Thursday, December 31, 2015

Put a ribbon on it - The last update of 2015

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Put a ribbon on it and call it an amazing year

As we approach these last couple of days of 2015 our family is just blown away at what a wonderful year it has been for us in both ministry and in day to day life.  You are such a tremendous part in making this year such a success.  Thank you! Thank you for your trust in us, thank you for your tangible financial support and thank you, most importantly, for your prayers that keep us lifted high.  As Paul writes to the church at Philippi: "The Lord is at hand, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
As you know the last months have been an absolute whirlwind of end of the year activities with regional travel and a trip to work with our China team, housing move, multiple conferences and closing out school.  I'm sure it was the same for you! We've been blessed to finally have family (other than our parents) to visit and experience the beauty of God's creation that we live in.  Our cousins on the Cazayoux side of the family, Chriss, Laura, Lyle and William made the long journey and it has been such a time of refilling and rejuvenation for us.  We pushed them hard to travel Kenya with us we've been to safari in the west and across the country to the Indian Ocean in the east.  Sadly we send them back off to the USA tomorrow. We are full.  There is no replacement for close family in friends during the holidays when you live overseas.  
Are you ready to book your visit to see us yet?
From top left: 
First four photos are the obvious amazing wildlife God has put here.  Fifth is Daniel our Maasai tracker scouting the area but I figure our pot of gold has already been found at the end of that rainbow in this experience we are having.  Ashley and Lillian singing a dancing with ladies from the community.  Ashley relaxing on our "front porch".  Lillian got to be co-pilot on the way home. I'm acting normal and goofing around with the kids.  Duncan enjoying his view.  

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean coast just below the Somalia boarder is a slice of heaven.
From top left: 
 Our Christmas finest?  Riding to town in a Tuk-tuk (3 wheeled motorbike taxi) with Chriss and the boys.  These two Christmas Day cakes at the hotel were classics! A ghostly nativity gingerbread cake and the sweet Baby Jesus all bundled up cake! For our Christmas time of prayer on the beach we read the account of Luke and gave thanks for our highlights this year, William blessed us with his beach debris art during this time.  We were then blessed by Santa's arrival on a camel and the chance to sit on his lap.  Zoe had a huge degree of interest in the driftwood and recycled flip-flop fish we wound up with.  

Ella Jade Brag Section

Seems like each other month Ella Jade earns her own section in our reports.  I'll need her to just start writing her own reports soon :)  Some of you know that she has been chosen by an author, Cindy Neptune, to illustrate a children's book that will be called "Hiding 25 Days with Gilmore".  The book is from the point of view of the donkey in the Nativity story.  Ella Jade is very excited about the project and even more excited that she is in the final edits of her work.  Rosslyn Academy is also allowing her to use this as her "20 Percent Project" in Language Arts.  She surprised our family with an incredibly thoughtful and detailed hand made board game project for Christmas knowing the rest of us enjoy the Survivor television series.  Falling right into "The Advent Conspiracy" model of making or doing meaningful things during Christmas.  She ALWAYS blows me away, surpassing my expectations in her.  God has given us a very special gift to steward.  
Prayer & Praise 

Please continue to pray for the Magruder Family in general.  That we continue to, in some small way, make a difference on behalf of our Lord a Savior Jesus Christ.  That we remain strong when we could be week.  That we can minister well to other missionaries as they feel the pressures of life and service. For Ella Jade and Mrs. Neptune as the final edits are completed on the Gilmore book project, that the right publisher is secured and that He would be glorified in this effort.  That 2016 starts out with a bang and that our With Open Eyes mission team has Kingdom impact the first week of January.

We are thankful to God for having you in our lives.  For our ability to serve Him in His Kingdom.  We praise Him for all of our very many blessings in 2015.

We are also VERY thankful when we receive your prayer needs via email or iMessage or in any way you feel comfortable getting them to us.  It is an honor to work with you in your time of need or when you just want someone to talk to. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time for any reason.

Happy New Year!  God's great Peace on you!
Links of Interest 
For a catalog of our previous family updates click here
For single or recurring investments into our ministry click here

Dear
<>
,
It's a joy to share our ministry updates with you. Thank you for keeping up with our ministry and family. 
Transforming mission fields into mission forces



Our mailing address is:
The Magruders Serving in Africa
PO Box 1415
Nairobi 00621
Kenya

Add us to your address book
Due to the sensitivity of content, please do not post, publish, or redistribute this letter without permission.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Success!

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Success!

Thank you all who were praying for our "This Is Your Tribe" conference the last couple of weeks.  What a great success it was with over 300 attendees from 35 countries around the world.  Amazing to see theologians and practitioners working together to share and learn best practices for missions mobilization.  
We then paired it down to just Center for Mission Mobilization world staff and partners for a "Global Gathering" of two days then I ran another two days of "Operations Trainings".  Based on current world realities I brought a security expert in for one of those days to roll out our Risk Management manual we've been working on for the last couple of months.  Feeling relieved to have been able to check off so many items off of my Critical list in the last few weeks.  The true highlight for me was having the kids join the conference for a day and Ella Jade slipping me her representation of our discussions (below).  Blessed beyond belief to be working for this King in His kingdom with this family of mine.  
From top left:  Ashley and Kevin McCasland, CMM H.R. Director, preparing to make some staff care announcements.  CMM International Director presenting our team activity snapshots.    

Please do this for us

The Center for Mission Mobilization has compiled a year end report for the first time ever.  We are asking you for a couple of favors.
  1. Click HERE to go to the web version of the report
  2. Spend five minutes checking out all the exciting things happening
  3. Prayerfully consider making our family part of your year end giving plan and/or joining our monthly sustainable support team 
  4. Continue to pray for all of God's workers in the field

In Other News

Top left and right: Pastor Sosthen in the Sudanese refugee camp hosted in Uganda reports great expansion in the size of their growing congregation.  With Open Eyes is helping him with an addition to his church this month.  Bottom left:  Duncan reached his 14th year this week! What a joy he is.  Bottom right:  December 1st was the limit reached by the ladies in my life for my No Shave November efforts.  Did not make it much past breakfast before the soap was applied and the whiskers removed.  
Prayer & Praise 

We praise God for this incredible year we have had! And we thank you for the amazing encouragement you provide.

Continue to pray that workers will be called to the fields.  That all the IMB missionaries in transition will find new and fruitful callings to other organizations.  For Lillian in the midst of sophomore year finals this week.  For rest and recovery as we focus on Christ's earthly coming during this Advent Season.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
- Luke 2
Links of Interest 
For a catalog of our previous family updates click here
For single or recurring investments into our ministry click here

Dear
<>
,
It's a joy to share our ministry updates with you. Thank you for keeping up with our ministry and family. 
Transforming the mission field into a mission force



Our mailing address is:
The Magruders Serving in Africa
PO Box 1415
Nairobi 00621
Kenya

Add us to your address book
Due to the sensitivity of content, please do not post, publish, or redistribute this letter without permission.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

So much to be thankful for

We are so very thankful to God and you for allowing us to serve in His Kingdom 

What a time it has been since our last update.  Thank you for your prayers of support for our time in China as we were beyond blessed - Ashley and I both were awarded 10 year multi entry visas!  That means we can go in and out to visit and support our field workers there without issue or getting additional permission for the next 10 years! For Ashley's vehicle repair - a potentially totaled engine had zero damage once the timing belt was replaced - the mechanic could have sold me a new engine and it would have been expected so I thanked him for his honesty by doing the other overdue maintenance of breaks, shocks, etc as we were additionally blessed by a gift to apply to the repair costs.  For our big housing move or "shift" as we call it here - everyone is settled into their new environment and loving the new place.  The dogs and tortoises are thrilled about all the grassy areas and our INSIDE guest room has been utilized three times already by Ashley's dad, a missionary from Sudan needing some R&R and home cooked meals and currently by a missionary family from Rwanda in need of medical care for a daughter (be in prayer that Grace will be sorted out by the physicians here in Nairobi as the next step would be a "shift" to the United States).  

China Team Visit

China, our team is doing great, acclimating to the environment, food and language.  Ashely was able to spend time talking through those culture shock issues that all new cross-cultural workers experience.  The team has developed an outstanding plan for growing the Kingdom.  The most noticeable thing to us was how eager locals were to engage.  I suspect that the closed nature of their government towards open communication to the West actually gives us an advantage in that they are hungry to learn about us.  This opens the door to both the good and bad to be communicated easily - let's be in prayer that the Good News is what is absorbed by this hungry generation.  
Since we are from Louisiana our inclination is to explore a culture by its food so Ashley and I ate way too much and too often.  Our greatest experience was in the Hui community (pronounced Whey) which is considered one of the worlds largest unreached people groups.  Most of the pulled noodle shops in this region are run by the Hui.  If we lived there personally I could see a ministry model developing.....    :)   You can catch a glimpse of Ashley through the window glass on the right side.  

East Africa Team

Our Kenya team has expanded again!  We've added three new singles to the local collegiate level program.  Morgan, Jennifer and Paul come to us with good experience and excitement for their calling.  Jennifer has enjoyed learning to drive on the left side of the road and has already been arrested for "creating an artificial jam".  Blessedly Paul, who was raised in Mexico and has experience with developing world police forces, was able to get her released without charges - he will actually be taking the arresting officer to dinner to talk about their faith and walk.   We are now up to 31 people and, believe it or not, have the most children from one mission at Rosslyn Academy outside of the missionary teacher core sending organizations. We had a spectacular Thanksgiving feast with everyone bringing something that spoke to their hearts from home.  If we can't have family for our 8th Thanksgiving overseas then this is the second best alternative for sure.  
So many great things are going on with our East Africa field teams but a few of particular interest this month are that Gabriel was asked to speak to over 3,000 university students on a campus here in Nairobi (see him clowning around by taking a "selfie" during the event) where he shared about his faith and the importance of the those with faith being being active in bringing others in.  Our brother Eraston, who you remember from our training trip to Uganda a couple of months ago, is a PHD student in Nairobi.  He  just organized a Mobilization Training with our materials and a member from our team to Goma, Congo.  They had a spectacular time working together and Eraston is well on his way to being one of our indigenous affiliates. 
Occupying all of my time for the next two weeks is the Global Mobilization Consultation and the CMM Global Gathering events that are running back to back here in Nairobi.  We are hosting over 300 individuals from nearly 40 countries engaged in mobilizing the Global Church.  The goals are to create an environment where mission mobilization leaders and the mobilized can 1) come together to forge and strengthen partnerships, 2) collaborate on ideas and projects, 3) share innovations and resources from the field, and 4) learn best practices in discipling God's people to those with no access to the gospel.  This event will also serve as a great chance for us to be recruiting towards future field team launches.  

Kids Update

Lillian had her week long mission trip to Kakamega, Kenya where her class served in an orphanage of 30 children from infant up to 8 years.  She is in love with a three year old named Jessie that you see above right with the cute glasses.  Another friend made was Belinda- top left.  She hopes he can be Duncan's roommate but Ashley and I are feeling content with three children for the time being.  They spent time hiking with the kids in a local forest which is a treat as most don't get to leave the facilities very often, painting some of the rooms and just ministering and loving on the young souls living there.  Lillian says:  "I loved the experience of getting away from "normal" life.  I was able to see God in these little children.  Their lives are less fortunate than ours but they just share so much joy in what they have.  Seeing God in them helps me continue to grow in my won faith."
I had a wonderful chance to take my girls on a short daddy date where we undertook a safari on horse back.  What an experience! Ella Jade, top right, is with a couple of classmates that put on a bake sale to support the Rosslyn Christmas Buddy effort to fund a special needs orphanage they have teamed up with for this Advent Season.  The girls had a great time baking and working the school fair for support of the effort.    

"Tis the Season" plug

I'm absolutely sure each of you out there are receiving a ton of charitable contribution requests.  The Magruder Family is adding to that flow of material because we believe that you hold convictions about being invested in Kingdom work.  The reality is that December is hands down the biggest time for Asking and Giving in the USA.  People are reflecting on their year, considering their tax deduction needs and assessing their capacity for the coming year.  During this season you will hear from us a couple of times.  All we can ask is that you prayerfully consider how you can best participate in God's great Kingdom work at home and abroad, stewarding His resources and preparing for your family's needs now and in the future.  If you are at peace with how we steward your gifts and believe in our work please pray about joining our monthly support team, increasing your current level of monthly support or, for you annual givers, make us a part of your December investing plan.   It's as simple as clicking on this link CMM-The Magruders.  
Prayer Items 
  • The Global Mobilization Consultation and Global Gathering conferences we are running back to back here in Nairobi 
  • Children finishing the semester out well 
  • Ministry workers everywhere raising support to empower their work
Ashley and I expect to hear from you and your family on the prayer needs you have.  It so helps us feel connected to you back home who are behind our work.  Just drop us a line at ashleymagruder@gmail.com or macmagruder@gmail.com

God's great Peace on you this Advent Season.  
Dear
<>
,
It's a joy to share our ministry updates with you. Thank you for keeping up with and praying for our ministry and family. 
Join our team of sustainable partners by clicking here
Transforming mission fields into mission forces

Our mailing address is:
The Magruders Serving in Africa
PO Box 1415
Nairobi 00621
Kenya

Add us to your address book
Due to the sensitivity of content, please do not post, publish, or redistribute this letter without permission.