Building for the future…
In recent months we’ve been growing our program at the Sarobidy Maternity Center in order to provide safe and compassionate care to more moms and babies in our community. In fact, we’ve doubled our numbers. In the upcoming months we’ll be serving nearly 140 women on a weekly basis through our prenatal and postpartum programs. This is in addition to the women that come to our weekly family planning program. We’ve made this leap for a few reasons… first, simply put, women and babies are dying needlessly in childbirth and the postpartum period and we can help prevent this. Second, as we continue to train our Malagasy midwives, the more experience they have with both the normal and the complicated in birth, the better. Third, our ultimate desire is to see women come to know Christ– the more women we care for, the more opportunities we have to build relationships and share the love, truth and hope of Christ with them.
With this growth comes the need to grow our space as well. Construction started earlier this month to renovate our existing classroom where each week we teach health education to the women in our programs. We cover important topics such as fetal growth, nutrition, breastfeeding, what to expect in the immediate postpartum period, what to do if their baby gets sick, diarrhea and dehydration, family planning, sexually transmitted infections, and so many more. The majority of the women in our program have less than a 6th grade education. With that said, this education is vital to their long-term health and that of their families.
The renovation of the classroom is bittersweet for Jamie and I. You see, in 1999, we helped to build that classroom along with 30 Malagasy and American friends. Let’s be honest– we really probably just got in the way of the construction crew that were doing the actual work but nonetheless, we helped where we could… pounding rocks into gravel, mixing cement, and having lots of fun throughout. That classroom became the computer room for the next 13 years for Jamie’s parents’ school until it moved locations in 2012.
When we opened the Sarobidy Maternity Center in May 2013, that building became our classroom with ample room for the ladies within our program…
Yet today, 5+ years later, we’re busting at the seams.
Through a generous grant from TenTree
(check out their products if you don’t know them!!), we’re doubling our classroom size to accommodate our growing program.
Education is a large part of the Sarobidy Maternity Center. As women are empowered with knowledge, not only do they make educated decisions in the care of their family but they also share their knowledge with friends and loved ones. In a culture where the ripple effect is massive, sharing educational truth is powerful.
Earlier this month, I walked into our postpartum room to visit with Nathalie, a new mama who delivered in the early morning hours. While congratulating her and oohing and ahhing over her sweet new baby, one of the pregnant ladies from our program also walked in to congratulate her friend. I asked how breastfeeding was going in these first few hours and Nathalie’s face lit up, sharing how her baby is receiving the “liquid gold”– i.e. colostrum. I observed as the two excitedly chatted back and forth, almost as though to one up the other, about the benefits of colostrum that they now understood. Many women in Madagascar refuse to nurse their babies in the first few days, believing they don’t have any milk. They opt instead for giving their babies tea made with unsafe water, which too often leads to newborn death. But not Nathalie, her sweet little girl was receiving all the amazing benefits of this early milk and God’s design. We’re happy to say that 100% of the mamas in our program nurse their babies!
We’re still seeking monthly partners to join in our efforts to provide compassionate medical care and life-giving education to the women and their babies at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Would you consider joining the team? Click here
to be directed to WorldVenture where 100% of your tax-deductible donation supports the ongoing ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center.
We praise the Lord for the growth that He has brought to the maternity center in these last five years. We praise Him for the midwives and staff that lovingly care for the women within our midst, for the opportunities to befriend these ladies, to bring education and to share the love of Christ. Would you join us in prayer for the daily ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center– for protection, for wisdom, for relationships, for provision and for growth.
One of the beautiful yet difficult things about life on the mission field is the revolving door of people who enter deeply into the fabric of our family and then who leave when their time is over. Just today we said goodbye to our kids’ beloved teacher, Marina. This image perfectly displays the gift she was to our kids over the last 4 months– tender, compassionate, fun-loving and dedicated to educating our kids well in the time she was here.
*Marina is an incredible photographer…. check out
some of her gorgeous captures of her time here in Madagascar!
Here, there and everywhere…
At the same time we were saying goodbye to Marina this morning at the airport, we were saying hello to an Eden Projects donor group. Over the next 7 days, this group of 10 donors and Steve, the founder and president of Eden Projects
, along with Jamie and teammates, will be visiting multiple planting sites in remote areas while traversing the northwest coast of Madagascar via helicopter, motor boat, outrigger canoe, quad, motorcycle, ferryboat, car, oxcart and airplane! The logistics are just a little intense!
We covet your prayers for this group and the interactions they’ll be having as they engage with our national leaders and employees. As we’ve seen with similar groups in the past, the Lord often uses this time in incredible ways in the hearts of the Americans as they engage with our national staff and hear their stories. We pray for similar interactions this coming week!
In just a short 2.5 weeks, our family of five will be leaving Madagascar for the next 10 months! If you missed this big news in our last email, check it out here!
We’re certainly feeling the mounting pressure of completing ministry tasks, meeting with people, preparing our home, getting ready to empty a 40′ container of donations next week, completing building projects, and packing our bags… even more so while Jamie is gone with the Eden team!
Even if we feel a bit like this picture at times, we have such an undeniable peace about this upcoming time of French language learning. Thank you to all who have deeply encouraged and affirmed us in this process! We greatly appreciate your continued prayers for the days leading up to our departure as well as these upcoming weeks of establishing new normals in Albertville, France!
With grateful hearts,
Jamie, Alissa, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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