Breath in our lungs…
Back on this side…
Thank you for your prayers last month as Eliana and I made a whirlwind trip half way around the globe for her much-anticipated fourth grade Sacramento trip with her Santa Barbara classmates! The definition of whirlwind in this particular case means 6 different planes for a total of 46 hours in the sky, an additional 23 hours in airports, and nearly 1,600 miles driven in three weeks time! AND… totally worth it on every level! What a gift it was to make lasting memories with this beloved daughter of ours!
Earlier this month, the Sarobidy Maternity Center celebrated FIVE years! In my middle-of-the-night jetlag non-sleeping state, I wrote a post about this special day.
Here’s a short excerpt from that blog…
“Five years and a day after opening the center, pregnant mamas with their beautiful bellies still fill the center. As I walked in, the hustle of the day had begun– there was singing, education, a Bible devotion, vital signs and laboratory testing, there was sick visits and regularly scheduled prenatal exams, there was joy-filled sounds of baby’s heartbeats heard through dopplers that echoed down the halls, there was a nutritious meal, and laughter and prayer. We shared with the ladies that FIVE years ago, nearly to the day, that the Sarobidy Maternity Center first opened it’s doors. There was cheering and smiles. The Lord is so good.
As we celebrate the first five years of the ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center, we’re also praying and looking at the next 5 years and beyond.
In Madagascar, there’s simply too many women and babies dying in pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period and first months of life. Too many dying due to preventable complications, dying from provider negligence, dying too early and leaving behind too many other children and loved ones.
And so we continue to grow and accept more women into our prenatal program in hopes of reaching more ladies with safe birth options, education and sharing the Gospel of Christ with them. In addition, Danielle, Elke and I are in the early stages of curriculum development to begin a post-graduate midwifery training program! The reality is that even after a 3-year midwifery degree, many national midwives lack basic knowledge and skills to appropriately and safely care for women and babies, especially when emergency complications arise. Our desire is that as we further train and send out Malagasy midwives with more knowledge and experience that more women and babies would receive respectful, safe and compassionate care across the island.
We ask that you would join us in prayer as we pray, dream and implement the ways in which the Lord is leading the growth of the Sarobidy Maternity Center as well as changing the face of maternal healthcare in Madagascar. In like manner, would you join us in praying for the finances to expand this ministry? Our current operational budget is the EXACT amount of money that is coming in monthly through generous partnerships. However, in order to nearly double the number of women that we’re able to receive, our budget needs to increase by a minimum of $800 a month. We invite you to partner with us in the journey of bringing life-saving medical care to women and their babies here in Madagascar! If you’re interested, please click here to be forwarded to our mission organization, WorldVenture, where 100% of your donation supports women and babies in Madagascar while also getting the tax-deduction! Win-win!
Breath of Life…
Yesterday in the wee hours of the morning, a new life was brought into the world at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. The SMC midwives were the gentle shepherds of this birth as they patiently, yet with the eyes of a hawk, watched and waited and encouraged a nervous mom to bring her baby into the world. Though the mama (and babe) did the hard work and the midwives were the shepherds, we know that it is the Lord alone who is the giver and protector of Life. It is His breath that fills the lungs of a newborn babe and continues to fill the lungs of His people until their final breath on earth.
While in Santa Barbara earlier this month, my mouth and heart sang these words as I stood in worship at our home church.
You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord
It’s your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only.
And that’s just it… perhaps the theme song for the way the Lord is working at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. He gives life, He is Love, He is bringing light to the dark and weary hearts of the ladies, He gives Hope, He restores hearts that are broken. He is great and to He alone do we pour out our praise!
(Foot washing ceremony, clear presentation
of the Gospel and pedicures for these five mamas and babies that graduated this week)
(Every single one of these 6-month old exclusively breastfed babies more than doubled
if not tripled their birthweight! Smiles, baby chub and diplomas are the name of
the game each month on graduation day!!)
Last week we were invited to a special celebration at the Maternity Center for the leaders of the Maternity Center. What makes this incredibly special, was that this party was completely planned, organized and paid for by the Maternity Center Malagasy staff! This is huge! These friends and co-workers have been empowered through steady employment, a culture of community, a united vision, and a sense of pride for their place within the Sarobidy Maternity Center family. Staff, spouses and children came together to dance, laugh, share a meal and participate in a lively 2-hour white elephant gift exchange! As directors of the center, Jamie and I were presented with a live turkey as a gift of appreciation. This doesn’t necessarily translate well into American gift giving but once again, in this culture, it’s huge!
As the Lord continues to expand the ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center, we covet your prayers… that we would walk closely with the Lord as we discern His leading, for continued team unity, for healthy mamas and babies, for wisdom as we grow in the number of women we care for and begin training midwives, for opportunities to abound to share Christ’s love with those in our midst and that they would respond to Him, and for the Lord’s gracious financial provision.
We deeply appreciate and are humbled by the ways you stand with us in prayer and partnership as we seek to restore health, forests and Hope in Christ here on the red island of Madagascar!
Jamie, Alissa, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
***To see this newsletter in it’s original format, click here***