God provides. That’s all there is to it. He provides. For our work in Madagascar, He provides the resources, the finances, the people. In our life, He provides the peace that passes all understanding. He provides His incomparable love. He provided His Son. Not to say that we can sit back, lazy, just waiting for Him to provide. Not saying that at all. But I do know that He calls us to faith that He WILL provide– maybe not as we see fit, but in His sovereignty as He knows best. Even though I have seen His mighty hand at work in this over and over again in our lives and in the lives of others, His perfect provision continues to amaze me… continues to call me to glorify Him and to stand in awe of His great love.
This is true as we embark on this journey of opening the Sarobidy Maternity Center. God is providing in a team, in the facilities, in the supplies, He is providing the way by opening the doors and He is providing just enough wisdom it feels to take the next step forward, sometimes wisdom just enough for that day.
A few weeks ago, Jamie and I went to a large factory owned and operated by an Indian businessman in our town. Amongst other things, this factory produces foam mattresses for beds and couches. We were looking for high density foam mattresses for 3 single beds for the Maternity Center. With the owner, we decided on the thickness and the quality. He shared with us the price, roughly $80 per mattress… so the equivalent of $240.00 for the three.
As he was writing up the bill in his office, we asked him where we could find someone to cover each mattress in vinyl. The question puzzled him as to why we would want to do this. We told him about the birth center and the need to protect the mattresses and to disinfect the mattresses after use. He looked at us for a few seconds, said “ok” and went back to writing the bill.
A second later, he stopped writing, looked up and said, “why would you use mattresses and a wood bed and not a metal table?” We shared about the goal of making the Maternity Center a place of comfort, of hope, of education, a place that reflects that women and their babies are precious, sarobidy. He looked at us quietly again, said “ok” and went back to writing the bill.
A few seconds later, a new question… “so are you a hospital, a clinic… are you a doctor?” Clearly he was intrigued with the conversation but really didn’t know what to make of it all. We continued to share about the safety of birth with trusted and trained midwives, midwives who provide safe and gentle birth practices–practices that are best for the mom and the baby, practices based on evidence based research. He continued to look at us, his eyes got big, said “ok” and then glancing back down at his receipt book, started to finish the bill. Jamie and I just looked at each other and chuckled. It was quite obvious that this was a new concept for him.
A few seconds later, the same scenario ensued again, but this time he asked a new question. “So what sect are you?”. (i.e. whom do you believe in?) We shared that we believe in Jesus and the work that we’re doing is a reflection of His love for his people. What I haven’t shared with you yet is this Indian businessman is a strict Muslim. The three of us, Jamie, he and myself, continued to sit in his office and talked in a mixture of French, Malagasy and English.
As our conversation wrapped up, Jamie pulled out the envelope of money and confirmed the price of the mattresses. But the owner had one more question for us, “so where does the money come from for this maternity center?”. We shared that it’s from people who want to financially partner. He asked if anyone in Madagascar was partnering with us. The answer was “no”. What came next was mind-blowing. His words went a little something like this, “Well, I’d like to be the first person– I believe in helping each other out …”. In the end, he gave us all three mattresses, $240.00 worth… for free! To understand the enormous nature of this gift, you should know that on the World Giving Index, Madagascar comes in #143.. just a few shy from dead last…. America comes in at #13. In fact, in all the years that one or both of us have lived here in Madagascar (and Jamie was born here), we’ve never been given anything of this value for free. The ladies in the market often throw in a cadeaux (gift) of an extra lemon or an extra small bunch of cilantro… but to be honest, that’s the extent. So when this Muslim businessman gave the Maternity Center 3 mattresses for free… we knew this was totally hands down, God’s provision!