It Takes a Village…

Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Blog, Uncategorized | 2 comments

We often think of the remainder of this line as it takes a village to raise a child… this is indeed the case in Madagascar and we love this aspect of Malagasy community life.  This last year, we’ve been blessed and encouraged to find that it also takes a village to open a maternity center.

The community– both our Malagasy friends within Madagascar and internationally, our American friends living in the USA, the Philippines and Haiti all were vital to the renovating, furnishing, and the details that it entailed to undertake such a large task in such a short amount of time.

And so I want to recognize these individuals/churches/organizations as each were instrumental and all were used by God to be a blessing to us and the women enrolled in our programs at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.  So without further adieu….

First Baptist Church of Monterey (USA)– they took an end-of-the-year offering in 2012 and the large sum of money that was generously donated through this sweet congregation is what allowed the construction to begin and get us through the first 5 months of renovations and purchasing of supplies

Didier (Madagascar)– the  meticulous general contractor and overall handyman for the maternity center that started and finished with us


Desy, Tian, and Lala (Madagascar)– the awesome cement crew who made the house physically safe to occupy– think rotting supporting beams and entire walls ripping away from adjoining walls.  These three sometimes worked really long hours to make deadlines

desi kitchen

lala cement

tian cement

Vicki Penwell and Mercy in Action (Philippines)– who shared the forms they use for patient records as well as their policies and procedures so that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel over and over again

training charts

Beth McHoul and Heartline Ministries (Haiti)– who generously shared their 30+ powerpoint presentations that they use in their prenatal, postpartum and child development education classes, again so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel from scratch

powerpoint presentation

Francisca (Madagascar)– who graciously translated all of these documents, presentations, and countless other documents necessary for the maternity center and the government in both Malagasy and French

Mamisoa (Madagascar)– the pastor’s wife at our church who works in the Malagasy government and worked endlessly (and continues to do so) to guide us in how to legally go about this crazy process

Jojo (Madagascar)– a friend and lawyer who led us in navigating the district government offices in order to apply for and obtain the appropriate paperwork for the maternity center

Germaine (Madagascar)– who has and continues to criss-crosse all over the capital city of Antananarivo , visiting different offices of the minister of health, populations, water and forestry, hospitals and the medical university in order to get my midwifery license recognized by the Malagasy government as well as all the appropriate paperwork to legally open the maternity center

Pastor Tovo and Nirina (Madagascar)– who sit on the Malagasy national NGO board of Eden Projects under which the Sarobidy Maternity Center is legally opened

Neal and Danielle Carlstrom (USA)– future teammates (we’re so excited about this!!) who collected donated sheets and towels from a hotel in the USA for the maternity center as well as tons of baby clothes from friends in order to give each new mama and her baby a newborn layette gift and Neal who allowed his luggage to be weighed down with these items when he came to Madagascar in June

clothes, neal

Megan Langer and her non-proft 31:20 (USA)– who also collected new and used baby clothes, hats and blankets for the newborn layette gift as well as sponsored a very successful clothing auction fundraiser for the Sarobidy Maternity Center

clothes all

Indian Businessman (Madagascar)– we never did get his name but he donated all three mattresses for the beds– this was an amazing gesture from this Muslim man!


Jeff and Rebecca Derry-Dorland (USA)– these two came to Madagascar for a 4-week vision trip and were very gracious in bringing over tons of supplies, including but not limited to a weed-wacker for the property, prenatal and birth supplies and educational materials.  Rebecca helped me train the Sarobidy staff while Jeff rewired the ENTIRE house, grounding all electrical currents, making it safe electrically because generally it’s not a good thing when someone gets electrocuted with 220v, and he did all of this while training Didier and 5 other young men on the basics and safe electrical practice.  Total awesomeness


electricity jeff

electrity fan

Eight of the Eden Projects crew– Paquerette, Letovo, Mamitiana, Eugenie, Litcho, Sitraka, Marila,and  Zavimana (Madagascar)– who helped prep and paint, demolish and clean and who did so with willing and servant hearts

eden crew bench movers

painting zafimana

painting hannah, litcho

Dr. Candide (Madagascar)– who has agreed to be our back-up physician and who generously donated an upright adult scale to the center (left in picture below)

heuric and candide

Dr. Heuric (Madagascar)– a friend and the director of the large Lutheran Hospital in our city who has agreed to receive our women in the event of an emergency during deliveries (right in picture above)

Vitamin Angels (USA)– an organization that awarded the maternity center a large grant for enough vitamins for 285 women for an entire 12 months– that’s something like 104,000 vitamins

vitamin angels

Russ and Kay Howell, Vic and Cecily Stewart, and Westmont students, Katie Mukai, Taylor Jashinsky, Hannah Ryan and John Unzueta (USA)–who brought out half of all those 104,000 vitamins!  These eight also brought out more medical supplies as well as the necessary painting supplies– rollers, brushes, screens, caulking, etc, etc, etc, to paint the house!  And… they partnered with the Malagasy team above to paint the entire outside of the Sarobidy Maternity Center and the students raised the money to cover this project.  More awesomeness

prepping kay


paiting cecily

painting westmont katie

painting westmont hannah

paiting twoteams

Craig and Sue Wuertz (USA)– these two are good people– they’re also my folks.  They have been the continual receiving crew of all of these supplies that I’ve ordered as well as the storage shed for all the aforementioned supplies before they’ve been brought out to Madagascar

Debbie Crawford (USA)– who brought out a whole suitcase of vitamins awarded by Vitamin Angels

Steve Fitch (USA)– who likes to refer himself as our perpetual “mule” because whenever he makes a trip to Madagascar for Eden Projects we always load him up with supplies, educational materials, vitamins and the like to stuff in his suitcases.  He’s also the guy who got an awesome grant awarded to the maternity center as well as the hands in the dirt training program

First Fruit Inc (USA)– the folks that awarded the above-stated awesome grant

Randria and Lejean (Madagascar)– these guys have made the grounds of the maternity center beautiful with the planting of grass and new plants, quenching the unrelenting thirst of these said plants and always tending to the property

Syd and Dick Bush (USA)– who purchased 6 twin sheet sets for the beds of the maternity center

Hannah Williams (USA)– who designed a beautiful logo for the maternity center


Tiana and Zita (Madagascar)– these close friends sacrificially served over and over again through helping us paint the inside and outside of the house, making and continuing to make all the necessary photocopies of charts and educational materials, as well as painting the Sarobidy Maternity Center official sign (Centre Sarobidy in Malagasy)

smc sign

Dina, Josue and Andry (Madagascar)– more close friends that time and again helped us paint the inside and outside of the house as well as the education room

painting josue and jamie

prepping andry

Adel (Madagascar)– this sweet woman is a total gem, she’s stepped in over and over again to help where needed (like stretching the hand-painted batik that we were framing) and consistently did and continues to do the behind-the-scenes clean-up of all the projects and programs as well as plays cars and trucks with Gavin in the sand outside while Jamie and I work

framing batiks

Shana Barnett and Heritage Foursquare Church (USA)– who hand-knit baby blankets and 400+ baby hats to give away as part of the newborn layette gift and who prayed over each of these precious items and the babies who would receive them

hats all

hats heritage church

Pat Flory (USA)– who also hand-knit baby hats and baby sweaters for these new little ones in our midst

layette hat- pat

All the individuals– you know who you are (USA)– who have generously donated their financial resources so that the work can continue and the women can be served through the Sarobidy Maternity Center

Rota, Emilienne and Hoby (Madagascar)– these three ladies are the heart and staff of the maternity center.  They worked long hours as I trained them to take vital signs, learned patient forms and charting, learned the powerpoint presentations and how to teach them, as well as worked endless hours in scraping, cleaning, prepping and painting right alongside of Jamie and I.  We have spent hours in prayer with these ladies for the maternity center, for the women enrolled in our programs and they have embodied the work that Christ has called us to

training pregnancywheel rota

training Rota weights

training pregnancy wheel

painting education room

four of us

Last but not least, we couldn’t have done it without these 2 crazy girls who loved to help, even when it meant that as much paint got on them as did on the walls…

isabella painting

painting eliana educationroom

and then of course, the little guy who loved to “supervise”

supervising gavin snack

After all of that I feel like I should’ve been at a red-carpet event and just gave my “thank you” speech… but honestly, God has been so incredibly gracious and generous and His people have responded over and over again.  We’re so thankful for all of our Malagasy and American friends who came alongside of us with this God-inspired dream– it certainly took a village to open the Sarobidy Maternity Center and we’re so thankful to be partnering with such wonderful community!













  1. Lots of work, lots of love. Thank you, thank you for posting all of the photos of the faces and the hands that served and gave so generously to further God’s work through caring for new moms and sweet babies. Caring for the poor with God’s love, grace and dignity.

  2. So wonderful! Great pictures, greater project!

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