Sharing Our Burden… October News
Twins x 2!
Last month two mama’s-to-be in our prenatal program went in for their first ultrasound… both walked out with surprising news– both expecting TWINS, both with the same expected due date of February 22nd! Elizabeth and Nathalie, the special mamas and these four babies are the first twins in our program! They have begun receiving dual care– continuing to come each week to the Sarobidy Maternity Center to receive prenatal care, education, laboratory testing, prenatal vitamins and protein-rich snacks as well as receiving prenatal care from our back-up physician at her clinic.
Sharing Our Burden…
Introducing Mr. Frederik…
As many of you know, Jamie returned to Madagascar last month for an intense two week Eden Projects trip to gather data from planting sites and conduct interviews of the employees. Here’s one such interview from Frederik, a manager of one of our dry deciduous sites. His words are a powerful testimony of the transforming work of employment in his life. (Note– though the interview was translated into English, the words are Frederik’s alone).
“Yes, between 2004 – 2011 we struggled to survive.
I had no work at all and not enough food so sometimes we ate and sometimes we did not. I kept my kids in school but I could not keep up on the school fees so they were in and out of school. Often they had to repeat years. When you are poor something is blocking or holding you from being able to even think about rising up to think about the future. Our house was falling apart and clothes were hard to come by.
I had the desire to improve my life but I lost the trust of any future hope. I had no strength to change the future. I just waited for what would hit me next. What God would put before me. I could never be satisfied with what I could give my family. I was embarrassed that my children had to go elsewhere for food and care. I lost respect before my kids, wife, and other people treat you as nothing. Even though I had a high school education and further education in accounting. Despite all this, I always trusted and prayed to God. We actually had land but it was not nutritious and gave little yield when we farmed it.
In 2011 we had worked our way up a little and hope began to return. When I started with Eden Projects I had little respect but now I am respected in the community, because I have a job and I lead people in reforesting. As a leader I have been lifted up to a place of honor. I can only be a leader if people trust me.
Having steady income, my mind can rest in peace knowing there is money coming. I can plan my life out. I can do things I need to do to fix my house. Food and kids school fees are covered every month. I was able to buy a solar panel to give us electricity for light at home, to charge my phone, and run my radio. I bought my kids beds.
The first thing I feel is my mind is at peace. Because I used to worry at night about the next days suffering, but now I have a trust that tomorrow will be fine. I will be cared for and my family will be cared for also.
I carry myself differently because I have responsibility of a job. I have to be responsible with myself. Before I drank lots of alcohol and slept around but now I am sober and faithful to my wife who I just want to make happy. My goal and desire is to be an example to others of being a good person. As a father I now can give my children their needs. They can say “Dad, I need this, a bag, food etc”… and I can provide it if it is good. It makes me happy and I feel honored. I feel and know I truly am a father because before I couldn’t do my responsibilities as a father.
For the most part I love my job.
I love to work to better my community and not just my family. Planting forests brings health and for my eyes seeing green things brings me strength. Where there are forests the weather is cooler. You don’t want to touch hot things and entering a forest you don’t want to leave because it is cool.
I get to teach others why the forest is important and where it comes from. As the forests come back, life gets better. I care for the forest like I care for my wife. My work is my life. I don’t get tired of my job. I want to figure out how to make it better.
Before my dreams were to have money for things and for celebrations. Now my dream is to leave a good inheritance for my children. I want to leave a legacy that is honorable. I want to leave my mark and a good mark. I want to help others. I have received grace and I want to pass it on.”
Frederik’s words are powerful– words that bring life to extreme poverty, words that bring hope from a seemingly hopeless situation, words that share the powerful truth of a how a job can change the life of a man, a husband, a father, a marriage, and a family!
We know that true transformation comes only from knowing Christ personally! There’s a ton of nominal Christians in Madagascar– those that go to church on Sunday and worship their ancestors on Monday. We’re not sure where Mr. Frederik is in his journey with the Lord but we do ask that you would join us in praying that he would have a deep knowledge and relationship with Christ!
(pictured left to right, Jamie, Paquerette and Frederik)
We know that when our burdens are heavy that the Lord is faithful to carry these for us, giving us rest. We know that many of you are also carrying deep burdens in your own lives, families, work, ministry. May we each find deep comfort, peace and rest in the One who is mighty to carry the burdens of the world!