Bandits…

Bandits…

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...

Read More

The Power of Education…

The Power of Education…

Invitation to Education  When we began the work of the Sarobidy Maternity Center 8+ years ago, we reached out to a well-respected local physician who has her own full-scope clinic and asked if she would consider being the back-up consulting physician for our program. She agreed and in these past 8+ years, she’s been an incredible gift– sharing her knowledge and wisdom, receiving our patients when we need to refer them to her...

Read More

A Grim Reality, A Stark Contrast…

A Grim Reality, A Stark Contrast…

A Grim Reality…  In Madagascar, like many developing countries throughout the world, women die all too frequently due to preventable complications in pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the immediate postpartum period– globally 800 girls and women die everyday in pregnancy and childbirth (Unicef).  In January, a young family came to the Sarobidy Maternity Center, the mother holding the hand of her 2-year...

Read More

Traversing the Globe… literally!

Traversing the Globe… literally!

Thank you for your steadfast prayers that traversed the globe with us…. quite literally! If you missed our newsletter last month, we made the decision to return to the USA two months earlier than our scheduled home assignment in order to get Isabella, our oldest, back to RVA, her school in Kenya so she could complete her third term. The five of us departing together was the ONLY way for us to get her safely back to Kenya without being...

Read More

Across the Generations…

Across the Generations…

Maman’i Pao and her family are one of the longer standing families in our community. Historically, they’ve also been one of the most materially poor families in our community. Mother to 14 children, only 7 babies survived birth, infancy and early childhood!! The 7 that did survive all have families of their own now.   Over three decades ago, Maman’i Pao worked with Jamie’s mom, Bonnie, to do some odd jobs...

Read More

You Can’t Make this Stuff Up!

You Can’t Make this Stuff Up!

Grace Abounds…  As many of you know, in January, our oldest daughter, Isabella, began Rift Valley Academy, a boarding school for missionary kids in Kenya. She has loved her time at RVA– the friends, the sports, the community! RVA operates with three terms a year separated by a month-long vacation between the terms where students return home to their various African countries. Our family was eagerly counting down the days for...

Read More

Leading with Grace…

Leading with Grace…

…At the Sarobidy Maternity Center Rota is the National Director for the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Before the center even opened, she moved 12 hours from the capital city to the coast to help open the center. She was young and a new graduate midwife. Over these last eight years, Rota has grown leaps and bounds in knowledge, wisdom and grace as both a midwife and as a leader.   Earlier this month, the Sarobidy Maternity...

Read More

Courage… every second of every day

Courage… every second of every day

Thank you for your gracious prayers, emails and messages of encouragement since sharing the news last month about the imminent transition of taking our oldest to Kenya to begin high school at Rift Valley Academy!  The Lord was incredibly gracious to us amidst the seamless travel of 6 flights, 13 negative PCR Covid tests, entrance back into Madagascar, and the airplane safely landing after two failed attempts in the midst...

Read More

A New Chapter after 10 Years…

A New Chapter after 10 Years…

Ten Year Anniversary… On this day, 10 years ago exactly, we arrived in Madagascar as a family of five. At the time, our kids were 4 years, 2 years and 6 months old. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning on January 1, 2011… the five of us and all 26 pieces of luggage plus 3 car seats and 3 strollers. Officially, we were nuts!!  The Expected… The last ten years of ministry have been full of things...

Read More

4 Lives, 3 Generations, 1 Maternity Center…

4 Lives, 3 Generations, 1 Maternity Center…

In September 2014, Patricia delivered a beautiful baby girl with Rota, the national director and one of the midwives of the Sarobidy Maternity Center. This sweet baby girl was named, Sarobidy (precious), and was the first namesake of the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  This past August, Elisa, a young 19-year old entered our prenatal program. She looked incredibly familiar but I simply couldn’t place her. As we talked and I...

Read More

Fighting fires, planting hope, eternal growth…

Fighting fires, planting hope, eternal growth…

Fighting fires…. Wildfires continue to be a devastating force to the islandof Madagascar. High temperatures, extremely dry landscape, slash and burn farming, and charcoal pits that lose control are a recipe for disaster. This year we’ve had multiple fires in various sites and one which burnt a large portion of one of Eden Project’s reforestation sites. The Eden team of site guards have been trained as lay...

Read More

Raising the Bar…

Raising the Bar…

Continuing medical education for doctors, nurses, midwives or any other health professional is not a requirement in Madagascar. Once a diploma is granted, learning can essentially cease. This lack of continuing medical education, coupled with rogue memorization only heightens the deep fractures that are found in both the educational system and medical system here on the red island.  Though our midwives at the Sarobidy Maternity Center have...

Read More

A week in Madagascar…

A week in Madagascar…

Some of the most common questions we encounter when we’re in the USA on home assignment are:  1. So what’s Madagascar like? 2. Do you like living there?  3. What do you eat there? 4. What’s a typical day look like for you?     Three of the four of these questions are not necessarily the easiest to answer in the matter of just a few seconds.  To be clear, we’re not in the USA and...

Read More

Camouflage and Grace…

Camouflage and Grace…

Last month Jamie and the Tahirin’Ala team drove 30km up the coast to a quickly disappearing forest. This dry deciduous remnant forest is illegally being divided and small plots of land sold to people. Sadly, the first thing most people do when they acquire land is clear cut the trees and bushes and burn the land. Sometimes this is to stake their claim or “clean” the land, other times, to make way to plant crops or build a...

Read More

Valued Forest, Valued Lives…

Valued Forest, Valued Lives…

Did you know…? * Madagascar is the world’s fourth-largest island.  * Despite Madagascar’s close proximity to the African continent, ocean currents have isolated the island, resulting in high rates of endemic plant and animal species. * Approximately 90% of the flora and fauna found on Madagascar are found nowhere else. * Madagascar consistently ranks one of the top 10 poorest countries in the world. * Madagascar is nearly 90%...

Read More

Small victories…

Small victories…

Amidst the Covid pandemic, Dengue Fever epidemic and continuing to live in planet prison as one friend hilariously referred to it as….  this month has been sprinkled with several small victories to celebrate.      In our newsletter last month we shared about the Dengue Fever epidemic our community was facing. At the time, Jamie and I were recovering and slowly regaining our strength. In these last 4...

Read More

Counting the losses…

Counting the losses…

An epidemic amidst the pandemic… Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, our city on the northwest coast of Madagascar is facing a DENGUE FEVER epidemic! The last such epidemic on the island was in 2007. Dengue Fever is a nasty disease transmitted by an infected mosquito and is often referred to as “breakbone fever” because of the bone-crushing pain associated with it. Unfortunately, Jamie and I can now testify...

Read More

Navigating New Waters…

Navigating New Waters…

Like each of you and most of the rest of the world, we are navigating new waters here in Madagascar. March 20th marked the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the island. In the week prior to this first documented case, we saw the writing on the wall and began making plans and preparations for COVID to hit Madagascar with its full force.        Though we certainly haven’t experienced a pandemic such as COVID-19,...

Read More

The Paradox of Returning…

The Paradox of Returning…

Thank you all for your prayers for our safe return home! We arrived in country 2 weeks ago and after taking care of some business and seeing friends in the capital city, we made the 10.5 hour drive to our home city last weekend.     The mission field is often described as a massive paradox… deep joys in the face of severe struggles often mingle at the same time. The emotional paradox of our return home is real. After moving between five...

Read More

Casting Blame…

Casting Blame…

Throughout Madagascar, life is ruled by taboos as an attempt to maintain harmony with the ancestors in whom the Malagasy worship in order to communicate with the Creator God. There are varying levels of taboos… individual, family, community, land and even tribal taboos as is evidenced by the story of the twin babies that Rota and Andry recently rescued and adopted! Since taboos are put into place to maintain harmony, when...

Read More

Closing out a decade… (a review in pictures)

Closing out a decade… (a review in pictures)

As I’m sure many can echo, the last decade has been an eventful one. As we remember the milestones of the last ten years, we’re astonished and ever so thankful for the sweetness of the Lord that has sustained us, encouraged us and propelled us forward throughout the many transitions of living in four countries on four different continents.  2010… Originally slotted to leave for Madagascar in 2010, we knew without a shadow...

Read More

Abandoned to death, Adopted by love…

Abandoned to death, Adopted by love…

Over the years, many of you have heard stories, seen pictures and have been praying for our friend and ministry partner, Rota. For those who may have missed these, Rota is the national director of the Sarobidy Maternity Center. We’ve known Rota since she was a young girl growing up in the capital city of Madagascar. When Rota finished her midwifery training, we invited her to come to our city 12 hours away for a job interview. That was...

Read More

Of taboos, curses and friendship…

Of taboos, curses and friendship…

For the many who have followed the ministry in Madagascar over the last two decades, you may remember that the remote village of Mahabana was once taboo Jesus Christ and the Bible. At the time, in our single and kid-free days, Jamie and I would travel to Mahabana by Malagasy sailboat—typically a 2-3 day journey, depending on the wind. Upon arrival, the spiritual darkness in the village was palpable– a heavy all-encompassing weight upon...

Read More

The Blind will See…

The Blind will See…

Legally blind by the age of 5, Tovo learned Braille at a school started by Lutheran missionaries in Antsirabe, a small town in the highlands of Madagascar. For the last 25+ years, Tovo has been living with his wife and three kids (ages 9-25 years old) in the region of Mahabana on the northwest coast of Madagascar. Not allowing his loss of vision to deter him, he’s been making and mending fishing nets for local fishermen, fishing with...

Read More

Celebrating Together…

Celebrating Together…

In early August, we enjoyed our fourth annual all staff party for the Sarobidy Maternity Center, Eden Projects leadership team, Sarobidy Creations, Tonga Soa Guesthouse and those who we and other missionary teammates employ. In total, along with their families, we were 160 people for a fun-filled day of lots of play, conversations, and good food at the beach! It’s so good to not only work and pray with this team but to play together as...

Read More

Trading Spaces…

Trading Spaces…

 In July we traded the greenery and the majesty of the Alps for the rugged beauty, coastal breeze and the unmistakable warmth of the Malagasy people.    We traded speaking in French to speaking in Malagasy. We traded our work environment from our desks in the classroom to the walls of the maternity center and being out in the field– either in the mangrove mud flats, the dry deciduous nurseries or reforestation sites....

Read More

Au Revoir France…

Au Revoir France…

It’s hard to believe that 10 months has come and gone and our departure from France and return to Madagascar is upon us. Ten months ago we cried as we left our dear friends and home in Madagascar. Ten months ago we cried the first day as we sat within our apartment on the 3rd floor of a six-story apartment building in a town that was foreign to us and as we thought to ourselves, “what in the world did we just do?!” Today, ten...

Read More

Expectant Midwives…

Expectant Midwives…

There must’ve been something in the air in Mahajanga as up until just this month, three of our Malagasy midwives were expecting babies!!! We praise the Lord for the safe delivery of two of these three babies over the last few weeks!    A sweet baby boy born to midwife and first-time mama, Stéphanie (far right, above)– little Liam decided to make his appearance far earlier than expected and hence was born at...

Read More

Snippets…

Snippets…

Home Stretch… We’ve entered the home stretch of our formal french language learning here in France. Sadly, our brain cells seem to be shrinking rather than expanding lately– forgetting simple conjugations we knew in the past, becoming confused with grammatical rules we’ve already learned and overall feeling a bit disappointed with our lack of progress lately. We know there are peaks and valleys of language learning and...

Read More

Celebrations…

Celebrations…

In Madagascar… For the last three years, the employees of Eden Reforestation Projects and the employees of the Sarobidy Maternity Center pay a small amount each month into the “SAEDEN” Association (Sarobidy + Eden). This association is one the employees created and manage on their own– with the main purposes to support one another with financial resources in times of loss, sickness and grief and...

Read More

Of tragedies and triumphs…

Of tragedies and triumphs…

Tragedies… Like everywhere in the world, tragedies abound in Madagascar on a daily basis. The difference in a country that consistently ranks amongst the top 10 poorest countries in the world is that these tragedies aren’t just headlines but rather are affecting those we know and love on a weekly, if not more frequent basis.           This past month, a long-time ministry partner and friend lost his...

Read More

Opportunities to serve on the Red Island…

Opportunities to serve on the Red Island…

Half way through… It’s hard to believe that we’re over half way through our time in France!! To be honest, our motivation has stalled a bit– a combination of brain fatigue and wintery cold and dreary days. The teachers recognize this regular pattern in the students each year come February. We’re thankful for gracious and compassionate teachers as they continue to pour into equipping us and the other...

Read More

Life on Three Continents…

Life on Three Continents…

A glance back… The year twenty-eighteen has been one for the books for our family. We’ve experienced the mountaintops of being where the Lord would have us, we’ve experienced the depths of deep grief and loss, we’ve experienced the joys of “ah-ha” moments and we’ve experienced the deep peace that only the Lord can bring through it all.  In the last 12 months… * We’ve lived in three...

Read More

An opportunity, a job, a transformed life…

An opportunity, a job, a transformed life…

An opportunity, a job, a transformed life.. Half of Madagascar’s population is under the age of 15 years old. Like many young people in Madagascar, Abid dropped out of school early, took any job he could– shoveling sand or mixing cement so that he could financially help his parents. Growing up in an extremely poor family within the community, Josy has known Abid since he was a young boy. Josy offered Abid a job with Eden Projects a...

Read More

Thin line between life and death…

Thin line between life and death…

Thin line between life and death… We thank you for your prayers this last month for the women that were due in October. 14 babies entered the world… and by God’s grace, all 14 babies and mamas are alive today. It was the busiest month to date for deliveries at the Sarobidy Maternity Center and it was also the most intense month to date for emergency complications. One baby needed resuscitation at birth, three women experienced...

Read More

Ten on Ten– a catch up…

Ten on Ten– a catch up…

Ten on Ten– a chance to capture ten images (ideally every hour for 10 hours) on the tenth of the month. I’ve managed to whip my camera out every month, sometimes capturing 10 images, sometimes not– but what I haven’t managed to do is anything with these pictures after snapping them. These last three months have been a whirlwind split between transitioning from Madagascar to France, biggish city to smallish town, ministry...

Read More

Meanwhile in Madagascar…

Meanwhile in Madagascar…

Le passé composé et le futur proche… Four weeks ago neither of us would have been able to tell you what these important french grammatical terms were, how to use them and the know a few of the associated verbs to communicate what you actually want to say. Today… amazingly… we can, albeit in our very limited knowledge! Twenty hours a week, Jamie and I sit in our respective classes. We’re learning the rules of grammar (oh...

Read More

Bonjour from France!

Bonjour from France!

Of God’s goodness… Two weeks ago we left our beloved home in Madagascar… it was a hard and tearful goodbye. Leaving all that is known and loved… home, friends, routines, our work and going to a new country where everything is unknown. We stopped off in Kenya for four days to visit Rift Valley Academy (RVA), the boarding school for missionary kids where Jamie spent his junior high and high school years– he would...

Read More

Building for the future…

Building for the future…

In recent months we’ve been growing our program at the Sarobidy Maternity Center in order to provide safe and compassionate care to more moms and babies in our community. In fact, we’ve doubled our numbers. In the upcoming months we’ll be serving nearly 140 women on a weekly basis through our prenatal and postpartum programs. This is in addition to the women that come to our weekly family planning program. We’ve made...

Read More

Ten on Ten- July 2018

Ten on Ten- July 2018

An image an hour on the 10th of the month to capture the gift that is daily life. Homemade bows and arrows, second to the last week of English homeschooling, market day, whittling wood, haircuts, a helper in the kitchen, Canadian friends, and sweet, sweet sleep.     Like it? Share it!SharePrintTwitterLinkedInFacebookLike this:Like...

Read More

Bonjour… change on the horizon!

Bonjour… change on the horizon!

Bonjour… Change on the horizon Born to missionary parents 41 years ago, Jamie entered the world in a hospital in the capital city of Madagascar. 19 years ago, I stepped foot for the first time on the red soil of Madagascar with a team that Jamie led. Both of these events have undoubtedly changed the course of our lives. Seven+ years ago, we moved our little family of five back to Madagascar to live and serve the Lord full-time. These past...

Read More

Ten on Ten- June 2018

Ten on Ten- June 2018

So many months since Ten on Ten. I miss this monthly gift that helps me pick up the camera to catch the daily happenings of life. To remember these days that are so fleeting. The 10th fell on a Sunday this month… sandwiched between our return from a a whirlwind trip to the capital city the night before and the evening pick up of a sonography team that provided our staff with two weeks of obstetrical ultrasound training. Amazing! A morning...

Read More

Breath in our lungs…

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...

Read More

The Sarobidy Maternity Center turns FIVE

The Sarobidy Maternity Center turns FIVE

It’s 3:04am. I typically keep my nighttime festivities to a bit earlier but jet lag is keeping me and our 10-year old awake after arriving back from our whirlwind trip to America just last night. We’ve already had 2am munchies of salami, cheese and crackers, played mad libs, lathered ourselves with essential oils and taken meds to help us get into a sleepy state. Still nothing. Knowing that I’ll likely never get around to...

Read More

Charcoal Mafia…

Charcoal Mafia…

Morangobe is an area north of our city that contains one of the few and largest old growth coastal mangrove forests in our immediate region. In the past, the villagers of Morangobe have lived off the benefits of a healthy mangrove forest which was once teaming with fish, shrimp and crab. Sadly, this semi-isolated mangrove forest that has stood strong and tall for generations has literally been under attack from the charcoal mafia and tree...

Read More

Airing the Dirty Laundry…

Airing the Dirty Laundry…

Thank you for your prayers as we traveled back to the great red island earlier this month! It was the most seamless travel from the USA to Madagascar to date! We know this was God’s grace to us as the first two weeks of our return were perhaps some of the harder weeks of transition that we’ve endured in past years– or at least it felt so.   Airing the Dirty Laundry…   Madagascar consistently ranks in the top 10...

Read More

Take off…

Take off…

And… we’re off! We’re sitting waiting to board our first flight. Goodbyes have been said, tears shed and home assignment is complete. It was intense, in some ways—predictably so and in other ways it was intense in ways we could never imagine. Here’s a snapshot of our last seven months by the numbers… * We moved houses 6 times * 3000+ Sarobidy Creations items that were tagged and priced by countless friends and family that...

Read More

African Rains…

African Rains…

For all of you who have experienced African rains… the dramatic thunder and lightening, rain so loud on a tin roof you can’t hear someone next to you shouting, raindrops the size of small cats and the instantaneous drenching of the land– then you know exactly what we mean when we say “african rains”. Indeed, they are something beautiful! After four years of disappointing rainy seasons and the subsequent drought...

Read More

For unto us…

For unto us…

For unto us a child is born… Advent has come and passed, the Christmas decorations are taken down and packed away, the kids are counting the days until Christmas 2018… and yet, the wonder and glory of the birth of Christ remains. The Lord of the heavens and earth born in human form– that of a helpless infant, reliant upon humble earthly parents and yet, the LORD.   It’s amazing to bear witness to the birth of a...

Read More

Sarobidy Maternity Center Video Update

Sarobidy Maternity Center Video Update

The Sarobidy Maternity Center opened in May 2013– to be honest, it was a completely unconventional wild-whirlwind-not-the-most-strategically-planned opening. Six months before opening day, we didn’t have any money, didn’t have any staff, had an entire house to renovate to become a functioning maternity center, didn’t have any charts or educational material, didn’t have any supplies and certainly didn’t have a...

Read More
%d bloggers like this: