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

New Callings

Three years ago, we hit the ground running to grow and develop the ELCA’s vision of having a YAGM program in Madagascar.  What a blessing it has been to serve alongside the Malagasy Lutheran Church to foster a dream of volunteer service into a reality.  Coordinating this program has revealed to us so much of what God is up to in the world. The young adults we have had the privilege to lead and walk with, on their journey of accompaniment, has shown us the beautiful work within the Holy Spirits’ woven world.

We give thanks with great joy to you for y’alls support and love over the years.  For now, the time has come for us to seek new callings and want to let you know that we are ending our service as ELCA Country Coordinators.  But don’t you worry, the YAGM program will carry on in Madagascar with a new leader, Pastor Kirsten Laderach.

We Trust the Beautiful Promises Ahead

We Trust the Beautiful Promises Ahead

It’s been a privilege to serve with the ELCA Global Missions here in Madagascar, but sure feel good about handing off the YAGM program for its next stage of growth and development, and look forward to where God is leading us next.

And don’t you worry, our pup, Puba, will be making the next journey with us!


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.

This Sunday!

Check out what looks to be a neat show on CNN about Madagascar and our trains this Sunday at 9PM Eastern.

Click here to see the trailer:

Retreat 2.2

Enjoy a slideshow of our time together on retreat. It was a wonderful time of worship, playing in God’s creation, vocational conversation, and talking fast english!

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