Sharing Our Burden… October News

Posted by on October 31, 2015 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Twins x 2!

Last month two mama’s-to-be in our prenatal program went in for their first ultrasound… both walked out with surprising news– both expecting TWINS, both with the same expected due date of February 22nd!  Elizabeth and Nathalie, the special mamas and these four babies are the first twins in our program!  They have begun receiving dual care– continuing to come each week to the Sarobidy Maternity Center to receive prenatal care, education, laboratory testing, prenatal vitamins and protein-rich snacks as well as receiving prenatal care from our back-up physician at her clinic.

Sharing Our Burden…

   One of our greatest burdensat this time is the continued funding for the Sarobidy Maternity Centerso that we may continue to care for women like Elizabeth and Nathalie.  To our knowledge, in a country with nearly 23 million people and rising maternal and infant mortality rates, the Sarobidy Maternity Center is the only maternity center of its kind that provides this type of comprehensive care in a Christ-centered environment in Madagascar.  We begin caring for women early in their pregnancies and this care continues with labor and delivery, postpartum home visits, postpartum care and well-baby care until the baby is 6 months old.
   At this time, we’re the sole fundraisers and grant-writers for the maternity center– a huge responsibility that weighs heavily on our shoulders.  The weight is compounded because we know these women– we hear their stories, we’ve seen the extreme poverty in which they live, we’ve witnessed the ways in which these strong women fight for their families against the odds, and we know the truth of the atrocities that they would face if they were to be receiving care elsewhere.  The weight is compounded when we sit with these women who have lost sometimes 2 or 3 babies to preventable causes… trauma during the birth, common diseases, diarrhea and dehydration.  The weight is compounded when we see the deep love and utter awe that they have for their babies as they gaze upon their newborn, taking in every little detail, in the exact same way that I have with our own three babies.
   So we humbly ask that you would share in the burden and help to lighten the weight resting upon our shoulders. You can do so in a few different ways…
1.  Commit to supporting the ongoing work of the maternity center on a monthly basis…  (THIS is our biggest need)
   There is no amount too large and no amount too small.  To give you an idea, $50 supports one women for a full month of prenatal or postpartum care, including laboratory testing, medications and high-protein snacks at the Sarobidy Maternity Center.
   If the thought of an recurring commitment is a bit daunting, you can commit for a 14-month period of time (the average amount of time a women spends in our program).  In other words…
$50/month x 14 months = support for one women to receive full care during her pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum care and well-baby care until her baby is 6 months old!
   Your tax-deductible RECURRING DONATION can made through our sending agency, WorldVenture by clicking here… 
2.  A one-time gift to help fund special projects…
   There are numerous special projects that we still need to complete at the maternity center.  Here’s a few…
 * Purchase an ultrasound machine– I’m currently working on a grant for an ultrasound machine.  If awarded, it’s our responsibility to purchase the necessary probes.  ($5,000)
 * Remodeling of the birth room to install a birthing tub and toilet so that women can have a dedicated space during labor and delivery. ($4,000)
 * Tile the maternity center floor.  Currently the floor is cement and if you aren’t aware… birth is a messy business so our preference is to tile the floor for proper sanitary purposes! ($3,000)
 * Build an incinerator for hazardous waste disposal ($2,000)
 * Build a midwife house on the property of the maternity center– as you know birth can happen at any hour of any day– it’s important to have a midwife on the property at all times.  ($12,000)
   Your ONE-TIME tax deductible donation can be made through our sending agency, WorldVenture, by clicking here… 
3.  Share with others…
   As we share about the work of the maternity center whether in newsletters, church presentations or Facebook blasts, our circles of people that we interact with extend only so far.  I love the “starfish” analogy where if one person shares with five people and if each of those five people share with another five people… the results are well beyond what we could ever do ourselves.  Not sure how to share with others?
 * Forward our newsletters onto folks you think may be interested
 * Share our Facebook posts with your friends on Facebook (find us on Facebook here!)
 * Talk to your mission’s pastor or mission’s committee about a future potential partnership with the Sarobidy Maternity Center
   Please pray for the funding of the Sarobidy Maternity Center– pray that we would release this burden into the hands of the Lord, trusting in His provision!  We so appreciate those that generously give, believe in and pray for the women and babies and staff of the Sarobidy Maternity Center!  

Introducing Mr. Frederik…

As many of you know, Jamie returned to Madagascar last month for an intense two week Eden Projects trip to gather data from planting sites and conduct interviews of the employees.  Here’s one such interview from Frederik, a manager of one of our dry deciduous sites.  His words are a powerful testimony of the transforming work of employment in his life.  (Note– though the interview was translated into English, the words are Frederik’s alone).

“Yes, between 2004 – 2011 we struggled to survive.

 I had no work at all and not enough food so sometimes we ate and sometimes we did not.  I kept my kids in school but I could not keep up on the school fees so they were in and out of school.  Often they had to repeat years.  When you are poor something is blocking or holding you from being able to even think about rising up to think about the future.  Our house was falling apart and clothes were hard to come by. 

I had the desire to improve my life but I lost the trust of any future hope.  I had no strength to change the future. I just waited for what would hit me next.  What God would put before me.  I could never be satisfied with what I could give my family.  I was embarrassed that my children had to go elsewhere for food and care.  I lost respect before my kids, wife, and other people treat you as nothing.  Even though I had a high school education and further education in accounting.  Despite all this, I always trusted and prayed to God.  We actually had land but it was not nutritious and gave little yield when we farmed it. 

In 2011 we had worked our way up a little and hope began to return.  When I started with Eden Projects I had little respect but now I am respected in the community, because I have a job and I lead people in reforesting.  As a leader I have been lifted up to a place of honor.  I can only be a leader if people trust me.
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Having steady income, my mind can rest in peace knowing there is money coming.  I can plan my life out.  I can do things I need to do to fix my house.  Food and kids school fees are covered every month.  I was able to buy a solar panel to give us electricity for light at home, to charge my phone, and run my radio.  I bought my kids beds. 

The first thing I feel is my mind is at peace.  Because I used to worry at night about the next days suffering, but now I have a trust that tomorrow will be fine.  I will be cared for and my family will be cared for also. 

 I carry myself differently because I have responsibility of a job.  I have to be responsible with myself.  Before I drank lots of alcohol and slept around but now I am sober and faithful to my wife who I just want to make happy.  My goal and desire is to be an example to others of being a good person.  As a father I now can give my children their needs.  They can say  “Dad, I need this, a bag, food etc”… and I can provide it if it is good.  It makes me happy and I feel honored.  I feel and know I truly am a father because before I couldn’t do my responsibilities as a father.

 For the most part I love my job. 

 I love to work to better my community and not just my family.  Planting forests brings health and for my eyes seeing green things brings me strength.  Where there are forests the weather is cooler.  You don’t want to touch hot things and entering a forest you don’t want to leave because it is cool. 
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I get to teach others why the forest is important and where it comes from.  As the forests come back, life gets better.  I care for the forest like I care for my wife.  My work is my life.  I don’t get tired of my job.  I want to figure out how to make it better. 

Before my dreams were to have money for things and for celebrations.  Now my dream is to leave a good inheritance for my children.  I want to leave a legacy that is honorable.  I want to leave my mark and a good mark.  I want to help others.  I have received grace and I want to pass it on.”

Frederik’s words are powerful– words that bring life to extreme poverty, words that bring hope from a seemingly hopeless situation, words that share the powerful truth of a how a job can change the life of a man, a husband, a father, a marriage, and a family!

We know that true transformation comes only from knowing Christ personally!  There’s a ton of nominal Christians in Madagascar– those that go to church on Sunday and worship their ancestors on Monday.  We’re not sure where Mr. Frederik is in his journey with the Lord but we do ask that you would join us in praying that he would have a deep knowledge and relationship with Christ!  

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(pictured left to right, Jamie, Paquerette and Frederik)

We know that when our burdens are heavy that the Lord is faithful to carry these for us, giving us rest.  We know that many of you are also carrying deep burdens in your own lives, families, work, ministry.  May we each find deep comfort, peace and rest in the One who is mighty to carry the burdens of the world!

Peace to you,
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  
                                                            Matthew 11:28-29
** To see the full October newsletter in it’s original form, click here.

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