Earth, Wind and Fire….

Posted by on October 10, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Earth, Wind and Fire….

Winds of change…

We’ve been back in the USA for two months and thankfully, the winds of change are lessening and life is starting to feel normal again as we juggle the new routines and rhythms of American life. Home assignment is intended to be a time set aside from the demands of ministry on the mission field– a time to be with friends and family, a time to be refreshed in your native language, a time to catch up with financial and prayer partners through church or home presentations, a time to get proper medical and dental care which is often neglected for several years. Home assignment for us is indeed all of those things and more– it’s also a time of packing in as many opportunities as possible knowing that we won’t have the chance again for another 2 years. Sometimes those opportunities are organized sports, or much needed tutoring, sometimes it’s continuing medical education or additional training, business presentations or Sarobidy Creations sales events. To that end, it’s a time where our weeks (and weekends) are booked solid all the way through December 10th as of a couple weeks ago!

The one comment that we typically encounter the most while we’re in the USA is, “I hope you’re getting lots of rest!”– So while home assignment is indeed also intended to be a time of rest, the truth of the matter, it usually isn’t. With that said, though it certainly isn’t restful, it is joyful and for that we give thanks!

 

The biggest question…

While the topic of rest is the main comment that we encounter, the question we receive most frequently is to whether the ministries in Madagascar are put on hold while we’re away. In fact, the exact opposite is true.

 

 

The Sarobidy Maternity Center continues with all aspects of operations–  the staff is weekly receiving and approving new applications of women to enter our program, prenatal care, postpartum care, Bible studies and education classes are still occurring each week as are deliveries at the center. In addition, roughly 100-120 nutritious meals are cooked and served each week for the moms and their young children in the program. Now that Elke, our new Belgian midwife is on board, weekly education with the Malagasy midwifery staff continues as well. From the USA, I continue to be in communication with the staff a few times each week as situations arise and feedback is needed.

Third time mom and our next door neighbor, Fanja, delivered a healthy baby boy, David, at the Sarobidy Maternity Center last week. 
Please join us in prayer for the five midwives at the Sarobidy Maternity Center that are loving, caring for and shepherding these women during a critical time in their lives! Please also pray for our teammate, Danielle Carlstrom who is currently in California preparing for her midwifery board exams!

 

Putting out fires…

The Malagasy staff have literally been putting out fires in our absence! A small but destructive fire was purposefully set as an act of sabotage in the village of Antsanitia. Several Malagasy houses were lost and the fire encroached into the dry deciduous nursery of Eden Projects. As much as was possible, the team used the fire fighting skills they’ve been trained in to put out the flames before more was lost.

Meanwhile, the preparations for the start of the planting season in January continue at the various dry deciduous nurseries and over 2 million mangrove propagules continue to be planted each month in the coastal estuaries.

For the first time, our Malagasy teammates independently hosted a small team from the Eden Projects home office and a researcher from Europe! They did an excellent job– from arranging transportation and food, to hosting at our TongaSoa Guesthouse, to traveling to remote coastal villages!

Our new teammate Ando has been getting to know the Eden Projects staff and has been traveling with them to the various project sites. His desire is to further disciple the staff and encourage them in their walk with the Lord.

Meanwhile, Jamie is talking to Eden staff in Madagascar several nights each week as he figuratively helps to extinguish other fires as it relates to running a large organization in a third world country. At the same time, Jamie, teammates Neal and Josh from Madagascar and the rest of the USA based Eden crew have been diligently working on all matters relating to budget and large contracts.

Please pray with us for wisdom for both the Malagasy and American leadership of Eden Projects. It’s an exciting time of growth and our desire is to follow closely as the Lord leads!

 

Navigating new waters…

The Sarobidy Creation artisans are currently waiting for new orders and hence are enjoying some down-time after such a big push to complete numerous orders before we left Madagascar. At the same time, our work for Sarobidy Creations is currently all-consuming as we navigate new waters of development to streamline the selling of the artisan items here in the USA. As is often the case, there’s a massive amount of up-front work which should lighten the load down the line but for now we’re in the thick of navigating new Point of Sale systems, barcodes, scanners and website developments.

Please earnestly pray with us for someone with the gifting and passion for fashion and design and business as mission to join our team to take charge of this growing ministry as it is vital to the lives of the artisans as well as the financial needs that it provides for the Sarobidy Maternity Center!

 

The earth is shaking…

Lately it’s been feeling like the earth is a bit shaky under our feet as we look to the immediate future. Our main concern at this time is partners and teachers. As we all know, seasons change within churches just like they do in life. As a result of changes, two churches have had to discontinue their monthly support of our family and the ministry of Red Island Restoration. The total equals a significant drop of $1,000 in our monthly support. This is scary for us. Please join us in prayer for this need as we earnestly pray that God would bring forth new churches and/or individual partners to join the financial team of our ministry. If God impresses it upon your heart to join with us in the work that He is doing, whether individually or as a church, please reach out to us via email or phone (805) 886-7344 as we’d love to talk. Likewise, you may sign up directly through our mission organization, WorldVenture, by clicking here.

 

 

In like manner, we’re in desperate need of a new teacher to homeschool our kids in their English education for when our family returns to Madagascar in January. The reality hit like a ton of bricks yesterday that this is just three months away and up to this point, there are no possibilities. This again, is scary for us. We covet your prayers and we trust the Lord that He will answer in whichever way is best. Please help to spread the word to your friends and family!

 

A dream come true…

 

Jamie and Josy (far right) have been doing life and ministry together for over 30 years and the two have always dreamt of Josy coming to the USA. The time is now! Josy will be traveling to Santa Barbara at the end of October for two weeks! His time here is two-fold– first, to thank all of you who have individually held Josy and his family up in prayer over many years both in ministry as well as the uncertainty of his health status and to personally thank all of you who sacrificially and generously gave so that he could live through dialysis, a life-saving kidney transplant in India, and the ongoing medical expenses associated with anti-rejection drugs. The second reason, is so that Josy, as national director of Eden Projects in Madagascar can present to the Eden board of Directors at their upcoming meeting in early November. Josy’s visa has been granted, his tickets have been purchased and he’ll arrive in Santa Barbara on October 27th. We’re currently scheduling a time that Josy will be sharing his story for all those that would like to hear this amazing testimony! We’ll be sure to keep you updated! Be on the lookout, especially on Facebook (either of our personal pages or Red Island Restoration) for the announcement of this upcoming event!

We’re so thankful that the Lord has indeed given Josy full healing of his end-stage kidney failure and for this gift of life! We’re beyond excited to introduce him to so many of you! Please pray with us that this would be a time of great encouragement to Josy, to many of you, and to us as we continue to witness God’s faithfulness! 

 

We’re so thankful that we love and serve a God who is more powerful than the strongest of winds, who snuffs out the flames of the fiercest of fires, who calms even the unruliest of seas and who settles the tremblings of the earth. He is our peace, our hope, our joy. We pray that you are experiencing Him in the same ways!

With love,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin

PS. If you missed our newsletter from last month… click on the link to see tons of images from the work and ministry in Madagascar!

 

To see the original version of this September newsletter, click here.

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