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Putting out Fires...

   Deforestation in Madagascar is estimated between 88-90%-- quite the staggering rate!  The two largest culprits of the continued destruction of the forests are 1) charcoal production to be used for cooking and heating purposes and 2) slash and burn farming.  When traveling on the two-lane national highway during the dry season, one can easily count 15 or 20 plumes of smoke from various areas dotting the landscape.  Of course with continued fires comes loss of tress but also further erosion, loss of nutrients in the soil, a change in rain patterns, and diminished output of crops-- all of which lead the Malagasy people into further extreme poverty.  
  Just this week there was a large fire adjacent to one of Eden Project's dry deciduous reforestation sites north of our city.  Though the cause is still unknown, it's suspected to be from charcoal production several miles away.  In a country where there isn't fire hydrants nor fire trucks and in an area where there isn't running water, the men employed by Eden Projects in the surrounding village as well as other villagers became the firefighters and their hands became their weapons.  Twenty men pounded the flames with satrana or windmill palm branches through the night and into the next day.  As a result of their heroic efforts, they were able to prevent most of the fire from jumping the fire break.  The embers that did make it across the road were quickly extinguished.  In the end, only a few acres were lost to the fire in the Eden planting sites compared to hundreds of acres on the other side of the fire break! 

April-antsanitia 2
  Mr. Frederik, the manager of this reforestation site shared with Jamie and our teammate, Neal that all the employees wanted to cry as they battled the flames that were starting to devour the emerging forest that they've come to love and care for. 
  We praise the Lord for His protection over these men during this fire and we're so thankful for these brave ecological warriors!  

Ambulance Arrival!  

April-Ambulance1   You may remember hearing that we had received a grant for an ambulance early last year.  The money for the grant, though substantial, didn't cover the total cost of the vehicle, the shipping from Gibraltar, Spain, or the cost to clear it from customs in Madagascar.  The rest of the money came from a few generous partners and the many people that purchased our artisan items from Sarobidy Creations.  THANK YOU to each of you that played a significant role in helping us to complete this purchase! We're beyond thrilled to share that the ambulance arrived at the Sarobidy Maternity Center with sirens sounding just last week! 
   We were all squealing in joy and excitement, smiles beaming, hugs and high-fives going around and "oohing and awing" over the beauty of the ambulance.  As I stood there and watched the others, a deep awareness of the depth of the gift given to us by the Lord washed over me. I'm not one to be excited over cars-- new or used, fancy or not... so I'm definitely not talking about the vehicle in itself.  Rather I'm talking about the deep gratitude and being humbled by the enormity of how the Lord is blessing the Sarobidy Maternity Center and how He loves and cares for the women and babies that are coming for care!
  After the hoots and hollers quieted down, our team of Malagasy and Americans from the maternity center and Eden Projects gathered in a circle next to the ambulance. Holding hands we praised God for His amazing provision in such an incredible and tangible way.  We prayed over the ambulance, we prayed for the women and babies of the maternity center that will benefit from the ambulance, whether in an emergency or just delivering them home after they've had their baby at the center.  We prayed for wisdom beyond ourselves in emergency situations, we prayed for continued protection over the maternity center and the lives of the mothers and babies that walk through our doors.  We prayed that families and the greater community around the center would see and experience the great love of Jesus through each of us.
   Please join with us in both praise and prayer for the ambulance! 


94 hours... 

April-Paris  Isabella and I (Alissa) said good-bye to Jamie, Eliana and Gavin last week to begin a very special mother-daughter trip. Door to door travel from our home in Mahajanga, Madagascar to Santa Barbara, CA was a whoppin' 94 hours-- which thankfully, included a 20-hour layover in Paris! 
  Today, we're joining Isabella's fourth grade class here in Santa Barbara for their 5-day trip to Sacramento as the kids (and parents!) continue to learn about California history!  It's been a blessing to have this focused time with Isabella while Jamie is holding down the fort back in Madagascar with Eliana and Gavin!  

Teacher Needed! 

March-Teacher  We're looking for a teacher to come help homeschool our kids and the Carlstrom kids for the 2016-2017 school year!  Please pray with us for this critical need and help to spread the word to your circles of people!  If you're interested or know someone who is.... email us at:

Thank you for playing a vital role in this journey of life and ministry as together we serve the Lord in Madagascar! 

Peace to you, 
Alissa, Jamie, Isabella, Eliana and Gavin

April 2016  

In This Issue

  • Putting out Fires... 
  • Ambulance Arrival!...
  • 94 hours...
  • Teacher Needed...

this month's


BP 200
Mahajanga (401)
East Africa

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Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 963-2349


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