The work of Eden Reforestation Projects continues to grow and flourish in Madagascar– new reforestation sites spreading across the red island, new land contracts with the government, new managers rising into leadership, new employees receiving steady wages, new trees being planted which will in time, lead to new forests emerging once again. It is both exciting and thrilling as well as overwhelming and daunting. In some ways, it’s also become increasingly dangerous.
This past month, while a survey team was at a remote site, they received word from those in the village that several unknown men in a nearby area had been inquiring about the Eden team- their whereabouts, their work and their plans, presumably, with not great intentions. We’re thankful for the infrastructure that Eden Projects has put into place as the team was able to get in contact with the field office, a speedboat was launched and the team was picked up safely. That night, the bandits attacked robbing one village store and raiding the house where the Eden team had just been staying.
Just last week, our leadership team was visiting another remote village where Eden has both mangrove and dry deciduous planting projects. While there, twenty suspicious men showed up to the village, responding aggressively to the village elder and inquiring about the Eden leadership team. The disturbing behavior caused many to flee into the forest in fear. Once again, the Eden field office was called, and along with two Gendarme (a branch of the police), the Eden team was escorted back to the city and the suspicious group of men moved on. We praise God for His safe protection, His provision and His goodness over the work of Eden Reforestation Projects and the thousands of employees! We are keenly aware that as Eden continues to grow and expand in Madagascar (and the globe) that there will be many, many more situations similar to this in the future. Would you join us in praying for continued protection over the entire Eden team and that any plans of others that are destructive and dangerous would be foiled.
Joy after Great Loss…
Infant death in Madagascar is horrifically common. Far too many women that we know and who have walked through the doors of the Sarobidy Maternity Center, have lost one or more babies soon after birth. It’s also common in Madagascar that babies less than one year old are considered “zazandrano” or babies of the water. With this distinction, often when a baby less than one year old dies, the father or uncle swiftly takes the baby away and buries the baby near a body of water…. the baby came from the water and therefore must return to the water. Once the baby is taken, the mother is to end her grieving.
Fridah entered our program 14 months ago scared as her first baby had died just 10 days after birth due to unknown causes. Understandably, Fridah was terrified that she would lose this baby as well.
At the end of the month, Fridah and her beautifully chunky 18 lb. son graduated from the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Just prior to her graduation, Fridah shared how thankful she was for the maternity center and how happy she was that she was able to be in our program during her pregnancy, delivery and postpartum. She shared that she felt sambatra, blessed, because of the compassionate care and health education that she received from the midwives. She shared the two things she liked the most: (1) the midwives provided multiple postpartum home visits in the days following the birth of her son and (2) at each and every visit, from pregnancy through graduation, we prayed with Fridah- whether following the weekly Bible Study or at the end of her appointment.
We praise God for the gift that it is to walk alongside women like Fridah– women who have experienced great loss and pain. We praise God for the way that He comforts and cares for women in the midst of unspeakable heartache. We praise God for bringing Fridah to the Sarobidy Maternity Center and for the way that Jesus met her through love and care that she experienced while with us!
We thank you for standing with us in both prayer and in praise for the ministry in Madagascar!
With love and appreciation,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin