Education for Life…

Posted by on August 25, 2023 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thank you for all your prayers for our family during our time home in Madagascar. It was full and fruitful, and in an all-encompassing exhaustive way, it was deeply soul satisfying to be back in the land of our hearts with the people and place and ministries that we love. And praise the Lord… there were no major illnesses to report! 

After two days of travel, including a 12-hour drive on the pothole ridden two-lane national highway, we jumped into full force life– teaching at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, engaging with pregnant or postpartum ladies and their babies, working with the Sarobidy Creations artisans, field visits to the Eden planting sites, encouraging staff through devotions and Bible studies, and our kids enjoying the beauty of summer break with back-to-back sleepovers and adventuring with their Malagasy friends. 

Education for Life…

If you missed our newsletter last month, our backup physician of the last 10 years for the Sarobidy Maternity Center extended an invitation to Alissa to come teach her and her team of midwives as she noticed that though our patient populations are the same, the outcomes of the Sarobidy Maternity Center, are drastically better.

Three months of planning, writing and translating the lesson in preparation to teach in Malagasy, using a powerpoint presentation and outline in French and her notes in English. The topic… Physiologic Childbirth for Best Outcomes for Mother and Baby. This intense process isn’t new for Alissa as she’s been doing this for the SMC midwives for several years, but to do so with our backup physician and her team of midwives, who we know, have different practices and some, that our teaching would directly counter, was both daunting and exciting. 

In the end, it was better than we could have dreamed! 

The doctor and midwives were engaged and eager to learn over the course of the 8 hours as Alissa and Rota tag teamed the teaching. Many of the concepts were midwifery basics that these midwives never learned and don’t use in their daily care of women. As such, they have experienced tragic outcomes for both mothers and babies over the years. We pray that this highly applicable lesson and the hands-on skills that were taught, will be used in the days and years to come to preserve LIFE! 

Perhaps the most beautiful outcome of the day was when our backup physician asked us to return and continue to teach her and her staff… and invited Rota to do so even if Alissa is not around! In Malagasy culture, where sadly and without good reason, foreigners are often put above others, this is a massive victory for Rota as she demonstrated her knowledge, capacity and talent in teaching!! 

We praise the Lord for this open door into the medical community outside the walls of the Sarobidy Maternity Center and we pray for further opportunities in the future! 

Pillars and Freedom…

Currently there are 21 employees at the Sarobidy Maternity Center, with a mixture of midwives, medical assistants, guards, ambulance drivers and an accountant. The team meets monthly for an all staff meeting and a time of devotions. We were thankful to join the team, share a meal with all the employees and then Jamie shared a devotion and challenge based on 1 Peter. In a culture whose foundational pillars are lies, deceit, jealousy and hypocrisy– all under the appearance of harmony– it challenged many to question the cultural norms of Malagasy society that prohibit the Truth of Christ to bring deep-seeded transformation and freedom.  

Please pray for the staff of the Sarobidy Maternity Center– all who claim to be Christ followers but many who hold on to destructive cultural norms that are difficult to fully surrender to Christ. Would you pray for wisdom for us as we continue to walk with the SMC staff and encourage them to fully LIVE in Christ. 

Hope In Christ…

You may remember that our longtime Malagasy friends and teammates, Josy and Ana, joined our mission organization, WorldVenture, as Global Partners. In doing so, some of you have partnered with Josy and Ana in finances and prayer with their ministry in Madagascar. Thank you, as this has been a great encouragement to them! 

Earlier this year, Josy and Ana used these funds to build a small church in a rural area outside of our city. Josy has been preaching at this church monthly as the families are thirsty for more of the Gospel. We visited this small church with Josy and Ana the day before our departure– what a sweet time of worship together and encouragement as Jamie preached. Because the church is made up of just a few families, his sermon was interactive and there were great conversations. In sharing her story, one of the women stood and said, “I would rather give up my place in the family tomb than to give up the Hope that I’ve found in Christ”. Amen and Amen!! What a testimony to the Lord’s transforming work in her heart and life!! 

Please join us in praying for the believers in this small country church– that they would be strengthened in their faith as they stand firm in the face of cultural and spiritual opposition.   

Critical Partnership Need…

We arrived back in the USA two weeks ago for our regularly scheduled home assignment. During our time here, Alissa will be taking an intensive 12-week specialized course about Third Culture Kids with the hope of developing a coordinated care and education team at Rift Valley Academy. In addition, she’ll be writing curriculum for teaching the midwives of the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Jamie will continue to work daily with the Eden Projects leaders in Madagascar. Together, we’ll be selling Sarobidy Creations handmade products to benefit the Sarobidy Maternity Center as well as visiting and presenting in churches. 

Perhaps the biggest aspect of our time here will be closing the gap on our financial needs. Two years ago when we returned to the USA, we were experiencing extreme burn out and severe physical illnesses. These, combined with the remaining effects of the pandemic on churches, we focused on healing our hearts, bodies, and minds rather than fundraising. Fortunately, we had a healthy reserve with our mission agency and we were able to use this to fill in the gaps. With our additional ministry expenses in Kenya, combined with regular and expensive airfare to and from Madagascar, and the rising costs of living between countries (double rent, double car insurance, double utilities, etc.), our reserves are critically low and the financial gap in our monthly budget to live and work is quite large. At this time, we will not be able to return to Kenya and Madagascar in a few months unless our financial situation changes. 

We know that inflation is hurting so many in the USA as well as across the globe– these are hard times. We ask that if you’re able, would you consider joining our financial partnership team?  

In order to meet our current financial needs and close this large gap, we’re specifically seeking the following partners or any other combination thereof. 

2 partners at $500/month

4 partners at $250/month

10 partners at $100/month

11 partners at $50/month

14 partners at $25/month

** All donations are tax-deductible through our mission organization, WorldVenture. **

There’s three ways you can join our team…

1. CLICK HERE and follow the link to set up your secure account with WorldVenture where you can proceed to make an on-going commitment or one-time gift. 

2. CALL (800) 487-4224 and select option #1 to speak with someone 8am-4pm MST (M-Th). 

3. MAIL a check to: WorldVenture

20 Inverness Pl E

Englewood, CO 80112-5622

Please specify your donation by writing account #173 in the memo line. 

(Note, for tax purposes, our names should not appear on the check.)

We are eternally grateful for so many of you who have faithfully and sacrificially given over the years!! Truly, we can only pray that the Lord blesses you in the way our family and the ministries have been blessed by you!We ask that you would join us in praying for the Lord’s gracious provision through His people! 

Thank you for standing with us, for covering our family and these beloved ministries in prayer, for rejoicing and praying with us, and for partnering with us as we serve in Kenya and Madagascar! 

With love, 

Alissa and Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin

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