after we got back from Colorado, I (Danielle) packed up with Jolie and my girlfriend Emily, and headed to New York for a Midwife Assistant Skills Workshop hosted by my current school.  We went from a nice, California 70 degrees to a FREEZING -10 degrees with a windchill that was absolutely shocking! We did have a high of 12 degrees on day 2, a fact that made us laugh out loud in disbelief.  Burr!
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The workshop was great! We learned some hands-on skills that will help me through the years to come.  One of the mentors, Vicki Penwell encouraged us to start “reading braille” not literally but by way of doing everything with our fingertips. It was an amazing workshop and to learn from women who have caught thousands of babies and have years of wisdom was priceless.  It was challenging, relieving and inspiring all at the same time.  What an honor it is to be called to serve women during such a vulnerable and powerful time of their lives.  What a blessing to know that without Him, it would be impossible to do so.
As the pieces of the puzzle come together these next couple of months we wish to tell you how much we appreciate each and every one of you.  Without your obedience and faith in serving with us, we simply could not do the work He has called us to.  We are so honored by the pieces you’ve added.  And if you know of anyone who would be interested in this vision for Madagascar, please share with them our story, website, blog, or contact info.  We are filling our schedules with sharing this exciting news at churches, small groups, at homes with friends and families.  Please help us build this community of people who are reconciling the people, health, and forests back to Christ in Madagascar.  We serve such an amazing God!
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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your path to Madagascar. I remember two years ago sitting in the Tab at Redwood and hearing the Shattenbergs speak. Then last year, hearing you and your husband tell your story as to how God has spoken into your hearts and how you are headed to Madagascar as well. We will certainly keep your family in our prayers!

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