[sam-ba-chra] blessed to be happy|happy to be blessed

YAGM volunteers’ prayer for Madagascar

Originally posted by Anna who lives on the East Coast in Manakara, Madagascar. Enjoy! 

My church community in America requested a prayer for the Malagasy people and Madagascar, so they could keep this prayer in their hearts and minds. Here is a prayer from the Young Adults in Global Mission volunteers serving in Madagascar for Madagascar and the Malagasy people:

Creator God,

Thank you for the Malagasy people. Thank you for their warm and loving hearts that so generously and lovingly welcomed and accepted the YAGM volunteers into their homes and communities. Thank you for the diversity of the people and tribes that come together to enrich this beautiful country. We are grateful for the Malagasy love for singing and dancing as a way of praising and glorifying You. Our Malagasy families, friends, and communities provide an example of strong faith and Your love is shown to us every day through them.

Beautiful Creation of Madagascar

We pray for relationships between the FLM (Malagasy Lutheran Church) and the ELCA to be strengthened, so that new volunteer sites may be established and current sites continue to be rewarding.

Please provide wisdom and guidance for the new President of Madagascar and government leaders. We ask that with the election of the new President, international support will return to Madagascar and stimulate the economy.

We pray for those who are struggling: the hungry, the sick, and those without homes. We pray for those who work hard every day to provide for their loved ones: for the pousse-pousse drivers pulling heavy loads, for the women who walk miles carrying food on their heads and babies on their backs to bring goods to the market, for those who free-climb high into the trees to harvest fruit, for those who haul buckets of water from wells to scrub clothes by hand, and for the children who diligently and tenderly care for their younger siblings. Many here labor long days but still struggle to provide for basic needs.

We ask for a more equal opportunity for people to receive an education.

We pray for Your amazing, unique Creation in Madagascar- the wildlife, the forests and deserts, mountains and ocean- to be cared for and valued.

We thank you, Lord, for Madagascar and for the Malagasy people and for our opportunity to learn about life and Your church here.


Retreat II

Blessed to be on retreat with the Mad YAGM crew.  The Spirit set our stage at Andringitra National Park, a beautiful piece of God’s Creation in the Southern Highlands.  We spent the week in worship, conversation, and play.  Enjoy a snapshot of our time together:

Being called by name.

The following post is shared from YAGM volunteer Molly who lives in Fianarantsoa.  Read more of her blog at: 

Salama Marie!

I pack my bag for the day at Sema Fi, raincoat, crafts, dictionaries, some paper and pens, puzzles, bingo cards, and water. I slather sunscreen on my face and feet the only places that still burn while I am in my beautiful and much cooler than the coast, highlands. Calling out to my mom I say, “Handeha hiasa aho”, I’m going to work! I leave the house and make sure to pass the guard’s children playing under the tree to see get the latest news from them which is always tsy misy, not much. Reaching up I undo the latch on the door swinging it open only as far as I need. On the other side I stand on my tiptoes to place the latch back into its locked position. As soon as I am out of their sight I hear the children yell “Bye bye-oooo”. I echo back to them. My first stop is the welder’s house. As I round the corner I listen to see if they have begun working or not. We bid each other good morning as I pass. I make my way through the little tunnel wondering which child I will see first when I am visible again hoping it is one who I have taught my name. Regardless of whom, I am always greeted by many little ones. We exchange a greeting and I continue on. I’ve arrived at the big house. The children jump up and down as they chant “Salama Marie! Salama Marie!” I’m puzzled, as I’ve never told these children my name. I ask the news of the parents who are usually preparing breakfast, washing clothes, or taking care of one of the children. After sometime we end our conversation and I continue down the hill. I’ve almost reached my favorite part of the walk and I can’t help but get excited. However, I don’t want to miss the beauty of the rice fields I pass through so I make sure to slow my pace. As I reach of the top of the hill I see the stand. The fruit stand where I see my Malagasy grandma. When our eyes meet she stands and with a huge smile and slight chuckle she says, “Salama Marie!”. Thus begins the conversation I look forward to every morning.
I met my Malagasy nenibe, grandma in late November. When I came back from retreat in the end of November it was mid-letchi season. I was addicted to this delicious fruit. One day I noticed this new fruit stand along my walk because of the plethora of letchi. I stopped there on my way home and bought a kilo. My nenibe was so impressed with my Malagasy and couldn’t stop telling me! The next day, I walked by and she called out to me. Each afternoon on my way home I would buy more letchi and we would talk even more. Finally, we asked for each other’s names. As usual, Molly is a difficult name for the Malagasy and my name became Marie. Sadly letchi season came to an end and I feared this friendship would end too but it hasn’t. Nenibe has continued her stand and everyday I continue to stop and say hello. But nenibe, wasn’t always my nenibe.
I spent a week in Manakara (along the west coast of Madagascar) after the first of the year with my friends Karis and Maia. One of our priorities was to bring fruit back as voandalana fruit from the road. I bought coconuts, passion fruit, and tiny bananas to bring for my loved ones back in Fianar. The morning after I returned I packed my bag again but this time with fruit. I set out on the walk that I described above and when I reached the stand I greeted nenibe with the tradition handshake and three kisses on the cheek. Then I opened my bag and pulled out a bag of fruit for her. She clapped, smiled, and laughed saying something along the lines of “Malagasy ianao! Efa mahay voandalana” You are Malagasy! You already know about fruit from the road. She then told me that I am her white Malagasy granddaughter and she is my Malagasy grandma. Now every morning, before I head to work I greet my Malagasy nenibe. My nenibe loves me as she has told most of her friends and family in the area about me. Now, even people I have never met greet me with, “Salama Marie!”.
At YAGM orientation back in U.S. we were given a copy of the poem Passover Remembered… by Alla Bozarth-Campbell, the poem is near and dear to many of our hearts. Different lines support different stories of my journey here and I know other YAGMs feel the same way. The line that is close to my heart today is,
“Continue to call each other by the names I’ve given you to help remember who you are.”
At Amboaloboka I am Tantine Molly. At Sema Fi, I am the letter “W” tapped of the heart two times. To my sisters in Madagascar I am letchi. To my actual sister I am Mo. To my best friend and small group at church I am Mo-Mo. To my nenibe and the area surrounding my home I am Marie. These names not only remind me who I am but that I belong and that I am loved enough to be called by name. 

And it’s True…


Yes.  I, Tanya, have milked a cow.  It was steamy, smelly and incredibly difficult.  The cultural exchange with our Malagasy neighbors was quite halarious.  They were extremely kind and incredible patient with me.  And I will always respect just how tough this job is!  Thanks for all your votes and your confidence I really milked a cow!  Peace, Tanya

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