Surprise! October 2016 News
Earlier this month our kids experienced the largest surprise of their young lives to date when both my mom (AND dad!) walked off the plane in our city of Mahajanga! Isabella, Eliana and Gavin knew that grandma was coming and mourned the fact that grandpa wouldn’t be joining her due to his business. You can only imagine the squeals of delight reverberating off the walls of our tiny airport when grandpa walked in too! Comments in the days proceeding were, “shot gun… I get to sit next to grandma and grandpa”, or “this is like the best dream ever”, or “I can’t believe you’re really here!”. Their last visit was five years ago, just 10 months after we had moved back to Madagascar. Much has happened since they were last here… the opening of the Sarobidy Maternity Center, the expansion of Eden Reforestation Projects to include villages outside of Mahabana as well as all the dry deciduous work, the beginning of Sarobidy Creations, our monthly church service, and the expansion of the greater ministry team.
It’s been a joy to share with them all the aspects of our lives here… the relationships with friends, both Malagasy and North American, the ministry, our daily routines of grocery shopping, meal prep and biking our kids to school. They’re witnessing firsthand their grandchildren thriving in Madagascar, speaking Malagasy and French with ease, buying fresh fish on the side of the road, the sweet babes of the maternity center, the thigh-deep mud of the mangrove forests and the annoyance of flies, mosquitos and heat coupled with humidity!
We’re also enjoying the beauty of this country together! Currently we’re in Nosy Be, a small island off the northwest coast of Madagascar– just a 12-hour drive and 2-hour ferry across the channel from our home! My folks, our teammates the Carlstroms, and our family are enjoying some much needed rest and rejuvenation together. We’re finding joy and delight in the ocean, the sunsets, sleep, snorkeling, learning to crochet and play new games, good conversations, playtime in the pool, the sea breeze, and most importantly, a break from the intensity of life and ministry in Mahajanga.
A New Phase…
As the work of the Sarobidy Maternity Center continues to expand we’re finding ourselves in a new phase of also needing to expand our team of Malagasy midwives. As you all know, birth is rarely a planned event and occurs at all hours of the day and especially in the middle of the night. We’re seeing the need to have two teams of midwives so as to ensure time off for all and to help avoid burnout, which is super common amongst birth workers (and missionaries!). This of course is a good problem to have but the solution of finding compassionate and qualified midwives who will embrace the ways that the maternity center operates may be easier said then done. Please pray with us as we welcome one midwife, Rozesse, next week to start a 3-month trial period. Pray also that the Lord would lead us to a second midwife.
At the same time, an additional family is preparing to join the work of the Sarobidy Maternity Center!! Elke is a Belgium midwife who lived and worked in Madagascar several years ago and during that time, fell in love with Ando, a Malagasy man with a heart for Christ and discipleship. They have two boys with a third baby on the way. For the last five years they’ve been in Belgium and twice have returned to Madagascar to visit family as well as the work at the center. We’re thrilled that in 2017 Elke will be joining the team as an experienced midwife who speaks Malagasy, French and English– all three languages of which are a necessity for our work!!! Please pray with us for Ando and Elke and their young and growing family as they prepare to return to Madagascar for full-time ministry. Please pray for all the details– the finances, logistics, emotions and their transition back to the Red Island!
Sarobidy Center Purchase Update…
Thank you again to ALL who so generously donated towards the purchase of the Sarobidy Center property! By now, all who donated should have received their thank you gifts in the mail and be on the look out within the next week for the final thank you arriving to your email inbox!
We’re so, so, so close!!! A matching grant campaign through doTERRA Healing Hands Foundation just finished yesterday and we’re awaiting news from a large grant that we applied for earlier this month! IF both of these come through and are the full amounts, we’ll have reached 100%!!! The LORD is so incredibly faithful in His provision! The Lord’s timing is just as amazing– the owner of the property will be traveling to Madagascar from France in mid-November and at that time, we’ll sign the papers for the purchase!
Please pray as we meet with the owners and begin the paperwork process, both in the transaction between parties as well as with the government!
We praise God for each of you as you partner in prayer and love for the ministry that He is doing here on the red island of Madagascar!
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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