Goodbye’s, hello’s, repeat, repeat, repeat….

Posted by on July 5, 2017 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments


Thank you for your prayers for the three families– the Bright’sGough’s, and Jensen’s that left Madagascar earlier this month. The last year has been a gift in so many ways for us personally, as a field, ministry-wise and for each of the families and those they interacted with daily.
Goodbyes are never easy but the sadness and tears are truly a testimony to the intensity of the life shared together over this year. Please continue to pray for these families as they resettle back into life in North America. This act is typically easier said than done as many face unfamiliar emotions despite being in a very familiar culture– all of which can be quite confusing for parents and children alike! 


Despite the recent shrinking of our team, next week it will yet again grow as we welcome a new family who is moving to Mahajanga. Ando, Elke and their three small children, Manoa (6), Nathan (3) and Lilly (7 months) will join the work here permanently and we are thrilled! Ando and Elke are no strangers to Madagascar, they met and fell in love in Madagascar when Elke was working as a midwife and Ando was a Seminary student nearly nine years ago. For the last 7 years they’ve been living and working in Belgium in prayer and preparation for their return to Madagascar. The time is now here!



As an incredibly seasoned midwife who speaks Malagasy, French and English, we’re ecstatic to welcome Elke to the team at the Sarobidy Maternity Center! Ando has a heart for evangelism and coming alongside the Malagasy church– both of which are vital to the furtherance of the Gospel and the deepening of Christ-centered relationships here in Madagascar. As a Malagasy, Ando has the unique gifting to be a missionary to his own people!


Ando, Elke and the kids are in the throws of transition on that side of the world… they’ve quit their jobs, moved out of their house, have packed a 40-foot ocean container, and are currently packing their bags and saying their final good-byes this week. And all the while, still waiting to receive their required visa’s for entry into Madagascar with an appointment tomorrow, July 4 at the embassy in Brussels.Please pray for favor with the Malagasy Embassy tomorrow. Join us as well in praying for their emotions that are undoubtedly, off-the-chart all over the board as they say goodbye to beloved friends and family in Belgium and as they begin the transition back to life and ministry in Madagascar. Please also pray for those of us here in Mahajanga– ourselves, teammates the Carlstrom’s, and our Malagasy ministry partners as we prepare to receive and integrate Ando, Elke and their kids into our team.  


Hello seasonal employees…

Preparations for the 2017/2018 dry deciduous planting season is upon the Eden Reforestation Projects crew. Today, 40 women and 5 men were welcomed either for the first time or welcomed back to the Sarobidy Center Research Nursery for the seasonal work of measuring, cutting, packing and planting of more than 800,000 bags. The 4-5 weeks of upcoming work will allow many of these families to pay for their kids’ school entrance tuition for the coming school year, necessary medical care, as well as just putting food on the table for their children.



Please join us in praying for hundreds of full-time and seasonal employees of Eden Reforestation Projects. Our hearts’ prayer is that as these men and women care for creation that they would be drawn to the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. 


Hello babies…

   Last week, we welcomed two babies into the world at the Sarobidy Maternity Center. Both Marie Estella and Zalestiny hold a very special place in my heart as both were some of the very first women received into the Sarobidy Maternity Center when we opened our doors over fours years ago. Both women delivered their third babies last week… a big baby boy for Marie Estella and a beautiful baby girl for Zalestiny.




In addition to those commonalities, neither of these ladies had the opportunity to go to school and therefore both are totally illiterate and yet, these moms are joy-filled women who are working hard to see that their kids receive the education that they never had. And even more, Marie Estella and Zalestiny are both one of the seven artisans of Sarobidy Creations who create beautiful handmade designs that are sold abroad in the USA and Finland. As a result, these women have employment, are able to pay tuition fees for their kids, purchase essentials such as beds, clothes and mosquito nets and provide proper nutrition for their families. The remaining proceeds from Sarobidy Creations helps to subsidize the ongoing ministry of the Sarobidy Maternity Center.
We praise the Lord for two beautiful and healthy births!! Please join us in praying for the families of Marie Estella and Zalestiny in these early days of transition to a new baby in the house! In addition, please pray with us for the growing ministry of Sarobidy Creations! 


Goodbye Elizabeth…

With heavy hearts we share with you that Elizabeth passed away earlier this month. As you may remember from our last newsletter, Elizabeth was doing AMAZING–the week prior she had walked 4 miles round trip to our house to bring us fruit and her only complaint was the continued severe visual changes she suffered from after overcoming the case of life-threatening acute aplastic anemia. 10 days after her visit to our house she became ill, seemingly overnight. She woke in the morning, was able to talk to her children and said goodbye to them, knowing what was to come. She told her husband, Fidilise, that “he was going to need to be both a mom and a dad to their four children”. By lunchtime she could no longer speak or walk. By late evening, she was in severe pain. At 1:45am she passed into the loving arms of her Savior.
Without a shadow of doubt, we know the additional six weeks she had of LIFE with her family, her husband, her children was God’s grace and mercy given freely to her. We are so thankful for this gift.



Like so many things, death in Madagascar is a time of great community… Jamie joined Fidilise to transport Elizabeth’s body in the back of our truck to her family’s home that morning, he was with Fidilise when he told their four children that their mama passed away, along with teammates and ministry partners, we all visited the family during the 3-day wake, and Jamie was there when they loaded her body in a handmade wooden casket and placed it on top of the bus that would take her body and family the 72+hours to the opposite side of the island on the southeast coast and to her final resting place in the family tomb.



Please join us in praying for Fidelise and his four children that are deeply grieving the loss of his wife and their mother– that they would press into the Lord and that His PEACE would be their comfort.
To read more about Elizabeth’s story, click here.


We want to say HELLO to a teacher…

We’re praying for and looking for a motivated, adventurous and fun-loving teacher to join us in Madagascar in early 2018 to homeschool SIX wonderful, tree-climbing missionary kids in the afternoons!! Please pray over this need with us and pass this need along to those in your circles of friends and family!  If you or someone you know is interested, don’t hesitate to email us:



Alas, More Goodbyes…

Somehow or another, this term has already passed and the goodbyes will continue as we depart Madagascar at the end of July and return to the USA for our scheduled home assignment.



Our teammates, Neal and Danielle and their three kids, will depart for their home assignment just three short weeks later and hence, more goodbyes!



The amount of work that is required for both our families to leave the ministries of Eden Projects, the Sarobidy Maternity Center, the Sarobidy Kitchen, Sarobidy Creations, Kids Club and the Tonga Soa Guesthouse is a head-spinning and exhaustive list. Thankfully, the Lord has blessed these ministries with amazing and capable Malagasy teammates and leaders, that we’re confident in their abilities to carry-on the work in our collective absence. Please join us in praying for wisdom for our Malagasy leaders as they not only fill their roles, but assume the four of ours as well. 


Please pray for both of our families– for wisdom in the details of departure, for peace in the handoff of responsibilities, for grace in the looming transitions, and somewhere in the midst of it all, some rest for our weary hearts and minds.


Thank you for continually standing with us in prayer and partnership– this is a gift that we are forever grateful for and blessed by.


Until we say hello on that side of the globe…


Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin


** To view this newsletter in it’s original format, click here.

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