1 step forward, 2 steps back


It has been a while since we last sent out a newsletter. For the last 8 weeks we have really been struggling with our internet. It is non-existent most times, and painfully slow if it is available. This means that we struggle to download emails, do our banking, our newsletters and download our Sunday sermons. Despite logging various complaints, nothing has helped. Its frustrating to say the least. And it seems it may stay this way for the forseable future. It really had me examine myself about being content. Asking myself whether my contentment hinges on my circumstances or in my position in Christ. True contentment stems from a deep relationship with the Lord, one the is unaffected by our circumstances. It made me see how I needed to shift my focus on more eternal things. Which was a good training ground for other frustrations that were on the way..

Language helpers

Having dependable helpers for lesson translation is really important. We can only go as fast as we would like if they are faithful in coming everyday to help. The last few weeks have been challenging in that our main language helper has been unwell and has gone to the city for medical treatment. She has been gone for 4 weeks now. The other language helper, although keen, is really busy most days and cannot help as much as we would like. The third helper is really a big help, and she is very keen and involved, but because she is a barangay captain she has days she cannot help because of those commitments. Progress has not been as fast as we would like because of this. Phil can work ahead on his own to a certain extent, but lessons must actually be done with the helpers present. Our hearts are burdened to begin teaching, but we seem to be constantly held back by delays. Please pray with us for peace in our current situation and that the work will progress in God’s perfect timing. Please also pray for the Word to take root in the language helpers hearts.


The landing strip

For the longest time the landing strip has been plagued with delays too. First the work stopped and the reason given was that they would not continue until a consensus was reached amongst the landowners. So we sat down in negotiations and had them all agree to a set amount. When work did not resume the reason given was the fuel for the heavy equipment had run out and we needed to wait for fuel from Cuyo. Then after many enquiries we were told the machine operators were in Puerto and needed to come back to work the machinery. Next we were told they could not work because of rainy season and the muddy conditions on the strip. The last reason we were given is that a barge was on the way with supplies to build a hangar on the strip and with seeds for grass on the landing strip. However, much to our dismay, when the barge arrived on Sunday, they came to collect all the heavy equipment and had none of the promised supplies. Now we are being told they will return the equipment after the rainy season. We are not sure what to believe anymore. Please pray with us for the finalisation of this project and for God to be glorified through it all. 

College application:

After much prayer and research Valerie-Anne has decided to apply to the New Tribes Mission Bible Institute (now known as the Ethnos 360 Bible Institute) in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA. She hopes to begin in August 2018. The Bible course is a two year course in which every book of the Bible will be studied as well as various other subjects. The Bible course itself is free, but we will be required to pay for her room and board. Before getting her letter of acceptance we need to provide proof of the first year of funds (a visa requirement). Having been on just over 30% of the recommended support level given by NTM since the beginning of our missionary journey we have always had to look to the Lord for His provision. This is no exception 😊. We are trusting in Him for all He has for Val. Please pray with us for the Lords provision as He sees fit. 

When days are long and challenges many, it is then that we need to be reminded of where our hope lies. We are thankful for joy that is ours despite changing circumstances. We are choosing to focus on the victories that are already ours. Today we praise God for the work He has already done and continues to do. We delight ourselves in the knowledge that despite delays we WILL get to the point where there Agutaynens will hear truth in his perfect timing. We rest in His Grace for today.

Thank you for continuing to pray for and support our family. You remain one of greatest blessings!

With love,

The le Roux’s

Recharged

The past few weeks have been a wonderful time of rest, relaxation, fellowship and fun. What a blessing to see our friends and brothers and sisters in Christ in Manila, and have friends from South Africa come and visit us and enjoy showing them around our home on Agutaya too. Time flew by so quickly but we are recharged and ready to continue our work here on the island. 


Bible Study Group

Things are going well with the Bible Study group in Manila. Our hearts are encouraged to see faithful men continuing to serve the Lord faithfully. While in the city we had an opportunity to get involved in a childrens ministry. What a wonderful time to see these men putting their faith in action! Please continue to pray for the group to grow and for them to continue to serve the Lord boldly.


Visa update:

While in Manila we were able to get Angelique’s visa updated. This is required once a child turns 14. We were also able to enquire about our visa renewal next year. It seems things are more complicated than we thought. 

The visa needs to be downgraded 2 months before it expires. That will be in August next year for us. Then they will decide whether we need to return to our home country or can just leave the country for a short while. They will only inform us of that decision a month after the visa is downgraded, which only gives a month before the time to plan to leave the country before our visa expires. 

This is really not ideal as getting international flights a month before the time will no doubt be expensive and stressful. Please pray with us that the Lords will be done and that we will have peace in the situation.

Valerie-Anne

Now that Val has completed her high school education we have been looking at various options for her future. She really desires to do a Bible Study course. We have been doing research and hope to decide soon where she will go. She will start her course in August 2018. Please pray with us that the Lord will guide us as we make the decision. Please also pray for His provision for all that she needs. Thank you!


Lesson preparation:

While in Manila we were able to get our lesson pictures printed. It so wonderful to finally at the point where we get to do this. There are more than 100 pictures depicting images from creation to resurrection that we will use during the teaching. We had them printed on vinyl so that they will last and can be reused and left hanging up for long periods. 

Phil is back to the grindstone translating lessons. Please continue to pray for him. Pray that he will be able to complete the lessons quickly and well. Please also pray for his helpers to be faithful in coming to help him. And of course, please pray that their hearts will be changed when they hear the truth. 

Prayer:

The time is getting closer when we will start teaching. Will you commit to praying earnestly for the souls on Agutaya? Would you purpose to pray once a day that many would come to know Him here? Or even once a week? We need your prayers. Please pray as the Lord bring us to mind that we would stand strong and that His will be done through us. Thank you!

Thank you for standing alongside us!

With love,

The le Roux’s

Unexpected news

Sometimes when my heart is overwhelmed I like to sit out on our porch and look across the ocean. I listen to the sounds of the waves and let the calmness wash over me. I like the order of things. The way the tide comes in and recedes just as it should. The way the water never fails to do what it should..to reach the sand. I find peace in the orderly, the expected, the typical. Somehow seeing how everything comes together to form this perfect picture calms me. 

It seems so often we are living life with the unexpected, the uncertain. We wait for what we hope will happen, all the while knowing that it might not. We make our plans and wait for the Lord to direct our paths. Its a good place to be because it puts us in a position of dependence. A place where trusting Him is all we can do. I know this to be true from so many past experiences. Then why does my heart struggle with the uncertain? 

This year is a big year for our family. Phil reaching efficiency in the Agutaynen language. Valerie-Anne’s SAT exam and high school graduation and hopefully the completion of the landing strip and the teaching lessons. So many milestones, but none guaranteed. The control freak in me wants certainty. To mark the completed boxes and know exactly what will happen next. My heart is always inclined to worry. What if she doesn’t pass? What if we don’t have the funds for college, what if no one gets saved? But, the only one who knows our future is Him who holds all our days. His plan is perfect. His timing: without error. His motive: His glory and my good. Even in the uncertain and the storms of life this remains truth. 


When my heart is overwhelmed I need to focus on what IS certain. That He cares about the little details. That nothing will escape His attention. That He has put a plan in motion long before me. A plan that will reach perfect completion. He knows my anxieties and will answer my prayers even before I utter a word. Not always with a yes, but sometimes with a perfect no. It is in these things that I find peace amidst the uncertainty.

Visa situation:

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year marks the 10th year our family has served the Lord in the Philippines. Immigration law says that after the 10th year, you are required to leave the country and return on a tourist visa. You then begin the whole process for a new missionary visa from the start again. 

We were aware of this and planned to go to a cheap destination in Asia and return after a few days. But, we were made aware last week that we need to be gone for a month and must arrive from “the point of origin”. Meaning from South Africa. This has been shocking, to say the least. None of this was part of the plan and many things will have to fall in place for this to be possible. But it is immigration law and so we have no choice. 

Next year is also the year Valerie-Anne will leave for college and that means that we will have the added expense of a trip to South Africa and her travels to college and all that that entails. It seems impossible. There is no way we can do this on our own. Only He can make this all work. 

Will you please pray for us as we try work through the various possibilities and make plans accordingly? Please pray for wisdom from the Lord and His provision for all of these needs. 

SAT results:

Much to our delight, Valerie-Anne did really well in her SAT test! Her results will be sufficient to apply at the various colleges and universities we have in mind. She has a few more weeks of school and then she will graduate! Thank you to all of you who prayed for her. It has long been her hope to first do a solid Bible College course, which she hopes to start next year and then move on to further her studies. She is not sure exactly what field, but is leaning strongly towards education. 

Please pray for us as we apply to various colleges /universities next month. Pray that God will guide us according to His will.

Teaching lessons:

What do you do when there is no word in the language for Trinity? Do you use the national language word, or rather explain the concept only and not give it a name? What about explaining , “in the beginning God created the earth”, to a culture that has no word for “beginning”? There is no word for Creation either, so every mention of “Creation” needs to detail every part of His creation (earth, stars, animals etc. ).

These are some of the challenges Phil is facing while translating the Creation to Christ lessons. Things that seem simple to us who have been speaking “Christianese” are completely foreign here and need detailed explanation. Most of the Scripture he use in the NT is foreign in the language and does not have any direct words to use. Therefore he ends up with more of an explanation that a translations. Here is a small example:

John 16:8
“And He when He comes will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”

Agutaynen no word for convict as it is not part of their culture. The word concerning as a link is not in their language either. No direct word for righteousness or judgment. So when the translation is done it ends up being more of an explanation and is much longer than the english vesre. Here it is in agutaynen:

John 16:8
“Mga komabot Tanandia, ipaita Naong ga taw ang kalibotan ang na nga mali tang aggisipen nira natetenged ong onopay enged tang kasalanan ig mga sinopay mato-lid ig mag monopay tang pagorosgaren tang Dios.

Please continue to pray for Phil and those involved in helping him to have godly wisdom as they seek to remain true to Gods Word. Please also continue to pray for hearts that will be receptive to truth. Thank you!

Good neighbours:


We have mentioned several times how God has blessed us with wonderful neighbours. This was even more evident when we shared a meal with all of them earlier this month. Their delight in a simple gathering challenges my heart about thankfulness. Their willingness to get up early and slaughter the animals and prepare the meal encourages me to serve. I am learning so much through them, and all of this is before they know our Lord. I long for the day that they will know Him! Its closer than ever now!

Prayers:

Please continue to keep us in prayer. We are closer than ever to bringing the gospel to Agutaya. Pray that the evil one will not hinder us but that we will stand strong in Him. 

With love and appreciation for you, our partners in the Gospel,

The le Rouxs

We need a building….

Size of the classroom we will build
All the teachers and the principle
The classroom they are currently using we want to replace with more stable structure

As most of you know by now, we are currently in the process with a building project at one of the elementary schools on our island. Once we start teaching in that area we will need a place to do the creation to Christ teachings. The elementary school in that are approached us and asked for help in a building. The have to many children for the amount of classrooms they have.

We initially thought of a two room but it will be to expensive. Expenses are always higher on the island as it cost a lot of money to get the materials to the island. Therefore we started with a budget of around R500 000 or $40 000 but quickly reduced it to a one classroom with a budget or approximately R300 000 or $24 000.

We will start making the blocks in August and once that is complete building will start. We will keep you updated. We already received one generous amount of R60 000 towards the project and that will get it going. We will continue the project as we receive funds.

We will start a second project Lord willing next year with the other elementary school in another area on our island where we will also need a teaching room and therefore use the school room at the other school. This school however already have a half built building which we just have to complete for them. We have not yet discussed this more in detail but will soon after starting the first project.

Should you want to get involved in this project by either funding or even come and help to build (we can discuss this if any are interested), please get in touch with Peter Thomas kpbc@global.co.za or peter.thomas.bbc@gmail.com.

Thank you again for each and every one of you that are in which ever way part of this ministry in seeing the Agutaynens receive the true gospel.

Philip

Inside of the school room
The classroom they are currently using we want to replace with more stable structure

Simple things


I love how seeing our beautiful island in the distance never fails to bring a lump in my throat and a feeling of “coming home” in my heart. What an answer to pray! God has put a love in my heart for the Agutaynen’s and this little corner of the earth where we reside. A love that could only come from Him. I am deeply grateful.

This month Val and I went on our first solo trip to Manila for her to write her SAT test. For those who are not familiar with this, it is a Standard Assessment test to test college readiness used in the US to gain entry into American Colleges/Universities. Basically like a South African Matric qualification for lack of a better explanation. 

I was quite nervous to travel without Phil especially since the recent safety threat we have had in our region. The Lord put a calmness in my heart during the several days of travelling and no doubt went ahead of us preparing the way. Everything worked our perfectly. He is so good to me! Thank you to all who lifted us in prayer over this time. It was great to see some of our precious friends in Manila, albeit briefly, and catch up with them. God has really blessed us with beautiful friendships there!


We got to meet our beautiful God child, Amihan (daughter to Hector and Mayen). What a little doll! I am so thankful she will grow up knowing Jesus because her parents will raise her in His ways ❤.

While we were away Phil, Boeta and Angie stayed on the island. Angelique took over all my duties, cooking and doing laundry the whole time. I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming! Phil continues faithfully with the lessons despite the many distractions that life on the island brings. I am so thankful to the Lord for how He sustains Phil and enables him daily. We know we are not alone. He is our constant companion. 


Sometimes I am in awe of the life we live. While travelling on one of the boats back home I looked at the simplicity of the boat design. To start the boat the captain and crew pull a big rope through the window infront of the boat, loop it on a big bamboo pole that acts as a back rest for passengers, count to three and tug (almost like a tug-o-war) until the engine starts. This is a chaotic process as passengers must move away in the already cramped cabin to get out of the way of elbows and rope, legs and fumes. The captain drives the boat sitting on an old plastic container and uses basic steering equipment and years of experience to steer us safely home. 


This might seem like a crude design to some, but to the Agutaynens it’s their best boat. Everyone wants to travel on this boat because its slightly faster and more “comfortable”. This boat is the sea ambulance when they are deadly ill, the hearse bringing their dead back to island if they die somewhere else. Its the work horse that brings fuel, rice, supplies to the island. It brings their loved ones home for visits and takes them safely back again. Some may see it as unsafe, a danger on the waters but not here. Here it’s the gem of Agutaya with a name to fit: Princess Myka. 

I count myself blessed to see through their eyes. To see how the seemingly simple can be precious. I hope my eyes never adjust to where simple is not enough for me. Pray with us that the Agutaynens will accept Gods truth when it presented to them. The simplicity of the Gospel will change their lives in unfathomable ways. I can’t wait!

We love you all ❤

What I never knew..


This year marks the 10 year anniversary of our arrival in the Philippines. Time surely has flown bye. The days are long but the years are indeed short. Looking back nostalgically on our time here there are some things I wish I had known as a young missionary embarking on our adventure here. And some I’m glad I didn’t know 😊. As a new missionary there were many things I feared and expected but what I didn’t know was..

That the strange smells, sounds and tastes would one day feel like home.

That the things I feared most then are not even things I think of now.

That I would not be home to bury my father but would be at peace because the Lord, in His grace, saved him 2 months before his death.

That taking my children away from all they knew would be the best thing I could ever do for them.

That I would long for my home country with an ache that physically hurts my heart, and that I would feel the same way about the Philippines when I am home on furlough.

That we would survive a super typhoon, our vehicle being stoned and shot at and were almost shipwrecked, and some of it would be while on furlough.

That I would experience first hand how God can turn a calamity into a beautiful blessing.

That struggling financially would be gift because it allows us to see God perform miracles.

That home-schooling my children would be a privilege that I would love.

That I would come to love a people group who have nothing in common with me but who have become my life’s purpose.

That being on the mission field would expose the sinfulness of my heart in ways I never knew existed, and God’s love for me would be even more real because of it. 

That what I once counted sacrifice has been the best decision of my life (well, second best after salvation ❤).

There were so many things I didn’t know then, but I knew enough to know I could GO. 

Today I know enough to know that I can STAY. 

He is faithful beyond what we could ever imagine. 

It is fitting that our ten year anniversary coincides with a new chapter in our ministry and family life. This year we prepare to teach the Agutaynens for the first time and next year our eldest child, Valerie-Anne, leaves for college abroad. Although I know these things come with big challenges and sacrifice for sure, I am at peace knowing that something beautiful will come from this. He has already begun to paint a beautiful picture with the fragments of our lives, and I cannot wait to see the finished masterwork!

Rejoicing because of all that He is,

The le Rouxs

A new chapter!


“Summer” has arrived in the Philippines but not even the relentless heat can dampen our spirits! What a joy it to finally be able to prepare lessons for the teaching of phase one. Phil has been hard at work putting together our first lessons this month. There are more than 70 lessons which Phil will teach through in phase one. Lessons work chronologically from Creation to Christ using key passages in scripture that depict the characteristics of God and point to Christ. 

Much thought goes into the preparation of these lessons taking the culture of the Agutaynens into consideration. Each sentence is thought through carefully with the listeners world view in mind and how they will understand the context. Bridges and barriers are determined so that we know what areas need extra attention in the lesson. Phil works closely with several language helpers and checks and re-checks the lessons for error and clarity. This is where understanding of the culture is so important. Please join us in praying for wisdom during this process.

Several milestones:

This year is a big year for our family because not only is it the year we start teaching, but its also the year that Valerie-Anne graduates from high school. Please be praying for her as she studies for and writes her SATs. She will then apply to several colleges in the US where she hopes to do a Bible course for her first year. We are praying for the Lords guidance and provision for Valerie-Anne’s next step.

Everyday life:
With the legislation in the Philippines changing with regards to getting medicine over the counter we have been limited as to how much we can help people medically on the island. Although this has been difficult the Lord has given us several opportunities even this month to help in one way or the other. This past month we helped a lady with a very bad burn get to the hospital for the treatment she needed and help towards her hospital bill. Just today a tora tora (a tricycle with an open side-car commonly used for cargo) crashed into the rocks near our house with a young family in it. Phil was able to clean up the drivers wounds and bandage them for him. Several others have been helped with transport money (boat fare) to Cuyo to get medical treatment at the hospital there. We are thankful for this opportunity to show people our love and care and hopefully give them a glimpse of the Lords love through us. 


Angelique and Boeta are in their last few weeks of grade 9 and working hard to completion of their work. I can hardly believe that they will almost be done with grade 12 when we are on furlough again. It certainly makes me treasure these precious times with the five of us all being together!

Missing you

It has already been a year since we left South Africa after our furlough. We miss you all very much (also our precious friends in other parts of the world), but are thankful to each one who lifts us up in prayer and is a part of the work here on Agutaya. We pray for you often and our hearts are full of thankfulness at the thought of you. Its a privilege to serve alongside you!

Cleared to teach!

Last week we had a long awaited visit from our NTM consultants. Some of you might remember that we had a visit scheduled in September last year but unfortunately our consultant landed in hospital with both dengue and typhoid fever 2 days before he was due to fly in. The earliest date we could get scheduled was last week. So Im sure you can imagine it was a very big deal to finally have the visit happen.

For those who are not familiar with how NTM works, church planters are required to be assessed by language consultants and achieve a level of proficiency in language and culture before they are cleared to teach in the tribal language. This takes years of work as the missionary must use the national language to aquire the tribal language and live amongst the people to study their culture. 

As I’m sure you derived from this newletters title, we are delighted to tell you that Philip has reached proficiency and is cleared to teach!! (Im doing a happy dance right now..). This is a pretty big deal as its a big step closer to finally bringing the gospel to the people we have grown to love on Agutaya!

So what happens next?

Now we begin the process of putting together the more than 70 lessons that will be taught in our phase 1 teaching. lessons will be put together and designed around the audience, so much thought has to be put into the examples and explanations and skids (dramas) that we will use. 

We have so much to consider and decide on and we covet your prayers as we enter this next phase in our ministry. 

 Thank you!

Thank you to all of you who have lifted us in prayer and supported us in the Lords work on Agutaya! We are so excited to take the next step forward with you all. We are blessed to partner with you!

A plastic bag of rice

 There are times when we go through “dry” seasons. Seasons when we feel like all is quiet and we wonder if anything is happening at all. When it feels as though life revolves around the everyday slog to learn language and persevere through this chapter in ministry. Its the looooong stretch to the final goal that sometimes feels like it will never come. 

Until the day the simple plastic bag with 3kgs of rice arrives at your door. 

And you realise that God has been at work all this time in the hearts of those you seek to minister to. And suddenly its not just a bag of rice. Its a personal encouragement from the Lord. A push to keep at it. A reminder that He works alongside us. A very tangible sign of the work that is already accomplished.

How can a simple bag of rice mean so much, you wonder? Because it shows were we stand in the hearts and minds of our Agutaynen neighbours! Recently the “barangay” (little subdivision we stay in) had an initiative where each household would receive free rice. This is an intiative for the indigent people of our area and instead of them overlooking us they included us in the share. It may not seem like much, but to people who struggle to get every meal for their families it is an extremely generous gesture. I cannot help but be extremely humbled and delighted that they thought to share the little they have with us. My heart is filled with joy at the relationships that the Lord has helped us form because those are the very relationships that will bring them to listen when start to teach them through His Word. 

He is at work, and we are so privileged to be part of it!

A devine appointment:

During our run Val and I run a route on the island that takes us passed some quiet uninhabited areas. One particular run on a quiet uphill we noticed a young man lying in the “road” next to his bicycle. He had just fallen off the bicycle and hit his head on the volcanic rock on the side of the “road”. He was clearly dazed and struggled to get to his feet. We quickly helped him to his feet and Val carried his bag of fruit while I pushed his bicycle (that he insisted on taking with him) back down the hill so we could get him some help. He had been drinking (not uncommon here and of course the reason for his fall), and it took some persuading to even let me look at his wound. One minute he was saying he is fine and the next he was crying. After about 30 minutes of trying, and a crowd gathering to see the commotion we finally got him to agree to go to the local “clinic” to check him out. Im pleased to say he has recovered completely and greets (albeit rather sheepishly) everytime we see him. I’m thankful we were in that area at that exact moment to get him help. Sometimes you just know you had a devine appointment!

Opportunities:

With Pastor Ryan having joined us in ministry here we have had the opportunity to get involved with a group of people who have broken away from the Catholic church and are in need of sound biblical teaching. Please pray that God will use this for His glory and tyat they will be open to His Truth.

Challenges:

This is going to be a year of “big” things for us. It’s the year we start teaching on the island and also the year Val graduates from high school. Please keep praying for us as we work towards these really important goals.


With thanks

Thank you for lifting us up in prayer and supporting the Lords work here on Agutaya Island. We value each one of you who has taken hands with us in reaching the lost.

With love,

The le Rouxs

This is the year..

Bare with me a minute, and…
Imagine if you will, that you hold the limp body of your baby boy in your arms, fear coursing through your veins as you hear him struggling to breathe, terrified that the next breath will be his last. You know you need to do something, you know his life is slipping away, but what can you do? There is no doctor to take him to, and the nearest help is a three hour boat ride away. But it’s nighttime now and everyone knows you cannot travel in the dark. Tomorrow you will go with the money the missionaries gave you, and see the doctor on the other island. But for now you wait. Thoughts fill your mind of what the “albulario” (witch doctor) said to you today. Can it be a ghost in your home causing your little one to suffer like this? What have you done to deserve this punishment?

As morning dawns you watch your baby boy fall into an eternal sleep. Dread fills you, knowing he is gone forever. He never made it to his second month of life, just like so many on the island. So you lay his lifeless body on a bamboo bed and wrap his clothes in a plastic bag in front of his tiny feet. You long to hold on to them, sweet memories of your tiny boy. But you can never use them again, for fear of bringing bad luck to your home. 

Many will come to see your babies body today and for several days following, and offer you words of condolence. The neighbors all quietly rally around doing what has been done for centuries. The men gather pieces of left over wood and scraps to make a coffin. Women sit around chatting, in whispering tones not knowing what to say. Soon they will cut your baby open removing the organs in preparation of embalming him. People bring rice and food for the meal that will take place after the burial. It seems like just the other day you sat across the dead body of your brother. Just 21 years old and gone too soon. You named your baby after him, and now a year after your brother he is gone too. Grief overwhelms you and you wonder how much more you will suffer in this life. 

Tonight you know you will not sleep as many people surround you gambling and drinking. It’s the way of your people, and it’s better than being alone with your thoughts and your grief. Sleep eludes you anyway. Your husband will join them. To forget. And so the grief will be yours to carry alone tonight.
When the time comes to bury your little one you will put him in a grave along with generations of your family who have all lived and died on this island. You should feel relief at not having to look at his lifeless body, but now he truly feels gone. Every year you will paint his grave for All Saints Day and leave food to appease the spirits in memory of your little one who never made it passed his second month of life. And in your heart you wonder, is there more to life than this?

What if there was more to life? What if even death held hope? What if there was joy to found in every circumstance? But you never knew it, because no one ever told you.

I know I should be writing a New Years post, but somehow after the loss of another life on the island today, a New Years post seems forced. Please forgive the lack of photos, but what does one put in a post like this? Not the photo of a tiny lifeless body now forever imprinted on my mind. So much of life on this island is filled with sadness and loss. So much is about struggle and suffering. So many times I am filled with a deep sadness for these people I have come to love, who live a life without hope. Their hope is in their harvest, in their next generation, and sometimes, even in us. 

It is for this that we have come! To bring hope to the hopeless. To share with them the love of a Savior who gave His life for them. To be His feet here on this little patch of earth. Oh Let this be the year, that many come to know of that hope! Let this be the year that they are finally set free! We are standing on the brink of it, and I can hardly wait!

Lord willing, soon they will echo the words of 1 Corinthians 15:55 “Where, oh death, is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?

Please keep us and the people of Agutaya in your prayers. May the Lord bless you abundantly in 2017.

With love,

The le Rouxs