Thank you all for your prayers last month as we wrapped up the first term of the school year at Rift Valley Academy (RVA) and as we traveled to Madagascar without being affected by the Kenyan Airways strike!
End of Term in Kenya…
The end of term at RVA was fully packed with performances, end of season games, final exams and end of term celebrations— homemade dinners with the guys, ice cream parties and a wonderfully chaotic White Elephant gift exchange.
In less than 24 hours, our house of 22 was diminished to just the five of us as parents picked up their boys or we put them on buses to begin their travel back home to various countries in Africa. We know the ministry of walking alongside missionary/third culture kids is vital, not only in their lives but also in the lives and ministries of their families. This ministry is also wildly opposite of the ministry in Madagascar of safe maternity care, large-scale reforestation and sharing Christ in an extremely animistic culture. Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges—simply not possible and yet it’s easy for us to want to do so. These two notes that we received two weeks ago from boys, one that we cared for last year and one that is currently in our dorm, melted our hearts and reminded us of the deep importance of the ministry that the Lord has called us to in Kenya for this season.
We remain at peace in the ways that the Lord has directed our family to Kenya and rest with certainty that His plans are far better than our own! Thank you for praying for our family during this time of ministry!
Armed Bandits in Madagascar…
Just days before our return to Madagascar, we woke to the horrible news that one of the Eden Projectsoffices had been broken into, guards tied up and the 8 armed bandits escaped with a large sum of money after ransacking the office. In a police and judicial system that are both notoriously C*RR<PT, two dozen employees were taken in for questioning and 12 were wrongfully detained for the last 14 days in unimaginably horrific conditions. After working nearly around the clock, Jamie and the Eden team of leaders and lawyers were able to get the employees released TODAY! Please pray with us that the Lord would bring forth the truth of the situation and expose those involved in the planning and execution of the theft. In addition, would you pray for the Lord’s protection over the lives of leaders who are receiving death threats.
A day after the burglary, the Sarobidy Maternity Center celebrated a massive accomplishment when 45 physicians and midwives, along with medical directors of the large hospitals within our city, came to the center for their monthly meeting. During this time, they reviewed city wide maternal and neonatal statistics, toured the maternity center and our midwives taught on the efficacy of our anti-shock garments. These men and women were astonished with the comprehensive work of the Sarobidy Maternity Center as nothing compares to the care we provide for the families in our midst.
We praise the Lord for this opportunity and pray this time will open more doors to speak into the necessity of respectful maternity care of women and their babies in our community and beyond.
Needless to say, our time home in Madagascar has been bittersweet!
The first day back there were tears of overwhelming joy with the long-awaited reunion at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. A few hours later, the SMC team shared tears of grief and sadness while we visited one of our midwives and her family following the death of her mother the night before!
The gift of life and hope and community found at the Sarobidy Maternity Center is indescribable and beyond beautiful. Yet the deep concern and lamenting over the thievery, the detained employees and the effects of the downsizing of Eden Projects is palpable.
Coming home into our house of nearly 12 years and sharing meals and laughter with long-time/childhood friends has been sweeter than the mangos ripening on the trees in our yard. At the same time, the destruction in our house caused by heat, rats, humidity and time has been disheartening and time-consuming.
Seeing our kids pick up with their Malagasy friends exactly where they left off and giddily chatting with one another in three languages is absolutely priceless. Yet the extreme poverty and brokenness of this beloved country and culture has worsened over the years and has hit us hard upon our return.
Despite the bittersweet nature of the last 10 days, we’re clinging to the truth that the Lord is good– He is sovereign, He is just, He is the Savior that the world so desperately needs! Thank you for journeying with us!
With love and gratitude,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
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