USA (MNN) — The Mayle family will be enjoying their last Thanksgiving in the U.S. tomorrow. No, nothing bad is going to happen. Rather, Shawn and Angie have decided to take the next step in their journey in God’s plan. They’re heading to Madagascar for a couple of years with Africa Inland Mission.
The couple, both nursing graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University, has always had a passion for missions. In fact, ever since they started dating–over ten years ago, they have felt the call to be missionaries. “We weren’t sure exactly where it was going to be, when we were going, how long we were going for, or any of those details. But we knew missions was going to be a part of our life,” Shawn says, “About three years ago, God kind of told us it was time to start moving in that direction, and it’s just really been a journey of faith.”
The island, about 20 miles off of Madagascar, is Nosy Mitsio. It is only two miles wide and under eight miles long. The people living there number between 1500-2000. The Mayle family will be working with other missionary families alongside the unreached Antakarana people. “The ultimate goal there is to plant a working and ministering church.”
In Africa, they will be a part of a TIMO team which stands for Training in Ministry Outreach. This is a learning program that will help them set the foundation for their life in ministry. They will also be learning the culture and language of the Antakarana people in order to build relationships and minister to them.
The team consists of 10 adults and eight children. As for their medical help, Shawn says, “We’re hoping that not only can we provide some medical support to our team there, since there’s no medical facilities on the island, but after some assessment, figure out how we can help the people there as well.” This help will not only be for physical needs, however. Eventually, they hope that they can incorporate sharing the Gospel into their medical ministry.
Looking ahead to the big change in their lives, Shawn says, “There is excitement, and there’s fear…. But there’s a peace in that fear, knowing that we’re heading where God has called us to be.” Along with them, Shawn and Angie will take their three young children. “I’m sure there’s a lot of people that think we’re crazy, taking our three young kids over there.”
Going to live in a foreign country can be quite scary, but Shawn says they are trusting God, “Bad things can happen there, bad things can happen here. But in that, I’d rather be where God has called me to be.” The family will be leaving July 2014.
There are several ways that you can assist this couple as they make the big move to Africa. “First and foremost: we want people praying; we’re going to need it. We would love people to contact us through our Web site. Secondly: financial support. We’re kind of in the midst of our support-raising, so if people feel called to support us financially, that would also be great.”
You can pray for the family as they make this transition, especially for their oldest son. Also pray for the rest of the team in Madagascar, as well as for the Antakarana people. Shawn will be heading to England November 19 to begin a three-week Tropical Nursing School. Pray for the family as they are separated.