From Premature to Thriving…
“I feel very blessed and happy to care for my baby. Thank you very much to the Sarobidy Maternity Center for the help and the prayers you have given me and my baby. This is my first baby and she was born prematurely… you really helped me with the money I needed in the hospital and especially encouraged and taught me how to care for my underweight and premature baby. At this time, she is very healthy and has gained weight. I am happy! Thank you to the midwives and the Sarobidy Maternity Center!” — Narindra, first time mom
Narindra was 28 years old, married and was expecting her first baby. What she didn’t expect was that she would deliver her daughter 8 weeks early! In a country where medical care is lacking, supplies are limited and staff are overburdened, premature babies experience an even greater risk of injury and death. Weighing less than 4lbs at birth, Narindrasoa beat the odds. Her mom, with the equivalent of just a 5th grade education and a monthly income of $39, wasn’t prepared to have her baby hospitalized for two weeks nor prepared to care for such a premature little one.
As with all patients that require hospitalization, the Sarobidy Maternity Center paid 50% of their hospital bill. When they were discharged from the hospital, the Sarobidy midwives surrounded Narindra with compassion, attentive care, and shared the importance of kangaroo care, practical strategies for successful breastfeeding and regular follow-up visits to ensure little Narindrasoa was growing and gaining appropriately. And grow she did!
(on an interesting cultural note, often babies have their hair cut (as you can see with Narindrasoa) and if they don’t have eyebrows, they are penciled in!)
We praise the Lord for the way He cared for and protected little Narindrasoa. We praise Him for her life and the plans He has for it! We praise Him for the way He used the Sarobidy Maternity Center and the midwives to surround this young family in prayer, compassion and tender care. We praise Him for the many donors that make this life-saving ministry possible!
At the Sarobidy Maternity Center we place a high value on four core values.
1. Removing all financial barriers to access of services.
2. Safe, compassionate and competent medical care.
3. Health education.
4. Sharing the love of Christ.
By removing ALL financial barriers to care, we ensure that women and their babies receive the best and most comprehensive care available, regardless of income or education. In doing so, women pay an inscription fee of just $2.30, initiating an “investment” into their care. Throughout the duration of our 14-month program, all care, laboratory tests, medications, vitamins, high-protein snacks, health education, ultrasounds, the delivery and immediate postpartum care, and an average of 31 visits (prenatal, postpartum and well-baby) are 100% free of charge. When women and their babies graduate at 6 months postpartum, that initial $2.30 inscription fee is returned in full to each patient.
By ensuring safe, compassionate and competent medical care to each and every woman and baby, senseless and negligent deaths and injuries are prevented, thereby preserving life and the family unit.
Through weekly health education, women receive on average 60 lessons ranging from common changes in pregnancy, nutrition, labor and delivery, how to care for their sick baby, breastfeeding and introduction of solids, family planning and female reproduction. Less than 10% of women at the Sarobidy Maternity Center have a high school diploma. Health education is vital to their long-term health as well as that of their family. And women love to share what they’ve learned with their friends and family thereby educating others as well. (The picture below was taken just last week at the Sarobidy Maternity Center… with 76 women in our prenatal program alone!)
Life is hard in Madagascar for these resilient and fierce women who face extreme adversity every day. Removing financial barriers to health care, sharing knowledge and providing kind and compassionate medical care are just a few ways that we have the privilege to walk alongside women and lighten the load that they carry. Jesus is the ONLY One who is able to meet them fully, to take their burden, to provide Eternal Hope and a Future. Jesus is the reason the Sarobidy Maternity Center exists and He is the reason, we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and sharing His deep, all-encompassing grace and the fullness of His love with women and families!
We praise the Lord for the ways He is moving and working in the hearts of the maternity center staff and the women and families in our midst!
*** If you’re interested in learning more about the Sarobidy Maternity Center or would like to financially sponsor women and babies through our program, click here ***
As many of you know, Jamie spent six years as a Junior High and High School student at Rift Valley Academy. Sports was one of the biggest parts of his life while here. Basketball, soccer, rugby, volleyball. For the last several years, Jamie has helped to coach soccer teams both in the USA and Madagascar and most recently, here in Kenya. Junior High volleyball and rugby last year, junior high boys soccer last term and JV girls soccer this term. These avenues aren’t just what he loves and what our family loves, they also provide a profound point of relational connection with students on and off the field. Students are eager to improve in their respective sports and it’s not uncommon for students on teams that he doesn’t coach, to ask for advice and tips to improve their skill. Would you pray with us that these young students would hunger for the Lord in the same ways they strive to improve their athletic performance.
Back to the Red Island…
The end of the second term of school at Rift Valley Academyis quickly coming to a close. At the end of the month, the 18 dorm boys along with the other nearly 500 students, will return to their families spread across the African continent. At the same time, we’ll be returning to our beloved Madagascar, our friends, co-workers and home there.
After the intensity of our time there in December— with sickness, death, spiritual attacks, crime and a pervasive darkness over our city, we’re returning with some trepidation. We covet your fervent prayers for our upcoming travel, for health, protection, and as we engage fully in the ongoing ministries there.
Thank you for your steadfast partnership that enables the ongoing ministry of investing into youth and families as they encounter God’s power and His transformational love!
Blessings to you,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
*** To view this newsletter in it’s original format, click here. ***