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

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Blessed Until the End

Thank you for your support and love over the years. It has been an amazing adventure.  We give thanks for our 3 groups of YAGM; the 6 pack, the 7-ups, and the ates.  As we end our service here in Madagascar, we believe in God’s woven world and hope to cross paths with you in the future.

Peace, Austin, Tanya and Puba


The Madagascar Ates Final

Here’s a snapshot of our final retreat with the YAGM Madagascar crew.  It was a blessing of worship, laughter, God’s Creation, and beautiful conversation.  Sambatra izahay…we are blessed!

Meet the new Mad YAGM Coordinator!

Pastor Kirsten Laderach is the new Madagascar Young Adults in Global Missions (YAGM) country coordinator.  Kirsten arrived to Madagascar in March to travel with us around the island for one month to soak in the Malagasy culture.

Pastora Kirsten

Pastora Kirsten

She then returned to the States for the Discernment, Interview, Placement weekend, held in Chiacgo, where she meet 10 new young adults who will come to Madagascar this August!

We are excited for Kirsten and the new journey she is embarking on.  Please support her, as she transitions into this new role, we know that we could not have done it without you all.  You can follow her blog at:

If you would like to continue your missionary support you can be in contact with ELCA Mission Support: or by visiting them at:

Ellen’s thoughts

Originally posted by YAGM Ellen.  A few thoughts on ending service.

The World is Ending

The World is Ending

Tomorrow marks three months until the world ends. Okay, that might be an exaggeration. But, that’s sort of what it feels like. I will leave Fianarantsoa in 66 days. Then, I will get on a plane. Here’s the thing, I know the world will not end when I get on that plane, but I also have no idea how the world will continue.

I’ve said good-byes before. I mean, I said good-bye to all of you at the beginning of this journey. But, I’m afraid this good-bye will be different. When I said good-bye to Minnesota and all the people there, I knew that I would be back. I knew that I would be spending a year in this crazy and beautiful place that I knew nearly nothing about called Madagascar, and then, I would be doing what now seems impossible, coming home.

Sure, there have been and still will be days when flying away from this island is all I want. But, when that happens I know I have to take a step back, enjoy the view from my porch, go to my market and get guava’s from my friend, shop the frippe (used clothes market), and spend time any of the people I have met here that mean so much to me. Then, I remember that I don’t know how I will leave.

Also, it’s not about what’s on the other side. Because, really I am also so excited to see everyone in Minnesota, start school in the fall, and do all sorts of other things that I have missed this year. But, Fianar will always be my second home.

Sometimes, I resolve this fear of leaving this place by remembering that I can always come back to this island. I can come back to visit. For now, I mask the terrifying thought of having to leave these people, this place, these smells (more on the smells in a blog in the near future!), by remembering that I can return.

The other part of the world ending is because I don’t know what it will feel like to step outside the airport in Minneapolis. I mean, sure, I will be dead tired, so I will probably just want to sleep. But, beyond that. I don’t remember what it feels like to spend a whole day speaking English. What will it feel like when I am at the grocery store and they know English? What is it like to have constant connection to the internet? What is it like to drive a car? What is it like to not take malaria medication every day? What is it like to drink water from the faucet without filtering it? These are things that throughout my time here in Madagascar I have yearned for. But, when I actually think about doing it, I have no idea what it will be like.

The world is ending is an overstatement. But, my life as I know it is ending. I know that living in Madagascar has changed my perspectives on life. But, I also know that there’s a lot that has changed that I don’t know about yet. Some of those things I will realize right away. Some parts of myself that I think have changed now will fade over time. And, some I will not realize that they have changed for years and years. And even some, I will never now.

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